Council to discuss ORPD review, DOE landfill, Preschool

Oak Ridge City Council on Feb. 9, 2015

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, Feb. 9, agreed to a third-party review of turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. (File photo)


The Oak Ridge City Council on Tuesday could discuss a review of the Oak Ridge Police Department, hear a briefing on a proposed U.S. Department of Energy landfill west of the Y-12 National Security Complex, and discuss a new joint city-school committee that could lay the groundwork for a new preschool by the 2016-2017 school year.

The City Council will meet in a non-voting work session at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Multipurpose Room at the Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane. The work session has been rescheduled from last month because of weather. [Read more…]


One airlifted to UT hospital after two-vehicle rollover crash

Harriman Highway Jeep Rollover

The driver of a Jeep SUV that turned over was airlifted to a hospital in Knoxville after a two-vehicle crash on Harriman Highway west of Oliver Springs on Friday evening. (Photo by Tom Scott)


Note: This story was updated at 12:36 a.m. Feb. 28.

OLIVER SPRINGS—The driver of a Jeep SUV that turned over was airlifted to a hospital in Knoxville after a two-vehicle crash on Harriman Highway just west of Oliver Springs on Friday evening.

The crash between the Jeep and a Dodge Ram pickup occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Friday on Harriman Highway (Highway 61) near Scandlyn Hollow Road in Roane County.

The Jeep’s driver was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, said Tennessee Highway Patrol Lieutenant Lucious Howard. The driver was later identified, after his family had been notified, as Joshua Brown, 33, of Oliver Springs. His condition was unknown early Saturday morning. [Read more…]


Heitman wrote suicide note before death, report says

Alexander John Heitman

Alexander John Heitman

Note: This story was last updated at 2:08 a.m. Feb. 28.

The cause of his death has been questioned for months, but information released Friday said a former Oak Ridge Schools employee found dead in Cocke County in July 2011 wrote a suicide note the day before he died.

Alex Heitman, 29, was the supervisor of business and support services for Oak Ridge Schools. Cocke County authorities said he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on July 25, 2011. The death was ruled a suicide.

But Heitman’s parents, Don and Annette Heitman, have been questioning since at least October 2013 whether their son’s death, which they call mysterious, was actually a suicide. They’ve been supported by a few residents and former residents and Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn.

On Monday, a television station in Madison, Wisconsin, broadcast a story on Heitman’s death and his parent’s quest to find answers. In that story, Don Heitman said “we just don’t have the answers to prove that it was (suicide).” In that same story, Baughn said the information collected so far “points to something much bigger than a suicide.”

But Heitman’s widow, Kristie Heitman, told the TV station that she believes her late husband committed suicide, and she found what appears to be a suicide note on his computer after he died. [Read more…]



Anderson government closed; Y-12, Oak Ridge, UCOR, DOE, ORAU start late

Snow in Oak Ridge on Feb. 26, 2015

Several inches of snow fell in Oak Ridge and across East Tennessee overnight. (Photo by Bruce Phillips)


Note: This story was last updated at 9:23 a.m.

Several inches of snow fell in East Tennessee overnight, and there are more closings and delays because of weather and road conditions.

The Y-12 National Security Complex is still clearing some areas at the site. Non-essential employees should delay arrival at the site until 11 a.m. UPF Offsite Offices also should delay until 11 a.m. Personnel are urged to use caution when driving and walking throughout the site and to use designated snow routes.

Anderson County government offices will be closed Thursday. The Roane County Courthouse is also closed. [Read more…]

No one injured in Briceville house fire

Information from WYSH Radio

No one was injured in a fire early Wednesday morning at a house on Briceville Highway that is believed to have started near a dryer.

Firefighters and other emergency personnel responded to 1433 Briceville Highway just after midnight and spoke with resident Zeb Trett, who told them that he had been almost asleep on his couch shortly before midnight when he heard a loud popping sound coming from the back of the house. He got up to investigate and saw clothing in a laundry basket on fire, woke up his wife, and got her out of the house.

Briceville firefighters extinguished the blaze and told deputies that it appears to have started near the dryer. There was no indication on the incident report of how much damage was done to the house.

WYSH: $1,800 worth of camera equipment stolen from Clinton Walmart

Information from WYSH Radio

The Clinton Police Department is investigating the theft of more than $1,800 worth of digital cameras from the Walmart in Clinton.

Police were called to the store on Saturday afternoon and told by a loss prevention officer that a white male had opened an unlocked display case, removed a Sony camcorder, four Canon digital cameras, and a Samsung digital camera. The items were valued at $1,804 total.

The suspect then allegedly took the cameras to the sporting goods department, removed them from their packages, and concealed them in his clothing before walking out with out paying for them. The suspect was seen getting into a car and driving off, but the tag came back as being registered to a black male from Knoxville.

The investigation is ongoing.

