Athlete tragically killed honored at this year's triathlon

By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Tom Sawyer State Park's 29th Annual Triathlon kicked-off Saturday with a moment of silence. More than 300 athletes honored 47-year-old John Carr.

A year ago, as Carr competed, Louisville Metro Police detectives said a person driving drunk and speeding hit Carr from behind. Officers said Kenneth Yates was behind the wheel and drove a half mile down with a cracked windshield and Carr's bike.

"When I saw the memorial out on the course today, it was touching," Keith Seaman, John Carr's friend said. "It was a bit emotional, maybe gave me a little extra umph to go into it," he said.

Keith Seaman said he ran, swam, and rode his bike in this year's course and spoke to Carr the entire competition. "You're reminded of the frailty of life and in fact that we are not immortal," Seaman said.

Keith Seaman said he was the person to get Carr into competing in the triathlon. According to Seaman. According to Seaman, 2008 was Carr's first year competing. But, during Carr's second attempt at the big race the unthinkable happened. "As I was coming back from the run, Sunni called out and said 'Hey where is John?' I thought she was kidding. I said 'Oh, he's right behind me," Keith Seaman remembered.

But, Carr was not. "When you put that much time and effort into it for something like last year to happen, you know, if affects you emotionally. It makes you doubt your confidence in putting on events," Tom Sawyer State Park Manager, Chris Head said.

Chris Head said they decided the event should continue. He said organizers felt like they did everything they could to, last year. This year, Head said, they added an off duty officer responsible for patrolling the streets. He said who would be looking for speeders. "We can't control somebody else's completely stupid actions. {we} said 'hey, you know what, we're going to do it and this time when we do it we're going to honor John," Head said.

Head said starting this year, the overall male and female winners will receive the John Carr Memorial Award. Danielle Weiss snatched it up, this year, and said she was there last year during the tragic accident.

"It was pretty cool being able to win it was the first year for it to be dedicated to his memory," Weiss said.

Yates faces a number of charges. In May, a judge ruled he is competent to stand trial. Yates trial is scheduled for next year.

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