KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The community is showing support after a young couple married less than 48 hours died on Sunday while standing outside their disabled pickup truck along Interstate 40.
Jessiah Plemons and Lily Rose were married on Oct. 15, just two days before the wreck that killed them and Madison Davis, according to Jessiah’s sister, Milea Effler.
Knoxville Police say Plemons, Rose and Davis were traveling on the Weisgarber exit ramp just after 3 a.m. on Sunday morning when their Dodge pickup left the roadway and struck a guardrail. The trio exited the vehicle. As they were standing next to it, police said a Chevy pickup struck their Dodge and them. All three were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Chevy, who was taken to the hospital with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening.
Both Jessiah and Lily’s families said the two were living their best lives when they died.
“I think that’s what made it harder, is the fact that she was the happiest she’d ever been and it got taken away from her,” said August McClelland, Lily’s cousin.
She’s described as a bubbly personality, the kind of girl who didn’t take herself too seriously.
“She was silly, she was always silly. She always wanted to do TicToks with people, like that was her thing,” August said.
“Lily was just the life of our family. She would just bring sunshine into the room. Her laughter would fill the room,” Selena McClelland, Lily’s aunt, said.
They say they have been using her photos and TikTok videos to help them through this time.
Effler said Jessiah had a love for music. He took her to her first concert, bought her her first guitar. She learned how to play it while he was learning to play the drums.
“The main song was ‘Put Your Records On,'” Effler said of her brother. “And he would just sing, ‘Girl put your records on.’ That’s the only thing he would sing of that song.”
She said music got Jessiah through recovery.
“He struggled with addiction and he had turned himself around. He called it his new birthday when he turned 23 because that’s when he was fully sober.”
Jessiah’s mom Michelle Plemon said he wanted to give back and help others fight through addiction.
“He’d done a lot of sponsoring to a lot of people. Also had spoken to the jails, you know, to try to give others a thought of having a brighter future,” Michelle said.
Plemons said her son went to Narcotics Anonymous religiously. As often as he could, and when he went, he would always talk and share his story or struggles. Jessiah’s sister says he was the one making sure everyone else was OK.
“He helped me buy my first car. He gave me a place when I had nowhere to go,” Effler said.
Jessiah also took in his older sister’s two kids, who are 2 and 5 years old, so they wouldn’t be turned over to the Department of Children’s Services. His mother now treasures the memories of her son with the two kids.
“Whenever Jess would open the door and watch her face light up and do that little dance whenever she would see her Papa walk in,” Plemons said.
Michelle will be taking care of the two children now.
Lily Rose also had two children of her own: a boy and a girl. Her family says she loved being a mother and caring for her kids.
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Together, Plemmons and Rose were going to blend into a family of six.
Effler and Plemons said Lily and Jessiah had a special bond.
“They had found each other and found that they were both, needed someone else,” Effler said.
They had no idea Lily and Jessiah were eloping. Jessiah asked Plemons to watch the kids on Friday but didn’t know why. Effler found out through social media they got married the next day. She wanted to go congratulate them but then found out from her mom that wouldn’t be possible.
“Next thing you know, I get a knock on my door. And it’s just, it’s every mother’s nightmare. Every mother’s nightmare,” Plemons said.
She believes the two were probably on their way home after celebrating their marriage Saturday night.