After beloved community member killed in DUI crash, family gets justice

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Nearly two years after former state representative Mike Locke was hit and killed by a drunk driver, a jury finds the man charged in the crime guilty.

Back in 2014, Locke was near a Kingsport bridge putting up campaign signs for his friend, State Representative Bud Hulsey.

That’s when James Hamm Jr. struck and killed Locke, knocking him down in the ravine below.

“He was my best friend in the world, and he was a best friend to a lot of people,” said David Locke, Mike’s brother. “He treated everybody the same. Didn’t matter from where you came from.”

David says Mike was beloved by the entire community. At the funeral, he heard from many who said Mike had helped them in some way.

“He would be considered one of the best dads and best husbands, because he loved Hunter and he loved Debbie.”

Mike and Debbie were married for over 30 years.

“In the Bible it tells us, that one of the things we should do is forgive, and I do. But it also teaches us that there’s consequences and there’s choices,” said David. “And because of the choice that someone made, I lost my brother, Debbie lost a husband, and Hunter – a dad.”

A Sullivan County jury found Hamm guilty on all counts, including vehicular homicide by intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident with a death.

Rep. Hulsey says he’s happy with the verdict.

“The sorrow of it doesn’t go away, but there is a satisfaction of the verdict that the court came to,” said Hulsey.

“You feel relief,” said David. “You feel at ease in your heart.”

While the family knows justice can’t bring Mike back, they can move forward and put this part of the heartbreak behind them.

Hamm will learn his punishment during sentencing in May.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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