Friday, March 30, 2012

TN trooper crash chasing sportbike wheelie artist

"If I wanted to kill YOU, all I'd have to do is don't let anybody see me do it, don't tell any body I did it, and hide the murder weapon!"
-Mike Nassios, Knox County homicide prosecutor, poking his finger at The Dragonater before his wife's client's team of assassins but a bullet hole in The Dragonater's car

Many upset after high-speed THP chase injures 5

MCEWEN, TN (WSMV) - Call it too close for comfort. A 10-year-old boy was nearly hit by a speeding police car, and now his mother and others are asking if the high-speed chase through a school zone was necessary.

A young man was seen speeding on a motorcycle Monday through downtown McEwen, so a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper wanted to issue a traffic ticket. But soon, it became a high-speed chase through a school zone, and several bus stops right as school was dismissing.

Marcus Crews had just gotten off the bus around 3:10 p.m. and did what always does. He went to the curb to grab the mail for his mom.

But then Marcus was looking at a trooper flying down the road, coming toward him at high speed.

"It was a big smash,"he said.

His mother, Chrissy Crews, was inside the house in her living room.

"It was very terrifying. The next thing I heard was a big crash, and my son screaming," she said.

The THP confirms the chase started when Trooper Jason Clarke saw a young man speeding and doing wheelies on a motorcycle.

The chase continued downtown in front of McEwen High School just minutes after dismissal, then it traveled along a road where a school bus was letting children off.

The trooper rear-ended and sideswiped one car, and then narrowly missed a head-on collision with another before spinning into a roadside ditch.

Five people were hospitalized in the crashes.

The whole thing was unacceptable for Chrissy Crews, who says she can't believe the trooper put so many people at risk to chase the speeding rider.

"The other children that were in the car were just leaving school. It was pretty much ping pong between them," Crews said. "It was very dangerous that he was flying down here at the time," she said.

THP officials are investigating the crash and told Channel 4 they would not defend or criticize the high-speed chase until the investigation was completed.

The THP released a statement Wednesday, saying: "The safety and welfare of the motoring public is our top priority. It appears the investigating trooper followed the department's policy regarding vehicle pursuits. The investigation is ongoing, and the circumstances and facts of this case will be reviewed thoroughly."

The family of the five people who went to the hospital said they are very upset and have hired a lawyer, saying the safety of the public was obviously not the first consideration in the chase.

State Trooper, Four Others Injured In Crash

MCEWEN, Tenn.- A Tennessee Highway Patrol officer was injured in a crash Monday afternoon, while attempting to pull over a dangerous motorcycle rider.

A spokesperson with THP said the crash happened just before 3 p.m. on Old Nashville Highway, north of McEwen.

A State Trooper attempted to make a traffic stop of a motorcycle rider who was popping wheelies while riding down Hwy 70. The rider refused to stop and upon topping a hill on Old Nashville Highway, went in between two cars. The following trooper came up the hill, and attempting to stop to miss the cars ending up sideswiping one of the vehicles.

Officials said the Trooper then lost control of his patrol car and hit another vehicle that was traveling southbound. The impact caused the patrol unit to spin into a ditch.

The Trooper suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. Four other people also suffered minor injuries as a result of the crash and were transported to the Horizon Medical Center in Dickson.

Police said the motorcyclist who caused the accident remains at large.

State Trooper Causes Wreck Chasing Motorcyclist on Old Nashville Highway

It is rare that those employed by State Agencies, whose jobs focus on maintaining the safety of drivers, are the ones involved in the accidents that occur on Tennessee’s highways, but a recent collision in the Nashville area brings attention to this very real possibility.

On March 6th, a Tennessee State Trooper noticed a reckless motorcycle rider wreaking havoc by popping wheelies along Hwy 70 near McEwen. Once pursued by the Trooper, the reckless driver neglected to yield and was able to escape by dodging between two cars atop a hill on Old Nashville Highway.

The chase ended as the Trooper stopped abruptly to avoid colliding with the two cars that the motorcycle had slipped between. In doing so, the Trooper spun out of control and swiped the side of one of the vehicles, crashing into a second vehicle headed southbound.

While the State Trooper was treated for minor injuries at the scene of the car crash, four additional people involved in the wreck were taken to Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, Tennessee to be treated for minor injuries as well. The motorcycle rider’s fate remains undetermined, as he/she has not yet been identified.

While it seems that the Tennessee State Trooper didn’t exhibit any extreme negligence in this case, highways can be a dangerous place, where even those trying to maintain drivers’ safety can put others at risk for accident or injury.

Ask for a lawyer, get tasered by cop, win $40,000 the hard way

Bull dyke lesbian tasers defenseless motorists exercising Constitutional rights

How to earn $40,000 THE HARD WAY -- "Ma'am bull dyke lesbian, please don't shoot me with a Taser?!"

'Trooper of the year' admits violating DUI procedure and destroying evidence...and now hundreds of convictions could be overturned

A police officer who was named 'Trooper of the Year 2007' for making more than 200 DUI arrests could see her cases overturned after she admitted violating standard procedure.

Lisa Steed admitted in court this week that she had removed her microphone during a 2010 DUI stop so her superior wouldn't know what she was doing.
This is not the first time Steed's actions on DUI stops have got her into trouble.

In 2009, a shocking police car dashcam recording caught her tasering a terrified man after he refused to get out of his car asking to call his lawyer. The man was later found to have been sober.

A Facebook group has been set up calling on the police to fire Steed called; 'End Abusive Police: Fire UHP Officer Lisa Steed.' It has over 120 supporters

'The cumulative facts may well have a significant ripple effect across every case she's touched,' Salt Lake City attorney Joseph Jardine told

'This could become the basis for overturning multiple convictions in the past.'

Jardine is representing Theron Alexander, who said Steed violated procedure when she administered a breathalyzer test before a field sobriety test in March 2010.

