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Archives 02-08-2011

News

Alpine man flown out after Jamestown Highway crash
Yards, streets to be repaired by construction company
Jail mattress burner to face attempted murder charges
Staggs found guilty
Fires total two homes last week

Alpine man flown out after Jamestown Highway crash

Lyndon Johnson photo
A single-vehicle crash on Jamestown Highway left two people injured on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 3, requiring one of the vehicle’s passengers to be flown from the scene by air ambulance.

According to the crash report from Tennessee Highway Patrol, Earl S. Wright, 68, of Alpine was traveling east on Jamestown Highway in a blue 1995 GMC Sonoma pickup at approximately 1:50 p.m. when he failed to negotiate a curve and his truck left the roadway to the right side. The truck reportedly bounded into a deep ditchline before striking a culvert and coming to a stop.

Wright was not wearing his seat belt, according to the report, and was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. A passenger in the truck, Thelma Walker, 66, of Alpine was transported from the scene via ambulance to Livingston Regional Hospital due to injuries possibly suffered in the wreck. According to the report, it was unknown whether she was wearing her seat belt.

THP Sgt. James Sells investigated the scene of the crash.



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Yards, streets to be repaired by construction company
By Dewain E. Peek,
OCN staff

Damage to yards and streets from recent water line construction in Livingston was addressed during the Monday, Feb. 7 regular monthly meeting of Livingston Mayor Curtis Hayes and the Board of Aldermen, with Aldermen Bill Winningham, Lynn King, David Langford, Bill Linder, Cindy Robbins, and David Sadler II all present.

The topic was brought up as the City Council adopted Resolution 2011-2-1 to apply for CDBG funds to replace more iron water line pipe with plastic pipe in the area near the hospital.

Some of the aldermen asked Mayor Hayes about the cleanup and repair of the damage to yards and streets caused by the last pipe replacement project.

Mayor Hayes explained that the weather has impeded the construction company’s cleanup phase of the project.

“Some of the paving has been done, some of it hasn’t, some of the yards have been cleaned up, some of them hasn’t,” he said.

This next contract will include a requirement to clean up the area it goes along, according to Mayor Hayes. He also said the current construction company will not be paid further until the cleanup is finished.

Water Department Supervisor Tim Coffee informed the City Council that the company has until April 1 or they will forfeit funds and the city will do the cleanup and repair.

“If one yard’s out of place, they will void that money,” Coffee said.

Second reading of Ordinance 2011-1-1 on operation and maintenance of parks and recreation facilities was approved.

“Again this goes back to trying to make the city parks here a Benchmark Community, which you’ll have a recreation committee that actually takes minutes and suggests ideas to the Council,” Mayor Hayes said. “It’s real good as far as if you’re still applying for grants in the parks.

“So, the state of Tennessee is looking for these Benchmark Communities to give the grants out first to. So this is just the first step to being a Benchmark Community.”

J.D. Masters was hired as a police officer to replace Brandon Walker.

First reading of an ordinance to change the zoning of Richard Winton property on East Volunteer Drive from C1 to R1 was approved.

The meeting adjourned.


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Jail mattress burner to face attempted murder charges
By Lyndon Johnson

An inmate is facing attempted murder charges after setting fire to his mattress at Overton County Justice Center.

According to Livingston Fire Department Chief Rocky Dial, firefighters were dispatched to the jail Saturday, Feb. 5 at approximately 10:30 p.m. to respond to an inmate who had reportedly set fire to a mattress in a cell. Dial said there was minor smoke damage to the cell and booking area, but that the fire was quickly snuffed. He said LFD firefighters “were probably there 30 or 40 minutes.”

According to Sheriff W.B. Melton, the inmate set the fire intentionally with a lighter he had somehow obtained.

“He handed a lighter over to us as we went into the cell,” Melton said, noting that the inmate was uncooperative when questioned about the lighter. Melton said the inmate was not allowed to have a lighter.

“Somebody either slipped a lighter in, or it was brought into the jail, let me put it that way,” Melton said, adding the inmate was “just trying to destroy something.”

Melton said the inmate was a male, but he preferred not to release the inmate’s name because “We’re going to charge him in criminal court.

We’re going to get him for attempted murder,” he explained. “There was another guy in the cell with him. If we hadn’t got them out, they would’ve both been dead. That mattress didn’t put out nothing but a lot of black smoke.”


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Staggs found guilty
By Lyndon Johnson

An Overton County man may be sent to prison for a long time, and all because of his attempt to steal a gun.

