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80 Years Ago

Archives 01-25-2011


Fire destroys Rickman home
Attempted repo results in death
TDOT discusses widening of 52 from Bypass to Allons

Fire destroys Rickman home

Lyndon Johnson photo
Fire rips through the home of Michael Allen at 437 Dodson Chapel Road in the Rickman community Friday, Jan. 21 as a Hardy’s Chapel volunteer firefighter tugs a high-pressure hose into position to battle the flames. According to Rickman volunteer firefighter Ray Neal, the fire started because of a crack in the thimble between the home’s wood stove and chimney, which allowed sparks to get between the walls where they smoldered until igniting the structure.

Rickman VFD was summoned to the scene at 12:40 p.m. and quickly requested assistance from both Hardy’s Chapel and Hilham VFDs in the form of tanker trucks. The home was fully engulfed when fire crews arrived on the scene and was a total loss.

Allen’s girlfriend, Barbara Slagle, suffered minor burns in the blaze. Allen said she was doing fine as of Monday evening, Jan. 24.

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Attempted repo results in death
By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

An attempt at repossessing a 12 year-old pickup truck ended with its owner dead from a crash with a wrecker last week.

According to reports from THP, Michael W. Brown’s truck, a 1998 GMC Sonoma, struck a 2009 GMC 5000 wrecker driven by Kenneth J. Krolik, 34, of Sunny Drive in Cookeville.

According to the investigating officer’s brief description narrative, “Vehicle 1 [the tow truck] was traveling east on Campground Road. Vehicle 2 [the Sonoma] was traveling west on Campground Road. Vehicle 1 pulled into the west bound lane to attempt to block vehicle 2 from traveling west.

Vehicle 2 was unable to avoid striking vehicle 1.”

Brown, 48, of Hilham Highway, was killed in the collision. A passenger in the wrecker, noted on the report as Devon P. Perrigan, 21, of McMinnville Highway, Sparta, was injured. The crash report said neither Brown nor Krolik used safety belts, and that in the investigating officer’s opinion, their use may have made a difference in the crash.

The wrecker was marked with the livery of Southern Cross Transport Tow and Recovery based in Sparta. Overton County News contacted Southern Cross by both e-mail and phone. The e-mail went unanswered, while the phone call yielded only a male individual who declined to identify himself.

He would only say, “I have no statement to you at this time.”

Reports from the Cookeville Herald-Citizen earlier said the tow truck had come to Brown’s residence to repossess his pickup truck on Monday, Jan.
17. The paper said Trooper Andrew Goolsby, who investigated the crash, said Krolik and Perrigan had gone to Brown’s residence on behalf of a company from whom Brown had bought the truck. “But Michael Brown left the residence in the truck, and the wrecker driver chased after the truck,” he said.

The chase reportedly went down Highway 85, turning onto Hicks Drive and dumping out onto Campground Road. At some point, Brown reportedly turned around and headed back in the opposite direction the tow truck was traveling, which was when the tow truck driver allegedly pulled into his lane to try to block his path.

According to THP, criminal charges are pending.


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TDOT discusses widening of 52 from Bypass to Allons

Lyndon Johnson photo
Citizens inspect a map of the proposed routing of the widened Highway 52 between the Highway 111 Bypass and Old Celina Road. The widening project is part of the Corridor J project that seeks ultimately to make Highway 52 a four-lane highway from Livingston to Celina, connecting Celina to I-40 in Cookeville by way of four-lane roads designed for safer, faster travel.

By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

TDOT officials met with the community Thursday, Jan. 20 at Livingston Academy to discuss proposed upcoming changes to Highway 52, including the widening of the road to five lanes.

According to Terry York, project manager with Palmer Engineering, the firm contracted by TDOT to assist with the environmental work required of the project, the work being done on Highway 52 should result in a safer highway.

York said, “It goes without saying, but I need to state that TDOT’s main goal in any highway improvement is to improve the safety to the motoring public. That was the main goal here for State Route 52.”

York explained that another goal for the ongoing construction project was to connect Celina with an interstate.

“That’s been a commitment TDOT has worked on for several years, trying to connect all of our county seats with a four-lane highway to the closest interstate. This will help accomplish that goal.

“I can tell you in addition that it would help open up the area to development,” he added.

The plan, according to York, is to widen Highway 52 from the Highway 111 Bypass to Old Celina Road. The road would be five lanes for that distance, two 12 foot wide lanes of travel in either direction with a turning lane in the middle. From Allred Street to the four-way stop, the street would follow a more “urban” plan, with curbs and gutters, while the portions to the west of that point from Allred Street to Old Celina Road would be more typical shoulders and ditches.

“There’ll still be a shoulder outside the road,” York said. “But there will be inside that curb a gutter with a drain there. It will be an enclosed drainage system that will capture the water that runs off the road from there. What that helps TDOT to do is to narrow the right-of-way, narrow the footprint of the road that comes through. It don’t require near as much so they can tighten things up because we’re getting into a more populated, a little more congested area.

“And there is the potential for sidewalks,” he added. “They are being considered for this, I believe. From Allred possibly down to like Melvin-Johnson up here, there could be sidewalks on both sides of the highway.

From that point on, we know because the lake’s out here and because of the fact that there’s the multi-use trail out there, the walking path, if they do put a sidewalk in, it would only be to the right side, or to the south of the lake.”

York answered a question that has been asked by many in discussing the proposed widening of the road in the vicinity of Winningham Park and how it would affect the walking trail.

“Basically from the guardrail out here by the walking path south, all the widening there would be on that side of the road and tie back into 111,” he said. “So some work will have to be done here at that point to line 52 up with the other side of 111, so they will clean up that intersection as well as they go through.”

Beyond Old Celina Road, York said the highway will tentatively narrow back to its present two-lane structure. He explained funding is not available at this time for the completion of the section between Old Celina Road and the Clay County line, where construction of improvements to Highway 52 is already underway.

“The environmental document approved the corridor from State Route 136 all the way down to State Route 111,” York said. “That’s an 8.6-mile section. But 136 to just north of Allons Road, up there where the elementary school backs up to 52– that portion, there is no funding available for any further improvement at this time for that section of the roadway. It is not approved at this time, and it is not on TDOT’s radar, I guess you could say right now.

“That’s not to say that it won’t happen,” he added. “It is just not there now.
Everybody knows how tight funding is. There’s nothing happening right there now, but our environmental document had to cover that entire corridor.”

“The project is getting ready to move into the survey and design phase,” York said. “After survey and design is done, it will move into right-of-way acquisition and the relocation of utility work. And once that’s been completed, it will move on into the letting of the construction project.”

York said the construction portion of the project is scheduled to begin in “early 2014.” Right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in late 2012, he said.

A meeting to consider the proposed final design of the highway improvements from the 111 Bypass to Old Celina Road is tentatively slated for “late 2011,” according to York.

“It gives [the designers] an opportunity to come back and show you guys what they are designing, what they’ve developed. And it’s a great opportunity for them and for you guys as well to start getting more detail. It gives you an opportunity to look at it and to give feedback to the designers so they can better outline, in-detail, what the design is going to be.”


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