Woman dies after trying to save pets from house fire

Ridge Lane Firefighters

Firefighters battle a blaze at a Ridge Lane home on Wednesday. A woman who tried to save her pets from the fire died overnight. (Photo by Tom Scott)


Note: This story was last updated at 1:50 p.m. Nov. 23.

The 65-year-old woman who was burned and seriously injured while trying to save three pets from a house fire on Wednesday afternoon died overnight at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, authorities said.

Martha Babb Bailey and Adra Denton of Oak Ridge had arrived at Bailey’s home at 131 Ridge Lane around 3 p.m. Wednesday after grocery shopping. When they opened the front door, the house, which is in Orchard Knob subdivision in Anderson County, burst into flames. Denton called 911 to report the fire, and Bailey ran into the burning home to try to rescue two dogs and a cat, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said.

But Bailey’s clothes caught fire, and she collapsed in the living room, White said. Denton was unable to reach her and called 911 again to say her friend was trapped in the burning single-story home. [Read more…]

Sheriff: Arrest made after indoor marijuana grow, other drugs found

Nathan Allen Underwood

Nathan Allen Underwood

A Rocky Top man was arrested Tuesday when officers serving a search warrant found marijuana plants in various stages of a grow operation, along with indoor grow equipment such as lights, as well as other drug paraphernalia, authorities said. In addition, mushrooms and suspected prescription narcotics were also found, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White said.

White said investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit, along with officers from the Rocky Top Police Department, and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, served a search warrant at a home on Industrial Park Road in Rocky Top on Tuesday afternoon. The search warrant was the result of a joint drug investigation with these agencies.

Authorities arrested Nathan Allen Underwood, 32, of Rocky Top, and he was charged with several drug and weapons offenses, White said. The charges include manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing a controlled substance; possession of Schedule I drugs; possession of Schedule II drugs; possession of drug paraphernalia; and unlawful possession of a weapon.

The sheriff said charges on two other people are expected, pending more investigation into the case.

Underwood remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Sunday afternoon, and his bond has been set at $35,000.

State officials, local agencies to crack down on seat belt use, impaired driving

Kendell Poole

Kendell Poole

Traffic fatalities in Anderson County are up significantly this year, and Tennessee officials and local law enforcement agencies will announce a campaign on Monday to crack down on drivers not using seat belts or driving while impaired during the holidays.

The announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, November 10, at the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

Among those participating will be Kendell Poole, director of the Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office, and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, as well as representatives of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and Oak Ridge, Clinton, Norris, and Rocky Top police departments.

“There have been 16 traffic fatalities in Anderson County in 2014, which represents a 77 percent increase compared to 2013,” a press release said. “This is the third highest year-to-date difference in fatalities that an individual county has seen in Tennessee. Seventy-five percent of the fatalities were unrestrained. In an effort to prevent additional fatalities and injuries, Anderson County agencies will be increasing enforcement and conducting sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols.” [Read more…]

WYSH: County officials request records from Clinton as Courthouse case crosses street

Clinton City Hall

Clinton City Hall (Photo courtesy City of Clinton)


Information from WYSH Radio

The controversy and conflict regarding the copying of hard drives from computers in the Anderson County Human Resources Department has spilled across the street from the County Courthouse to Clinton City Hall.

As we have reported, County Human Resources Director Cathy Best announced her resignation Monday after almost 10 years on the job and her looming departure, along with that of her second-in-command Kerri Ashley, prompted County Mayor Terry Frank to try to have their hard drives copied. Her request was made after she was informed last month that former building inspector Lisa Crumpley was planning on filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county, alleging that she was fired for cooperating in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe that led to the indictment of her boss, David Crowley, on charges of inspecting buildings without the necessary certifications.

Frank wanted to copy all forensic evidence on the computers used by Best and Ashley, as they may contain information regarding Crumpley’s termination and what became of her personnel file, which went missing days after she was fired. [Read more…]

Sheriff intervenes in standoff between mayor, HR director over computer hard drives

Cathy Best of Anderson County Human Resources Department

Human Resources Director Cathy Best is pictured above in the Anderson County Human Resources Department on Wednesday afternoon. With Best’s agreement, the passwords to the department’s computers had been changed, and a few Anderson County Sheriff’s Department deputies were stationed near the entrance to the HR office as Best and Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank sought to resolve a dispute over how to copy two computer hard drives in the office.


CLINTON—After the sheriff intervened, the Anderson County mayor and human resources director remained at a standoff Wednesday afternoon over how to copy the hard drives of two computers in the county’s Human Resources Department.

The hard drives could contain personnel records related to building inspector Lisa Crumpley, who was terminated on October 9 and has threatened to sue the county. Her personnel file has been reported missing.

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said she wants to preserve records related to Crumpley’s wrongful termination claim, as instructed by Knoxville law firm Kramer Rayson LLP, which represents Crumpley.

On Tuesday, the day after Human Resources Director Cathy Best announced her resignation, Frank proposed sending the hard drives used by Best and Human Resources Generalist Kerri Ashley, who has also resigned, to a Knoxville company to have copies made.

Terry Frank

Terry Frank

But Best objected, Frank said, and the mayor had a technician from Computer Systems Plus come to the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton on Wednesday morning to make copies on-site. The county consultant had started disassembling the computers when Sheriff Paul White showed up, and the technician quit working because he believed he could be arrested if he continued, the mayor said.

Best said she does not object to copying the hard drives, but she wants to ensure that the proper procedure is followed. She said her department’s hard drives could contain health information that is not public, conversations with attorneys during the past 10 years, and information that might relate to an investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department of Crumpley’s missing personnel file.

“I have a right and a duty to maintain the security of these files,” Best said. [Read more…]

Five clerks cited after beer ‘sting’ in Anderson County

Paul White

Paul White

Five businesses in Anderson County sold beer to an underage person during a September 29 “sting,” and five clerks have been cited to court, Sheriff Paul White said Monday.

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department conducted the sting in cooperation with the Rocky Top Police Department, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County, or ASAP.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit visited 20 businesses to try to buy beer during the compliance checks, White said. He said all 20 businesses checked for identification showing the person to be under 21, but five still sold beer to the underage person.

White said the following businesses sold beer to the underage person: [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…]

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…]