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'People I didn't even know, knew my son' | Mother continues legacy of 19-year-old who died in Aug. car crash

In early August, Kanye Harris died after a multi-vehicle crash on I-275 South. His mother says he had a love of football, track and cooking.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Aug. 5, a 19-year-old was driving on I-275 South near Heiskell Ave. He was involved in a multi-car crash, in which his vehicle flipped multiple times and he was ejected.

According to a Knoxville Police Department report, Kanye Harris lost control of his car and died in the crash. He left behind a loving mother and a grieving community. 

"It was a beautiful day. So, again, we can't imagine what was going on and what happened, what he was doing for that to happen," said Sheila Harris, his mother. "He could walk in a room and light up the whole room, though. His energy, you felt. He was a very kind, loving person. Would take the clothes off his back and give it to someone else."

She said Kanye loved football, track and cooking. She also said he wanted to pursue his culinary ambitions professionally.

"Kanye had a love of cooking. He wanted to be a chef, and that was his goal. He had his lessons, he had a vision board of how he wanted to be a personal chef," she said.

She said around a week before his death, Kanye rededicated his life to Christ.

"People I didn't even know, knew my son. I mean, the outpouring of the community, family and friends and classmates has been very, very welcoming," said Sheila.

She said many days are hard, but learning about the impact her son had on his community has made them a little easier. She said even though her son was only 19 years old, she plans to continue the legacy he left behind.

She plans to feed homeless people every year, on the day marking his death. She said she also plans to start a foundation in his honor, based on his love of track and field, football and the culinary arts.

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