Traffic backed up for miles on I-75 after shutdown for fiery crash

Lifestar on I-75 Vasper Bridge

This picture by Charlotte Underwood is looking straight at the Vasper Bridge on I-75, near the 132 mile marker. The crash site is a bit north of the bridge on the southbound side of I-75, which is a couple of miles south of Caryville’s exit 134. (Photo and information courtesy Charlotte Underwood/1450 WLAF Radio and WLAF-TV 12)


A fiery fatal crash that shut down Interstate 75 in Campbell County on Wednesday afternoon has led to miles of backups heading north out of Knoxville and south from Kentucky.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation reports that traffic coming out of Knoxville on northbound Interstate 75 is backed up more than 7.5 miles from exit 129 at Lake City in Anderson County. Information on detours is available by calling 5-1-1.

Meanwhile, southbound traffic on I-75 coming out of Kentucky is backed up more than five miles from exit 134 at Caryville in Campbell County, TDOT said.

TDOT estimated the highway could be clear by 9 p.m. See TDOT’s Twitter feed here. You can also visit TDOT’s Smartmap for more information. [Read more...]

Police ID driver, passenger in fatal pond crash

England Road Pond

The Oliver Springs Police Department has identified the driver who died and the passenger who escaped after a Mazda MX3 coupe crashed into this pond on England Drive on Tuesday night.

Note: This story was last updated at 5:30 p.m.

The Oliver Springs Police Department has identified the woman who died and the passenger who escaped after a car crashed into a pond on England Drive on Tuesday night.

Driver Amy Hall, 23, of Oliver Springs, ran off the road into the private pond sometime before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the OSPD was notified of the accident.

“Members of the Oliver Springs police and fire departments responded and learned that a vehicle was submerged in the pond and one person, Donna McMillian, age 54, was able to get out of the vehicle and make it out of the water—and reported that another person was still in the vehicle,” Oliver Springs Police Chief Kenneth Morgan said in a Wednesday press release. “Members of the Fire Department entered the water but were unable to locate the vehicle.”

Morgan said the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team was called for assistance. Sheriff Paul White, Oliver Springs Fireman Adam Daugherty, and Marlow Fireman T.J. Giles entered the water and were able to locate Hall and the red two-door Mazda MX3 coupe at about 10 p.m. and help remove them with the help of two tow trucks about an hour later. White said divers, who emerged from the water covered in dark silt, could only see a few inches in front of their goggles under water. [Read more...]

Driver dies, passenger escapes when car crashes into pond

England Road Fatal Pond Crash

Rescuers call in a tow truck to pull a car out of a pond on England Road on Tuesday night. The driver of the car died in the crash, but the passenger escaped.

OLIVER SRINGS—A female driver died and a passenger escaped Tuesday night when a small car crashed into a private pond on England Road in Oliver Springs.

Oliver Springs Police Chief Kenneth Morgan said the driver and female passenger won’t be identified until relatives have been notified.

The crash occurred sometime before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Property owner Marcia Pemberton said she came out of her house around then and heard screaming. At first, she thought it was family members playing at the dam at the pond. But then she realized these were different screams—screams for help, Pemberton said.

“Then I took off running,” she said.

The passenger was in a corner of the 18-foot-deep pond, hanging onto a tree and unable to get out because of the steep banks. There’s a car in the water, the woman told Pemberton. [Read more...]

Officers cracking down on drunk, impaired drivers on Labor Day weekend

Drive Sober

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will be out in force this Labor Day holiday as part of the “Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over” crackdown on drunk driving, a press release said.

“This effective nationwide campaign will include high-visibility enforcement throughout Anderson County,” Sheriff Paul White said in a press release. “The ‘Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over’ campaign will focus on drunk and impaired drivers with increased enforcement.”

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will take part in this campaign by saturation patrols during the Labor Day holiday period, which runs through September 1. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will be conducting a Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign on Friday, August 29, in cooperation with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Sheriff’s deputies and state troopers will take aim at impaired or drunk drivers throughout Anderson County in an effort to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities, White said. [Read more...]

