Tennessee Fisherman Seriously Injured In Watauga River Boating Accident

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A fisherman from Bluff City was seriously injured after being pinned between a boat and a tree hanging close to the water’s surface on the Watauga River in Washington County last Saturday. 

TWRA Boating Officer Matt Swecker, who is leading the investigation, reported that on Saturday, around 7 p.m., three adult males were fishing a section of the river below Wilbur dam near Herb Hodge Road when the incident occurred. 

The trio was fishing from an 18-foot aluminum jet boat when the trolling motor hit some rocks, breaking the propeller and allowing the boat to drift into the low-lying tree near the water’s surface. The operator became pinned between the tree and the boat as the passengers clung to the tree. The boat eventually washed downstream forcing all three men to enter the frigid water in order to reach safety at the shore. 

The operator was life-flighted from a river bottom field to Johnson City Medical Center with serious injuries. The other two men suffered minor injuries.

Deputies from Washington County Sheriff’s Department responded and rescue squads, firefighters, and EMS members from Washington County, Watauga, and Johnson City provided aid to the victims.

Officer Swecker pointed out that the river is especially hazardous when the dam is generating water and the water temperature is in the 50s, which was the case during Saturday’s incident. Low-lying limbs and trees also create another element of danger along the shoreline.


Catoosa WMA To Stage Wildlife Inspection Check Points

Hunters planning to hunt at the TWRA Catoosa Wildlife management Area this season should be aware that wildlife officers may be staging several wildlife inspection checkpoints. Hunters passing through these checkpoints and their vehicles will be inspected for harvested animals, contraband, and illegal firearms and ammunition.   Hunters should stop at the area’s checking ... (click for more)

Deer Archery Hunting Season Set To Open Sept. 27

The 2014 deer archery-only hunting season opens statewide in Tennessee on Saturday, Sept. 27. The archery season dates in all three of the state’s deer hunting units are the same. The dates are Sept. 27-Oct. 24 and Oct. 27-Nov. 7. Tennessee is divided into three deer units for better management, A, B, and L. The antlerless deer bag limits are four in Units A and B deer management ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

Sheriff Says Man Who Took His Own Life At Jail Was In Isolation Cell

Sheriff Jim Hammond said an inmate who took his own life at the County Jail on Saturday morning was in an isolation cell.   He said Justin Dale Bradley, who was charged with the murder of a three-year-old child, was being checked every 30-40 minutes.   The sheriff said it is believed that he hanged himself with a bed sheet shortly after a guard passed ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Hate The SEC’ Day

The boo birds came out on the fly on the ESPN website Sunday afternoon, this moments after the latest AP College Football “Top 25” included eight teams from the Southeastern Conference.   What set naysayers aglow was Mississippi State, after upsetting LSU 34-29 Saturday night, debuted on the list at No. 14 while Clemson, playing Florida State in an overtime thriller, got tossed ... (click for more)