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WDEF News 12 - Local News
Updated: 57 min 9 sec ago

JOE FRUGAL: Starbucks BOGO Fall Drinks from 2pm to 6pm Through Sunday

8 hours 39 min ago
     Starbucks kicks off a targeted BOGO deal today.

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     From now through Sunday... When you buy one fall drink, hot or iced, you get one free.
     Purchase must be made between 2:00pm and 6:00pm.
     Fall drinks include the Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Salted Caramel Mocha and Teavana Oprah Chai.
     No coupon necessary.

Chattanooga Audit of EPB Reveals 1.2 Million in Overages

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:08pm
        Chattanooga City auditor Stan Sewell says EPB's billing for street light energy use was about $1.2 million too high since 2007.
        It's among the latest findings after a series of audits to determine just how much money EPB owes Chattanooga..
        The utility company hired outside firm Mauldin Jenkins to conduct their audit in July, who found they over billed the city $1.5 million.
        Although it's a lot of money, Sewell said he Didn't have a reason to suspect fraud.
        "I cannot see where there would necessarily be, at least not where I'm aware of, where any individual on the board of EPB or an employee of EPB would benefit personally from the erroneous billings for street lights," said Sewell.
        Councilman Larry Grohn says this has been a long process that they're ready to resolve.
         "I think it's time for us to continue to work and get a settlement accomplished, put this item to bed, learn from the issue," Grohn said.
        Joe Ferguson, EPB Board Chairman said that is exactly what EPB has done and they're correcting their mistakes.
        "We've determined what the problems were in accounting and classifying and new procedures are in place at EPB to take care of that process," said Ferguson.

Chattanooga Firefighters' Fill the Boot Total

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 7:54pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) Chattanooga Firefighters raise more than $50,000 for MDA in their Fill the Boot campaign.

Officials say donations were way up this year in the fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

It was the most successful one in the fire department's history.

Multiple People Arrested in Burglary in Progress Call

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:53pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) Chattanooga Police arrest multiple people on a burglary in progress call on Sunnyside Drive Monday.

18-year-old Kelvon Dozier, 25-year-old Carl Lewis, 18-year-old Kiaomee Owens, 19-year-old DeAngelo Foster, and a juvenile now face multiple charges including aggravated burglary.

Officers were told to be on the lookout for a brown SUV with several people.

They stopped it, and arrested two of the suspects.

Others were found at a residence.

After getting written consent, police searched the house and found the victim's stolen items and returned them.

Traffic safety concerns growing on Dayton Blvd.

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:51pm
RED BANK, Tennessee (WDEF) - Construction on Dayton Boulevard near the highway 27 off ramp has recently caused safety concerns for people who work along that thoroughfare.

WDEF spoke to several people at Pratt Home Builders. They said pulling into the parking lot and exiting the parking lot has become increasingly dangerous.

"Several times a week, I've been nearly hit head on a couple of times with people going 50 mph or better in the turn lane," said Jennifer Dorsey.

"It is really hard to get across traffic to get into the turn lane safely," said Tina Frizzell.

The problem is a result of motorists driving out of the two lane area of construction near the construction of the Highway 27 off-ramp. As many motorist approach the clearing, they may not realize a turn symbol in the far left lane and treat it as a through lane.

WDEF informed TDOT of the situation and a spokesperson said they will put up signs warning motorist about the use of the middle lane.

"We want to make sure they are aware they are traveling in a turn lane and using it as a through lane which is against the law," said TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn.

Another safety concern is located on Dayton Boulevard between the Stringers Ridge Tunnel and Ashmoore Avenue.

The construction barrels that direct traffic have caused confusion about where to turn onto Ashmoore Avenue.

"It's almost like not really a turn. It's almost like a curve. Because of the barrels, it appears that it's more like a curve going on to Ashmore Avenue," said Lysa Ainsworth who works at a boutique on that corner.

"Our contractors will monitor that area as much as possible and make sure that those barrels are tight and so that people can know where they can turn within the barrels," said Flynn.

TDOT officials told WDEF that once better signs are installed and barrels are properly in place, it will be up to Red Bank police to enforce traffic laws.

Burial Cost Confusion For One Chattanooga Family

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:38pm
CHATTANOOGA,TN, (WDEF)-George Gossett believed his mother had signed up for burial insurance at Lakewood Memory Gardens.

