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80 Years Ago

Archives 05-19-2004



County loses first soldier to war in Iraq
Monroe teen loses life in Monday wreck
State medical examiner files report on Reagan



County loses first soldier to war in Iraq

Here, Jeremiah Savage shows off a huge Russian 50 caliber machine gun that the Iraqi military uses as one of its many weapons. According to Savage's family, he was a "happy-go-lucky" kind of guy who always joked around and made sure everyone around him was in a cheerful mood, too.

An Overton County family heard dreaded news around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 12 when three Marine officers arrived at the home of Ronald and Eva Savage in Okolona to inform them their son had been killed in Iraq near Fallujah in a town called Ar Ramadi.

Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Edward Savage, 21, of Okolona, died earlier that day after an improvised explosive devise struck his patrol and he was struck by its aftermath. A sharp piece of metal reportedly tore through Savage's right side and punctured his lung. He was taken to a nearby medical site and treated for the critical wounds, dying three hours later at around 4:40 p.m. Iraqi time, 7:40 a.m. in United States Central Time Zone.

According to Savage's commander, 1LT David Dobb, Savage was on what military personnel refer to as a Civil Action Mission.

"This consists of various stops at schools within the area," Dobb said. "We hand out soccer balls, frisbees, candy, and gum. Jeremiah loved these missions."

Dobb said that Savage fought extremely hard to stay alive.

"When he left the scene, he was still unconscious, but he was abnormally strong and unwilling to succumb to his wounds."

Dobb noted that Savage was well respected by his platoon and that he put other Marines' needs ahead of his own.

"LCPL Savage was in my squad and it hurts me deeply to know we lost a great man," he stressed. "He always had a smile on his face and always a good story to tell. Boy, do I sure miss him!"

Savage enlisted in the Marines in May 2001, just after graduating from Livingston Academy. He was stationed in California.

The young soldier left for Iraq in February and was scheduled to return in September.

Born in Illinois on October 10, 1982, he lived most of his life in Overton County.

According to his mother, serving in the military was instilled in him from his childhood.

"From the time he was little, whenever he wanted a toy, it was a G.I. Joe, a tank, or a gun he reached for," she said. "That was just what he wanted."

Savage's mother asked her son a week before his death if he was ready to come home yet. He replied, "No, Mom. I have a job to do."

She said the family talked with him on Monday, May 10 for six hours via the internet and a web cam. The conversation would be the family's last with their war hero.

Savage leaves behind a wife, Cassandra Savage, and two children, Madison and Wyatt. He also had two step-children, Jayden and Keyara.

Other survivors include three siblings, Nicholas Savage, Jonathan Savage and wife, Brandi, and Chelsea Savage, and his grandparents, Robert and Ruby Savage of Okolona and Viola Hicks of Illinois.

Many will remember him for his dedication to his family and country, as well as his character.

Savage's sister Chelsea said of him, "Jeremiah was a loving father, son, brother, and a dedicated Marine."

His sister-in-law Brandi agreed. "Even though I just met Jer last year," she said, "he always made me feel like I was part of the family. He aggravated and cut up with me like he had known me forever."

No funeral services have been planned yet, as the family waits for the body to be returned to the United States.

The family has found solace in their beliefs that Savage is in Heaven now.

"He is in a better place," Eva Savage said. "But there are still Marines over there who will remain in my prayers until the day every one returns home."

The family told Overton County News that Savage enjoyed serving his country, and died while fighting for what he believed in.

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Monroe teen loses life in Monday wreck

A tragic collision two miles north of Livingston on Highway 111 Monday afternoon, May 17 claimed the life of a Livingston Academy senior and had traffic backed up to Livingston for two-and-a-half hours.

According to Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Marty Philpot's report, Sarah Conner, 18, of Monroe, was driving south toward Livingston in her 1993 Pontiac Grand Am when she crossed the center line and struck a northbound 2002 Chevrolet 2500HD pickup truck head-on. The truck apparently swerved onto the shoulder of the road to try to miss Conner's car, but the swerve was to no avail.

The driver of the truck, Cecil O'Daniel, 63, of Crossville, appeared uninjured, but Conner died at the scene. Life Force air ambulance of Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville responded to the site, as did Overton County Ambulance Service; however, Conner was deceased before she could be transported by either for medical attention.

She was to graduate from Livingston Academy on Friday night, May 21. Neither vehicle carried passengers.

Trooper Philpot was still unsure of the cause of the accident at press time.

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State medical examiner files report on Reagan

State Medical Examiner Charles W. Harlan, M.D., has filed an autopsy report on George Christopher Reagan, 32, of Allons, whose body was found April 15 in a pond near Rickman.

The report states, "This 32 year-old white male died as the result of an overdose of cocaine. The blood drug screen is positive for a lethal level of cocaine and benzoylecgonine (cocaine metabolite). The blood alcohol level is 0.043 gram % ethyl alcohol, 0.022 gram % isopropyl alcohol."

The report states that a knotted clear plastic material in the shape of a bag was found in the stomach.

The report states, "The plastic bag thus created is devoid of material contents at the time of the autopsy."

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Overton County News
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