'The credibility of an investigating officer is paramount. If you can't trust the cop at their word, there's very little left that you can trust with an investigation,' Jardine said.

Steed admitted that she had removed her microphone and left in in the patrol car during the incident so she could perform an unauthorized action, according to ABC News.

'She specifically stated [Tuesday] that she took the microphone off so her superior wouldn't know what she was doing,' Jardine said.

'We're concerned that she may have a tendency to stretch the truth when it suits her purposes. Our objective is to probe her credibility.'
Trooper Steed's statements came while she took the witness stand in the DUI court case.

Steed, pictured on Tuesday, was named 'Trooper of the Year 2007' for making more than 200 DUI arrests but now see her cases overturned
Steed's attorney Greg Skordas told ABC that the incident is not a reflection of his client's credibility.

'It doesn't affect her credibility. It affects the way she does things, her ability to follow instructions,' Skordas told ABC. 'It doesn't mean she's dishonest.'

Skordas claimed that Steed was simply trying to give the motorist that she had pulled over 'the benefit of the doubt' by skipping straight to the breathalyzer test and not having them get out of the car.

'It wasn't anyone she knew. I think she was just being overly sensitive,' Skordas said.

'There wasn't any bad intent. It was one of those, no good deed goes unpunished.'

A Facebook group has been set up calling on the police to fire Steed called; 'End Abusive Police: Fire UHP Officer Lisa Steed'.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said his office has been investigating several dozen pending DUI cases involving Steed after complaints arose.

The 2009 taser recording showed the officer shouting at Ryan Jones to get out of his car, when he asked to call his lawyer first.

She quickly threatens him with a taser saying: 'If you don't get out now, you're getting tasered in two second.'

She then threatens to get a police dog to 'rip him out of the car'.
Jones can be heard calmly saying, "Ma'am, please don't shoot me with a Taser,'.

However, Steed ignores his plea and zaps him as he is sitting in his car. He can be heard screaming in agony in the recording and then begging her not to do it again before he is zapped a second time.

When Jones was eventually tested, his blood alcohol level was a 0.03, well below the legal limit.

The case was settled in November 2011 when the state paid Jones $40,000 without admitting wrongdoing.

Of the case, Skordas said, she was reprimanded and had moved on.

Metal cap seized on tire valve

Aluminum valve stem + steel valve cap = fun afternoon of not riding.

Tyre Valve Disaster!!!

Switching back to plastic valve caps, though in theory copper antiseize would work to prevent corrosion on steel/aluminum threads. Don't need steel caps with a 90-degree stem due to lack of centripetal force. Die grinder chewed up the threads a little while cutting off the cap. I'll replace the valve stem at the next tire change.

White chunks are barry corrosion that glued cap on like epoxy

Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially to another when both metals are in electrical contact and immersed in an electrolyte. The same galvanic reaction is exploited in primary batteries to generate a voltage.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Death penalty for Failure to Countersteer

Maryville motorcyclist killed in head-on crash [not the Dragon]

MARYVILLE, TENN. — A Blount County woman was killed when the motorcycle she was riding collided head-on with a pickup truck in Maryville today, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Waynanne Suttles, 44, of Maryville was killed in the crash, according to a THP incident report.

She was riding a 1985 Honda CMX southbound along U.S. Highway 129 at approximately 11:45 a.m. when she crossed the double-yellow line on a curve near Old Railroad Bed Road and struck an oncoming 2005 Chevy SK1, the report states.

Suttles was wearing a helmet, the report notes. The driver of the pickup, Michael J. Anthony, 44, of Madisonville, was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.

There were no indications that either party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and no citations or criminal charges are expected, the report states.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dragon guardrail company banned and indicted for corruption

Beware defective "guardrails" at Deals Gap. Tennessee Guardrail chopped the leg off The Dragonater's co-driver at Knoxville's Group-10 Racing, after 70-feet of "guardrail" passed through his pickup truck and groin.

Tennessee courts uphold DoT ban on contractors that bribed, destroyed documents

by State Integrity Investigation
November 09, 2011

Corruption news for Tennessee, from The Tennesseean:

Two Nashville courts have refused to overturn the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s decisions to suspend two guardrail contractors from bidding on state contracts.

The two contractors had been implicated in corruption investigations.

The contractors — Kingston Springs-based Lu Inc. and Knoxville-based Tennessee Guardrail — argued in lawsuits that their suspensions were improper.


Owner of TN guardrail company suing TDOT

Aug 3, 2011

The owner of a Tennessee Guardrail company is suing the Tennessee Department of Transportation for banning him and his companies from future projects.

Joey Cole's lawsuit agrees Lu Incorporated's suspension violates a 2006 agreement in a separate case. It also claims the suspension relies on protected testimony Cole gave to federal investigators about a former TDOT worker who pleaded guilty this year to soliciting and accepting $30,000 in bribes.

TDOT officials declined to comment. The suspension means Cole's companies can't work on state funded road projects for a least a year. The federal highway administration has also banned Lu Incorporated from federally funded projects.

In 2006, the state reached a settlement with Lu, after they were accused of installing shoddy guardrails on the Tennessee Roads. Lu agreed to pay more than $360,000 to TDOT to cover the inspection and replacement costs and to drop all suits against the state.

Two Judges Back TDOT in Disputes With Contractors Tied to Corruption

Two Nashville courts have refused to overturn the Tennessee Department of Transportation's decisions to suspend two guardrail contractors from bidding on state contracts, according to The Tennessean.

The two contractors had been implicated in corruption investigations. The contractors -- Kingston Springs-based Lu Inc. and Knoxville-based Tennessee Guardrail -- argued in lawsuits that their suspensions were improper. Davidson County Chancellor Russell T. Perkins and U.S. District Court Judge Kevin H. Sharp have so far refused, preserving TDOT's wide latitude to suspend contractors as it sees fit to protect the public's confidence that taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately.

