"At the scene, it had been confirmed there are at least eight individuals who are now deceased in the crash," said Bill Miller, of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. "We hope and pray there will be no more."
14 people were rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville for injuries, Miller said.
Eight of those people are in critical condition, he said. Two people are seriously injured and four people are stable.
UPDATE 6:14 p.m.: TDOT tweeted a new detour for route I-40 westbound in Jefferson County -- you can take Exit 424 to SR 113, to SR 341, to I-81S at Exit 4.
UPDATE 4:34 p.m.: The AP is reporting that eight people have died in the accident.
Tennessee Department of Safety public information officer Dayla Qualls released the following information:
"• Three vehicle incident involving tractor trailer, chartered bus and SUV, on I-40 westbound at mile marker 423 in Jefferson County at approximately 2 p.m. (EDT).
• Preliminary crash description: bus was traveling eastbound on Interstate 40, the left front tire blew out, bus then traveled across the median, clipped the westbound Tahoe, continued traveling and struck the tractor trailer on the left side. The tractor trailer immediately caught fire and the bus overturned.
• It appears there were 18 occupants on the bus, three occupants in the SUV and one occupant in the tractor trailer. Bus occupants are from Statesville, NC.
• Preliminary number of fatalities is eight (6 – bus; 1 – tractor trailer; 1 – SUV).
o Four (transported by EMS-Air to hospitals);
o Eight (transported by EMS-ground to hospitals);
o Two (not transported)
• Traffic is being rerouted on the eastbound side at the I-40, I-81 junction. On the westbound side, the traffic is being diverted at mile marker 432."
The Jefferson County EMA and EMS are currently holding a press conference. We'll bring you more details as they're available.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said a passenger bus has overturned in Jefferson County, completely blocking the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40.
Tennessee Safety Department spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said the accident happened near mile marker 423. Click here to view photos from the scene.
Investigators said the crash appears to involve a tractor trailer, bus, and passenger vehicle. Troopers said the preliminary investigation indicates that the bus was traveling eastbound on Interstate 40. They say for an unknown reason it traveled across the median and struck a tractor-trailer and passenger car that were traveling westbound.
The tractor-trailer caught fire and the bus overturned. It appears there are multiple fatalities and injuries at this time.
Traffic is being diverted on the eastbound side at the I-40, I-81 junction. On the westbound side, the traffic is being diverted at mile marker 423.
We have a crew on the way to the scene and will bring you more details as they are available.