Tullahoma man dies in head-on crash

A Tullahoma man was killed Monday morning after two vehicles collided on Highway 55 near Coffee County Central High School.

Shawn Robert Austin, 41, was reportedly traveling eastbound on his way to work when his Pontiac was hit head-on by pickup truck. 

According to Manchester Police Assistant Chief Adam Floied, the pickup driver was traveling westbound when she swerved to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of her. That swerve caused her to lose control of her vehicle, jump the median and travel airborne into the eastbound lanes. The pickup struck Austin’s vehicle head-on, killing him instantly.

The pickup driver was not seriously injured.

“She was very lucky,” Floied said.

No charges will be filed against the driver.

Details about the vehicle she swerved to avoid are unclear. The driver indicated she saw no lights indicating the vehicle in front of her had stopped. In the absence of a stalled vehicle at the scene, Floied suggested the third vehicle might have been one pulling a trailer on which the lights had not been attached.

The driver of that vehicle left the scene before officers arrived.

The accident happened around 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 8. The roadway was closed for approximately three hours, with traffic both east- and westbound rerouted to the Old Manchester - Tullahoma Highway as the Manchester Police Department investigated the accident.

Highway 55 was cleared in both directions by 9:47 a.m.

Kelly Lapczynski can be reached by email at klapczynski@tullahomanews.com.