Lu Inc. owner and President Novice Cole has admitted to giving $30,000 to a TDOT project supervisor who oversaw his work on a 2005 Interstate 65 widening project, but claimed in a Davidson County Chancery Court lawsuit that the state's decision to suspend him earlier this year violated the terms of a 2006 settlement agreement he reached with the agency.

The settlement agreement ended a previous TDOT suspension of Lu that was based on allegations by a former employee that guardrails it installed were not embedded deep enough and were unsafe.

Lu was suspended again this year after former TDOT employee James Douglas Hagar was indicted in federal court on bribery charges. Hagar has admitted to accepting eight personal checks from Cole totaling $30,000 and was sentenced to six months in prison.

....Tennessee Guardrail Vice President Kevin Eugene Peel and company founder Allen Roy DeFoe are accused of destroying records requested by a federal grand jury in 2006. The grand jury had requested records of "anything of value obtained for or transferred for the direct or indirect benefit of any employee or former employee of" TDOT or other government agencies. The indictment alleges that, after receiving the subpoena, Peel and DeFoe took numerous boxes of documents to a commercial document-shredding business and had them destroyed.

TDOT decided to suspend Tennessee Guardrail because Peel is still an officer with the company and declined the company's request for an administrative hearing to dispute the charges.

"We believe this suspension violates Tennessee Guardrail's constitutional rights because its employee was indicted; Tennessee Guardrail was not," Nashville attorney Courtney Smith argued for Tennessee Guardrail at an Oct. 26 hearing.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rockwood pedestrian Robert Nelson hit by SUV dies from injuries

Crash rescue of pedestrian Robert Eugene "Chip" Nelson. Photos by The Dragonater



UPDATE: Motorcycle Safety Foundation proves all drivers have Motion Induced Blindness - Bikers and pedestrians BEWARE!


Debrief by The Dragonater, ak/a/ John Lee

Last night I eyewitnessed a crash recovery in Rockwood on US27. Today the news reported the victim died in Knoxville at UT Medical Center (owned by a Canadian corporation, a common target for malpractice lawyers and pedophile prosecutors).

Impact point and directions of travel NOT confirmed by police report. Click to enlarge map

Click for Interactive Map

Ambulance response was so fast the victim was stabilized and driven away literally in the time it took to take these photos, less than 5 minutes. It takes Rural Metro over 4 hours to "rescue" a crash victim on the Dragon, not counting Lifestar flight.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

US27 (North Gateway Avenue) in Rockwood is a 5-lane undivided highway peppered with an annoying number of frivolous traffic lights. Occasional pedestrians use the crosswalks, sometimes still crossing after lights turn green for vehicle traffic, due to the time it takes to walk across 5-lanes of traffic, and yellow lights that are timed too short. Pedestrians in crosswalks are often hidden behind vehicles stopped for a red light after the light turns green, while moving vehicles approaching a now-green light continue moving. It is always lawful for pedestrians using crosswalks to still be crossing after a light turns red for pedestrians, after the light turns green for vehicle traffic (which may be what happened in this case). Vehicles are always required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, under TN Code. Five lanes also allows drivers plenty of visibility, maneuvering room and braking room to dodge any pedestrian. Vehicles are not allowed to park along US27, thus there is no obstruction of visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

I spoke with the portly gentleman seen in these photos (gray or tan shirt), who I presumed was an off-duty cop. But this may have (also) been the driver of the SUV, Larry Thompson. I asked "Was it hit and run?" He replied partially, "No -- he ran out in front and there was no way to avoid it." He asked, "Who are you?" (Typical cop question for journalists at crash scenes.) I said I was a journalist "taking photos in case there was a lawsuit" (for insurance to help pay hospital bills to save the life of the victim, i.e. if relying upon TennCare/Medicaid or no insurance at all = death and cannibalization for $500,000 profit in free bodyparts, since greedy doctors and hospital corporations would lose money otherwise). I asked if he was a friend or family of the victim, but he said "No". He asked, "What news organization are you with?" I replied, "CTV in Knoxville and WBCR radio in Maryville." "So you're freelance", he skoffed. No, I host my own TV and radio news shows. I got a vibe the portly gentleman was considering ramming his fist into my face, except it might have been noticed by the cops standing around. After a solid 20 hours of non-stop journalism, I was not in the most tactical mood. My PRESS PASS ID card was with my other video equipment in another bag. (Note to self: BUY MORE PRESS PASS ID CARDS)

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital


Rockwood is known as "The city with too many traffic lights". Rockwood has an illegal "speed limit" of 40 mph on US27 in violation of MUTCD, TDOT and TN Code, for lacking a mandatory Traffic Engineering Survey Speed Audit by TDOT. The reason THE LAW says the posted "speed limit" in Rockwood is ILLEGAL is because a speed limit set too low KILLS PEOPLE. Setting a posted speed limit too low for prevailing traffic also means the timing of yellow lights is probably too short for the actual speeds involved. To walk across 5 lanes of traffic on US27 means the timing of a yellow light should be lengthened to allow pedestrians time to cross before the light turns green for perpendicular vehicle traffic. The timing of yellow lights in Rockwood is clearly too short, and may be the proximate cause of this crash fatality.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

MUTCD does not allow traffic lights nor stop signs be used for "traffic calming", nor forcing potential customers to stop and stare at local businesses. Since the so-called speed limit is illegal, it's presumed the traffic lights are illegal, and without an Engineering Survey to determine correct yellow light timing (based on the 85th-Percentile average speed of traffic), or to determine if a traffic light is allowed at all. At that time of night, a flashing yellow light would be the only lawful traffic light in Rockwood. Flashing yellow lights force drivers and pedestrians to PAY ATTENTION, rather than (sometimes literally) go to sleep and allow a robot to do their thinking for them, and gets their brains out of autopilot mode.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

The illegal traffic light exposes the City of Rockwood Municipal Corporation to litigation for causing this fatality, under the TN Governmental Tort Liability Act and TN Code. See CURTIS ROBIN RUSSELL, ET AL. v. ANDERSON COUNTY, ET AL..

