Four men killed changing flat tire when tractor-trailer hits them, Tennessee cops say

A tractor-trailer driver is facing charges after being accused of hitting and killing men who were changing a tire on the side of the interstate, Tennessee police said.

A group of eight men were traveling in a Chevrolet Express van along Interstate 81 in Kingsport, Tennessee, on March 26, according to a news release from the Kingsport Police Department on March 27.

The front left tire of the group’s van went flat, causing the driver to pull onto the side of the road. Five of the passengers got out of the van to work on changing the tire, police said.

Saul Carrera, 60, from New York, was driving a red Peterbilt tractor-trailer on the interstate, according to police, when he veered off the right-hand side of the road.

Carrera sideswiped the van, hitting “all five of the pedestrians who were working to repair the tire,” police said.

The tractor-trailer then drove down the interstate a little further before jack-knifing and overturning on the side of the interstate, police said.

Four of the five men hit were killed, including Jesse James Delacruz, 49; Jose Urbano Serrano Ramos, 25; one man who was not identified and a 17-year-old whose name was not released.

The fifth man, another 17-year-old, was taken to the hospital with “suspected major injuries,” according to police. He remains in the hospital in critical condition.

The three men who remained in the van were not injured.

Police say Carerra was “operating the tractor-trailer while impaired” and issued an arrest warrant.

Carerra remains in the hospital in stable condition with injuries sustained during the crash.

He is charged with four counts of vehicle homicide by intoxication, reckless aggravated assault, felony reckless endangerment, driving under the influence in a commercial vehicle and failure to exercise due care.

Police said Carerra will be taken into custody once he is discharged from the hospital.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Kingsport is 94 miles northeast of Knoxville.

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