Guests startled after tractor-trailer crashes into hotel in early morning hours


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – There were no injuries after a tractor-trailer slammed into the Rodeway Inn Hotel Sunday morning on Brakebill Road.

Raul Medina, 34, of Kissimmee, Florida, was arrested and charged with DUI.
Police responded to the call around 4:30 a.m. in the 800 block of Brakebill Road.

The crash may not have caused any injuries but it did startle guests.

“He hit the pole, went over the rock garden, hit two vehicles, continued, made the turn and then hit the hotel. He took out columns, crashed the roof and kept on going,” said Gene Pauldine.

The crash happened right after they checked in.

“Next thing I know, I wake up and I’m in a Garth Brooks song. It’s ‘Papa Loved Mama’ and his car is one of the cars that got hit,” Troy Geiser said.

Police say Medina said he was tired and looking for a place to park. When he hit the canopy over the hotel’s main entrance, they say he panicked and tried to back up and then pulled forward again, which caused the entire canopy to collapse. Guests watched it all unfold.

“The driver did not stop, he kept backing up and going forward, thinking he could get her through there. He hit the pole with the rear of the trailer, and then backed up and hit her again,” said Geiser.

They’re thankful they’re safe and that the damage wasn’t worse.

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