LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) – It was quiet along the route. You could hear only a few sirens and the rubber meeting the pavement as the cars drove by. Many took their hats off and put their hands on their hearts.
Hundreds paid their respects as an escort passed by, leading a procession that carried the body of fallen Loudon County Sergeant Chris Jenkins.
“That was just incredible,” said one spectator. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before ever.”
On a rainy Friday afternoon, law enforcement agencies from across East Tennessee escorted Jenkins from the Knox County Regional Forensic Center to the Loudon Funeral Home. The deputy was killed Feb. 3 when a tractor trailer rammed into his patrol unit on I-75 in Loudon County. Jenkins had stopped to remove a ladder that had somehow fallen in the roadway.
The driver of the tractor-trailer, Christopher Savannah, is facing 9 charges in connection with the wreck.
Loudon County resident Linda Long was at the procession.
“We were blessed to have known Chris,” Long said. Sergeant Jenkins was a frequent customer at the restaurant where she works. “You never had to take his order, you knew what he wanted.”
It will be an order she may never forget from a deputy she said she will miss.
“He was always respectful and this is just a way, not just Chris, but to honor Chris, his memory but we need to take into consideration, these men and women put their lives on the line for us every day.”
This procession was a reminder of that.
“It was very heartbreaking to know that he was close to a lot of people. It’s hard for the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office,” Long said.
With the rain and clouds, it was a visibly somber day for the whole Loudon county community that was honoring one of their own. Long said she’s just thankful to be a small part of it.
“People still care about their officers, their communities and just to be a part of this, and even through death, you can find beauty because there was so much honor, so much that we could give back,” she said.
An account has been set up to collect donations for the Jenkins family at Foothills Credit Union on Mulberry Street in Loudon.