By Jared Felkins

The longtime drummer for George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band died in a wreck Friday afternoon on Interstate 40 in Wilson County.

According to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report, the three-vehicle wreck happened just before 4 p.m. near mile marker 238 westbound in Lebanon.

Strait’s drummer Michael A. Kennedy, 59, of Baxter, was driving a 1999 GMC westbound in the inside lane and merged into the outside lane when he collided with a 2013 Freightliner tractor-trailer driven by Joe L. Williams III, 44, of Antioch. The tractor-trailer then collided with a 2016 Chevrolet driven by Wayne O. Hudspath, 55, of Lebanon. Both Kennedy and Hudspath’s vehicles came to rest facing westbound on the right shoulder. The tractor-trailer came to rest in the outside westbound lane.

Troopers said Kennedy wasn’t wearing a seat belt, but it wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of the wreck. No one else was injured.

Kennedy was the drummer for Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band for nearly 30 years.

“The heart beat of our band is gone,” said Paul Rogers, production manager for George Strait Productions, in a Twitter message. “Not sure how we will get back on stage without him. But we must. Much love and respect my dear friend Mike Kennedy.”

The westbound lanes of I-40 were closed for about two hours while emergency crews cleared the scene.