Cocke official charged with vehicular homicide

Cocke official charged with vehicular homicide, DUI after bicyclist's death

Posted: Updated:
Dan Ford (source: Cocke County Sheriff's Office) Dan Ford (source: Cocke County Sheriff's Office)
Katelin Richardson (source: Springfield College) Katelin Richardson (source: Springfield College)

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - Cocke County Election Commissioner Dan Ford is charged with DUI and vehicular homicide after he allegedly struck two bicyclists Tuesday night in Cocke County, killing one.

Katelin "Kate" Richardson, 21, of Jeffersonville, Vt. was killed in the collision. Her family says she was working at a rafting business Cocke County for the summer.

The other bicyclist, who was uninjured, was identified as Rachel Warren, of Seattle, Wash.

Richardson was a physical therapy major who played soccer for Springfield College in Springfield, Mass and previously attended the University of Vermont. She was not wearing a helmet, but the Tennessee Highway Patrol accident report says that would not have saved her.

The report says the women were riding in the northbound lane of State Highway 73 near US-321 around 9:40 p.m. when they were struck from behind by a 2001 GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by Ford, 73, of Cosby.

Ford is also accused of drinking and taking drugs, according to the report. He is charged with a first offense DUI.

People who live in the area say the road doesn't have a lot of traffic, and it's even quieter after dark.

One man said there's a problem with drunk drivers on State Highway 73. "Definitely a lot of people swerving at night, not paying attention. When I get off work and come home at night, I see them quite often."

Ford was first appointed to the Cocke County Election Commission in April 2009 and was just re-appointed in April.

He is also a former chairman of the Cocke County Republican Party and he ran unsuccessfully for the 11th District State House seat in 2008.

Ford is the owner AeroPro LLC in Cosby, a company that makes truck splash guards, and he used to own Eagle Rubber and Plastics in Newport.

The accident happened between Ford's home address and AeroPro.

Richardson's father is traveling from Vermont to get his daughter's remains.

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