Knoxville police said Wednesday that two men killed when their motorcycle struck a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 had stolen the bike moments before the crash. The men were identified as the driver, Tashanti U. Underwood, 22, of Harriman, and the passenger, Esean A. Phillips, 27, of Knoxville. Neither was wearing a helmet. The collision occurred about 3:37 a.m. Monday on I-40 westbound between West Hills and Gallaher View Road. Investigators determined the 2016 Yamaha R1 motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed and struck the rear of the semi. Both riders were thrown from the motorcycle and were pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the semi, Frederick V. Hodges, 59, of Oro-Medonte, Ontario, was not injured. No charges will be filed, according to a news release from Lt. Brian Evans. Police said the motorcycle had been stolen during a burglary of a Knoxville business. The investigation is ongoing.