Motorcyclists killed in 294 crash

   Hiwassee Dam – Two visitors enjoying the beautiful mountains on their motorcycles were killed June 14, when a car crashed into them and wounded some of their companions.
   Rex Long, 54, and his girlfriend Cheryl Ann Bays, 58, both of Maryville, Tenn., were traveling north on N.C. 294 around 2:45 p.m. when a Buick “entered the right-hand curve and went left of center,” colliding with their 2013 Harley Davidson.
   They were one of four couples riding motorcycles through the mountains over a few days. The couple had friends visiting from Indiana, who joined them in riding from Maryville, Tenn., down the Tail of the Dragon to Robbinsville, then into Murphy.
   The group was heading back to Tennessee via Tellico Plains when the accident occurred, N.C. Trooper Isaac Boring said. The motorcycle was struck head-on and came to rest on the northbound shoulder. The N.C. Highway Patrol report says both Long and Bays died at the scene.
   “Cheryl was a fantastic mother to her children,” Cheryl’s ex-husband Randy Bays said. “She has four grandkids who she loved beyond words. It saddens my heart that, with her life getting cut short, that she never got the opportunity to meet her youngest grandson. They lost their lives doing what they loved to do.”
   Troy and Penny Burgess of Mentone, Ind., were struck by debris from the crash but were able to escape with non-life-threatening injuries. They were transported to Murphy Medical Center for treatment.
   The drivers and passengers of the other two motorcycles were able to avoid the crash, which took place just south of Sandygap Road.
   Jason Craig Hart, 61, of Hiwassee Dam, was the driver of the Buick. He was not listed in the report as traveling over the speed limit, but he was listed with violations and/or charges pending. The crash occurred 4 miles from his home.