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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 59 min 4 sec ago

Some Chattanooga City Council Members Want Limits On Pay Day Loan Providers

3 hours 20 min ago
CHATTANOOGA,TN,(WDEF)-There are now dozens of pay day loan providers in the Tennessee Valley.
  City Council's Carol Berz and Russell Gilbert feel the shops such as Check Into Cash decrease property values and increase crime.

Jabo Covert, Senior VP Government Affairs,Check Into Cash,"We are not clustering we are going where the people are, no more clustering, than McDonalds and Wendys want to be on busy roads, so the second thing we heard from council, we were a reason for crime in the neighborhoods that also amazes us, as we are on Shallowford road located in front of J Alexanders and Starbucks."

Covert says the proposed ordinance could actually benefit their company which is now one of the biggest pay day loan providers in the nation.

Jabo Covert, Senior VP Government Affairs,Check Into Cash,"We have three stores in the city limits of Chattanooga and we don't have any interest in adding any more so again a solution looking for a problem, but what is interesting about it is it actually helps us because it limits competition."

Pay day loan users see no need for the ordinance.

Christopher Walker, Pay Day Loan User,"You know I don't see why there should be limit on how many places could be here to borrow money, I mean Chattanooga is a big place, there is a lot of people here, so I mean we kind of need it"

Walker is just one of thousands of pay day loan users in Chattanooga and feels restrictions on the number of pay day loan providers and opening hours could limit competitive rates.

Christopher Walker, Pay Day Loan User,"We use them all the time, holidays, birthdays, I mean all kind of stuff, you need money and sometimes you need a little bit extra."

The ordinance could also affect pawnbrokers and title pledge lenders.

Early Moring Chase ends in crash at Volkswagen plant

3 hours 40 min ago

Shortly after 130 am East Ridge police responded to call of a vehicle parked in a woman drive way.


The driver of the vehicle was identified at 35 year old Jason Hughes.


Officers spoke to him and preparing to leave the scene the story almost ended here until the officer noticed a problem with the vehicles registration.


When the officer asked Hughes about the discrepancy Hughes took off.


During the chase that crossed into 3 different counties  Hughes ran stop signs and red lights crossed into oncoming traffic all in attempts to shake the officer in pursuit.


Hughes eventually found himself on the Volkswagen campus where he lost control of the vehicle and stops but when the officer attempts to exit his vehicle Hughes rams the patrol car and the chase was back on a few minutes last he swerves and loses control of the vehicle rolling it  over.


He was ejected from the vehicle and taken into custody where he was charged with Evading arrest and aggravated assault on a police officer he is being held on a 87,500 dollar bond.



Tax Preparation

6 hours 11 min ago
Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and city leaders met Friday morning to announce their tax assistance program. The program will help low to moderate income individuals and families prepare their taxes electronically.

The tax assistance service has been providing the Scenic City with valuable information for a decade at several different sites. This year the program will be offered at the Highland Center. Warren Logan, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga President said, "This site is basically in lieu of the site that we've had normally at East Gate Mall." The program will offer free walk-in tax preparation services through its Volunteer Tax Assistance to qualified taxpayers. Diane Jarvis, United Way 211 said, "A lot of people that may not be getting the money they thought, maybe they were going to get more money on their tax return. They are going to save money by getting it done free." The IRS has new requirements for taxpayers to verify that they have medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Jarvis said, "We can tell them about the Affordable Care Act and what that means to having their taxes done because a lot of people are confused about that. We can also tell them about the earned income credit which a lot of people don't understand."

The community program serves as a financial boost for low to moderate income individuals and families. Volunteers will prepare and file taxes for individuals that had an income of less than 53-thousand dollars. Logan said, "What they will do is just bring the information that is required for their tax returns which is really the W-2, their drivers license, their social security cards." Once taxes are filed, refunds can be deposited directly into the taxpayer's bank account."  The program is free to citizens in Chattanooga, Hamilton county and the Cleveland area. For more information on sites call City's 3-1-1, United Way 2-1-1 or Urban League 423-756-1762. You can also visit:

What's Next for 12-year-old Stabbing Suspect?

6 hours 15 min ago
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - As things start to settle down at Lookout Valley Middle High School, many people are wondering what's next for the 12-year-old girl who reportedly stabbed a 13-year-old boy twice.

Well, because she's a juvenile that information could not be released to us.

However, the juvenile courts could comment on standard procedure, like once a juvenile is brought in a detention hearing is usually set within three days.

