Oak Ridge man dies in apparent accident on Haw Ridge on Saturday

An Oak Ridge man died in what appears to be a tragic mountain biking accident at Haw Ridge on Saturday, authorities said.

Two hikers found the body of Michael Biegalski, 38, near a hiking trail at Haw Ridge at about 4:34 p.m. Saturday, Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi said.

The hikers met Oak Ridge Police Department officers at a trailhead, and they guided officers to the body, which was about a 10-minute hike into the park. The officers confirmed that Biegalski was deceased, and they called the coroner and criminal investigations division to process the area around the accident, Akagi said. The Oak Ridge Fire Department also responded and helped transport the body. [Read more…]

Knox sheriff searches for suspect in Farragut Pharmacy robbery

Farragut Pharmacy Robbery Suspect

Source: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is looking for the man who robbed the Farragut Pharmacy located at 11424 Kingston Pike on Thursday evening.

The reported robbery happened just after 6 p.m. when the suspect entered the store, jumped the counter, demanded pills, and stole money from the register, the Sheriff’s Office said. He was armed with a handgun and is believed to have fled on foot toward Kohl’s department store.

He is described as a white male, 6’2”-6’4”, with a medium build. He was wearing a dark hoodie, black pants,black tactical boots, and a black backpack at the time of the robbery. [Read more…]

Former Wackenhut security officer indicted for theft of public funds

KNOXVILLE—A federal grand jury in Knoxville has indicted a former security officer at a federal site in Oak Ridge for allegedly stealing U.S. government property and money laundering, officials said Thursday.

Sarah Parker, 52, of Dandridge, Tennessee, was indicted Tuesday, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release. Parker was employed as an officer for security contractor Wackenhut Services Inc. at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site in Oak Ridge.

She appeared in court on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley Jr. and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the three-count indictment, Killian said. She was released pending trial, which has been set for February 17, 2015, in United States District Court in Knoxville. [Read more…]

Suspect arrested in shooting death of former Hardin Valley football player

Jack Bush

Jack Bush

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a former Hardin Valley football player in west Knox County on Saturday was arrested on Wednesday, authorities said.

Jack Bush, 19, turned himself in at the City-County Building just before 1 p.m. Wednesday, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter and was released on a $10,000 bond.

The shooting occurred just after 1 a.m. Saturday, December 13. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said Bush came out of his home at 7777 Christen Lee Circle in west Knox County and confronted 19-year-old Evan Hall in the street. During the confrontation, Bush shot Hall, the Sheriff’s Office said. Hall was pronounced dead on the scene by Rural Metro.

Hall was a former Hardin Valley offensive lineman. He graduated in 2013.

Photos: Welcome home for Afghanistan vet

Oak Ridge Fire Department Tower Truck

The Oak Ridge Fire Department and its tower truck help welcome home an Afghanistan veteran on Saturday. (Pictures by Tom Scott)


The Oak Ridge community and the Oak Ridge Fire Department welcomed Sgt. Charles Dozema upon his return from a nine-month tour in Afghanistan at the intersection of the Oak Ridge Turnpike on Saturday afternoon.

Here are a few pictures by Tom Scott. [Read more…]

After tip, investigative work, sex offender wanted in Sullivan arrested in Heiskell

Glen Reed Keller

Glen Reed Keller

After a tip by a resident and investigative work by dispatchers, Anderson County deputies on Tuesday arrested a man in Heiskell who was wanted by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office in Blountville for violating the sexual offender registry.

Glen Reed Keller, 43, was arrested Tuesday evening at a home on White Oak Lane in Heiskell community, Anderson County  Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.

The Anderson County Communications Center had received a tip from a citizen who had watched a news report on television concerning Keller. Dispatchers had seen the same broadcast. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office had sent a news release to the local media in the Tri-Cities, area which was shared with a local TV outlet in Knoxville, Lucas said. [Read more…]

Roane sheriff seeks help solving Rocky Top robbery

Rocky Top Midtown Robbery

The Rocky Top Market in Midtown was robbed on December 7, and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help solving the crime, authorities said.

A man entered the Rocky Top store at about 2:35 a.m. Sunday, December 7, and demanded cash, a press release said.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, the release said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Roane County Sheriff’s Office at (865) 717-4722 or the anonymous tip line at (865) 717-4217, or contact authorities through the sheriff’s website at www.roanesheriff.org or through a private message on Facebook.