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

Tennessee follows the Modified Comparative Fault 50% Rule -- if a victim is more than 49% at fault, he cannot recover monetary damages for personal injury or wrongful death. A victim's financial damages are reduced by the percentage of his own comparative fault. The previous rule in TN was "contributory negligence", where a victim could not collect financial damages if he was more than 1% at fault.

Statute of limitations is one year to file a lawsuit for personal injury and wrongful death in Tennessee. Evidence MUST be preserved NOW or government agencies and private businesses will DESTROY it. Evidence in such a case would be E911 Radio Dispatch tapes and ambulance dispatch tapes for all channels involved, private security videotapes at local businesses, cellphone records, vehicle airbag "blackbox" computer data including vhicle speed at impact, and all medical records. Fatal crash reports from THP HQ are available only to immediate family, since recent change to TN Code makes public records Top Secret (to protect the guilty). Even when not filing a lawsuit nor hiring a lawyer, negotiation with a driver's insurance company or governmental Risk Management Dept will require possession of all evidence to ensure a fair settlement.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

It is a criminal misdemeanor under TN Code to fail to yield to a pedestrian, especially in a crosswalk, with sentence of up to 11 months and 29 days jail (full TCA text below). The impact of this crash apparently occurred in a crosswalk at a traffic light. Reportedly, no criminal charges were filed regarding this crash. No police officer is ever allowed to make an arrest without a warrant when they did not eyewitness a misdemeanor crime in progress. Since no cop apparently eyewitnessed this crash, no cop is allowed to ticket the driver for "failure to yield to pedestrian".

A "ticket" is literally an arrest, since detention is involved while the cop has possession of the driver's "license" (national I.D. internal passport under the 6th Plank of the Communist Manifesto).

Cops almost never ticket nor arrest government employees who design or install defective or illegal traffic control devices that injure or kill people, and never investigate defective or illegal traffic control devices in their crash reports. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices by USDOT has been adopted in Tennessee by TDOT and TN Code.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

Why were no criminal charges reportedly filed after this fatal crash? THP conducts an "investigation" only into an immediate arrest for DUI. If the driver of the vehicle does not slur words or have bloodshot eyes, nor admit to consuming alcohol or drugs in the past 24 hours, nor admit to talking on a cellphone, nor admit to being a little sleepy, then no arrest. All other witnesses are censored from the THP crash report.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

City and county cops apparently never ticket a driver if THP is on the scene. THP may have arrived later to fill out a crash report. City and county cops routinely fail to ticket a driver who is family or an employee of local government. Is SUV driver Larry Thomspon related to Rockwood city councilman William Thompson?

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

When a so-called "drunk driver" is involved in a fatal crash, that driver (and/or passenger) is prosecuted for First Degree Murder, which carries a life sentence or death penalty in Tennessee. Thousands of US citizens have been sentenced to life in prison for DUI, without involvement in a fatal accident.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

Note that the "legal limit" is 0.00% blood alcohol level in Tennessee, and every other state during the current Prohibition on consuming alcohol. What did you say...your local "news" corporation didn't tell you what's already published in THP's Driver License Handbook And Study Guide? Didn't you know the Drug War considers alcohol a mind-altering drug -- a Drug War with US Police State death squads shooting and bombing millions of people to death including women and children?

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital


The correct method to avoid pedestrians and animals is maximum braking (in a straight line if possible), staying in your same lane, then take avoiding action by RELEASING THE BRAKES and changing lanes at the last second. Fast animals like deer, dogs, cats, rabbits and squirrels often have the situation under control and changing lanes only results in running them over, so max braking in a straight line is all that's required to avoid impact. I routinely practice avoiding action for insects like caterpillers walking across the road, to exercise my mind, body and vision. This proven avoidance procedure is based on my participation in a dozen racing schools, 150 practice days and 80 races (half of them televised).

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

Target fixation is a problem for drivers and riders, resulting in hitting the object rather than avoiding it, so keep your eyes pointed AWAY from the pedestrian or animal (or insect) and only look where you want to go.

Robert Nelson was reportedly still alive at this point, and died later at UT Hospital

Bike riders must also remember to countersteer in the OPPOSITE direction you want to go, or the bike won't lean and will feel like the handlebars are welded locked in the straight-ahead position, preventing all attempts to turn the handlebars, ensuring impact or riding straight off the road. I practice countersteering at the start of every ride, to reprogram my brain to NOT steer a bike like a car or trike. Countersteering is censored by THP in its Motorcycle Operator Manual and MC license test, both of which are written by the so-called Motorcycle Safety Foundation, to extort riders to pay $300 to attend one of 1,000s of MSF RiderCourse schools staffed by off-duty cops, and to increase the number of crashes and deaths to "justify" a Police State.

I've nearly hit at least 2 pedestrians, that I recall, in my 35 years of driving. One pedestrian ran out out of the bushes in front of my car on rural I75 (miles from any exit) after midnight, and stood on the centerline of the Interstate -- I was driving 120 mph at the time (a legal speed in many nations, and formerly legal in USA, because speed saves lives according to USDOT).

The second pedestrian ran out in front of my car halfway down the busy exit ramp of I40 at Cedar Bluff in Knoxville, at daytime rush hour.

In both cases, I did not panic nor freeze, took the required avoidiance action, and reacted tha same as I would for an animal in the road. So the pedestrians survived...and so did I. These pedestrians literally "ran out into the road" in front of my car, apparently hoping for "suicide by automobile". I did not aid and abet their criminal attempt. It's illegal for pedestrians to walk on an Interstate highway -- but that's won't do you any good if you're dead from a body crashing through your windshield with 24,000 pounds of force (12-tons) at 60 mph.

