MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Mississippi man who has gone his whole life without a car accident says he came close to being in a pile-up Saturday after a funeral procession full of speeding drivers took over Midtown I-240.
“It was dangerous, it was stupid, it was unprofessional, and it was just the wildest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Blake.
The driver, who did not want to be identified by his last name, said a funeral escort in a white SUV with flashing green lights, got on at South Parkway East, drove across the interstate, and stopped traffic.
He told us he had to slam on his brakes and nearly collided with other vehicles around him.
“All of us, we lock our brakes up. I’m like, holy crap, What? And then, all of a sudden, here comes about 20 illegal four-wheelers. There were a couple of motorcycles. They weren’t street bikes. They were dirt bikes, you know. No lights, no tags,” said Blake. “They were dirt bikes for off-road, and the ATVs were, as well, and they all get on there, and they are all riding wheelies, and you know. I about got run over by a Dodge Charger. It was probably doing 110 mph.”
Blake said that’s when he grabbed his cell phone and started recording. In the video posted on Facebook, you can see numerous sports cars, ATV’s, and motorcycles pass the driver’s stopped along I-240, which is also known as I-69 as it runs through Midtown and South Memphis.
Some of the riders on the four-wheelers and bikes are popping wheelies. You can also see several people loaded in the back of a pickup truck and others hanging out the windows of some of the cars.
“What killed me when it started clearing out the escort gets on the intercom and tells us to go but stay in our lane. I promise you I heard him say stay in that lane, or you will get run over,” Blake said.
According to Tennessee law, drivers following a funeral procession on a two-lane street, road, or highway may not attempt to pass the procession or drive between vehicles in the procession.
However, there is no stipulation requiring drivers to pull over or stop to let the procession pass. Vehicles in the procession must drive on the right-hand side of the roadway and follow the vehicles ahead of them as close as is practical and safe.
“He was telling the whole interstate to stop. First of all, you don’t do that. It’s an interstate,” said Blake.
Blake said he did not see any police officers along the interstate at the time. We contacted Memphis Police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to find out if they had received any complaints about the funeral procession or the vehicles involved but so far have not heard back from anyone.
Blake said he would love to know who was being buried.
“It must have been someone who was an adrenaline junky because they were trying to send him off with a bang,” said Blake.
Blake said there had to be at least 100 cars involved in the funeral procession. He said he did not call police because he did not have enough information about where the procession was headed.