Beer Board has show cause hearings for Lincoln’s, Moose Lodge

Lincoln's Sports Grille

Lincoln’s Sports Grille on South Illinois Avenue is pictured above. (File photo)

A city board on Thursday could consider revoking or suspending beer permits, or levying fines, on a restaurant and local organization that have previously had their permits suspended and sold beer or alcohol to a minor during a state sting in June, officials said.

The two businesses, Lincoln’s Sports Grille and Oak Ridge Moose Lodge #1316, are among five that sold beer or alcohol to a minor during a compliance check by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission in June, officials said. The Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board plans to have show cause hearings for all five.

Thursday’s special meeting will be the fifth show cause hearing for Lincoln’s and the second for Moose Lodge, according to the Beer Board agenda.

Lincoln’s sold beer, a 16-ounce Bud Light, to a 19-year-old on June 9 after checking the person’s identification, according to the TABC records. It’s the second violation at Lincoln’s for sale to a minor by the TABC, the Beer Board agenda said, and the case is still pending.

Meanwhile, the Moose Lodge sold alcohol, a mixed drink vodka cranberry, to a 19-year-old on June 26 after checking ID, the state records said. It’s also the second violation at Moose Lodge for sale to a minor by the TABC, the Beer Board agenda said. Moose Lodge paid a $2,000 civil penalty for the violation and agreed to a 15-day suspension of their liquor-by-the-drink license. That suspension was in effect from July 13-27.

The Beer Board can revoke or suspend a beer permit during a show cause hearing. The board can also accept a civil penalty in lieu of a suspension. The maximum civil penalty is $2,500 per violation for selling beer to a minor, and $1,000 for all other offenses. [Read more...]

DA: State seeks death penalty against pair accused of murder

Norman Lee Follis Jr.

Norman Lee Follis Jr.

Note: This story was last updated at 12:50 p.m.

State officials will seek the death penalty against a pair accused in the murder of a 79-year-old man whose body was found hidden underneath an apartment staircase on Patt Lane in Claxton two years ago, authorities said.

Norman Lee Follis Jr., 50, and Tammy Sue Chapman, 46, are accused of killing Sammie J. Adams sometime between December 5, 2011, and January 24, 2012, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said in a Monday announcement. Adams’ body was found under a stairwell in his home after friends and neighbors reported that they hadn’t seen him in a while, Clark said.

Adams’ age—he was over 70—was an aggravating factor leading to the death penalty request, Clark said. [Read more...]

Updated: Man charged, waives extradition in Corwin death

Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee (Photos courtesy San Bernardino County (California) Sheriff’s Department)

Note: This story was last updated at 9:30 p.m.

Information from WYSH Radio

The man arrested for killing a woman originally from Oak Ridge and dumping her body in a southern California mine shaft has been charged in her murder.

Christopher Brandon Lee, 24, was arrested Sunday night in Alaska in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin. The charges were announced Tuesday by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office in California, which also filed what is called a special circumstance allegation of “lying in wait,” increasing the potential penalty to life without parole or death.

The decision on which penalty to seek will be made after prosecutors review all the evidence in the case.

Authorities also said Tuesday that Lee had been looking into how to dispose of a human body. Investigators also say .22-caliber fired casings and rebar were recovered with the body of Corwin and that the head stamp from the casings matched those on casings found in Lee’s vehicle and residence. [Read more...]

TBI: Roane officers justified in using deadly force

Information from WYSH Radio

An investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has concluded that the shooting of an armed burglary suspect in Harriman on Tuesday was justified. Officers shot and killed 28-year-old Miranda Michelle Guy inside her home on Fairchild Street on Tuesday afternoon.

According to a joint press release from District Attorney General Russell Johnson, the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, and the Harriman Police Department, Guy pointed a handgun at the officers and was advancing on one of them when they opened fire. The preliminary autopsy showed that Guy was hit multiple times in her right arm, which was holding the gun, and her front torso.

Officials said that while a Harriman Police Department officer was speaking to witnesses of a burglary at a storage building in South Harriman, a white pickup truck drove by that the witnesses identified as the vehicle that the suspect in the break-in had been driving. The release said the officer could see items in the bed of the truck that matched the description of some of the stolen items. The officer ordered the truck to stop, but the driver, who was identified as Guy, sped up and drove away.

