One rider was killed, and several people were injured in a multiple vehicle crash that occurred at the junction of US 441 and Highway 61 on Sunday, April 5 at approximately 6:30 p.m. Keith McBride, 45, of Oak Ridge was killed when a Ford Explorer struck him after first hitting another car, setting off a chain-reaction crash. McBride was out riding with five friends on Highway 61 when the crash occurred. Among the injured was long-time local motorcycle dealer Tommy Norman, partner in Tommy’s Motorsports, located on 61 just 2.5 miles from the intersection where the crash occurred.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol fatality report, Enda Bunch, 34, of LaFollette, was traveling eastbound on Highway 61 and trying to turn north on US Highway 441. Bunch’s 1997 Ford Explorer struck a Honda Accord driven by Stanley Wade of Clinton, and the front wheel and part of the front suspension was torn off the Explorer and struck Tommy Norman, injuring him. The Explorer then continued into the westbound lanes and struck McBride, killing him. Bunch, Wade and Wade’s passenger were also injured.
The THP trooper who worked the wreck indicated in his report that drugs may have been a factor in Bunch’s driving, and drug and alcohol tests were requested.
Norman, former owner of Smoky Mountain Motorsports, partnered with his friend Tommy Thompson to open Tommy’s Motorsports in Clinton in 2007. “They were just five friends out riding, and had just started out from a red light, and all this was coming at them,” Thompson says, remarking on the senselessness of the wreck. He says Norman is expected to recover, but “it’s going to take a while.”