The search is on

Police seek hit-and-run driver in death of Hardee’s employee

Clinton Police are still seeking the driver of what is believed to be a GMC-brand pickup or SUV that struck and killed a Clinton man on a motorized bicycle early Saturday on Clinch Avenue, and left the scene without stopping.

Chief of Police Vaughn Becker said the victim was Jordan Pitts, 39, who was on his way to work at the Hardee’s restaurant in South Clinton on his motorized bike when he was hit about 3:35 a.m. near Portwood Road.

Family members reported that the vehicle that struck Pitts dragged him about 300 feet down the highway before leaving the area.

The victim was taken to a Knoxville hospital, where he died later in the day, according to reports.

“We are still investigating, and we do have some video that we’re checking,” Becker said Monday.

Pitts was a “valuable employee” who had been working at Hardee’s for more than a year, said Hardee’s Manager Angela Matchett, who was his supervisor on the early shift, which starts at 6 a.m.

“His one-year anniversary was Nov. 18,” Matchett said. “He did everything for us. He was our right-hand man, grill cook, he did cleanup, he cooked on the line, made the food, and would unload our weekly truck.

“He was an all-around nice man, and he’s going to be severely missed,” she said.

Matchett said Pitts “drove that motorized bike to work every day,” but recently it had been down for repairs, and during that time, he had walked to work every day from his home on East Wolf Valley Road.

“When his bike was down, he had a 45-minute walk to work,” she said. “He just got it back.”

Pitts worked 6 a.m. to noon each day, but often would come into South Clinton early to visit with friends at the Get ’n Go Market nearby, Matchett said.

“When I got to work Saturday morning, a friend of ours told us what had happened,” Matchett said. “We were a nervous wreck all day. He died later that evening. It’s so sad.

“We can’t imagine not having him here anymore. He was family to us.”

Anyone with information about the incident should call the Clinton Police Department at 865-259-1209, Becker said.

“We will find out who did this,” he added.

Arrangements for Jordan Pitts were not available at press time.