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80 Years Ago

Archives 12-17-2003




Man seriously injured in Thursday collision
Overanxious thief caught after drive-off
Schools close because of flu epidemic



Man seriously injured in Thursday collision

Carson Oliver/OCN

Rescue personnel work to extricate two Rickman men after a two-vehicle collision on Tommy Dodson Highway Thursday morning, Dec. 11.

According to reports, Gregory Brown, 32, was driving a white 1992 Pontiac Sunbird west around 8:45 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle as he topped a hill about a mile from Highway 111. The car went into a spin, crossing into the eastbound path of a white 1998 Chevrolet pickup driven by Tracy Welch, 38, of Cookeville. The front of the truck collided with the car's passenger side. The car then came to rest in a driveway.

Brown was transported by Air Evac helicopter to Vanderbilt Hospital. A passenger in the car, Jeffery Moore, 35, was transported to Livingston Regional Hospital. Welch and a passenger in his truck, Shane Green, 32, of Sparta, were also transported by Overton County Ambulance Service to LRH for treatment. Moore's injuries are not life threatening at last report.

THP Tony Choate is investigating the crash. Citations or charges may be pending in connection with the incident.

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Overanxious thief caught after drive-off

A drive-off reported at Raceway led to the arrest of an alleged purse thief on Saturday, Dec. 13.

Livingston Police Chief Roger Phillips said, "The quick work of officers Tim Poore, John Mackie, and Kevin Phillips brought a resolution to the thefts."

According to reports, Patrolman Poore answered a call of a gas drive-off at the Raceway in Livingston around 2:30 p.m. Saturday. As he investigated the gas drive-off, Patrolman Mackie investigated the theft of a purse belonging to Crystal Nelson, of the Copeland Cove Community, from a Toyota 4Runner at the same location.

A vehicle described as a white Chevrolet Corsica had driven off, without taking the nozzle out of the car.

Livingston Police located a 1993 Corsica matching the description on 1st Street. The driver was identified as Jonathan McCoy Thomas. Upon questioning, Thomas, 20, of Livingston, allegedly admitted taking the purse.

A similar purse theft had been reported on Sunday, Dec. 7, when Jennifer McLerran, of Livingston, reported her purse missing from her 2000 Cadillac Escalade. She had been to the Shell station prior to going home and being unable to find her purse. Patrolman Mackie investigated the case and learned from witnesses that a white car had been seen at the Shell station at the same time McLerran had been there.

When Thomas was questioned, he also allegedly admitted to the McLerran purse theft and took officers Phillips and Poore to a field on Kennedy Street where the purse was recovered.

Thomas is charged with Theft over $1,000, Theft under $500 and two counts of Burglary of an Auto.

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Schools close because of flu epidemic


staff Influenza shut down Overton County schools on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 11-12.

The absentee numbers were just too high and were continuing to climb, according to Director of Schools Bill Needham.

"Last Monday, we started the day with 454 students absent, by the end of the day we had 573 out," he said.

"On Tuesday, we started with 549 absent, and had 610 out by the end of the day.

"Wednesday, we started with 625 absent, and ended the day with 722 out."

The absentee rate had reached 22.1 percent.

"At about 18 to 20 percent we usually will close school," Director Needham said.

Not only were students hit by the flu, but teachers also. The absence of teachers put a strain on county schools.

"I had at least three schools tell me they were having trouble getting substitute teachers," Needham said.

School resumed on Monday, Dec. 29, with 450 absences.

"Livingston Academy had 84 out today," Needham said on Monday. "Last Wednesday, they had 261."

The days off may have helped quell the spread of the disease and given those infected a chance to recover.

"I think the four days off may have helped them get their strength back," Needham said.

The decision to close schools was met with only praise, according to Needham.

"It was all positive responses," he said. "Many parents thanked us."

The days missed will not affect the school calendar, according to Director Needham. The state has allowed the school system to "stockpile" days for just such an occurrence.

"It will not extend the school year," he said.

Other area schools also closed last week because of the influenza outbreak. Putnam County's absentee rate did not reach the level of Overton County's and was not among those closing, but the system suffered a tragedy.

Cookeville High School student Kyle Farley, 15, died at his home last week, reportedly from complications from the flu. He reportedly contracted pneumonia and bronchitis.

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