It's been 2 years ago today that a 1-car crash on Highway 160 in Blount County claimed the lives of 3 Hayden High School cheerleaders and injured 4 others. Sunday those victims families and dozens of friends organized a memorial ride to press their case for more safety improvements on that stretch of road.
The procession included the family members of all 3 of those cheerleaders killed in that accident 2 years ago today as well as the 4 survivors.
"2 years ago today was the worst day of my life and this community's life," said Beverly Nicely, mother of Courtney Brook Nicely, one of the victims. "And it's changed this community."
Courtney Brook Nicely was one of 3 Hayden High school cheerleaders killed when their car slid off of Highway 160 and down an embankment on their way back from a cheerleading camp on November 29, 2007.
Beverly Nicely now lives in Florida and says she first heard about the new group called "Highway 160 Promise" on Facebook, and joined because she knows this road still needs work.
"It has needed some turning lanes or traffic or something just to help, and I've always thought that since we lived here," Nicely said. "And since moving I worry about Courtney's friends, they all still travel this road. And if there's anything I can do to help, even from Florida, I'm ready to do so."
"We've lost 20 people in 25 years, we've lost our mothers, cheerleaders, brothers, sons, friends, and we're tired of that," said Amy Camp, one of the ride's organizers. "We want the improvements to this highway to be completed."
Camp says Governor Riley promised safety improvements on 160 back in 2006, but the only change they've seen so far is new guardrails at the site of the accident within the past few months.
"But that's it," Camp said. "There's been no straightening, no grading, no widening, no slowing of anyone down."