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Remembering Sgt. Chris Jenkins: East TN celebrates life for fallen Loudon Co. deputy

Sergeant Chris Jenkins passed away after a truck hit him while he cleared a ladder from I-75.

LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. — Community members paid their respects to Sergeant Chris Jenkins on Wednesday, Feb. 9, during a memorial service and a celebration of life.

Jenkins died Thursday after a truck driver under the influence hit him on Interstate 75 while he was removing a ladder that fell out of a vehicle, investigators said. Following the crash, communities around East Tennessee shared an outpouring of grief and mourning. Hundreds of officers escorted Jenkins' body Friday to the Loudon Funeral Home.

The public had a chance to pay respects Wednesday in the Loudon County High School gymnasium starting at 1 p.m. After that, officials said there would be a procession and burial services at Memorial Gardens in Lenoir City.

You can watch the service below or at this link:

"The children loved him, his fellow deputies loved him and I loved him. We will all miss him beyond words," Sheriff Tim Guider said at the service. "I remind each of us this: pause, slow down and enjoy life while you can. Take the time for your loved ones, and tell them you love them each and every day."

Jenkins is survived by his mother, Faye Everett, stepfather Kenny Everett, his son, Clay Jenkins, daughter, Chloee Jenkins, his fiancé, Kristi Ingram, and her daughters Hannah and Delaney Ingram, his K9 partner, Deja vu, his sister and brother-in-law, Melissa and Dan Smith, brother and sister-in-law, Kent and Lori Everett, and several other family members.

“Dad you were and still are my Superman,” his son Clay Jenkins said. "Wearing this uniform is the most honorable thing I’ve ever done in my life. I will continue to do so in honor of Jason and dad. Dad always told me I would never do it, but I knew very early on that I would. Even when he said no, I couldn’t help but follow the best footsteps I could follow. I had to do everything that daddy done, because I had to grow up to be like my hero. I just always wanted to make him proud.”

His family also received friends and family on Tuesday at the high school gymnasium.

Hundreds of community members and law enforcement officers from across the country all gathered to honor the fallen hero. 

"The family wishes a special thanks to their family at the Loudon County Sheriff's Office, Loudon County 911 Services, and all Loudon County Government agencies, there are too many names to list," the family said in Jenkins' obituary. "Chris never met a stranger, possessed enormous warmth, placed all others before himself and was loved by all. Chris was blessed to enjoy so many close friends in his 48 years; and his absence will be felt by all."

A 20-year veteran, Jenkins rose through the ranks of the Loudon County Sheriff's Office. Officials said he started as a corrections officer, then became a K-9 handler before a promotion to sergeant last year, alongside Sgt. Matt Fagiana.

"We certainly never thought that we would lose him," Fagiana said. "Something you don't really explain to people unless they wear this badge and understand what risk comes with every night when you put it on, every morning when you go to work."

Fagiana said he's thankful for the supportive community that continues coming together to show support. 

"We have communities that love us and we always know it but we feel it a lot more the last few days," he said. "Our hallways are different without him walking through them now."

The East Tennessee Patriot Guard Riders also paid their respects by forming a flag line outside the building.

"You have to let folks know that you appreciate their service to the county, to the country," Ride Captain Larry Hale said. "For the job that they do. Oh my gosh, I just, I can't imagine."

Loudon County Schools said that due to road closures and anticipated traffic volume from Loudon to Lenoir City affecting student transportation on Wednesday, schools will be closed. All classes will resume Thursday on a normal schedule.

Governor Bill Lee has ordered flags over the State Capitol as well as those located in Loudon County to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday in memory of Sgt. Jenkins.

The funeral arrangements are being held by Loudon Funeral Home. Any law enforcement agencies who want to attend Wednesday's memorial service can reach out to liaisons with the Loudon County Sheriff's Office. Their contact information is listed below:

  • Sergeant Matt Fagiana  - mfagiana@lcsotn.org
  • Sergeant Chris Hutchen - chutchens@lcsotn.org
  • Corporal Zac Frye - zfrye@lcsotn.org


Posted by Loudon County Sheriff's Office, TN. on Friday, February 4, 2022

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