Harriman woman recalls night of deadly Roane Co. car crash

HARRIMAN (WATE) – A driver involved in the deadly wreck in Roane County this week is sharing more about that fateful night. It was a head on collision and the young woman’s boyfriend, who was a passenger in her car, was killed.

Michelle Whittenbarger spoke to WATE 6 On Your Side and said she has a long way to go before she’s fully recovered.

She’s wearing a neck brace and has bumps and bruises all over her body.

Michelle Whittenbarger
Michelle Whittenbarger was injured in a multiple car crash in Roane County last week.

 

“I don’t know what happened. I woke up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital and that’s all I know,” said Whittenbarger.

The 23-year-old woman’s memory of the deadly crash is still fuzzy.

She remembers meeting up with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Kaleb Poe, at McDonald’s by Walmart on Highway 27 Tuesday night. They were riding together to his mother’s house in Spring City. What Whittenbarger wouldn’t know is that it would be the last time she would see him.

Michelle Whittenbarger and Kaleb Poe
Kaleb Poe and Michelle Whittenbarger (Photo credit: Whittenbarger)

 

“I think I’m still shocked. I don’t think I really know that he’s gone yet,” she said.

Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers said 64-year-old Brenda Garnder got into the same lane as Whittenbarger and Poe near the intersection of Highway 27 and Eagle Furnace Road and hit them head on, which caused them to hit another car.

The crash killed Gardner and Poe.

On Thursday, pieces of the deadly wreck were still on the side of the highway. There was also a memorial built for Poe who died in the crash.

Memorial for Poe
A memorial was placed on Highway 27 and Eagle Furnace Road where the crash took place.

 

THP’s accident report stated Gardner wasn’t wearing a seat belt. Both Poe and Whittenbarger were. hittenbarger said she’s lucky to be alive.

Two people were killed and one person was sent to the hospital after a 3-car crash in Roane County on Tuesday night.
Two people were killed and one person was sent to the hospital after a 3-car crash in Roane County on Tuesday night.

“I mean I owe a lot of it to God to be spiritual because looking at the pictures I shouldn’t have made it,” said Whittenbarger.

WATE 6 On Your Side did try to speak with the family of the other driver who was killed, but could not get in contact with them.

As for the investigation, THP said they’ve requested drug and alcohol tests for both drivers. They expect the results to come out in about eight to twelve weeks.

Whittenbarger also said funeral arrangements are set for Poe. They are having a receiving of friends Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vaughn’s Funeral Home in Spring City.The funeral service is Saturday at 11 a.m.

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