According to information from Deputy District Attorney General Mark Gore, Scotty D. Staggs, 36, of Old Celina Road, Allons, was arrested on April 10, 2010 for stealing a .38 revolver from his uncle, Darroll Carr, also of Old Celina Road, Allons.

According to the original affidavit of complaint filed by then-Deputy Mike Phillips, “Mr. Darroll Carr stated that his security camera caught his nephew (Scotty Staggs) on tape entering his residence and walk [sic] into the room where the gun was kept. At this time Mr. Carr’s father, Carl Carr witnessed Scotty Staggs frantically exiting the side of the residence while holding a red bag.”

Carr would go on to confront Staggs, who was living across the street from him at the time, about the theft, the affidavit said, then he called the police.

According to Phillips’ affidavit, Staggs began running down Old Celina Road as soon as Carr called the police and hid in the woods near the intersection with Highway 52. After “approximately one hour” of searching, Phillips said he spotted Staggs near 579 Old Celina Road.

“Immediately after informing the suspect to halt, he ran through a yard, jumped a fence and ran another 50 yards before I caught and placed him under arrest,” the affidavit said.

On November 8, Gore submitted the state’s intent to seek enhanced punishment because of Staggs’ prior criminal history. On his wrap sheet were offenses for which he was convicted on February 23, 2004, including theft over $1,000, theft under $500, burglary, aggravated burglary, and evading arrest.

According to Gore, Staggs went to trial Wednesday, Feb. 2 on charges of aggravated burglary, theft over $500, and evading arrest. During the trial, Carl Carr was called to testify. Carl is the father of Darroll and had been staying with Darroll at the time Staggs was found running from the home and the revolver was discovered to be missing.

In his testimony, Carl Carr said that on the morning of April 10, 2010, Staggs, who was staying at his grandmother’s residence across the street from Darroll Carr’s home, invited him over to visit, according to a statement issued by Gore.

“Mr. Carl Carr went across the road to chat with Staggs and others that were present in the house,” the statement said. “After chatting awhile, Mr. Carr noticed that Staggs was not in the room....Mr. Carr became concerned because Staggs had invited him over and then left. Mr. Carr then went back across the road to his son’s house and upon entering the home, he heard someone in the back bedroom. Mr. Carr testified that it sounded like someone was opening and closing drawers and cabinets.”

Gore said Staggs lured Carl Carr away from the home “so that Staggs could have unfettered access to Mr. and Mrs. Carr’s residence and property.”

Gore said he argued that Staggs “thought 89 year-old Mr. Carr was an easy target, but he turned out to be the key witness in the case. It was through the testimony of Mr. Carl Carr that the State was able to convict Staggs on all counts in the indictment.”

The jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts, finding Staggs guilty of theft over $500, a Class E felony punishable by one to six years in prison; aggravated burglary, a Class C felony punishable by 3 to 15 years in prison; and evading arrest, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of up to 11 months, 29 days of jail time. The jury also returned fines totaling $3,500 on Staggs, Gore said.

Staggs’ sentencing hearing is set for Tuesday, April 12. He has been incarcerated in Overton County Jail since the date of the offense.


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Fires total two homes last week

Rebecca Oliver photo
Firefighters respond to the scene of a structure fire on Miller’s Chapel Road in the Ivyton community on Wednesday night, Feb. 2 in one of two fires that rendered homes in the county a total loss last week. This one was not being lived in at the time of the fire, according to Alpine Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jamie Ledford.

By Lyndon Johnson,
OCN staff

Two structure fires kept local volunteer firefighters busy last week.

The first call came at 8:03 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 when a structure was reported on fire on Miller’s Chapel Road in the Ivyton community, according to Alpine Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jamie Ledford.

Ledford said the home, which was owned by Linda Brown, was “very old” and was unoccupied. He advised there was no ready indication of what may have started the blaze.

Besides Alpine VFD, other agencies responding to the fire were Monroe and Bolestown VFDs, Ledford said.

The second fire call came just hours later at 2:57 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3.
According to Rickman Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ray Neal, a residence at 186 Park Road near the Rickman Community Center was totaled by flames.

The home was reportedly owned by one Dale Farly, and was occupied at the time of the blaze, according to Neal, who said everyone got out safely with only minor smoke inhalation.

Neal said, “The fire started in the walls around the chimney, so I’d have to say a defective chimney was the cause.”

Neal said failure to take proper care of a chimney can result in cracks that lead to fires like the one at 186 Park Road.


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