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Local restaurant workers mourn tragic death of co-worker

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Found dead, hit by car on Interstate 40

He was a hard worker, energetic and never late for work.

When he didn't show up for his job Saturday at Cori's Doghouse in Mt. Juliet, his boss Sully Sullivan knew something wasn't right.

Randy Hammer, 34, was found dead Monday morning along Interstate 40, hit by a Dodge Durango. Hammer did not own a car, or a driver's license, and was reportedly walking to his girlfriend's house in Lebanon and was struck by the vehicle.

"We are just trying to deal with his loss," Sullivan said. "I try to be a parental figure to all who work here and am trying to take care of their emotional needs at this sad time."

The hot dog restaurant opened six years ago. Sullivan said Hammer would "go the distance for his friends," and likewise. It will be a week tomorrow since his untimely death.

"He would get anywhere he needed with the help of friends and family, so it will always be a terrible mystery to us why he was walking along the interstate."

Co-workers last saw Hammer, who worked about 50-60 hours a week at the restaurant in Providence Marketplace, Friday when he got off work. When he didn't show up for work Saturday, people started worrying and looking for him."

He was found dead Monday prone in a ditch near mile marker 232 by a Tennessee Department of Transportation worker. According to officials, there was no evidence of alcohol or drugs.

Sullivan said Hammer lived with family just a few miles from Cori's Doghouse, in the Stonegate community.

"That made it easy for him to walk to work, he was so close to this place," he said. "It's just tragic. Very tragic, and tough, for all of us to lose a friend. With Randy, you saw what you got. He was happy, energetic, positive and it's terrible to know he'll never walk through this front door."

According to authorities, no charges have been issued related to the accident.

"I can't imagine coming in here and not being able to mess around with Randy anymore," said one employee.

Sullivan said after they get over the shock, he may plan some kind of tribute for Hammer.

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at

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Cori's Doghouse, coworkers, death, I-40, Interstate 40, Randy Hammer, Tennessee Highway Patrol
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