LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Law enforcement and Loudon County residents alike say they’ve known Sgt. Chris Jenkins for years.

Sgt. Chris Jenkins was killed Thursday morning in a crash that shut down northbound lanes of I-75 when he was trying to move a ladder from the road.

County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw is one of many devastated by his death.

“I’ve known Sergeant Jenkins for 40 years probably,” said the mayor. “We went to school together, played football together in high school.”

“It’s a tragic day no doubt about it and Chris will be very very much so missed,” Bradshaw said.

Sgt. Chris Jenkins shakes hands with Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider
Sgt. Chris Jenkins (right) shakes hands with Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider

Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider was hardly able to speak at a press conference Thursday afternoon. “It’s something that nobody ever wants to go through,” the sheriff said through tears. 

Other members of the sheriff’s office were also very emotional.

“We’re a family, this is a small agency and this is home to us so everyone here is a person, not a number,” Sergeant Matt Fagiana with the sheriff’s department said.

“Everyone loves Chris and loves his family,” said Russell Johnson the District Attorney for Loudon County “We’ve grown up with him in our jobs.”

Sergeant Jenkins not only made an impact on those in the department but in the community as well.

“Today has been heartbreaking and devastating,” she said Lauren Ferguson, who went to school with Jenkins’ son. “It was shortly after 8 a.m. this morning that my phone just started blowing up with news of what happened this morning.”

She’ll remember him as a family man and a great officer.

Loudon County Sgt. Chris Jenkins memorial

Ferguson added, “Prayers for the Loudon community, prayers for the police department, prayers for the Jenkins family. Our hearts and condolences are with you,” Ferguson added.

Sergeant Jenkins not only served his county but was a big part of it.

Ferguson said, “we’re all devastated. We’re all heartbroken. We lost a good person today.”

A memorial for Sergeant Jenkins has been set up in front of the Loudon County Justice Center for people to leave flowers and pay their respects.