KPD training specialist to discuss bullying on Monday

Aubrey Maples

Aubrey Maples

Aubrey Maples, training specialist for the Safety Education Unit of the Knoxville Police Department, will speak at the Monday, February 23, luncheon meeting of the Oak Ridge Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) in Room 102 of the Activities Building at First Presbyterian Church, 1051 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Maples, who is a civilian educator with the KPD Safety Education Unit, will talk about the Department’s “Take a Stand Against Bullying” Program. Also present will be Officer Lori Banks of the Safety Education Unit.

Maples received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and is currently pursuing her master’s in applied behavioral science, with an emphasis on criminal justice and social problems, a press release said. [Read more…]

Driver escapes car fire on Lafayette Drive

Lafayette Drive Fire

The driver escaped, and firefighters quickly put out this fire in the front of a Subaru station wagon on Lafayette Drive on Sunday night.


Clinton resident Mark Bunch escaped a car fire on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge on Sunday night.

Bunch said he had just left a shop on Midway Lane about a quarter-mile away when other drivers started flashing their lights at him. Then, he noticed a glow by his left front tire.

Bunch pulled over between Hendrix Drive and Emory Valley Road just before 8 p.m. Sunday. He was able to exit the car on the driver’s side, although he was a little worried about the flames shooting up from the front of the 2007 Subaru station wagon. [Read more…]

No one injured, but three briefly trapped by factory roof collapse

Pharma Packaging Roof Collapse

The factory roof at Pharma Packaging in Andersonville collapsed on Saturday night. Three workers were briefly trapped, but no one was injured.


Note: This story was last updated at 10:47 p.m.

ANDERSONVILLE—No one was injured, but three workers were briefly trapped when a roof collapsed at a factory in Andersonville on Saturday, possibly because of ice and snow buildup, authorities said.

The roof collapse was reported at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday. Seven people were inside the Carton Service/Pharma Packaging building on First Quality Drive at the time, said Del Kennedy, chief of the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department.

Four workers were able to make it out, and firefighters had to help the other three escape from a break room, near the front of the building, at the edge of the factory space behind it. All the workers were in or near the break room at the time of the collapse, Kennedy said.

He estimated that 50 percent of the roof, which was about 40 feet above the factory floor, had collapsed over that portion of the building. There was only a small crew working at the time, Kennedy said. [Read more…]

THP: Woman drank bourbon, took Xanax before Edgemoor Road crash

Edgemoor Road Crash Valentine's Day 2015

One person was trapped in a car, and rescuers had to remove a car door from this 2000 Honda Accord after a nighttime crash on Valentine’s Day. The collision pushed this car about 35 yards into the parking lot of the Shell gas station on Edgemoor Road.


The Knoxville woman who allegedly caused a crash on Edgemoor Road that injured two on Valentine’s Day told a state trooper that she consumed two drinks of bourbon and took Xanax not too long before the crash, and she also uses heroin, authorities said.

One person was trapped in a car after the crash, and rescuers had to remove a car door, said Steven Newby, deputy chief of the Claxton Volunteer Fire Department. He said two people were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville in stable condition.

The Knoxville woman accused of causing the 9:45 p.m. crash, Jill A. Graham, 39, was charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and vehicular assault. She remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Saturday afternoon. [Read more…]

Updated: Driver charged with DUI in four-car crash that damaged home

Robertsville Road Car and House Crash

No one was injured in a crash involving four vehicles and a house on Robertsville Road on Thursday night.


Note: This story was last updated at 4:20 p.m.

The driver of a car that allegedly caused a four-vehicle crash and damaged a home on Robertsville Road has been charged with driving under the influence, authorities said.

Officers located Brandon Kyle Baez, 18, of Oak Ridge, after he walked away from the crash at 184 Robertsville Road and tried to hide in a wooded area, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Ben Higgins said in a warrant.

The crash occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday just east of North Illinois Avenue. An SUV-type vehicle driven by Baez allegedly left the road, drove through the front yard of one home on Robertsville Road, crashed into a Ford four-door sedan parked in the driveway, and pushed it about three or four car lengths into a neighbor’s front yard—and reportedly caused a collision with two cars parked in the neighbor’s driveway (the home of Mike and Judy Coen).

[Read more…]

Power outages affect several hundred; two cars crash into snow plows

Lafayette Drive and Icy Roads

Lafayette Drive is pictured above on Tuesday morning at the intersection with Laboratory Road in central Oak Ridge. (Photos by Daniel Powers)


Several hundred customers were affected by power outages overnight but most lost power for less than an hour, and two cars crashed into city snow plows, making one of the plows unusable for now, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries in the few minor crashes that occurred overnight.

Officials continued to urge drivers to stay off roads unless absolutely necessary. Some of them remain covered in ice, and vehicles that are required to travel, such as postal vehicles and Oak Ridge Public Works trucks, are using chains or studded tires.

Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs said the largest power outage was in an area around Montana Avenue and West Outer Drive at about 6 p.m. Monday. It affected about 440 people, but only lasted about 45 minutes, according to preliminary information, Suggs said. [Read more…]