John Lee is the Hollywood-award-winning executive producer and host of Pirate News TV and Radio Show, and webmaster for as seen on Charter Channel 6, Knology Channel 6, Comcast Channel 12 and ATT Uverse Channel 99 in Knox and Blount Counties, on History Channel and Asahi TV in Japan, heard on WBCR Truth Radio 1470 throughout East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, and worldwide live on the internets. John Lee was a paralegal and private investigator for the law firm of Lee, Lee & Lee, which won a trillion-dollar class action in federal court in 2011. Contact by email: dragonaters[at]

Rockwood pedestrian hit by SUV dies from injuries

Knoxville News Sentinel
March 23, 2012

ROCKWOOD, TENN. — A 41-year-old man struck by an SUV Thursday night died of his injuries this morning at University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Robert Nelson of Rockwood was flown by medical helicopter to the Knoxville hospital shortly after the 8:30 p.m. incident.

Nelson was walking across North Gateway Avenue when he was hit by a Ford Expedition driven by Larry A. Thompson, 35, also of Rockwood, investigating Rockwood Police Officer Jared Hall said.

The officer said several witnesses described the accident as "unavoidable."

No charges were filed.

2010 Tennessee Code

Title 55 - Motor and Other Vehicles

Chapter 8 - Operation of VehiclesRules of the Road

55-8-134 - Pedestrians' right-of-way in crosswalks.

(a) (1) Unless in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

(2) When in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver shall remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway on which the vehicle is stopped.

(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

(c) Subsection (a) does not apply under the conditions stated in § 55-8-135(b).

(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

[Acts 1955, ch. 329, § 33; T.C.A., § 59-834; Acts 2008, ch. 776, § 1.]

TCA 55-8-197 Failure to Yield Right of Way - Rules of the Road

**Amended May 2011 Effective July 1, 2011**

Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-197

© 2011 by The State of Tennessee
All rights reserved


Title 55 Motor and Other Vehicles
Chapter 8 Operation of Vehicles--Rules of the Road
Part 1 Operation of Vehicles -- Rules of the Road

Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-197 (2011)

(a) Any person who violates subdivisions (a)(1)-(6) and the violation results in an accident resulting in serious bodily injury to or death of any person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor:

(1) Section 55-8-115 by failing to drive on the right half of the roadway as provided in the section, except for those motor vehicles in compliance with § 55-7-115 or § 55-7-202;

(2) Section 55-8-118 or § 55-8-119 by unlawfully overtaking and passing another vehicle as provided in those sections; or

(3) Section 55-8-128, § 55-8-129, § 55-8-130 or § 55-8-131 by failing to yield the right of way as provided in those sections.

Amended May 2011 Effective July 1, 2011

(4) Section 55-8-134, by failing to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks as provided in the section;

(5) Section 55-8-136, by failing to exercise due care as provided in this section; or

(6) Section 55-8-175(c), by failing to overtake and pass a bicycle safely as provided in the subsection; or

(b) For the purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires, "serious bodily injury" means:

(1) Substantial risk of death;

(2) Serious disfigurement; or

(3) Protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member, organ or mental faculty.

(c) (1) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of two hundred and fifty dollars ($250) if the accident results in serious bodily injury of another.

(2) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of five hundred dollars ($500) if the accident results in the death of another.

(d) The court shall send the department a record of any of the convictions of any of the sections indicated in subsection (a). The court shall indicate on the record or abstract whether the violation resulted in serious bodily injury of another or death of another.

(e) Upon conviction, the court may revoke the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of a person convicted under this section for a period of up to six (6) months, if the accident results in serious bodily injury of another, and up to one (1) year if the accident results in death of another.

HISTORY: Acts 2007, ch. 537, § 1; 2009, ch. 342, § 1. Public Chapter 192 SB 1171 Amended May 2011 Effective July 1, 2011

Public Chapter No. 776 PUBLIC ACTS, 2008


By Representatives Hackworth, Hardaway, Ferguson

Substituted for: Senate Bill No. 3077
By Senators McNally, Marrero

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 55, Chapter 8, Part 1,
relative to rights of way of pedestrians.

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 55-8-134, is amended by
deleting subsection (a) in its entirety and by substituting instead the following:


(1) Unless in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the
roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is
approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in

(2) When in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver shall remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway on which the vehicle is stopped.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2008, the public welfare requiring it.

PASSED: April 10, 2008

TN Bicyclists & Pedestrians - Crashes PDF Report

TDOT Road Safety Audit Reviews: In 2009 (latest available data), there were 1,175 reported traffic crashes involving pedestrians and 418 crashes involving bicyclists. In 2010, there were 90 pedestrian fatalities and 4 bicyclist fatalities.

2011 TN “Due Care” Law TCA 55-8-192

• Failure to Exercise Caution When:

– Failing to Yield to Pedestrians in
– Fail to Pass Bicycle Safely (3 Feet
– Failing to exercise due care when
– Class B (injury) Class A (death)

Key Violations: Motorists:

• Failure to yield
– when entering roadway
– when turning
• Unsafe passing
• Driving too fast for conditions

Pedestrians - Crosswalks

• All motorists must yield for
pedestrians in crosswalks,
– Unmarked crosswalks at intersections
– Marked crosswalks at mid-block

Pedestrian Safety

by Vanderbilt University Police Department

Pedestrians -- TCA 55-8-134/ TCA 55-8-135:

“Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

“Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.”

“No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.”

Drivers -- TCA 55-8-134:

When traffic controls are not in place or not in operations, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.

Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked
crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.

