According to Sgt. Ashley Mercer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) the van crossed the center line into the path of the semi-trailer while attempting a left-hand turn, causing the collision.
The crash killed two and sent seven to area hospitals.
Ambulance units from Macon County EMS, emergency vehicles from the Lafayette Fire Department, officers from the Macon County Sheriff’s Department and Macon County Rescue Squad all responded to the call for help.
Emergency workers used tools to gain entry to the van and allow them to remove some of its occupants.
The two van occupants, including the driver, who lost their lives were pronounced dead at the scene by Randall Kirby, Macon County Medical Investigator.
According to Sgt. Mercer, two of the occupants in the van were taken to Macon County General Hospital where they were treated and released.
Five of the more seriously injured, one a 17-year-old juvenile, were ultimately taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, as emergency workers moved quickly to aid those who had sustained the life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the semi-tractor was assessed at the scene and was not transported to the hospital.
Several air transport units from Air-Evac and Life Flight came to the scene to transport the injured, some making multiple trips. Officials were unable to confirm the severity of injuries of those taken by air, other than to say they were life threatening.
The gravity of the situation prompted officials at the scene to call in reconstruction specialists. The four members of the THP Critical Incident Response Team came from several Tennessee counties.
Law enforcement officers and emergency response personnel blocked the scene to prevent onlookers from moving into the area where the accident had occurred.
The highway was closed for hours as investigators and emergency workers worked diligently to clear the scene, once the dead and injured had been removed.
Reconstruction specialists worked late into the night to recreate the circumstances of the ghastly accident, before the road could be opened.