Alcoa Highway crash victims' family pleads for more awareness

Alcoa Highway crash victims' family pleads for more awareness

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"She would not have been happy without her baby. She could not have forgiven herself. And that baby would not have been happy without his mom," Darlene Thomas says. "She would not have been happy without her baby. She could not have forgiven herself. And that baby would not have been happy without his mom," Darlene Thomas says.
Brittany Thomas Brittany Thomas
Aiden Aiden

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ALCOA (WATE) - A Blount County family is taking their grief over a fatal car crash and turning it toward awareness of the dangers of Alcoa Highway.

Brittany Thomas, 21, a nursing student, was driving her son Aiden, 10-months-old, near the airport between Hunt Road and Hall Road on February 27. They were struck by another car that crossed the center median and flew into the air.

"She was an awesome mother," says Darlene Thomas, Brittany's mother and Aiden's grandmother.

Thomas is devastated by the losses, but takes some comfort in knowing the two are still together. 

"She would not have been happy without her baby. She could not have forgiven herself. And that baby would not have been happy without his mom," Thomas says.

She's grateful for all the support she's received since the accident. Friends and strangers raised half the money for a joint funeral in just two days.

But Thomas wants people to know, this tragedy didn't have to happen.

"I just want to know how many lives it has to take, how many families have to go through what I've gone through, because somebody can't reconstruct that road. Somebody can't make it safer," she says.

Thomas has seen too many accidents like her daughter's on Alcoa Highway. She passed another one Wednesday night on the way to her funeral.

"People need to slow down. Pay attention to everything around you. Think of somebody else's family, what they have to go through. I've had my world ripped from me. Those babies were my life," Thomas says.

Alcoa police believe the driver that hit Brittany and Aiden, Jeffrey A. Knight, 40, was speeding.

He was also tested for drugs and alcohol. Those results are expected next week and investigators say they hope to file charges.

Police say Alcoa Highway is a high-accident location. Officers say people are often in a hurry and don't pay attention.

The state Department of Transportation is looking at widening some parts of the road and limiting access to certain interchanges.

There are also plans for a bypass around the highway, called the Alcoa Parkway.

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