Tennessee Legislation Makes Emergency Rooms Accountability-Free

March 12, 2012

A bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature specifically allows hospitals and doctors to provide negligent medical care in Tennessee emergency rooms. Unless a patient could prove gross negligence, a standard just short of criminal behavior, there would be no accountability or protection. The legislation is sponsored by Rep. Glen Casada and Sen. Jack Johnson, both from College Grove.

“For example, if you go to the ER with chest pains and the doctor carelessly misdiagnoses you with bronchitis and you go home and have a massive heart attack and die, under the proposed legislation there is no recourse for this kind of sloppiness,” stated Keith Williams, President, Tennessee Association for Justice. “In effect, a doctor would have no responsibility for careless errors that could ultimately cost you your life.”

The current standard for medical negligence already affords protections to ER doctors. ER doctors are protected as long as they deliver care consistent with standards set by their peers—other ER doctors. Only if they fail to meet those standards and harm a patient will they rightfully be held accountable under the present law.

The immunity goes one step further and covers doctors in surgery and the OB unit if the patient is admitted through the ER. This means a patient who goes to the ER will have very little, if any protection from negligence during their entire hospital stay.

This legislation has an unfair impact on pregnant women, children and low-income families since they are more likely to use the ER. Kids in sports go to the ER for injuries, pregnant women often go to the ER whey they are in labor, and the elderly frequently rely on the ER for respiratory illnesses. These vulnerable citizens would be without any protection when seeking needed medical care.

HB 174/SB 360 also places a financial burden on the taxpayers. If recipients of TennCare, Medicare and the uninsured are harmed due to carelessness in the ER, Tennesseans will end up paying the bill for a person’s medical care and treatment resulting from the doctor’s careless error. Medical errors cost the Nation approximately $37.6 billion per year, and this legislation would only add to that cost.

“Should a law be passed allowing ER doctors to commit negligent acts on patients in Tennessee? That’s exactly what this bill does.” said Williams. “With 98,000 people dying each year from medical errors, clearly the answer is NO. The focus should be on improving the quality of care – not on lobbyists seeking to pass a license to harm patients.”

"The most stunning statistic, however, is that the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. Using Leape's 1997 medical and drug error rate would add another 216,000 deaths, for a total of 999,936 deaths annually. Our estimated 10-year total of 7.8 million iatrogenic* deaths is more than all the casualties from all the wars fought by the US throughout its entire history. Our considerably higher figure is equivalent to six jumbo jets are falling out of the sky each day."
—Gary Null, PhD; Carolyn Dean MD, ND; Martin Feldman, MD; Debora Rasio, MD; Dorothy Smith, PhD, Death by Medicine, March 2004 (plus 10-Million annual aborticides in USA)

"President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar defended the possibility of removing organs from terminally ill patients without their permission. Cass Sunstein also has strongly pushed for the removal of organs from deceased individuals who did not explicitly consent to becoming organ donors. In his 2008 book, 'Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness,' Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as "routine removal," posits that 'the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone's permission.'"
-Aaron Klein, World Net Daily, Sunstein: Take organs from 'helpless patients', October 12, 2009

Ethicists Debate Ambulance for Organs - Some Worry New York City Plan Could Give Living Patients the Short Shrift - Ethicists and emergency medicine experts are raising concerns over New York City's plan to dispatch the first ambulance service in the country equipped to preserve the organs of the newly deceased. They question whether the organ-preserving ambulances will create tension among EMTs who may be charged both to save lives and to preserve organs for reuse. The aim of the Rapid Organ Recovery Ambulance service, city officials say, is to buy precious time for families to decide whether they want their loved ones' organs to be donated to needy patients. New York City plans to start the service rolling within a month. And the plan, which has already received federal funding, is being eyed as a possibility by other emergency medical departments. The services provided by such ambulances -- namely, efforts to save the organs of the newly dead without direct consent -- have some concerns among some experts. "Will raising organ donation follow pronouncement of death, or will people come to know that the organ donation ambulance has been sent, making them wonder if their relative got a full press of rescue care?" said Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "This is called violating the dead donor rule -- no organ donation [discussion] raised prior to pronouncement of death." Far more troubling is the idea that emergency medical personnel staffing the ambulances could be faced with a dilemma of either doing everything possible to save a patient, or acting with the chief interest of saving organs. [Dragonater Note: Fresh organs can only be harvested from LIVING people who are murdered during the cannibalism.]

See also:

Car Accidents With Pedestrians - Here's what to do, and how to determine fault, if you hit a pedestrian.

How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim - Dealing with insurance companies and lawyers when filing a personal injury claim can feel like another accident is in the offing. But you can handle a claim yourself without a lawyer -- and save hundreds or thousands of dollars in the process. [Dragonater Note: Contingency fee lawyers routinely demand 50% up to 100% of any financial recovery]

Family of pedestrian killed by drunk driver receives $11M wrongful death award - The family of a young man who was struck and killed by a drunk driver has been awarded $11M from a Tennessee jury. The award included $5M in punitive damages. (Citation: Hudson v. Wilcox, No. 26601 (Tenn., Washington Co. Cir. Nov. 18, 2011).)

Rights and Duties of Pedestrians and Drivers on Tennessee Roads - If the family of Mario Reyes brought a wrongful death action in Tennessee, Mr. Stallworth would almost certainly bring up the fact that Mr. Reyes failed to stay in the crosswalk and proceeded into the road with knowledge of an oncoming vehicle. Thus, under Tennessee’s comparative fault defense, any judgment award resulting from a personal injury claim could be reduced by that percentage of fault attributed to Mr. Reyes. However, while pedestrians have a duty to stay within the crosswalk and yield to oncoming vehicles, operators of vehicles have a greater duty to exercise due care and keep a look out for pedestrians. Thus, if this case were prosecuted with an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney, Mr. Stallworth would likely be on the hook for the death of Mr. Reyes even though Mr. Reyes apparently broke a rule regarding staying within the crosswalk when one is provided.

