MARYVILLE (WATE) – Her family says Amelia Keown, 16, of Maryville, got her license a month before she was killed Tuesday in a head-on crash on Highway 411.
“She loved to drive. She looked for a reason to drive,” said Amelia’s stepfather, William Moore.
Keown, a William Blount High School junior, was on the dance team. She had to drive home Tuesday before dance practice.
“She texted me yesterday about 3:40 p.m. when school got out, and said, ‘Mama I’m going to get pom-poms. I forgot them for dance practice,'” said her mother, Amanda Moore.
But Keown died instantly in the crash.
Officials said a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper clocked the other driver, John C. Perkins, 44, of Maryville, going 73 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour zone. The trooper was trying to turn around and pursue Perkins when Perkins hit Keown’s car.
Perkins died Wednesday morning.
“It’s just one of those crashes that could have been avoided,” said Sgt. Randall Martin, with the highway patrol.
Keown was wearing a seatbelt and was believed to be going the speed limit, according to THP.
Grief counselors were at William Blount High Wednesday, including a chaplain from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. Classmates wore pink, Keown’s favorite color, in her honor.
The loss also runs deep for others in the community. James Carrey is a friend of Keown’s family. “It’s going to be a huge loss to this community. Amelia was that big of a person. She really was,” he said.
Keown’s family said she had high aspirations “She was smart. She was bright. She was funny. She was on the dance team. She was going to be a nurse,” her mother said.
The worst part is that her family believes Keown couldn’t avoid the wreck. “Because this man was speeding and lost control of his car, I lost my child,” her mother said.
THP is awaiting the results of an accident re-construction report. Drugs and alcohol aren’t believed to be factors in the crash, but blood work was sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for analysis.
A memorial service will be held Thursday night at 7:30 at Dotson Memorial Church. Keown will also be honored before the William Blount High football game on Friday night.