Sam Mairs, the Juvenile Court Administrator in Hamilton County, says, "At that time the magistrate and or judge will decide whether they'll be held, released on house arrest or bond."

Whether they're released depends on a few factors.

Mairs adds, "It just depends on their history, what they've done, what resources they have available to them, family members so forth."

Officials tell us the district attorney can also file a transfer hearing to get the juvenile tried as an adult, regardless of age.

Mairs says, "If I'm not mistaken, you can file a transfer hearing on any charge or any offense."

But if the child stays in the juvenile justice system and is found guilty, he or she could be sent to a special type of jail like Mountain View near Knoxville until the age of 19.

Mairs adds, "They will see therapists. They will have anger management classes and A and D classes."

Children can also maintain their education there.

Those in the juvenile justice system say their main focus is rehabilitation.

The stabbing suspect has been charged with attempted criminal homicide and carrying a weapon on school property.

Right now, there's no word on if the district attorney would like her tried as an adult.

JOE FRUGAL: Bluray & DVD Clearance at

17 hours 4 min ago
     There's a huge movie clearance sale going on at the W-B Shop online.

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     Full seasons of some TV shows on Blu-Ray have been marked down nearly 80%.
     They have Season 1 & 2 of "Person of Interest" for $17.19 each...
     Select seasons of "The Big Bang Theory" for $19.99...
     and "Mike and Molly" and "2 Broke Girls" for $17.19.
     It's unclear when the sale ends, but it's listed as a January deal.

Dade Co. Body Identified As Missing Woman Justine Creech

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 11:28pm
Trenton, GA (WDEF) Investigators now say the body they found with a vehicle off the side of a cliff in Dade County was probably the woman they've been searching for since June.

So now officials want to know what led to this tragic event?

And why did it take so long to find her?

WDEF News 12's Caitlyn Jones searches for answers in our top local story.

Trenton Investigators now say they're confident the body found next to a vehicle off the side of this cliff is Marie Creech; who's been missing since June.

Trenton Investigator Tim Mitchell says, "The remains we found were wearing clothing items similar to what the female was wearing when she went missing, Mrs. Creech and it was also found with Mrs. Creech's van."

After a six month search and calls of desperation from her husband Terry...

"Everyone's who's ever known you is missing you."

Investigator Tim Mitchell says they believe they've reached the end of the road.

"Not the ending we wanted. We really wanted to find Mrs. Creech alive, and return her to her family safe and sound, and unfortunately we just couldn't do that," says Investigator Mitchell.

He says the changing of the season could have played a large part into why it took so long to locate her body.

"I actually personally went and looked off the bluff area there looking for the van, but just couldn't see it because of the leaves and the foliage earlier in the summer, but now that it's winter the leaves are gone and you can see," Mitchell says.

So why did Creech's van go off a cliff? Her husband says she suffered from depression, but hadn't been taking her medications for about a week.

Mr. Creech says, "She can become disoriented, that has happened before, never to this degree, but things change when you're taking those kinds of medications."

Investigator Mitchell says they don't suspect foul play, but suicide isn't out of the question.

"It is a possibility at this time, but we can't really comment on that until we get through with the investigation," Inv. Mitchell says.

The remains were sent to a crime lab in Atlanta for positive identification.

Knowledge can help stop teen drug use

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 6:55pm

According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, about 1/3 of high a school seniors across the nation reported using some sort of drug at some point in the last year. 


CADAS prevention specialist, Amanda said, "I think people have the concept.  At least I did before I started this job, that you had to look for drugs if you are a teenager.  If you wanted to do drugs, if you wanted to be in that lifestyle, you had to look for it to make it happen and at least not with the teens we work with.  That's just not the case.  Drugs are so easily available at school or with friends."


Many of the drugs popular in teen circles aren't illegal.  They can be bought over the counters at drug stores or found in the family medicine cabinet.


Hamilton County Coalition community Outreach consultant Calandra Smith said, "Anything they feel they can get that high from,  Xanax, hydrocodone ... Anything that they want to mix with alcohol to intensify that high... So I wouldn't say there is one particular one, because they are mixing everything."


It isn't that teens don't know the dangers of drugs.  They just don't think it could happen to them.


"Experimentation and not realizing the true consequences they hear about it, but they feel like it can't happen to me," said Calandra.


In today's society, we all have access to the world at the tips of our fingers, so limiting exposure may not be realistic .


