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80 Years Ago

Archives 01-30-2002






Days of downpour whelm Overton area
Fugitives flee in high-speed car pursuit
Alpine man loses life in courageous rescue attempt
Candidates Announce


Days of downpour whelm Overton area

Becky Meredith/OCN staff

The ducks and other wildlife at Dillon Pond did not seem too disturbed by the excessive flooding experienced in the area last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. According to reports from WLIV, the county received 4.12 inches of rainfall during the three days, totalling about 6.43 inches this month.




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Fugitives flee in high-speed car pursuit

Overton County Sheriff's Department joined several area law enforcement departments in a high-speed police pursuit Sunday evening, Jan. 27 that began in Crossville.

According to reports, the car on the run was a black Eagle Talon, stolen from Monticello, KY.

The car was chased into Cookeville by Cumberland County officials, then into Algood where Algood City Police officer Don Crabtree engaged in the chase.

The Talon sped into Overton County, where Sergeant Eddie Mott, with Overton County Sheriff's Department, joined in the pursuit. The speeding car travelled up the Livingston Bypass and continued on toward Byrdstown. Sgt. Mott broke off his pursuit at the Pickett County line.

Sergent Mott reported that the fugitives averaged 120 to 128 miles per hour and accelerated from 80 miles per hour to 110 on the bypass.

The spike strips recently acquired by the Sheriff's Department were not utilized because traffic was too thick and the law enforcement vehicles were following the Talon too closely.

The Talon made its way back into Kentucky, where the occupants reportedly jumped out of the car and fled from the officers. At last report, the alleged car thieves were still at large.


Alpine man loses life in courageous rescue attempt

An Overton County resident and a Cookeville city employee lost their lives Wednesday, Jan. 23, after being caught in a flooded drainage ditch at Fisk Road in Cookeville.

The enormous amount of rainfall that swept throughout the region last week caused water to back up in many areas and turbulent flooding conditions in others.

According to reports by Herald-Citizen staff writer Mary Jo Denton, three Cookeville Public Works employees, Tommy Stewart, 20, Harold Williams, 33, and John Clendening, 23, were trying to clear out ditches and nearby curb drains that morning to relieve flooding in the area.

Williams, who was in a nearby yard looking for a catch basin, heard Stewart cry out for help, turned around, and saw him go down in the water.

Williams and Clendening jumped into the turbulent water to attempt to save their young co-worker, who had been pulled down into the drain pipe in the street. After moments of trying to free Stewart,

Williams waded back out of the water and ran back to the utility truck to look for rope. While at the truck, he called for help, then returned to Stewart and Clendening with a chain. He tied the chain around Stewart, and the two tried to pull Stewart out, unfortunately, with no success.

Stewart's wading suit was filled with water, making it impossible to pull him out of the pipe. Randell Shane Cooper, 26, a local cable contractor, passed by the scene and saw the men struggling in the waist-deep current. Without second thought, Cooper stopped to assist them.

He braved the mighty waters, grabbed Williams, and pulled him out of the flood. Cooper jumped back into the turbulent water to help Stewart and Clendening, not aware that another drain tile was beside the one in which Stewart was trapped.

The pressure of the water was so strong that Cooper was pulled down into the drain tile. Williams saw Cooper raise his hands above the water, grabbed him, and tried to pull him out of the water, but failed.

Emergency workers arrived at the scene with a backhoe and extrication equipment to try to free the men.

After hours of rescue attempts, the rescue workers were able to remove Stewart's body from the drain pipe.

Cooper's body was found under water in a creek bed at the end of the drainage pipe that had trapped him.

Williams and Clendening suffered from cuts and bruises, but survived the incident. Stewart was the son of Donnie and Janet Stewart of Cookeville.

Cooper, son of Virgil Cooper of Alpine and Sandy Tubb of Gordonsville, is survived by his wife, Jaime Cooper, and son, Eric Shane Cooper.

Officials commended Stewart and Cooper for their bravery, as Stewart was working to lessen the flooding in the area and Cooper stopped to help three men in danger. Workers on the scene were also recognized by officials for their efforts during the all-day rescue attempt.

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Candidates Announce

Kathy Smith candidate for Trustee

Kathy Johnson Smith has informed Overton County News she plans to run for the office of Overton County Trustee in the upcoming Democratic Primary. Her statement is as follows:

"My name is Kathy Johnson Smith. I am a candidate for the office of Trustee. I have lived in Overton County for 35 years, and am proud of my community.

"My parents are Riley and Juanita Johnson of Livingston.

"I have been married to Ronnie T. Smith of Monroe for 12 years. We have two girls, Courtney, 7, and Katelyn, 4.

"Why vote for me? I am a 1988 graduate of Tennessee Technological University with a degree in Finance. I have 13 years experience in accounting, computers, and office management. I feel this makes me a well-qualified candidate.

"My main priority will be to serve the people of Overton County with honesty, hard work, and dedication. If elected, my office will always have an open door policy, where you will always be welcome. "Your vote and support will be greatly appreciated."


Peggy Smith announces bid for Trustee

Peggy Clark Smith has informed Overton County News she plans to run for the office of Overton County Trustee in the upcoming Democratic Primary. Her statement is as follows:

"Citizens of Overton County, I would like to take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for trustee of Overton County.

"My name is Peggy Clark Smith. I am the daughter of Ann Ellis Clark of Allons and the late Trustee James Harold Clark. "I am married to Gary Smith, son of Carl and Linda Smith of Hilham. I have one son, Justin, age 9.

"I have been employed in the Trustee's Office for the past 11 years. After the death of my father, I was appointed trustee of Overton County by the County Commission to finish his term.

"During the past 11 years as deputy clerk to the Trustee's Office, I have gained knowledge and experience of the daily operation of the Trustee's Office. My experience includes all duties required to run the office.

"If elected to the Trustee's Office, I vow to continue the professionalism that has been exhibited in the past.

"It has been an honor and privilege to work for the citizens of Overton County. If given the opportunity, I will continue to treat you with the kindness, fairness, and honesty you have received from me in the past. The Trustee's Office will always be open to meet the needs of the taxpayers of Overton County.

"Vote for Peggy Clark Smith on May 7 and allow me to continue to serve the citizens of Overton County as trustee. Your vote for experience, honesty, and integrity will be greatly appreciated."

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486


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