LAFOLLETTE, TN – An ATV accident in Tennessee claimed the lives of three WNC residents on May 26, including two former North Buncombe athletes.
Johnny Laws, 19 and Dillon Akins, 19, who played football and basketball for the Black Hawks before graduating in 2018, were two of the three who died in the accident at Windrock Park — an off-road adventure park — along with Akins’ father, Ronnie, 47.
Both Laws and Akins were students at East Tennessee State University.
Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins told 1450WLAF.com that their ATVs wrecked and “careened down about a 100-foot embankment” into a creek. First responders were not able to get down to the accident victims until just after 2:30 p.m. The call for the accident came in at 1:18 p.m, according to Goins.
“This is such a great loss to our community,” North Buncombe basketball coach Chuck Robinson said. “These two were always side by side at school. It’s a tragedy.”
One survivor in crash
A survivor from the accident, a 13-year-old boy, was flown to a nearby Knoxville hospital at the University of Tennessee medical center, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s office.
According to North Buncombe teacher and coach Scott Eubanks, whose son has exchanged text messages with the 13-year-old survivor, the boy had surgery on May 27 and is boawake.
The school’s basketball team page in a post on Facebook said: “The Blackhawks suffered a tragic loss tonight. Our hearts are saddened as we mourn the loss of Johnny, Dillon and Dillon’s father. Johnny and Dillon were two fine young men. Our hearts and prayers are with their families. Please remember the families in prayer.”