The officer started a pursuit, which was joined by a HPD investigator and two Roane County Sheriff’s Department deputies. The four officers followed Guy to her house, where they saw her run inside. The officers split up, with two going to the back of the house while the other two followed Guy inside through the front door. [Read more...]

Woman accused of pointing gun at officers charged with aggravated assault

Anna King

Anna King

The Jonathan Lane woman who allegedly pointed a pistol at Oak Ridge police officers before they fired four shots at her was arrested on Tuesday night on three counts of aggravated assault, authorities said.

Anna Marie King, 46, remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday morning. Her bond has been set at $50,000.

Officers were dispatched to 123 Jonathan Lane just before midnight on August 2 for a welfare check on King. Her boyfriend reported that she was depressed and threatening to shoot herself, Oak Ridge Police Department Detective Kevin Craig said in affidavits filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

The boyfriend also said there were weapons in the home, Craig said.

Three ORPD officers—Leslie Miller, Field Training Officer Christopher Carden, and Kenneth Prickett—responded. They said they confronted King in her front yard, and she was holding a handgun to her throat and head, according to the warrants. [Read more...]

ORPD: Intoxicated man poses as ORHS student

William Edward Lay

William Edward Lay

A 25-year-old Sunbright man who was intoxicated tried to “pass himself off” as an Oak Ridge High School student in at least two classrooms last week, the first week of school, before being stopped in a second floor hallway during a class change, authorities said.

William Edward Lay had obtained a student’s classroom schedule, but he had no identification and continuously gave School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby the wrong birth date, Social Security number, and other identifying information, according to arrest warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.

Selby, an Oak Ridge Police Department officer, said Lay was unsteady on his feet and fell into the wall several times. She had been called to investigate a report of a suspicious male walking around and into classrooms at ORHS.

“Defendant’s eyes were red and glassy looking,” Selby said. [Read more...]

Woman escapes injury, drives away from fake officer with knife

Anderson County Sheriff Logo

A 49-year-old woman escaped injury on Monday night when she drove away from a man who pretended to be a police officer but pulled a knife after stopping her on Yarnell Road near Clinton, authorities said.

It’s the second report of a police impersonator in Anderson County this month.

The woman was pulled over by the man at about 9:45 p.m. Monday on Yarnell Road off East Wolf Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.

“He approached the victim and asked for her driver’s license,” Lucas said. “He then pulled a knife, and she immediately drove away and called 911.”

In this case, the descriptions of both the suspect and his car are different from the previous incident. The suspect in the Monday night incident was described as a white male in his mid- or late-20s to mid-30s, six feet tall, 200 pounds, clean-shaven, with a muscular build and short dark brown hair. He reportedly spoke with a soft voice. The suspect was well-dressed wearing dark civilian clothing (not a uniform) and had a badge on his belt. The victim did not see a firearm, Lucas said. [Read more...]

Erin Corwin’s body found in Calif. mine shaft; suspect arrested in Alaska

Erin Corwin with Horse

Erin Corwin, who was from Oak Ridge, was an animal lover who volunteered at a horse rescue near Twentynine Palms, California.


The body of Erin Corwin, a pregnant 19-year-old Oak Ridge native who had been missing in southern California since late June, was found 140 feet down a mine shaft on Saturday, authorities said Monday.

Corwin’s body, found with the help of video equipment at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, was identified at 9:30 p.m. Sunday using dental records, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

A half-hour later, at 10 p.m. Sunday, Christopher Brandon Lee was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, for the murder of Corwin, the Sheriff’s Department said. An autopsy has determined the death was a homicide.

The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California, said Lee is a 24-year-old ex-Marine who lived next to Erin and her husband, Marine Corporal Jonathan Corwin, who is also from Oak Ridge, at a desert base in Twentynine Palms, California. Detectives believe that Lee and Erin Corwin were having an affair, and that Lee may have been afraid that his wife Nichole would discover his infidelity, the newspaper said.

Corwin vanished June 28 after telling her husband that she was going to Joshua Tree National Park south of Twentynine Palms. [Read more...]