Driver Collides with Sixty-Four Year-Old Pedestrian in Fatal Accident
- Tennessee imposes many duties on drivers within the state in order to make sure that they are driving in a reasonably safe manner. One such duty is the duty to keep a proper lookout. This duty extends not only to keeping a proper lookout for vehicles and other obstacles in the roadway, but also extends to keeping a lookout for pedestrians as well. Unfortunately many drivers fail to drive in a safe manner in areas where they know or should expect pedestrians to be present. Such places include school zones, college campuses, heavily populated areas, and crosswalks. Failure to keep a proper lookout in these areas can lead to serious injury or even death and is also likely to lead to a personal injury lawsuit in East Tennessee should the driver’s negligent behavior result in injury to the victim. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes there is simply nothing a driver can do to avoid accidents, even if he or she is keeping a proper lookout.

CURTIS ROBIN RUSSELL, ET AL. v. ANDERSON COUNTY, ET AL. - The Russells averred that the City, as a result of its ownership and control of the intersection at issue, was negligent in failing to provide pedestrian signal head devices as mandated by the guidelines and standards provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (“MUTCD”). Specifically, Section 4E.03(C) of the 4 MUTCD requires the use of pedestrian signal heads in conjunction with vehicular traffic control signals “[a]t an
established school crossing at any signalized location.” The Russells also claimed that the City was strictly liable for the intersection’s “defective, unsafe, and dangerous” nature, of which the City had actual or constructive notice. This matter proceeded to trial on November 1 and 2, 2007. The trial court, sitting without a jury, concluded that the City was negligent in its failure to provide pedestrian head signals at the subject intersection as required by Section 4E.03 of the MUTCD. 4The standards set forth in the MUTCD are published by the Federal Highway Administration under 23 CFR part 655, subpart F. The trial court found that the MUTCD has been adopted by this state and the City through enabling legislation in Tenn. Code Ann. § 54-5-108(b) requiring governmental agencies in the state to conform to the provisions of the manual. Tennessee Department of Transportion Rule 1680-3-1-.02 provides that “[t]he United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Millennium Edition (2001), is hereby adopted in its entirety and incorporated herein by reference.” The trial court apportioned fault to both the City and Mrs. Russell at 50% each and ordered that the Russells were barred from recovering in this matter. On December 11, 2007, the Russells filed a motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 59.04. After hearing oral arguments by both parties, the trial court issued its order on April 17, 2008, altering its original judgment “to reflect that Mrs. Russell’s negligence will not bar recovery but that the damages awarded . . . shall be reduced in proportion to the percentage of negligence previously assigned to Mrs. Russell.” COURT OF APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT KNOXVILLE, February 11, 2011

Tennessee's Comparative Fault System - In 1992, the Tennessee Supreme Court announced the adoption of a system of modified comparative fault in its opinion in McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992). Under the doctrine of modified comparative fault, a jury determines the percentage of fault to be attributed for the accident to both the plaintiff and defendant. If the plaintiff’s fault reaches 50%, he or she receives no recovery. Otherwise, the jury determines the total amount of the plaintiff’s damages and then reduces the award by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault. Co-defendants are generally no longer responsible for the entire compensatory damage award to the plaintiff, under a concept known as joint and several liability. Under the modified comparative fault system, each defendant pays only that percentage of the damages equivalent to the percentage of fault assigned to the defendant by the jury. Prior to the adoption of the modified comparative fault system, a plaintiff’s lawsuit could be dismissed if he or she was guilty of some contributory fault. That defense is no longer available.

New Tennessee Supreme Court Opinion on Comparative Fault - The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a plaintiff who lost a medical malpractice case in federal court was not estopped from pursing a case against a State-employed doctor even though the federal court jury assigned no fault to the doctor, a non-party in the federal court action. The case is Mullins v. State of Tennessee, No. E2007-011130SC-R11-CV (Tenn. Sept. 30, 2009). Read the full opinion here. The opinion will be discussed in more detail in the November edition of the Tennessee Trial Law Report.

Roane County Tea Party supports foreign private "Federal" Reserve chairman Herman "Godfather" Cain, who counterfeits all so-called "US dollar bills" and steals 100% of federal income taxes for his foreign masters. Congressman Ron Paul founded the Tea Party during his previous candidacy for president, and his platform included putting the "Federal" Reserve Bank and IRS out of business.

Roane Views: Utopia Of Temperence

Saturday, March 17, 2012

AMA Racin swaps SpeedTV with Youtube

Daytona AMA Pro Superbike no longer on SpeedTV, replaced by NASCRAP at Daytona?

NASCRAP's AMA Pro Racing Expands Social Media Initiatives, Adds Video Crew for Viral Coverage and Launches New Website as Part of Online Rebranding


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 16, 2012) – Following a successful online branding realignment, AMA Pro Racing is excited to announce the launch of a completely redesigned website at From the outset, AMA Pro Racing began working with long-term website development partner RACERSITES to create an online platform that provides a deeply-engaging social experience for fans which allows them to connect with the stars of AMA Pro Road Racing, AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Hillclimb.

Additionally, as part of the increased focus on social media initiatives, AMA Pro Racing has added a highly-experienced video crew to provide track-side footage and interviews for this weekend’s season-opening DAYTONA® 200 Week event at Daytona International Speedway.

“We are very proud of the changes that have been made to AMA Pro Racing’s website and social media platforms,” said David Atlas, Chief Operating Officer of AMA Pro Racing. “Giving our fans access to the stellar athletes in our sport, both in the paddock and through our social media initiatives, is just one of the ways in which we turn our events into experiences and our riders into stars.”

RACERSITES is a leading provider of web design, development and management services for clients in racing industries and the company has designed several highly-successful web platforms for AMA Pro Racing since 2009. With the introduction of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Disqus functionality, the new socially-optimized provides fans with the ultimate conduit to begin engaging with their AMA Pro Road Racing, AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Hillclimb heroes.