When she died, Gossett discovered her documentation and paperwork did not add up with what he had expected.

"She understood when she purchased it that if something happened to her from that day forward she was told that the money was receeded and if something happened to her the day she walked out the door, she had phoned, or check in or cleared the bank that all her expenses would be paid and she paid on it monthly"

Gossett called an attorney for help sorting out burial documentation and phrasing.  He's concerned others could also be left footing a bill they never planned for.

"The public needs to know because there is no recourse when the person has passed away she can't come back and argue the point"

However Lakewood Memory Gardens West told News 12 they don't even offer burial insurance, and George's mother actually signed up for a completely different policy.

Their Sales Director, Brooke Austin, added in an official statement that.

"To provide additional protection to the purchaser we guarantee ownership of the property, goods and services... Provided that the customer is under the age of 65 and employed and in good health". This Austin added is part of a guarantee ownership option which was not checked off on this customer review list from 2012 which was also signed and dated by George's then living mother. Austin says George's mother was not eligible for this optional add on, being unemployed, in poor health and in her early 80s.

The BBB say these situations can be avoided.

Jim Winsett, BBB Chattanooga President."That just leads back to any type of contractual dispute which we encounter quite often that is the reading the fine detail in the contract"

Winsett added that planning and filing of paperwork with your loved ones before they pass is vital in preventing situations like this from arising.

"Funeral homes and people who provide burial services are highly regulated. However, in turn they speak with people about these services and provide a complete listing of the costs and services"

Lakewood Memory Gardens West said they are willing to help families who are confused and concerned about end of life planning.

For more information:

Chattanooga Police Investigate Tuesday Morning Shooting on Wilson Street

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 5:34pm
(WDEF) Chattanooga Police investigate a Tuesday morning shooting on Wilson Street.
     Dispatch took a call about a person shot around 8:15am.
     Terrance Jordan went to an hospital with a very minor injury.
     He told police it happened while he was driving in the 1800 block of Wilson Street.
     Police could not find a crime scene, but processed Jordan's vehicle.
     If you know anything about this crime, please call Chattanooga police.

Convicted Chattanooga Murderer Back In Court

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 3:53pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - Dana Wilkes' sister, Amy Yates, reveals to the courtroom a specific image in her head that keeps her up at night physically sick.

Yates adds, "Tony Bigoms leaning over my tiny sister, probably sweating, while sawing off her head."

Dana's hands were sawed off too; her torso was left to rot on the edge of creek near Youngstown Road in 2012.

Yates says, "I can't imagine what sick twisted desires would drive someone to kill mostly likely for oral sex."

Dana knew Tony Bigoms.

He was her husband's friend who popped in on occasion.

Yates says he propositioned her for sex before.

Yates adds, "I think that part of the problem here is that Tony thought Dana was a nobody, that no one would notice or care that she was gone."

But people did notice she was gone, especially her sons, who did not want to be in the courtroom on this day.

Yates adds, "They don't want to share the air that you breathe."

Bigoms was already serving a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of first degree murder.

Now, after this testimony, Judge Barry Steelman, ordered him to serve four more years, the maximum, for abusing Dana's corpse.

Judge Steelman says, "The evidence was substantial and the evidence was convincing."

Now, after that comment is when we first heard from Bigoms.

Bigoms adds, "No it wasn't."

But Judge Steelman said no outbursts.

He could testify, he just had to be sworn in.

However, Bigoms refused and sat quietly ... rocking from side to side.

The only other time he showed a little emotion was when Judge Steelman agreed with Yates in saying he was barbaric, heinous, and evil.

Bigoms just shook his head.

Tony Bigoms will serve his two sentences consecutively.

He has four prior felonies dating back to 1978.

Four Burglary Suspects Arrested Quickly

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 1:15pm
Chattanooga, Tn. (WDEF-TV)

The Chattanooga Police Department made quick work of a burglary investigation Tuesday.
They responded to a call of burglary in progress at 5208 Sunnyside Drive around noon.
The victim was identified as Lander Lewis.
Upon arrival officers were told to be on the lookout for a brown SUV carrying several people.
Officers located and stopped the vehicle at 28th/6th Ave.
There they arrested the driver, 25 year old Carl Lewis, passenger 18 year old Kelvon Dozier and one juvenile.
They went to a residence and arrested 18 year old Kiaomee Owens and 19 year old Deangelo Foster.
After written consent was given,a search of the residence resulted in the recovery of the victim’s stolen items.
Officers returned the stolen property to the victim.
Charges against the suspects range from aggravated burglary to reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and the4ft over one-thousand dollars.
The name of the juvenile was not released.

