Great Smoky Mountains National Park Motorcycle Accident Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Injured

by Taylor Cunningham

One man is dead and another injured following a motorcycle accident in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Park rangers and the Gatlinburg Fire Department arrived at the scene on Newfound Gap Road, about 9 miles south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center on the TN side of the park, around 11 a.m. on Friday (Sept. 10) after Lyle Tidwell, 85, lost control of his trike motorcycle near the roadway loop. 

Rangers believe that Tidwell, a Cleveland, Texas resident, crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle. Tidwell died from his injuries and EMS took him to the Sevier County Medical Examiner’s Office.

His passenger, Bonnie Tidewell, was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical center by UT LifeStar. Her condition is unknown. No one inside the other vehicles was injured in the crash.

Tennessee National Guard Member Found Dead inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The news comes a month after Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced other tragic news.

On August 5, rangers found the body of missing 23-year-old UT student Bryce Evans in a remote area near Balsam Mountain on the North Carolina portion of the park. Evans’ family said that they had not heard from him since July 31, 2022.

His sister, Analiese Evans, said she did not know why Bryce went hiking alone, but she thought “perhaps he just needed some time in the beauty of God’s creation.”

The day he was last seen, Bryce told Analiese that he was “going to work out at the TRECS Gym at UTK and he may drive to Charlotte afterward,” according to a KPD spokesperson. However, Bryce’s membership card was never used at the gym. And he failed to show up for his internship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“We would like to thank you all for your prayers during this and as we begin the process of healing,” Analiese wrote in an Instagram post a few days later. “We would also like to thank the local authorities in Cherokee, NC, and the US Park Service.”

The Evans family reported Bryce, who was a combat medic and Eagle Scout, missing on Thursday, August 5. That evening, police found his car parked at the Great Smoky Mountains Balsam Mountain Trailhead. Park officials then closed the road and began a search with local emergency responders. The following day, police found his body around 20 yards off the trail approximately 1.5 miles from his car.