A 38-year-old man has been arrested on drunk-driving charges as well as four counts of vehicular homicide in the Christmas Eve traffic wreck that killed four women on Raleigh-Millington Road at the Loosahatchie River bridge.
In a statement released this morning, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash that also injured two men — one critically -- just south of Fite Road on the northern edge of Memphis.
Spokesman Chip Washington said a preliminary investigation showed that Lenard Robinson, 38, was driving a Chevy Silverado pick-up truck traveling south on Raleigh-Millington when his vehicle struck the rear end of a 2002 Chevy Impala.
Four women were in the Impala — sisters Tarla Fisher, 47, and Shirley Watkins, 44, their niece 26-year-old Chrystal Hill, and 42-year-old Marjorie Tucker, who was a family friend. The women, all from Memphis, were all trapped in the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene just after the accident, which occurred at about 6:30 p.m.
Washington said the impact of the collision between Robinson’s pick-up and the Impala caused Fisher, who was driving the car, to swerve into the northbound lane where a Ford F-150 struck the passenger side of the car.
James Reece and Luke McElravey were in the F-150 and were taken to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. Reece is in critical condition and McElravey is stable, according to Washington.
Robinson, the driver of the Silverado, was arrested Saturday night and charged with four counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, reckless driving, speeding and two counts of felony reckless endangerment.
Washington said Fisher was the only person involved who was wearing a seatbelt.
Shelby County deputies and Memphis police blocked off the Raleigh-Millington Road in both directions Saturday night. The bridge over the Loosahatchie accident was damaged during the collision, although none of the vehicles went over the bridge.
The road was no longer closed Sunday morning. Shelby County spokesman Steve Shular said county public work crews set up concrete barricades along the bridge where the impact of the collision had severely damaged guard rails.