"I think the idea that if we can just get it out of their reach, they are not going to do it.  That is a very idealistic hope to have.  It is a good thought in theory, but I don't think in practice it would work.  Me, personally, I would say that education is the best kind of preventative thing," said Amanda.



Knowledge is power.  The more they know, the more likely they are to make the right choice.


For more information on how to talk to teens about drugs, you can check out the link below.


Here's a Good Look Inside Casey's Barge

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 6:06pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF-TV) -The eyesore on the north shore known in Chattanooga as "Casey's Barge"--- is tied up in litigation.
The vessel is docked across from Ross's Landing, and as of Wednesday has no electricity, or power to the only bilge pump.
Now, News 12 gives you your first glimpse *inside* Casey's Barge.

CAPT DAVID ECK, LIVES ABOARD THE BARGE "I GUESS I'm just a hard-working man ...I'm kind of a nut."

Dave Eck used to be a riverboat captain in Indiana, but for the last few weeks he has lived aboard the old barge on the Tennessee River just north of the Olgiati Bridge. He phoned us to report that the electricity is off and the one water pump has stopped working.
He's afraid it may fill-up with water and sink again like it did two years ago.

CAPT. DAVID ECK "..but the electricity is not on gentlemen...that's all I have to pump two big barges out with."

Eck says he has an agreement with owner Alan Casey to stay there...although the two have never met.
Politicians and civic groups for years have demanded that Casey get rid of the barge, which has been there since 2009. Casey, who's now in bankruptcy wanted to build a restaurant on the barge.

Now...for the first time...we're going to give you a quick tour of what's inside.

Eck says most of what you're seeing here is the work of vandals who knocked out windows, pulled down walls, painted grafitti, and turned the old boat into an ecological disaster.
Eck is worried the barge or the pier will pull loose from the weak mooring and head downstream.

CAPT. DAVID ECK "This pier here was about ready to break loose and head on down the river and I physically pulled it around Thanksgiving weekend to keep it here."

Businessman Jackson Wingfield who owns nearby property, told us he fears it could do serious damage to the Olgiati bridge if that happened.

CAPT. DAVID ECK "I gotta tell you his barge ain't gonna wait til springtime. Specially if you don't get some bigger pumps. And especially if you don't have the electricity turned on."

Power was restored to the barge late Thursday.

Sequatchie Co. Animal Hoarding Suspect Now Wanted

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:09pm
Dunlap, TN (WDEF) The Sequatchie County man accused of abusing and hoarding animals is now wanted by the sheriff's office.

Geoffrey Peterson's bond was revoked Thursday in court.

Officials say he's also wanted in Chattanooga for willful abuse and neglect of the elderly.

Officials warn not to approach Peterson, because he could be armed.

If you know where he is, please call law enforcement.

Hamilton Co. Student Recovers After Being Stabbed Inside His Classroom

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 4:03pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - A parent who doesn't want to be identified, says, "A girl gets bullied and now she gets charged with criminal homicide that's bullied her for how long? So, there's your real story."

Tensions run high at Lookout Valley Middle High School minutes after learning a 12-year-old girl stabbed a 13-year-old boy twice inside a middle school classroom.

Tayanna Cox, a student at Lookout Valley Middle High School says, "I heard a teacher screaming to the top of her lungs, and then all of a sudden it went silent."

Around 9:45 Thursday morning, the school was placed on lockdown while the young boy was taken to the hospital.

Janice Atkinson with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, says, "I think he will be taken into surgery at some point."

Hamilton County Deputies wasted no time charging the 12-year-old suspect with attempted criminal homicide and carrying a weapon on school property.

Atkinson adds, "The school resource officer will be handling the investigation into this incident."

Authorities can confirm a knife was used in the attack, but can't comment on a possible motive.

One parent is convinced bulling played a part in this crime.

She says, "They don't do nothing about bullying in this school or the school board because my daughter's been bullied since the 3rd grade, and they don't do nothing about it."

Other parents weren't happy the school didn't dismiss early.

Nikia Cox, a parent, adds, "It is traumatizing. It is something that most kids can't handle in one setting and a dismissal should have been put into effect immediately."

Principal Rick Rushworth says parents were notified of the incident, but wouldn't comment on why all classes weren't dismissed early.

Students are now rallying behind the 13-year-old boy who continues to recover.

Tayanna Cox says, "Just hope he gets better. Prayers go out to his family."

The 13-year-old victim is in serious, but stable condition.

DA drops case against man accused of soliciting murder

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 3:56pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - A Hamilton County prosecutor dropped the case against a Catoosa County man accused of Solicitation to Commit Murder on a teenager.

