‘We are devastated’ | Deputy killed by tractor-trailer in I-75 North crash
Officials with the Tennessee Highway Patrol will lead the investigation.
LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Loudon County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed in a crash that occurred early Thursday morning on I-75 North.
Officials responded to a 911 call of a crash near mile marker 74 at the Tennessee River Bridge just after 8:00 a.m. Once on the scene, it was discovered that a deputy, Sgt. Chris Jenkins, had been hit by a vehicle and killed.
“We are devastated,” LCSO posted to Facebook.
According to Loudon County officials, Sgt. Jenkins responded to the area to remove a ladder from the roadway that was blocking traffic. Once there, he conducted a rolling roadblock to attempt to slow vehicles behind him and got out of his car.
While in the roadway, a tractor-trailer, driven by Christopher Savannah, 43, reportedly did not slow down and struck two other cars, the cruiser and Sgt. Jenkins, who was pronounced dead on the scene. A report obtained by WVLT News said that Savannah was under the influence at the time of the crash.
A witness reportedly told investigators that they saw a white utility vehicle with an unsecured orange ladder on the back of it. It is believed by officials that the ladder Sgt. Jenkins removed from I-75 came from the vehicle. It reportedly got off the interstate at exit 76.
Sgt. Jenkins began his career at LCSO in 2002 as a corrections deputy. He was promoted to patrol one year later and graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy at Donelson in 2004.
The devoted brother and father became a K-9 unit in 2007, was promoted to patrol corporal in 2018 and patrol sergeant last year.
The last time an LCSO deputy was killed in the line of duty was over 15 years ago. Deputy Jason Scott was shot and killed on March 12, 2004.
A memorial with Sgt. Jenkins’ K-9 Patrol Unit has been set up in front of the Loudon County Justice Center for those wishing to pay respect or leave flowers.
According to a preliminary report from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Savannah was under the influence at the time of the crash. He was charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide by recklessness, reckless endangerment x2, DUI, simple possession, possession of a handgun under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia and other traffic charges.
THP officials will lead the investigation. If you have any information regarding the white utility vehicle or crash, please contact CID Tim Southerland at (865) 594-5800.
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