A just-retired city worker in Tullahoma, Tenn., was killed early Thursday when a driver fleeing Coffee County deputies smashed into his car.
The two-car crash happened at the intersection of South Jackson and Carroll streets, according to Tullahoma police. Officers reached the wreck at 12:16 a.m. Thursday and found Joe Moon, 66, dead at the scene.
Tullahoma police spokesman Winston Brooks said in a statement that deputies began chasing two people in a car in Manchester. The speeding getaway car crashed into the driver's side of Moon's pickup truck.
Moon worked for the city for 40 years before retiring in 2015 from the Tullahoma Department of Parks and Recreation, officials said.
The driver of the suspect car has been identified as Kayla Brooke Hickey, 21, of McMinnville, Tenn., and her passenger was identified as Charleston Dakota Ortega, of Rock Island, Tenn., according to sheriff's office spokesman Lucky Knott. Their charges have not been released.
Thursday's fatal chase is the second in the area in two weeks. In June, 28-year-old Jessica Campos was killed when a fleeing driver hit her car in Murfreesboro, according to the Daily News Journal. A $10 million lawsuit has been filed in connection with that incident.
The news of Moon's death hit Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee hard. In a statement Thursday, Curlee mourned the loss of a man he described as "an institution in Tullahoma."
"My heart is heavy from hearing the news about the one-of-a-kind Joe Moon," said Curlee, who knew Moon for more than 40 years. "In fact, as a teen I worked for him as a lifeguard at the city pool."
Moon left an indelible mark on those who knew him.
"Every town has its cast of characters. Joe was one of ours and I say that with all respect," Curlee said.
Moon was a repeat retiree who kept coming back to work.
Moon "gave his heart and soul to Tullahoma and his 'kids' at the community centers," Curlee said "Joe would get a smile out of you, no matter your mood. He was always someone you looked forward to talking to whenever you ran into him. I never heard a bad word about Joe and he always had a smile; he will be missed."
Knott said Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves is expected to give a statement on the incident today.