MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Maryville teenager was killed Saturday in a motorcycle crash along the Tail of the Dragon in Blount County just before 7 p.m.
Troopers said 18-year-old Luke Hutsell was traveling north along US-129 when he crossed the center line and hit an oncoming motorcyclist. Hutsell died at the scene. The extent of the other motorcyclist’s injuries is not known.
Hutsell’s family and friends are remembering him for the caring person he was.
“I’m going to miss that boy so much, he was so precious to our family,” said Luke’s mom, Lisa Hutsell. “He was a great rider and was always careful, but things happen and something went wrong and there’s nothing I can do to bring him back.”
While Lisa is grieving she said she knows her son died doing what he loved. “I know how dangerous the dragon was, but it was his passion and the people at the dragon were his second family,” she said.
Some of that family include Jessica Green, who has known Luke and his family her whole life. Green said Luke was a different person when he was on the mountain. “I didn’t realize that he had another family and then he started taking me up to the dragon,” she said.
She sat next to Brittany Easter during the interview with WATE 6 On Your Side. Easter is a member of that Dragon family Luke cherished so much. She knows the 11-mile stretch of roadway well and it’s more than 300 curves.
Easter also used to be a dispatcher. She said it’s important people remember crashes like the one Luke was involved in can happen anywhere. “They need to understand that every single day we get a wreck with injury on Alcoa Highway, a wreck with injury on 411,” she said.
As for Luke’s mother’s message, it’s simple, “slow down, look out for others and be safe, but still enjoy your life.”
Family and friends are welcome to come by from 4:30 until 5 p.m. to view and pay their respects Wednesday, June 16, at Smith Trinity Chapel. The family will receive friends from 5 until 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, at the Chapel with the funeral service to follow at 6 p.m. with Pastor Gilbert Harris officiating. Family and friends will assemble at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 17, for interment at Grandview Cemetery.
There is also a lighting and releasing of lanterns in honor of Luke’s life. That will be Friday, June 18. A group of people is planning to meet at the parking spot below the fire tower on the parkway at 6:30 p.m. They will release the lanterns at 8:50 p.m.