|Greene County drowning|
At approximately 5:25 pm on Saturday, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department was called to a reported drowning in the Nolichucky River. Sheriff Wesley Holt said Greene County 911 reported it had received a call from a subject who said that several people were swimming in the river near the Jones Bridge, when one of the swimmers got caught in a strong current, went under and did not resurface. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Greeneville Emergency & Rescue Squad responded to the scene with personnel and boats. A search was begun but was suspended at nightfall due to darkness and bad weather. Recovery operations continued Sunday morning, with a Rescue Squad Region 1 call-out. Through the joint recovery efforts, the body of Keith D. McNeely, 56, no address given, was recovered at 1:25 pm Sunday very close to where he was last seen. The recovery was made by the Morristown Rescue Squad.
|Greene County fatal fire|
A Saturday night fire in Greene County claimed the life of a Stone Dam Road resident. Sheriff Wesley Holt said Greene County 911 received a call of a structure fire on Stone Dam Road at 11:40 pm. The caller reported hearing a loud explosion at the residence of Paul Dwayne Johnson, 57, with concern that Johnson was in the home. Units from the Tusculum, Newmansville, and Limestone Volunteer Fire Departments along with the Greeneville Fire Department responded to find the structure fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters worked quickly to bring the fire under control and soon thereafter discovered the body of Johnson in the bathroom of the home. Investigators with the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office and the fire/arson investigator with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department are continuing their investigation into the cause of the fire. The recovered remains were sent to the William L. Jenkins Forensic Center for an autopsy and positive identification. Sheriff Holt said no foul play is suspected and "investigators are looking at this being an accidental fire. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Johnson."
Three residents of Hendersonville, North Carolina were arrested recently following a traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Cocke County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says it received a report that there was a U-Haul at the westbound Welcome Center near the 446 mile marker, with children in the enclosed cargo area. When the rental truck was stopped a short later, traveling westbound, troopers found three children under the age of eight, in the enclosed cargo area of the truck, and three adults in the cab area of the truck. A further search of the truck revealed methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, but law officers say there were no child seats in the truck. All three adults are charged with three counts of child endangerment. The driver, Eric Larue, 38, is charged also with no drivers license, three counts violation of the child restraint law, and failure to maintain his lane of travel. Willie Green, Jr, 40, is charged with possession of marijuana, and Lakiza Robinson-Williams, 40, is charged with possession of methamphetamine and heroin as well as drug paraphernalia. Bonds for the trio were set by Cocke County General Sessions Judge Brad Davidson. Robinson-Williams is free on a $15,000 bond however Green and Larue remain in custody on bonds of $8,000 and $7,500 respectively.
|Apple watch and Iphone theft|
Newport police and Walmart officials are looking for two suspects in a recent theft at the local store. Patrol Officer Jessy Burgess said two white males entered the store Thursday evening at 9:54 pm and then left with a $500 Apple watch. They left $500 in damage to the display case. The store's Loss Prevention Officer Doug Justice says he was contacted by six other Walmart stores who reported the same males stole Apple watches and Iphones, with a total value of $20,000, from the six other stores that same night. The names and ages of the suspects have been determined, however arrests have not been made.
A Cocke County woman was injured Friday afternoon when a car ran over her on Scenic Drive. east of Newport. Deputy Bill Miller said Melanie Holt, 41, Sprouse Lane was traveling on East Highw3ay 25/70 when her 2016 Hyundai had a flat tire, so she pulled onto Scenic Drive. Passenger Edith Ball, 68, Bat Harbor Road, exited the car and a short time later entered the passenger side door to make sure the car was in park before an attempt was made to change the tire. When Ball opened the door, Deputy Miller was told the auto began rolling backward, knocking Ball down and running over her legs. The auto continued to roll back, crossing East Highway 25/70 and striking a utility pole. First Call EMS took the injured woman to the Newport Medical Center for treatment.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says law enforcement officers in five states, including Tennessee, will put an emphasis on speeders this week. “Operation Southern Shield” focuses on the heavy summer travel period when the rate of fatal and injury crashes in the southeast is higher than any other time of year. The initiative kicks off today and runs through Sunday. Also included are Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
|Cocke crash update|
The Tennessee Highway Patrol now has released the identity of a man who was seriously injured in a Thursday traffic crash in Cocke County. Troopers said the driver of the red 2007 Ford Focus was traveling on South Highway 321 at 10:34 am, when he lost control in a curve near the Middle Creek Road intersection. The vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway, going off a small embankment. Once down the embankment, "the vehicle began to tumble end over end until coming to a final rest on its top," the THP says. The driver, identified Saturday as Ronald L. Witham, 33, Wittensville, Kentucky, was partially ejected from the car, and was transported by First Call EMS to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment of undetermined injuries. Troopers said Witham gave two false names while at the Knoxville hospital. Further investigation revealed the correct identification of the driver to be Ronald L. Witham. Witham now faces two counts Criminal Impersonation, Reckless Driving, Seat Belt Violation, Failure to Exercise Due Care, No Insurance, No Registration, No license and a pending DUI charge.
|Nathan Forrest Day|
Gov. Bill Lee proclaimed Saturday as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, to honor the former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader whose bust is on display in the state Capitol. Under current state law, the Tennessee governor is to issue proclamations including the July 13 Forrest Day. "I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law," Lee said. He did not answer when asked whether he believes state law should be changed to no longer require the governor to issue such proclamations or whether he had reservations about doing so. "I haven’t even looked at that law, other than knowing I needed to comply with it, so that’s what I did," Lee said.
Monday, July 15, 2019Greene County drowning
Greene County fatal fire
Apple watch and Iphone theft
Cocke crash update
Nathan Forrest Day
Saturday, July 13, 2019GSMNP body identified
Cocke County fire
Moore death case
Cap on jury awards
Friday, July 12, 2019Where to build a justice center
South Highway 321 crash
Haslam rules out US Senate run
Christmas at Dollywood
Thursday, July 11, 2019Denton indicted on drug and firearms charges
Denton indicted on drug and firearms charges
Cocke Circuit Court pleas
Tax free weekend
Wednesday, July 10, 2019Smith sentenced to 60 year prison term
Hance captured again
Newport City Council