PETROS (WATE) – An Oliver Springs teenager was killed Monday morning when he was hit by a car while riding his dirt bike.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says Aaron Gunter, 17, was going west on Highway 62 in the Petros/Joyner area with no head lights or tail lights.
A 2008 Kia driven by Sharon Morton, 67, was also going westbound. THP says she was blinded by a passing car going eastbound and was unable to see Gunter.
Morton’s car then hit Gunter’s dirt bike. He was later pronounced dead. Troopers say he was not wearing a helmet, which may have saved his life. Morton was not hurt.
Gunter’s friends and family remember him as a happy, polite and funny teen. They say riding dirt bikes was his passion.
His cousin Elijah Freels says Gunter stayed over at his house last night. They were looking at dirt bikes online before going to bed.
“He stayed at my house last night and he left this morning to go to school and he didn’t tell anybody he was leaving,” Freels said.
He said his cousin must have headed back to his house so he could catch the bus for school in Wartburg. Freels said he will miss his cousin’s smile and riding dirt bikes together.
Gunter went to Petros Joyner Elementary School, which is about a mile from where he was killed. The staff says they have counselors and pastors on hand ready to help the students cope.
“That’s one thing about this school. It’s so small and everybody knows everybody, and it’s just like a big family,” said teacher Carlena Mayo.
“It’s a big family, so it’s just like losing a family member,” added teacher Michelle Collins.
“We saw him every morning he was always smiling he attended our middle school ball games and was very supportive of his former school, well liked by the students, well liked and the teachers as well,” said principal Donna Jerden.
“He would always hold the door open. He would say, ‘Good morning, Miss Michelle,’ and he would hold it for the other kids and stuff. Just very easygoing. Nobody disliked him, a very likable child,” Collins said.
THP also says road conditions were wet and dark when the accident happened. They say dirt bikes are illegal to drive on the road in Morgan County.
The family says funeral arrangements are pending.