Preliminary NTSB Report on Fatal Ooltewah/Collegedale Plane Crash

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:32pm
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On September 3, 2014, about 1522 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Lancair IV-P, N541EM, was substantially damaged when it impacted an open field within an industrial park near Collegedale Municipal Airport (FGU), Collegedale, Tennessee. The airplane had departed from McGhee-Tysons International Airport (TYS), Knoxville, Tennessee, at 1451. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN), Jackson, Mississippi. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The business flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Preliminary information from Federal Aviation Administration Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) revealed that the pilot reported on the Atlanta ARTCC frequency that he was at 11,000 feet and requested to deviate to the right for weather. The aircraft subsequently leveled at its filed cruising altitude of 16,000 feet above mean sea level (msl). Shortly after reaching cruise altitude the pilot reported that he was "having trouble holding altitude," descended to 15,000 feet msl, reported "engine problems," and then reported "instrument problems." The pilot subsequently requested to divert to Chattanooga-Lovell Field (CHA), Chattanooga, Tennessee. At 1513, the pilot reported that the airplane "lost engine power" and the corresponding radar return was approximately 7 miles north of FGU and indicated an altitude of 6,000 feet msl. Then the pilot reported "oil all over the windshield" and that he "could not see a thing." Subsequently the pilot reported "I cannot see it. I cannot make it. I am just looking for anything at this point" and that a forced landing was imminent." The last recorded radar transponder return for the flight was about 2 nautical miles north of FGU and in the vicinity of the accident location.

The airplane was located in a grassy area of an industrial park. The airplane came to rest on its belly and the landing gear was retracted. The initial impact point was denoted as a ground scar created by the left wing of the airplane and the main wreckage came to rest 108 feet 8 inches from the initial impact ground scar. The nose of the airplane impacted the ground 16 feet 4 inches from the initial impact point and began with a ground scar similar in shape and dimension as the propeller flange. The debris field was on a 202 degree heading from the initial ground scar and the airplane came to rest on a 015 heading. Subsequent examination of the surrounding area revealed a composite piece of the tail was located about 510 feet and on a magnetic heading of 036 degrees from the initial impact sight.

Examination of security video, obtained from a nearby facility, revealed that the airplane impacted the ground in a left wing down, slightly inverted attitude. Subsequently, the nose of the airplane impacted the ground, followed by the right wing. The security video further revealed a mist emanating from the wreckage similar in appearance to fuel spray from the breeched right fuel tank.

The airplane exhibited various degrees of impact and crush damage and the empennage, aft of the most aft bulkhead, was separated, but remained in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. Both wings exhibited impact damage on the outboard approximate one-half of each wing. Rudder cable continuity was confirmed from both sets of rudder pedals to the rudder horn located in the tail through the cable cut that was made to facilitate recovery. However, the rudder was separated from the vertical stabilizer at the attach points during the accident sequence, and was located in the immediate vicinity of the stabilizer. Elevator push/pull tube continuity was confirmed from both side mounted control columns in the cockpit to the base of the vertical stabilizer mounting surface on the aft bulkhead. The elevator operated smoothly on the separated vertical stabilizer. Left aileron continuity was confirmed from the side mounted control columns in the cockpit to the left wing's fracture point on the outboard section of the wing; however, the aileron was impact separated but was in the vicinity of the wreckage. Right aileron continuity was confirmed from the side mounted control columns to the push/pull tube fracture point at the fuselage wall and from that fracture point to the aileron. Examination of the engine revealed that the propeller flange remained in place; however, the propeller had not been not located at the time of this writing. The propeller flange bolt holes were devoid of any bolts or bolt shanks and the holes were packed with soil from the nose impact point.

JOE FRUGAL: McDonalds Offers Free Small McCafe Coffee Through 9/29

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 4:45am
Score free coffee at McDonald's for the next two weeks.

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From today through September 29th, participating Mickey D's locations will offer a free small cup of Premium Roast McCafe Drip Coffee.  Chattanooga area stores will be participating.

