UPDATE: Benefit account set up for firefighter killed in motorcycle crash
UPDATE: Channel 3 has learned that a benefit account has been established at SunTrust Banks for the Rutherford family.
Donations can be made at any SunTrust Bank to the Joseph A. Rutherford benefit trust account.
The victim in this weekend's deadly motorcycle crash in Hixson is a local volunteer firefighter, friends told Channel 3.
Joey Rutherford, 29, was a fireman for the Lone Oak Fire Department in Sequatchie County on Signal Mountain.
He was killed Sunday morning on Hixson Pike just outside the Northgate Mall entrance. Police said he was with a group of bikers when one of the riders lost control and hit Rutherford. The two ran off the road where Rutherford died. One of his friends told Channel 3 he only recently took up the hobby of riding motorcycles.
Police said Rutherford was following Tennessee state law and wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more people in the U.S. are riding motorcycles today than ever before and that motorcyclist deaths and injuries are an important health concern. The highest death and injury rates were among 20-24 year olds, followed by 25-29 year olds. Rutherford was 29.
"From the fireman's state and the fireman's standpoint, they've lost a tremendous pillar," said Tommy Johnson, President of the Lone Oak Community Center and Civic League.
In the Lone Oak community, 29-year-old Joey Rutherford was a big pillar. He first started out at the fire department as an 11-year-old junior firefighter. Eventually he worked his way up to Interim Chief and most recently served as training coordinator.
"He liked to try and rally the others to try and get them involved. And he was good at that. He was good at trying to mentor the young firemen and try and bring them up in the right way," Johnson said.
Tommy Johnson said Joey had more training than anyone in the department and was well respected around town because of his volunteerism.
"His goal was to help others and he did that very well," he said. "Joey was a family man first, a firefighter second and a true friend third."
Joey leaves behind several kids. A memorial fund is being set up now to help his family. Channel 3 will post more information on how to help once it's announced.