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Hero Down: Loudon County Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Jenkins Killed While Removing Ladder From Interstate

Loudon County, TN – Loudon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) Sergeant Chris Jenkins died in the line of duty Thursday morning after being hit by a tractor-trailer as he was removing a ladder from the interstate.

Sgt. Jenkins responded to the area of mile marker 74 on I-75 North at approximately 8 a.m. on Feb. 3 to remove a ladder that had fallen out of a utility van and was blocking traffic on the interstate, WVLT reported.

The sergeant set up a rolling roadblock in an attempt to slow traffic and exited his patrol vehicle to remove the ladder, the LCSO said.

While he was out in the roadway, a tractor-trailer failed to reduce speed and crashed into two motorists’ vehicles, Sgt. Jenkins’ patrol unit, and Sgt. Jenkins, WVLT reported.

Additional law enforcement officers responded to the scene shortly after 8 a.m. after receiving 911 calls about the crash.

When the arrived, they discovered Sgt. Jenkins had been killed, WVLT reported.

The driver of the semi-truck has been cooperating with investigators and willingly submitted to a blood test, according to WBIR.

Ninth District Attorney General Russell Johnson said the decision of whether or not the driver will be criminally charged has not been made.

Police are now searching for the vehicle that dropped the ladder.

Witnesses described it as a white utility van, according to WVLT.

“Something like this could easily have been secured and Sgt. Jenkins would be here today,” Johnson told WBIR. “Everyone loves Chris and loves his family. We’ve grown up with him.”

The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) is leading the ongoing investigation into the fatal crash, according to WVLT.

The LCSO announced Sgt. Jenkins’ death in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

“We are devastated,” the department said. “We are a family, and we are heartbroken.”

Sgt. Jenkins joined the LCSO as a corrections deputy in 2002.

He was promoted to patrol the following year and graduated from the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in 2004.

He began working as a K9 officer in 2007, was promoted to the rank of patrol corporal in 2018, and was selected for a promotion to the rank of patrol sergeant last year, according to the LCSO.

Sgt. Jenkins leaves behind his wife, his high school-aged daughter, and his son, who is also a fellow LCSO deputy, WBIR reported.

The department set up a memorial outside the Loudon County Justice Center with Sgt. Jenkins’ K9 Patrol Unit for those wishing to pay their respects.

“We cannot thank everyone for your continued prayers over the coming days,” the sheriff’s office said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Loudon County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Chris Jenkins, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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