2 TWRA Officers Ejected Into Water After Boat Hits Apparent Floating Debris

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SPEEDWELL, Tn. -  Because of having worn their life jackets, two TWRA officers are slightly injured but safe after a single-vessel boating accident on Norris Lake last night.

Officers Jerry Short and Harrison Cornett were on patrol of Norris Lake around 10:30 p.m. last night near Blue Springs Dock when they apparently struck a large piece of floating debris.  The impact caused both officers to be ejected from the vessel and into the water.

  Officer Short was able to swim back to the vessel and use the radio to contact the TWRA dispatcher and other wildlife officers for assistance. 

Both officers sustained minor injuries and were transported to Claiborne County Hospital in Tazewell.  They have been treated and released.

The vessel has been recovered and the accident is under investigation by the TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division. 

Statistics show that the majority of people who die in boating accidents drown and the majority of people who drown are not wearing life jackets, officials said.  

TWRA Law Enforcement Major Brian Ripley said,  " The majority of fatalities from boating accidents occur as a result of situations similar to this one: People unexpectedly finding themselves in the water without a life jacket."  

TWRA Investigator George Birdwell stated, “In recent years, TWRA created a policy that all agency employees must wear a life jacket while in a vessel.  However, several years prior to the mandate, law enforcement training personnel demonstrated the importance of wearing life jackets while on duty by subjecting the officers to rigorous training exercises.  This encouraged many officers to voluntarily wear them before the policy was in place.  It made the officers realize that in emergency situations, a life jacket is the only thing that can save their lives.  Also, by our officers wearing their life jackets while on duty promotes the simple fact to Tennessee’s boaters that wearing them saves lives.” 


Trail Repair Work Beginning On Red Trail In Chickamauga Battlefield

The National Park Service is advising the beginning of repair work on a 1.09 mile section of the Red Trail located in the northwest corner of the Chickamauga Battlefield. This section is part of the equestrian trail that intersects the yellow trail. The park is utilizing an agreement with the Southeast Conservation Corp to have a student work crew repair the trail ... (click for more)

33rd Rail-to-Trail To Cost City $440,000

B ert Kuyrkendall, city transportation engineer, said the focus of the 33rd Rail-to-Trail “is transportation not recreation.” If the grant he hopes to apply for is accepted, construction will begin on a $2,200,000 project, with the city of Chattanooga’s portion costing $440,000.   The Chattanooga City Council discussed a resolution which would authorize administration ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (5)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Story You Won’t See

In a puzzling time when the big daily newspapers have veered strongly away from “all the news that is fit to print,” allow me to share a story that you very likely will not see on CNN, ABC News, or in the big media conglomerates that influence the way you think, the way you react and – as a result – easily warp our common senses. This story is very true. Late last Sunday afternoon, ... (click for more)