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.” 


Fishing Report From The TWRA

Here is the fishing report from the TWRA: Center Hill Reservoir :  Reservoir Conditions :  Current water elevation is 632.5.  The water surface temperature is averaging 40 degrees.  Saturday the water was stained in the back of creeks and clearer out in the main river. Largemouth Bass :  Fishermen had few bites but when they did, they were ... (click for more)

Land Trust For Tennessee's Emily Parish To Lead March Nature @ Noontime Program

Emily Parish, director of Conservation for the Land Trust for Tennessee will be the featured speaker for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s March Nature @ Noontime. The program will be held on Thursday, March 5, at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Ms. Parish will speak about the history and programs for The Land Trust for ... (click for more)

County School Bus Driver Alexander Rodriquez Charged With Raping 15-Year-Old Student

A county school bus driver has been charged with raping a 15-year-old student.   Alexander Rodriguez, 34, of Dusty Trail, Ooltewah, was being held on $350,000 bond.   The sheriff's office said it got a report at 9:30 p.m. of a missing juvenile, who was last seen boarding a school bus at Sale Creek High School that afternoon.    ... (click for more)

Snow In Today's Forecast After Balmy Wednesday; Hamilton County Schools, CCS, State Offices Closed Thursday

Temperatures were mild on Wednesday, reaching 74 degrees, but they began dropping as the day went on - leading to a winter weather advisory. The advisory went into effect at 4 a.m. on Thursday and is to continue until 4 p.m. The forecast is for freezing rain,sleet and snow. Hamilton County Schools will be closed Thursday . Officials said, "Due to the continued drop in temperatures ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)