Over 2 months later: No leads, no arrests after fatal Christmas Eve hit and run crash

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Tennessee Highway Patrol released this image of a pickup they say was involved in a fatal hit and run near Powell on Christmas Eve

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — On Christmas Eve, Howard (Gene) Mynatt was killed in a hit-and-run incident; now, two months have passed and according to Tennessee Highway Patrol, there are no new leads and the incident remains unsolved.

What we know:

The crash happened on Thursday, Dec. 24, on State Route 131 near Maynardville Pike in Knox County, and the crash involved a pedestrian, some time around 7 p.m. Witnesses reportedly told authorities the vehicle was a white pickup truck, possibly a Ford F-150.

Dec. .30, THP released photos believed to show a pickup involved in the crash.

Tennessee Highway Patrol released this image of a pickup they say was involved in a fatal hit and run near Powell on Christmas Eve

The images are screenshots taken from a video that displays a vehicle of interest, possibly a slate color 2011-2016 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck.  The vehicle appears to have stock aluminum wheels and will have front end damage, according to information from the highway patrol.

If you have any information that will help investigators, please contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Knoxville District Regional Dispatch Center at (865) 544-3380, option 2, attention Sergeant Joe Walker, Criminal Investigation Division.

A family left without answers after losing a loved one

“I don’t know anybody that would say they’ve been around Gene Mynatt that didn’t enjoy the moments they spent with him and felt like it was a better day walking away from him,” Gene’s son, Shane Mynatt said.

If you think back to Christmas Eve, dangerous roads might come to mind. Shane explained his sister was trying to get home, but couldn’t due to traffic issues. So, she called her dad. Gene was on his way. Shane said his father parked as close as he could to his sister then started walking in her direction.

That’s when it happened. Witnesses told investigators they saw a white pickup truck hit him and drive away.

“Him leaving this world serving in that way with my sister is just a sweet testimony to the guy he is,” Shane added.

While he wants to know who was driving that night, and more information about what happened leading up to his father’s death, Shane is still able to extend grace to the person behind the wheel.

“There’s two difficult sides to that. There’s obviously the hurt of us losing my dad, and we’ll walk through that, but there’s not any real anger here because I can’t imagine what it would be like to be driving that truck on Christmas Eve,” he said.

While it hasn’t been easy, their family is relying on the hope the driver will be known and on the faith that Gene is in a better place.

Gene’s pastor and brother-in-law, Tim Parker, also mentioned Mynatt’s willingness to serve family, his church, and others. “Everyone he crossed paths with,” Parker said, “knew if they called and asked him for something, he would be there.”

Ralph Tallent, a friend to Mynatt, wrote, in part, “If you needed anything, he would be there for you. He put God first, then his family, then his friends and country. He was a Vietnam War veteran. … I am proud to have known Gene Mynatt (otherwise known as Potsy).”

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