The community is mourning the loss of a 37-year-old Army veteran who was killed on the side of an interstate Monday morning.
McMinnville resident Adrian Skyler Whiteaker was killed in an accident which took place in Wilson County when a van hydroplaned on Interstate 840.
According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Mt. Juliet resident Jason Degenhardt, 35, was driving a Ford Transit heading west on Interstate 840 around mile marker 67.
Interstate traffic began to slow because of items which fell off the back of a truck from GI Junk Removal & Moving, a company in which Whiteaker was an employee. Whiteaker exited the vehicle and had cleared the interstate of debris and was about to get back in the truck.
That's when Degenhardt neared the area of congested traffic and reportedly applied his brakes, according to the Highway Patrol. His vehicle hydroplaned and ran off the right side of the interstate, traveling into a grassy area.
It was in the grassy area where the van struck Whiteaker, who was a pedestrian at the time. The accident took place around 11 a.m.
According to Skyler’s mother, Gail Whiteaker, his funeral arrangements will be handled by Gardens of Memory Funeral Home. She said Skyler is the father to three children, Nolan, 18, Braydon, 12, and Layla 8. He is also survived by wife Stephanie and three stepchildren.
Mr. Whiteaker is an Army veteran who served in the Iraq War. He is described as a highly decorated soldier who was in the process of donating a kidney to a high school friend.
“He had been tested and he was a match and he was going to donate one of his kidneys,” said Gail. “But his kidneys were too damaged from the crash for them to be donated. Skyler was a good, young man. He loved the outdoors, hiking, gardening and fishing.”