Five years ago, a deadly Knox County bus crash claimed the life of three people. This week, a local state representative is remembering them.
Representative Rick Staples, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, State Sen. Becky Duncan-Massey representatives from the Knox County School Board and U.S. Congressman Tim Burchett’s office. dedicated a bridge for the victims Thursday.
Two were students at Sunnyview Primary School. The third was a teacher’s aide.
Three signs near the bridge are now covered, but later this week they’re set to be unveiled, marked with the names of the victims in a deadly Knox County bus crash.
“Each individual name will have their own placard, giving honor to the Glasper, the Burns, as well as the Riddle family,” Rep. Staples said.
Those three families forever changed in 2014. One school bus crashed into another on Asheville Highway near John Sevier Highway.
And now, almost five years later – in the same spot – the memories of the three lost will be preserved.
Families say there’s a mix of emotions that comes with this celebration, both sadness and joy.
“It’s like reliving it all again,” said Jeffrey Riddle, Kimberly Riddle’s husband.
“There is a little closure within this. I know that I can stand there and know that the little hope that I had is there,” said Sharon Glasper, Seraya Glasper’s mom.
Seraya Glasper was killed in the crash alongside schoolmate Zykia Burns and teacher’s aide Kimberly Riddle.
“We want to remember them the way that they left here. They left here with smiles on their faces and ready to have a good day,” Glasper said.
And when people drive by the bridge dedicated in their honor, Rep. Staples is hoping this crosses their mind.
“A little bit of closure but yet a bit of celebration and whatever memories that they share with each individual. As time goes on just showing a remembrance of that and how this community stood together and stood with the families,” he said.
“To actually lay hands on it, to see it, and to know that it’s going to be along Asheville Highway from now and forever for people to see those names, that’s the continuance of that legacy,” said Riddle.
While the days, weeks, months and years have been long families say their loved ones are in a better place.
“She wouldn’t want me to keep crying. She doesn’t want me to be sad. So, I have to think of other ways to try and deal with it,” said Glasper.
In turn, the bridge dedication is how these families and the community are dealing with this pain.
“If we can save some lives just by that, people realizing they can’t hold the phone while they’re driving, then another family won’t have to go through what these families sacrificed,” said State Senator Becky Duncan Massey.
“Those three angles left a legacy. So when you go across that bridge and you see those names, what I want most is for everyone to take into consideration this is what texting and driving does to us,” said Glasper.
That naming ceremony was held at the Milton E. Roberts Recreation Center.