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...]

Sheriff: Aryan Nations member charged in attempted murder of Oak Ridge man

Cameron Reid Lowry

Cameron Reid Lowry

A Powell member of the Aryan Nations gang has been charged with attempted murder in a gang-related assault on a 31-year-old Oak Ridge man in November, authorities said.

Cameron Reid Lowry, 35, of West Emory Road in Powell, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said. Lowry was arrested Saturday after he was indicted by the Anderson County grand jury, White said. Lowry’s bond has been set at $100,000.

White said the arrest is the result of an investigation that has been under way for several months and involved cooperation between the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, which includes officers from the Sheriff’s Department, and the Oak Ridge, Clinton, Lake City, and Oliver Springs police departments, as well as the District Attorney General’s Office. [Read more...]

Frank, White re-elected; incumbents fare well, but some upsets

Steve Mead at Early Voting

Anderson County Commissioner Steve Mead, one of the incumbents re-elected Thursday, campaigns during early voting at the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge. (Photo by Fred O’Hara Jr.)

 

Terry Frank

Terry Frank

Note: This story was last updated at 2:10 p.m. July 8.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank was elected to her first four-year term on Thursday, and Sheriff Paul White was elected to a third term.

The election featured several close races, including for sheriff and register of deeds, and there were a few upsets, including for Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, County Commission District 3, and General Sessions Judge, Division II, where longtime Judge Ron Murch suffered defeat.

Paul White

Paul White

In the race for the Tennessee House, Representative John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, beat back a primary challenge by newcomer Caitlin Nolan.

All 27 precincts have reported.

Here are the final unofficial election results for contested races:

Anderson County Mayor

  • Terry Frank, the Republican incumbent—7,586 (52.69 percent)
  • Jim Hackworth, a Democrat—6,193 (43.01 percent)
  • Bradley Rickett, an Independent—619 (4.3 percent)

Frank, who was first elected to a two-year term in a special election in August 2012, beat Hackworth, a former state representative and county commissioner, by about 1,400 votes. The two fought over a 1990 tax hike and “turmoil” and lawsuits in the Anderson County Courthouse.

Anderson County Sheriff

  • Paul White, the Democratic incumbent—7,386 (51.64 percent)
  • Anthony Lay, a Republican—6,918 (48.36 percent)

White’s margin of victory was just under 500 votes. Lay is a former sheriff in Scott County, and he is currently a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper. The two candidates battled over the food served at the Anderson County jail, crime rate statistics, and the responsiveness of the Sheriff’s Department, among other things. [Read more...]

Votes still coming in, but most incumbents in lead; few upsets possible

Anderson County Early Voting Campaign Signs

The Thursday election featured the Anderson County general election and the state and federal primaries. Pictured above are campaign signs during early voting at the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge.

 

Note: Please see this newer story for final results.

The votes are still coming in and the Anderson County Election Commission is repairing its website, but early results suggest most incumbents are faring well, although a few upsets are possible.

Here is a look at some preliminary voting results in Anderson County, as reported by BBB-TV, Channel 12 in Oak Ridge, with 16 of 27 precincts reporting. There could be a few upsets, including on Anderson County Commission and in the races for Anderson County General Session Judge, Division II, and Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk.

Anderson County Mayor

Terry Frank, the Republican incumbent, leads Jim Hackworth, a Democrat, and Bradley Rickett, an Independent.

Anderson County Sheriff

Paul White, the Democratic incumbent, leads Anthony Lay, a Republican.

Tennessee House of Representatives

Republican primary

John Ragan, the Republican incumbent, leads Caitlin Nolan, his GOP challenger. [Read more...]

Feud over food: Documents on jail menus, orders

Paul White

Paul White

CLINTON—Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and his challenger, Anthony Lay, have had a feud over the food served at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton.

The feud started with a June 26 press release by Lay, a Republican challenging White, a Democrat, in the August 7 election. Lay said the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department appears to be operating a bakery, and he has suggested inmates are eating cookies and cobbler, and pies and pudding.

If elected, Lay said, he would “cut the fiscal fat from the sheriff’s jail budget by cutting out the pie.”

“Jail will be a jail, not a hotel or bakery,” said Lay, a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper.

A few days later, White responded in a statement that said “inaccurate and misleading information” was being circulated in the campaign for sheriff.

“The jail does not operate a ‘bakery,’” said White, who is running for his third four-year term as sheriff.

The jail menus are “quite conservative,” White said, and the average meal costs $1.10. [Read more...]

DA cites Lay’s job ‘performance problems,’ sheriff candidate claims political targeting

Dave Clark

Dave Clark

Note: This story was updated at 10:25 a.m. August 5.

DA responds to political targeting charge

There was no political targeting of Trooper Anthony Lay before his five-day suspension by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in May, but there were “real, serious, and repeated performance failures,” Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark said Friday.