Prosecutor Amanda Morrison told Judge Barry Steelman the state was dropping its case against Joshua Patterson. Morrison said there was insufficient evidence to support claims Patterson tried to hire is ex-wife to kill the the 16-year old son of his ex-girlfriend.

"It was overwhelming clear to the state that these allegations were totally unfounded," said Patterson's defense attorney Hank Hill.

According to an arrest affidavit, Buffy Patterson told investigators her ex-husband offered to pay her $400 to do harm to Teresa Padilla's son. The affidavit states that he used racial slurs to describe how the boy would be killed.

According to the affidavit, Patterson was upset when he found out his daughter was dating Padilla's son who is bi-racial.

Padilla showed WDEF a text message from Buffy Patterson warning Padilla about the threat. But Padilla said the prosecutor had doubts about where that message originated.

"She said I could have made that facebook account and made statements on it," Padilla.

Padilla says the text message was never presented in court; Nor was a  voice mail from Miss Patterson threatening to recant her story about her ex-husband.

WDEF obtained a copy of the voice mail sent to Padilla from Buffy Patterson.

This is the message:

"I'm back in my room mother f----r. I'm leaving in 25-minutes to go get Josh out of jail. So f--k you. I'll deny everything that's been said."

"That's her own voice. I can't duplicate that. What about the police report? She signed an affidavit stating what happened so I'm just confused," said Padilla.

Padilla feels the recantation ultimately led to prosecutors dropping the case. But Patterson's attorney says Patterson's ex-wife was telling the truth when she changed her story.

"Well when you get under oath and you get cross examined and your about to commit perjury; often times you do change your story. And she told the truth," said Hill.

"I do not feel that the DA did everything that they possibly could to present a case. I think it fell in back files. I don't know what happened," said Padilla.

WDEF wanted to learn more about why Morrison dropped the charges against Patterson but she declined to talk.

In the meantime, Padilla is in the process of launching a civil lawsuit against Patterson.

Stabbing Incident at Lookout Valley Middle/High School

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 3:09pm
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        Deputy Marie Willerson is handling the investigation with charges of Attempted Criminal Homicide and Carrying a Weapon on School Property being placed against the 12 year old suspect.
        The school was placed on lock down initially but with the quick and professional assistance from school authorities, was lifted a short time later

Student Stabbed at Lookout Valley Middle School

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 1:32pm

     A 12-year-old girl stabbed a boy this morning at Lookout Valley Middle High School.
     Here's a live look at what's going on right now.
     Details are limited -- but we know the child has been taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition.
     The girl is in custody at this hour.
     Janice Atkinson with the Sheriff's department tells us "The female did stab the male victim twice."
     "He was transported to an area hospital for medical treatment. I think he will be taken to surgery at some point."
     Atkinson adds "She has been charged with attempted criminal homicide and carrying a weapon on school property. The school was placed on lockdown for a short period of time and that has been lifted."
     The school has not been closed.

JOE FRUGAL: Buy a Best Buy Gift Card, Get a $15 or $20 Savings Code

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 5:30am
     Televisions are on sale this week in advance of the Super Bowl. The Consumer Electronics Association found in recent years more than one in four HDTV owners bought their TV's specificially to watch the big game.

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     The average selling price for a 60" is $129 lower than the average for the rest of the year.
     If you're in the market, consider gifting yourself a Best Buy eGift card to save even more.
     Right now, when you buy a $150 eGift card, you get a $15 promo savings code.
     Buy a $200 eGift card and get a $20 savings code.
     Those codes expire February 28th... and the eGift card deal ends Saturday.

Missing Woman's Vehicle Found Off Cliff Along with Human Remains

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:34pm
  Justine Marie Creech went missing on June 4th, last last seen driving her gold minivan. That vehicle was found today off a side of a cliff, along with human remains.
     A hiker reported finding a skull on the side of a  mountain just off a bluff on scenic highway.
     The vehicle was also found close by.
    The van appeared to have gone off a steep cliff off scenic highway, a place hang gliders frequently use.
     Sheriff Ray Cross says the GBI has taken over control of the scene, there's no indication of foul play at this point.
        "Any scene we come across like this we treat it as a crime scene so we don't know right now," said Cross.
        The real concern, is this the woman they've been searching for for more than 6 months?  A woman that suffered from depression and left in the very van that was found.
     Sheriff Cross says the body has been sent to a crime lab in Atlanta for identification.