What happened to Ben Kredich? Knoxville pedestrian dies aged 24

Ben Kredich (Image via UT FUTURE: Postsecondary/Facebook)
Ben Kredich (Image via UT FUTURE: Postsecondary/Facebook)

Ben Kredich, a 24-year-old Knoxville man, was killed after he was struck by an impaired driver. According to the Knoxville police department, Kredich was walking down Kingston Pike near the University of Tennessee campus on Monday, August 21, when a driver identified as Shannon Walker, 44, hit and killed him.

Authorities said that Walker, who was discharged from Parkwest Medical Center less than an hour before the crash, was reportedly administered Narcan, a medication administered to reverse the effects of opioids.

KPD said they also found various narcotics, including suspected heroin, inside Walker’s car. The suspect is reportedly facing several charges, including vehicular homicide and DUI.

Ben Kredich was on his way to meet his dad for lunch when he was killed

Ben Kredich, a 24-year-old man with special needs, was reportedly diagnosed with autism at a young age. Kredich, who is the son of University of Tennessee Swimming Director, Matt Kredich, was on his way to meet his father for lunch on Monday when he was fatally struck by an impaired driver.

In a statement to WBIR, Ben’s father described his son as a fiercely bright and inquisitive person who was beloved in the community.

"Ben, because of who he was, inserted joy into almost every interaction that he had with people. He was loved by so many in Knoxville and I am so proud of him for the impact that he made on people here that is his life and his being, and I know that that will continue."

Ben had also participated in UT FUTURE, a program for students with developmental disabilities. The program reportedly allowed special needs students to attend UT Knoxville and learn to live independently. In addition, Ben testified before the Senate Education Committee in 2020, advocating for special needs students to be allowed to live independently on the campus.

Following Ben's death, in a statement UT, Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White, said:

“Our hearts ache as an athletics department and are filled with sorrow in regards to the tragic and senseless death of Ben Kredich, son of Matt and Kim. We ask all of Vol Nation to keep the Kredich family in their thoughts and prayers. May God rest Ben’s beautiful soul.”

Several others in the Knoxville community also paid emotional tribute to the charismatic young man whose life was tragically cut short.

Ben Kredich fought to save the suspended bus route in Knoxville

WVLT reported that a year before the crash, Ben Kredich, who was a frequent user of Knoxville Area Transit’s bus system, had raised concerns about the city suspending the bus route due to worker shortage. At the time, reacting to the suspended bus route, Ben said:

“I want them to just drop me off at Kingston Pike because of all the cars. I didn’t want to get hit by the cars, which can be dangerous.”

As the community rallied behind the slain 24-year-old's family, Knoxville Senator Gloria Johnson, who described Ben’s parents as dear friends, also mourned the loss of the young man, who was adored in the community.

During a legislative session, Johnson reportedly described Ben as a remarkable young man who brought joy into people’s lives despite struggling with his own adversities.

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Edited by Anushree Madappa