This trooper is a good friend of mine. He and his brother have worked together at THP for many years. The trooper that was injured is Sergeant Lowell Russell. He had just cleared from a traffic stop and was finishing up paperwork on the shoulder when the truck slammed into the rear of his cruiser, pushing it across all lanes of traffic and into the median barrier wall. The cruiser burst into flames and Sgt. Russell was rescued by a Knoxville PD Officer and an EMT. The EMT was burnt trying to remove Sgt. Russell from the cruiser. Sgt. Russell is in critical condition with severe injuries, including brain injuries.
Six months ago, USMC LCpl. Frankie Watson was killed in action in Afghanistan. Sgt. Russell was a father figure to LCpl. Watson, who went into law enforcement before enlisting in the USMC. Sgt. Russell helped raise LCpl. Watson for most of his youth.