In the blink of an eye a truck came speeding down Webb Road, hit an embankment, and flipped, killing the driver. That driver was a husband, a father and a friend. But the biggest tragedy of all was that he was a mentor to hundreds of East Tennessee's youth.
They called him Thunder Roberts, but he also went by Mike. He taught auto mechanics at Heritage High School.
Cody Malone, a student at Heritage High School says Thunder was always looking out for his kids, "He was there for all of his kids and he treated them like his kids. He was there for each and every person."
His loss left many who knew him, like Jean Wells, in shock "I still can't believe it was him," she said.
That's why the school took time out to remember him and his impact on their community.
"We held a moment of silence for him in the morning and we had grief counselors around all day," said Shelby Christopher, a student at the school.
"It's kind of rough on everybody, losing a teacher," said Malone.
His wife also teaches at the school, and two of his children are students.
"I just hope everyone is praying for them," said Malone.
Donny Tipton, a friend of Thunder in Townsend said he always had a smile on his face and that's what he'll remember.
"He'll be missed, I know that."
The school told us arrangements have not yet been set.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to email@example.com. Please provide detailed information.