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Missing man found dead after Interstate 26 wreck

March 20th, 2007 1:39 am by Staff Report

ERWIN - The search for a well-known local real estate agent ended sadly Monday evening when authorities discovered him dead inside his vehicle, killed in an apparent single-vehicle traffic crash.

It was shortly before 7 p.m. Monday when authorities were called to Interstate 26 between exits 18 and 19 in Erwin. There, they found the vehicle belonging to missing Century 21 real estate agent John Mark Keesecker, 35, flipped on its top in the creek below.

"We got a call that someone had seen a vehicle that fit the description (of Keesecker's vehicle) veer off the road there Friday night," said Unicoi County Sheriff's Department Maj. Mike Hensley. "Sure enough, we found it there between the two bridges, upside down in the creek."

Officers found Keesecker's body inside his Jeep Liberty. Authorities believe Keesecker may have died instantly in the crash and said preliminary reports suggest foul play is not involved. in his death.

Keesecker had been missing since late Friday night when he was last seen driving east on I-26 in Johnson City. Before traveling on I-26, Keesecker reportedly spent part of the evening at Cafe One 11 in Johnson City. Previous searches for the missing man proved unsuccessful, partly because of the location of his wreck, authorities said.

"It was right in the center of the two bridges. It was in a kind of dark hole where it was very difficult to see," Hensley said. "The helicopter that went up to search for him even missed it."

According to a Century 21 Web site, Keesecker has been in real estate since he graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1993. The Erwin native reportedly achieved Centurion status for the past several years, which placed him in the top 1 percent of all Century 21 agents nationwide in sales closed.

As of Monday night, members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol continued to investigate the cause of the wreck.remained at the crash scene, reconstructing the wreck in an effort to determine its cause.

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