No purchase necessary and the free coffee is available from open to close.

Use #SipandTell on social media to tag your embarrassing pre-coffee moments for a chance to win additional goodies.

Rhea County Lawyer Suspended

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 7:59pm

   The Supreme Court of Tennessee temporarily suspends attorney John Arnold Fitzgerald from the practice of law.

   They say he misappropriated funds to his own use.

   The ruling states that his practice of law poses a "threat of substantial harm to the public."

   So Fitgerald must not accept any new cases and he must stop working on old ones within a month.

Chattanooga Airport Getting EPB Wi Fi

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 7:34pm

     Officials at the Chattanooga airport today approved a partnership with EPB to bring hi speed Wi Fi to the terminal.
     EPB Fiber Optics will install three separate input paths for the airport's internet line.
     The service will avoid any caps or usage limits.
     And it is free.
     EPB will also open a Gig demonstration area on the second floor which includes device charging stations.
     Airport President Terry Hart says "As a front door to our community, we want to ensure visitors experience the Gig from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave."
     The improvements should be up and running by this year's holiday traveling season.

Spare the rod, spoil the child? or time out?

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 6:37pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) The indictment of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of child abuse has sparked a nationwide debate over physical discipline.

WDEF took a closer look at the issue by talking to several parents on the street about physical punishment.

Spankings and whippings are supposed to let children know they've done something bad but when does the act of physical punishment go too far?

"You've gone too far when there's blood drawn," said parent Jacquita Williams.

"If you are leaving marks on your child," said parent Sharon Chase.

"If it's done out of the heat of the moment and it's not explained as to why the punishments being administered," said parent Tanya Wilson.

The debate over punishing a child has also sparked a cultural divide over the method in which the punishment is administered.

"I definitely think that timeouts are just as effective or can be just as effective. I don't have a problem of spanking children," Wilson said.

"White people give there children time out. They get spanked. They get a count to three and learn from that form of discipline. But our children they're more so popped and whipped for the most part," said Rica Adams.

But not every white parent believes in a simple time out.

"Yes I do believe in spanking. I was spanked as a child and I think because of that, I grew up with a healthy respect," said Chase.

In addition to respect, some parents believe corporal punishment that isn't too harsh is actually positive.

"You won't lose your child to the streets or to the gangs. A child will not want to be out doing the wrong things because they're getting discipline at home first. So when they go out in the streets, they know what to do and what not to do," Williams said.

Laws behind physically disciplining a child varies from state to state.

Permits criminal charges against a parent/guardian/custodian who administers "unreasonable" corporal punishment which causes "injury" to the child.§ 39-15-401 [Criminal Code]

Physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is no physical injury to the child. Secs. 19-7-5/19-15- 1/49-5-180. [Civil Code] Parent or person in loco parentis reasonably disciplining of a minor has a justification for a criminal prosecution based on that conduct.§ 16-3-20. [Criminal Code]

Parent/guardian/person responsible for care and supervision of a minor/teacher or other person responsible for care and supervision of a minor for a special purpose may use reasonable and appropriate physical force when and to the extent he reasonably believes it necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline or promote welfare of the child.§ 13A-3-24. [Criminal Code]

In 2012, a national survey showed more than half of women and three-quarters of men in the United States believe a child sometimes needs a "good hard spanking."

Problems in the Soddy Daisy Police Department

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 6:33pm
SODDY DAISY, TN (WDEF-TV) Twenty-One Soddy Daisy police officers met with City Manager, Janice Cagle, about problems and the moral in the police department.

It's been more than a month, and officers tell us nothing has been done about it.

Soddy Daisy Police Officers asked the City Manager, Janice Cagle, to make changes because of the Chief of Police and Lieutenant of Patrol.

"I told them that we would address any problems they had, and we were going to try out best to get through this," said Cagle.

The letter called out Chief of Police, Philip Hamrick, and Lieutenant of Patrol, Jeff Gann, as the two figures creating an "unethical" atmosphere.

It stated Chief Hamrick "demoralizes his officers" and "refuses to support his officers in times of need."

It went on to say that Lieutenant Gann would threaten officers' jobs if certain quotas were not met.

Cagle said those complaints were made over a month ago.

"I have not had any more police officers come to me with complaints nor have any of the sergeants that I'm aware of," said Cagle.

