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Lawsuit filed in deadly 4th of July crash

An Oak Ridge couple injured when a man charged backed his pickup truck into a crowd of people after the July 4th fireworks show in Oak Ridge last year has filed a $450,000 lawsuit against the man facing charges in the incident.

66-year-old Lee Cromwell is facing charges of homicide, reckless endangerment and 12 counts of aggravated assault in connection to the incident that occurred in a parking lot across from Bissell Park after the Independence Day fireworks show and left one man dead.

Oak Ridge residents Michael and Elizabeth Eldridge say that they had been sitting on the tailgate of their pickup truck when Cromwell backed his pickup into the crowd and struck their vehicle. The couple says they suffered leg injuries as a result of what the lawsuit calls Cromwell’s negligence for failing to exercise due care or keep a proper lookout. The lawsuit says that Michael Eldridge suffered permanent leg injuries and seeks $400,000 in compensatory damages for those injuries and another $50,000 for Elizabeth Eldridge, whose injuries were not as severe.

12 people were injured in the incident and one man, 37-year-old Knoxville resident James Robinson, was killed when he dove in front of his family to protect them from Cromwell’s pickup.

Charges against Cromwell were sent along to an Anderson County grand jury following a preliminary hearing earlier this year. Cromwell is free on bond and says that the whole incident was a tragic accident.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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