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Man killed in deadly crash caused by rock thrown from overpass in Nashville

NASHVILLE (WSMV) – Police believe a rock thrown from an overpass caused a deadly crash in downtown Nashville on Tuesday morning and they are investigating to see if it was done intentionally.

The wreck happened in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 24 near the exit for Shelby Avenue just before 5 a.m.

According to the Metro Nashville Police Department, officials are working to determine if a rock was intentionally thrown off the Shelby Avenue overpass, hitting a car on the roadway below.

The driver, identified as 54-year-old Joe C. Shelton Jr. of Pleasant View, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Joe C. Shelton Jr./ WSMV

Police said the chuck of concrete, pictured, was “likely” thrown from the Shelby Avenue Bridge. The rock landed in the windshield of Shelton’s Nissan GT-R sports car and hit him in the face.

Throughout their investigation, TDOT bridge inspectors determined that the chuck of concrete was not part of the bridge’s structure and instead resembles part of a roadway curb, leading police to believe it may have been thrown from the overpass intentionally.

After Shelton was hit, he sideswiped a Toyota pickup truck and a guardrail before coming to a stop on Sillman Evans Bridge.

Investigators are now reviewing surveillance footage from cameras in the area in hopes of gathering a suspect description of the person who may have thrown the concrete from the bridge.

News4 confirmed Tuesday that Shelton is an Nissan employee. The company released the following statement after his death:

“We are saddened to learn of Joe’s passing. Our deepest sympathies are with his family members, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

Anyone with information about this case, including seeing a person(s) standing on the Shelby Avenue Bridge in the 4:50 a.m.-4:55 a.m. time frame this morning, is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.  Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.

Stay with News4 for updates on this developing story.

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