Clark documented what he called Lay’s performance issues in a statement released Friday. A DUI charge in one case was dismissed, Clark said, after Lay failed to submit a complete case file and then did not respond to requests for documents by fax, mail, and email. He cited two cases where Lay failed to appear in response to a subpoena. In one of those cases, Lay faced potential arrest for contempt of court and showed up 20 minutes late, but the judge dismissed the case because Lay wasn’t present, the DA said.

Clark said he saved Lay from going to jail in that case because he declined to have the trooper arrested and instead called his sergeant to see if he could get Lay to court to avoid further trouble.

Clark cited another case where he said Lay failed to arrest a driver who was impaired and had four or more prior DUI convictions, possessed drugs and drug paraphernalia, and was a habitual motor vehicle offender. Lay issued the driver a ticket, but he should have taken the driver into custody after the man finished his medical treatment, Clark said.

In issuing his statement Friday, Clark said he was responding to Lay’s charges in recent stories about the trooper’s suspension by the THP in May. In those stories, published in several media outlets, Lay said he was the target of political attacks. [Read more...]

Honors: Sheriff White, Lt. Sharp receive Patriot Award for Guard, Reserve support

Paul White and Kenny Sharp ESGR Award

 

Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and Patrol Lieutenant Kenny Sharp were awarded the Patriot Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, at the Anderson County Commission meeting on Monday, July 21, a press release said.

Retired Major General John R. D’Araujo Jr. and Retired Lieutenant Colonel John L. Dyess presented the awards on behalf of the ESGR, the release said.

White and Sharp were nominated by Sergeant Charles Beach and were recognized for their commitment and support of the employees of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department who are members of the National Guard or Reserves of the U.S. military. An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating service member and his or her family. [Read more...]

Sheriff offers back-to-school traffic safety tips

Anderson County Sheriff's Department Motor Squad

Another school year begins on Monday, August 4, for Anderson County high school students, and the first day of school for all students is Wednesday, August 6.

In a press release, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department offered tips to make school zones safer and improve traffic safety.

“With school in session, there will be significantly more traffic,” Sheriff Paul White said in a press release. “Pedestrians, buses, and parents all contribute to school zone congestion. Many schools in Anderson County are faced with traffic issues, especially during the first few days.”

White said motorists should have a heightened awareness in and around a school zone. [Read more...]

Sheriff candidates spar over jail food

Anderson County Jail Sandwich Lunch

A hand-picked crew of nine inmates prepares peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on white bread for lunch at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Wednesday. Oak Ridge Today was allowed to take pictures of the kitchen, food storage area, and coolers and freezers, but not the inmates.

 

Note: This story was last updated at 1 a.m. July 25.

Sheriff: Despite campaign claims, jail menu conservative, with average meal $1.10

Challenger stands by his pie, ice cream claims

CLINTON—The menu at the Anderson County jail at lunchtime Wednesday was simple and spartan: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and milk.

It doesn’t appear to be an unusual meal at the jail, at least not this week. In fact, the menu this week includes three similar lunches with 1/4 cup of peanut butter and jelly mix, two slices of bread, and 8 oz. of milk or chocolate milk.

Anthony Lay

Anthony Lay

Other meals on the menu—the jail can serve up to 8,000 per week—also call for small portions of meat and bread, fruits and vegetables, and beans and milk.

But Anthony Lay, a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff, has raised questions about what inmates are eating. He has suggested they’re eating luxuriously, enjoying pies, cobblers, cookies, and cake. Lay has said the jail appears to be operating a bakery, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

“Fresh baked (double chunk) cookies; cherry, blackberry, and blueberry cobbler; pumpkin and apple pie with Cool Whip—these are all delicious,” Lay said in a June 26 press release. “But at the end of the day, taxpayers foot the bill, and they don’t expect us to offer luxuries to folks who, let’s face it, are in jail for a reason.”

Paul White

Paul White

Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat seeking his third term in the August 7 election, has dismissed Lay’s claims as inaccurate and misleading.

“The jail does not operate a bakery,” White said in a July 1 statement.

He said the jail menus are quite conservative. They include a cold sandwich for lunch. The average meal costs $1.10, White said. [Read more...]

Sheriff candidate suspended by THP in May says he’s a political target

Anthony Lay

Anthony Lay

Note: This story was last updated at 8:15 p.m. July 23.

A candidate for Anderson County sheriff suspended by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in May said he has been the target of political attacks.

THP Trooper Anthony Lay was suspended for five days in May for unsatisfactory job performance, a spokesperson said Monday. The suspension was based on several factors, including insubordination, neglect of duty, failure to perform the duties of his job, non-compliance with an internal database system, and having an unsecured patrol unit in a populated area, said Dalya Qualls, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety.

The administrative review that led to Lay’s suspension was received in April 2014.

Lay said he had been off work for five months because of back surgery, and Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark reported that Lay had not turned in some requested case file documents. Lay said he did not receive the letter requesting the documents, and the request letters were apparently sent to a Knoxville office.

“I have received no documentation requests on it whatsoever,” Lay said. [Read more...]