She believes the situation is getting better.

"It's just an internal situation and we're going to work our way through."

Cagle said there has not been any turnover in the department, and she does not think any will need to be made.

Cleveland Fire Dept Aim To Stay Ahead Of Emerging Car Designs To Save Lives During Wrecks

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:53pm
CLEVELAND, TN, (WDEF)-"If we go to a vehicle accident scene that requires us to use these tools, there's a human life involved."

Cleveland Fire Training Captain Pete VanDusen says the department is willing to spend money now, to stay ahead of future car designs, so their tools will not be out of date when someone's life is on the line.

"Just over 200,000 dollars worth of equipment, we outfitted five engine companies, a ladder company and a squad with hydraulic rescue tools in various degrees of capabilities."

The tools will be put into use straight away to slice through a growing number of exotic metals such as aluminum alloys and boron which are set to become more common in car designs between now and 2017.

At All Metal Salvage in Cleveland they have been dealing with changing car metals and designs for more than three decades and are grateful that the Cleveland Fire Department has new equipment to handle those changes.

Mike Hodnett, All Metal Salvage, Cleveland, TN, "Luckily my son made it through one of his wrecks, or his wreck, they got him down to Chattanooga fast enough that he didn't die, it's real important to me, they come here and practice a few times."

Lee University officials say science and engineering industries are constantly trying to keep up with demand for stronger, lighter and more fuel efficient cars.

Matthew Krepps, Chemistry Professor at Lee University, "Boron compounds are known for their light weight and being extremely hard, so other applications we see of Boron compounds include bullet resistant material that are used in Apache helicopters overseas when they are under fire."

Hydraulic rescue tools were first used in motor racing back in the 1960's and after saving racer's lives got the nick name the Jaws of life.

Cleveland Firefighters deal with more than 30,000 calls a year.

Manhunt Monday Fugitive Susan Hildreth

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:43pm
Chattanooga, TN (WDEF) This week's Manhunt Monday fugitive is 33-year-old Susan Hildreth.

She's wanted for various drug and gun charges.

It's stemming from a probation and parole check where law enforcement say they found guns, ammo, drugs and more in her residence.

If you know where Hildreth is, call the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Fort Oglethorpe Shooting Suspect Sought

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 5:21pm
Fort Olgethorpe Police look for the suspect in Friday's shooting on Mack Smith Road.

They've identified him as 19-year-old Tervon Jackson.

He's wanted for Aggravated Assault.

A witness told News 12 that a man got out of his car and started screaming at a female driver.

He then walked towards the passenger side and the male shot him.

The victim went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Officials say the suspect Jackson is known as a possible gang member of the Gangster Disciples.

He's also known to carry a gun.

If you know where he is, call Fort Oglethorpe police.

Airport/EPB to Provide High Speed Wi-Fi to Travelers

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 4:34pm

Airport visitors to have unlimited, free access to the Gig

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Sept. 15, 2014) – Chattanooga Airport officials today approved a new partnership with EPB Fiber Optics to provide airport visitors and travelers with the fastest internet in the nation.

“As part of our recent renovation, we are giving all travelers access to Chattanooga’s unmatched high-speed internet, optimizing their airport experience and making it easier for business travelers to work on the go,” said Terry Hart, airport president. “As a front door to our community, we want to ensure visitors experience the Gig from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave.”

EPB Fiber Optics will install three separate input paths for the airport’s internet line to provide complete WiFi coverage and ample bandwidth for the airport terminal, guaranteeing no caps or usage limits. The new WiFi service will be free to all airport visitors.

“With EPB’s unlimited services, customers will be able to access our free WiFi simultaneously without the cost of sluggish internet or constant buffering,” Hart stated. “EPB’s lightning-fast internet is a direct answer particularly to the needs of our business travelers.”

In addition to the new WiFi service, EPB will open a Gig demonstration area on the upper level of the airport. The space will feature flat screen televisions, iPads, laptops, a video game system and charging stations for travelers’ devices.

“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Chattanooga Airport Authority and to serve people who are traveling to and from Chattanooga,” said Harold DePriest, EPB president and CEO. “Partnerships like these build on our city’s quality of life and create new business opportunities that strengthen our local economy.”

Both the WiFi service and the demonstration space are expected to be operational before the holiday travel season.