Fatal motorcycle crash on the Dragon discovered a day later

Oct. 17, 2016: One man survived a fall more than 80 feet down a mountain after a motorcycle crash on "The Dragon." He wasn't rescued for more than 24 hours.

BLOUNT COUNTY, TENN. - One motorcyclist was killed and another was injured after a weekend crash on the stretch of Hwy 129 known as "The Dragon."

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Phillip Paul Polito, 29, of Perryville, Missouri, and Kevin Lee Diepenbrock, 41, of Greenville, Texas, were traveling south on the Dragon on Saturday.

Around 10 a.m. at the 3 1/2 milemarker, Polito hit the brakes. Diepenbrock, who was traveling behind him, tried to slow down but hit the other bike in the rear, causing both riders to go off the road and down an embankment.

It would be more than 24 hours before a passerby noticed the accident and reported it, around 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Polito was killed in the accident, but Diepenbrock survived. He was taken to UT Medical Center where he is in critical condition.

Both men were wearing helmets.

The Dragon, located in Blount County and traveling into North Carolina, is extremely popular with motorcyclists because of its many twists and turns.

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Lifestar is responding to a wreck on the stretch of U.S. Highway 129 in Blount County known as "The Dragon."

The crew was sent to mile marker 4 on highway 129 around 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon, according to Rural/ Metro in Blount County. 

A county dispatch official confirmed that there was at least one injury, but couldn't provide further detail on the status of the crash victim or victims.

The official said that one officer was already on the scene at that time, and other officers and medical responders were on their way. 

"The Dragon" is a section of Highway 129 between Tennessee and North Carolina. The area is a popular motorcycle and sports car destination, according to the Blount County Rescue Squad. It contains 318 curves in just 11 miles of roadway. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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