Buford Harley dealer killed in Tenn. storms

Ralph Frazier, Jr.

Ralph Frazier, Jr.

The owner of a Buford Harley-Davidson dealership was among those killed when violent thunderstorms ripped through Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains Thursday.

Ralph Frazier Jr., 50, was riding his motorcycle in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when a falling tree limb struck him in the head, park officials said. According to a statement posted on the Frazier Harley-Davidson website, he was riding near Cades Cove, one of the park's most popular attractions.

"We have experienced a tragedy in our family," the statement said. "Ralph Jr. was killed late yesterday afternoon when a tree blew off the mountain during a storm and struck him while riding his motorcycle near Cades Cove on Little River Road ... Arrangements have not been finalized but we will post them as soon as we know. Thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

According to the statement, a passenger on the motorcycle injured her right leg but was OK.

Frazier's Harley-Davidson, now located on Friendship Road just off Interstate 985 in Buford, was started in 1970 in "a small barn with a tin roof and a wood-burning stove," according to its website.

It became an authorized Harley-Davidson dealer in 1992.

An employee reached at the dealership Friday declined comment.

Thursday's storms at Great Smoky Mountains National Park injured at least a dozen people and killed two. A 41-year-old woman from Corryton, Tenn., died when a tree fell on her at Abrams Creek Campground. The same tree struck a family, sending a 7-year-old girl and her father to a Knoxville hospital.

Thousands of trees were toppled Thursday evening, officials said.

The same storm system also killed a child and her grandmother in Chattanooga, when winds overturned a 30-foot pontoon boat.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this article


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