TBI: Robbery suspect on most wanted list captured in Myrtle Beach

Lonnie Vann

Lonnie Vann

A Jacksboro man who is a robbery suspect on the state’s most wanted list was captured Friday night in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, authorities said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Lonnie Vann is wanted by the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the TBI on two counts of armed robbery from a December 5 incident on Deerfield Way in Lafollette.

Vann, a Jacksboro resident and former Campbell County middle school teacher, was added to the TBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list one week ago. He was the most recent addition to the list.

In a press release Saturday, the TBI said special agents developed leads that Vann was in South Carolina. At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, Myrtle Beach police officers spotted the white Chevy Captiva that Vann was driving on Highway 501, the release said. [Read more…]

ORFD helps with Harriman trench rescue

Harriman Trench Rescue

The Oak Ridge Fire Department, Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad, and UT Lifestar were among the agencies that responded to a Friday afternoon trench collapse in Harriman. At right front is Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley. At center with his back to the camera is a Knoxville Volunteer Rescue Squad physician, and a UT Lifestar crew member is in the trench.


MIDTOWN—Rescuers from the Oak Ridge Fire Department were among the dozens who responded to a trench collapse in Midtown that trapped a sewer line installer in dirt up to his mid-chest for about four hours Friday afternoon.

The worker was estimated to be about 20 years old, and he had been helping to install a new Roane County sewer line next to Moses Road south of Interstate 40 and west of Kingston when a trench estimated to be about eight to 10 feet deep collapsed at about noon Friday. The worker, who wasn’t immediately identified, is employed by Danson Construction of Sparta, Tennessee. He was rescued at about 4 p.m. Friday, taken to a helipad in Midtown, and then flown by medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said Scott Stout, deputy director of the Roane County Office of Emergency Services and Homeland Security. [Read more…]

DA: Criminal investigation under way in apartment death, but so far, no arrest, charges

Dave Clark

Dave Clark

A criminal investigation is under way in the death of a 29-year-old man at an apartment in Oak Ridge early Monday, but there has not been an arrest yet and no charges have been filed, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said Thursday.

Thomas Steven Thrasher Jr., 29, was found dead in a second-floor apartment when the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a report of a possible intruder at about 4:40 a.m. Monday at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive.

Clark said an autopsy has been performed by the Anderson County medical examiner.

“As a result of the circumstances, the Oak Ridge Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have been conducting a criminal investigation,” Clark said. “There has been no arrest or charges filed at this time.” [Read more…]

Heitman family wants death investigation re-opened

Alexander John Heitman

Alexander John Heitman

Note: This story was last updated at 11:45 a.m. Dec. 11.

The family of a former Oak Ridge school employee found dead of a shotgun wound in Cocke County more than three years ago wants authorities there to reopen the investigation of their son’s death, a press release said.

The family of Alexander “Alex” J. Heitman has also hired an attorney, retired Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh B. Ward Jr. of Knoxville law firm Young Williams. Ward has Oak Ridge connections, serving on several local boards and as the city’s administrative hearing officer.

Heitman’s family asked for the death investigation to be re-opened after Cocke County Circuit Court Judge Ben Hooper on Monday ordered Coroner Terry Jarnigan to stay away from crime scenes and dead bodies in Cocke County. The Newport Plain Talk reported that Jarnigan allegedly compromised a corpse he was told would be sent for an autopsy in November.

WBIR-TV in Knoxville reported that Jarnigan resigned Tuesday. The Heitmans said the former county coroner oversaw their son’s crime scene.

The Plain Talk reported in June that the District Attorney’s office in Newport said it saw no reason to re-open the investigation of Heitman’s death, which has been ruled a suicide. [Read more…]

TBI investigating apartment death

Rolling Hills Apartments Building

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the death of a 29-year-old man found dead in a second-floor apartment at this Rolling Hills Apartments building in Oak Ridge on Monday.


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

State authorities are investigating the death of a 29-year-old man in an Oak Ridge apartment on Monday.

Oak Ridge police officers said Thomas Thrasher was dead when they arrived at a second-floor apartment at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive at about 4:40 a.m. Monday. The Oak Ridge Police Department, which had responded to a report of a possible intruder, said the death was “suspicious,” and they turned the case over to Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark.

Clark asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate, TBI Public Information Officer Susan Niland said Wednesday.

Niland said the cause of death has not been determined pending an autopsy. She said it’s not clear how long the autopsy might take or how many tests have to be performed. [Read more…]