LOUDON, Tenn. (WATE) — Loudon County officials have identified the deputy that was killed in a crash on northbound I-75 early Thursday morning.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol spokesperson said Loudon County Sgt. Chris Jenkins responded to I-75 N near the Tennessee River bridge around mile marker 74 to remove a ladder that had fallen onto the roadway. While attempting to clear the roadway, an oncoming tractor-trailer struck Jenkins, his patrol unit and two other vehicles. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Northbound lanes of I-75 near the Tennessee River bridge were shut down around 8:00 a.m. with traffic diverted to Exit 72 due to the crash.
Jenkins has served the residents of Loudon County since 2002, when he worked as a corrections officer. He was promoted to patrol in 2003, and became a K-9 handler in 2007. Jenkins earned Patrol Supervisor of the Year in 2017. He was promoted to corporal in 2018, and promoted again in 2019 to sergeant.
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An investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol is ongoing. Investigators said there were 4 to 5 people behind Jenkins who saw what happened and the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office urges anyone who may have information on how the ladder ended up on the roadway to call to call 865-594-5800 and speak with CID Tim Southerland.
Jenkins is a cousin to fallen Loudon County Deputy Jason Scott, who was also killed in the line of duty. Scott was responding to a domestic disturbance call in the morning hours of March 12, 2004, when he was shot and killed by a 16-year-old boy.
Editors note: This story has been updated. More information will be added as it becomes available.