United Community Banks - all Tennessee locations - are now accepting donations into a special account for injured THP Sgt. Lowell Russell. These donation may be made in person at any of our Tennessee locations or by mail to P.O. Box 230, Lenoir City, TN 37771 ATTN: Meredith. Checks may be made payable to either LOWELL RUSSELL FUND or LOWELL RUSSELL FAMILY FUND. Any funds donated will be given to the family to help them with travelling expenses and any other expenses that may arise. If anyone has any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Thank you in advance for your help in this matter,
United Community Bank
725 HWY 321 North
Lenoir City, TN 37771
865.988.1113 - my direct line
State trooper critical after tractor-trailer strikes cruiser in I-40 median
KNOXVILLE — A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper with Blount County ties was critically injured Tuesday morning when a tractor-trailer struck his vehicle and caused it to catch fire on westbound Interstate 40.
Sgt. Lowell Russell, of Vonore, was injured just before 3 a.m. near the Gallaher View Road exit in west Knoxville.
According to a THP report, a tractor-trailer swerved into the median, side-swiping Lowell’s vehicle as he was finishing paperwork after a routine traffic stop. The trooper’s vehicle was pushed across the highway, and the semi continued to swerve off the side of the road.
The collision caused Russell’s vehicle to catch fire. Knoxville Police and EMS personnel helped rescue Russell from the cruiser, and he was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday night. The crash shut down the interstate for several hours.
Semi driver charged
The driver of the tractor-trailer was identified as 32-year-old Eric Dwayne Lewis of Orlando, Fla., who was uninjured. He was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, violation of the move-over law and failure to exercise due care. He was being held in the Knox County Detention Facility in lieu of $10,500 bond.
Lewis was said to have fallen asleep at the wheel, which may have caused the accident, officials said. He had a passenger in his truck, identified as 57-year-old Cleotha Nickles, also of Orlando. There are no charges against him at this time. They were reported to be driving for FSH Trucking, based in Orlando.
Russell is a 1994 graduate of Vonore High School and attended Roane State Community College. He began his career with THP in 1998 after graduating from the THP Trooper Cadet Academy that year. He was first assigned to Monroe County in March 1998 and later in the year was transferred to Marshall County.
Russell was transferred back to Monroe County in June 2000. In 2007, he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to Nashville where he served in the Office of Professional Responsibility, now the Inspectional Services Bureau.
Brother also trooper
In January of last year, Russell transferred to Knox County, where he currently serves. His brother, Cory, is also a state trooper, assigned to Monroe County.
“Our troopers put their lives on the line every day to keep citizens safe,” said Col. Tracy Trott of THP in a statement. “It is especially difficult when one of our troopers is injured in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Lowell Russell and his family during this difficult time. We pray for his recovery and thank him for his service to our state. He is one of Tennessee’s finest.”
Blount County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Marian O’Briant said although Russell never officially worked in Blount County, he was well known among many of the sheriff’s deputies.
“He has been a trooper for many years, and a lot of people knew him,” O’Briant said.