Car plunges off Highway 51

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. --A terrible car crash closed part of Highway 51 south for hours Friday morning.

The car went between two concrete bridges and plunged down a steep embankment.

The driver, Perry Jenkins, died at the scene.

It took more than two hours just to hoist the engine from the car wreckage, a sign of how violent the Friday morning crash was.

Emergency workers, Memphis Police and Shelby County Deputies swarmed the area before 9 am after the car, which was headed south, demolished a steel guardrail, flipped and landed at the bottom of a steep embankment between two concrete bridges.

The car went between the two concrete bridges at the Loosahatchie River, flipping and landing at the bottom of this embankment.

When wrecker crews were finally able to lift the mangled car, it was hard to even tell what make or model it was.

The accident happened just inside the Memphis City limits.

The crash was a grim reminder to Randy Holmes of how bad traffic can be on Highway 51.

His business, Holmes Services, is less than a mile from where the fatal crash happened and has been for 30-years.

"And over that time lots of wrecks, lots of wrecks. Some of them looks major and everybody walks away," said Randy Holmes.

Then there are crashes like the one Friday morning that no one could possibly walk away from.

Police closed the southbound lane of Highway 51 at Fite Road.

That closure forced Holmes's drivers to change their daily service routes, "From here going into town, into Memphis, we was having to take the back roads. Leave here and go north in order to go south."

Holmes said the deadly accident left an impression on his drivers to be careful on the highway.

Holmes said he made it a point Friday to re-enforce that message, "Of course I didn't really have to. They seen it, the ones that seen it and the talk that's been going on, it's keyed them up today. Of course it's a rainy day also. And on rainy days we're always cautious."



  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Wreg, thank u for this info. My son works for a roadside assistance company. He now knows to tell his dispatcher he can’t go south on 51 for now and why

  • Mike Lombardi

    I was at the scene about 2 minutes after the police and it was horrific knowing someone had gone off between the brides, when I came by again a little after 11 they had the wreckage mounted on the back of a two truck. I stopped at several collision centers (I deliver parts to them) and no one at any of them was able to figure out what kind of car it was… One of the worst wrecks many of us have seen in a very long time, if ever.

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