“What RACERSITES brought to the new AMA Pro Racing site plays to the strengths of our capabilities and what fans love about AMA Pro – energy in connecting with fans,” said Chuck Tate. “Websites aren’t just static billboards but avenues to interact with fans, tell your story and enhance your brand. The new site was the last piece of a successful rebranding by AMA Pro and brings more dynamic content to visitors in terms of videos, blogs, social media channels is truly the go-to spot for all things motorcycle racing.”

For this weekend’s season-opening DAYTONA® 200 Week, AMA Pro Racing has also enlisted the support of a video crew to provide fans with an immersive experience intended to bring the track to them. Stay logged on to throughout the race weekend, as the AMA Pro video crew uses their the extensive knowledge of the sport and trackside experience to bring you exclusive and informative interviews with riders and crew members, updates about the many off-season changes, and dramatic GoPro on-track footage with turn-by-turn commentary from an AMA Pro Road Racing athlete.

The two-person video crew has already published clips on from the AMA Pro Road Racing paddock, and will be rolling out fresh video content as fast as it can be produced all weekend long. Behind the camera, David Bertinelli, former co-founder, videographer, and producer of the well-known OnTheThrottle.TV, brings over 20 years of photography and video experience, and over 30 years as an avid motorcyclist, with track time as a former racer himself.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing the fans an inside look at what happens trackside during a race weekend and getting back in the pits to catch up with familiar faces,” Bertinelli said.

Paired with Bertinelli’s seasoned background and ready to give fans a personal glimpse into the inner workings of the paddock is Cristy Lee, also a former contributor to OnTheThrottle.TV from the 2010 season. Her experience branches out beyond the track; she has been a host and reporter for the Detroit Red Wings and also a host and mechanic on “All Girls Garage” seen on Discovery Channel’s Velocity Network. Lee not only brings her passion for motorsports and journalism trackside but also her first-hand experience as a track day enthusiast, having turned laps herself on many North American courses.

“Its exciting to be back at the track, combining my love for the sport and ability to interact with the riders and tell their stories beyond the flag-to-flag coverage,” Lee said.

The exclusive on-track footage, filmed in stunning high-definition exclusively with GoPro HERO2 HD cameras, will be available soon alongside the backstage video content already uploaded to the all-new AMA Pro Racing website, and new content will be made available daily throughout the entire weekend.

Clips already published from this weekend include a DAYTONA 200® Week Preview clip ( and exclusive interviews with AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike pole position winner Josh Hayes ( and recent DAYTONA® 200 addition Tommy Hayden (,

Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track sessions will be available at Between the races, stay connected with AMA Pro Road Racing at and; keep up with Daytona International Speedway via Twitter ( and Facebook (

For tickets and additional event information, visit or call 1-800-PITSHOP. For information related to AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit


RACERSITES has 14 years of experience developing partnerships in the motorsports world to enhance their clients’ connection to its fans and business partners through website development, enhancement of social media conversations and the deployment of unique interactive tools. RACERSITES boasts clients on the team, driver, track and sanctioning body level, including: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, SCCA, Penske Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Turner Motorsports, Panther Racing, Kurt Busch, and more. In 2012, RACERSITES has already launched six new websites, boasting its breadth of work including;; the new,, ARCA series driver Ryan Reed at and enhancements to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway site.

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

Friday, March 16, 2012

TN trooper run over like the dog he is

"The truck rear-ended Sgt Russell's parked patrol car, while he was finishing a traffic stop."

So this lazy career criminal, armed robber, carjacker and terrorist traitor was creating a public nuisance by illegally blocking a public highway while robbing another innocent American citizen at gunpoint, when he caused a crash by Blue Light Fever with a hard-working American citizen who delivers food and products so America can survive... Good riddance!

May Trooper Russell die and rot in burning Hell, to atone for the two Knox County drivers murdered and burned alive by THP serial killer Trooper Morgan, fired and sued for $10-million for murdering a Pellissippi State college student by blocking all rescue attempts as he burned to death, while enforcing the death penalty and summary execution for speeders.

THP troopers are paid over $100,000/year salary to illegally rob bikers at gunpoint on the Dragon at Deals Gap. THP illegally increased the number of traffic tickets 11,400% for bikers on the Dragon. It's time to disband the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Good hit!

Feds asked to probe I-40 crash that injured THP trooper

State authorities are requesting a federal investigation into discrepancies discovered in the log book of a truck driver charged in the fiery collision along Interstate 40 in West Knoxville that critically injured a state trooper Tuesday.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Lowell Russell, 39, remained hospitalized in critical condition after he was struck by a passing tractor-trailer while parked on the shoulder of the westbound lanes near Walker Springs Road shortly before 3 a.m.

The driver of the flatbed — Eric D. Lewis, 32, of Orlando, Fla. — told investigators he was falling asleep and had stopped not long before the crash to splash water on his face, according to court records.

In the course of examining his truck for any equipment violations, THP inspectors uncovered "inconsistencies and violations of his hours of service" in the driver's operation log book, which details hours spent driving versus sleeping, said THP Sgt. Randall Martin.

"We're looking at turning that investigation over" to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Martin said, who declined to specify the violations.

Meanwhile, Russell, a well-respected 14-year veteran of the highway patrol, began showing signs of improvement, including his reaction during an impromptu bedside visit Wednesday by Gov. Bill Haslam at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

"He actually responded to the governor," Martin said. "He grabbed his hand and gave him a squeeze and a wink. I think it astonished everybody who was in the room."

The governor previously met Russell last year when he attended the funeral of a U.S. Marine killed in Afghanistan who the Highway Patrol trooper helped raise in Monroe County.

"(Russell is) just one of those good guys who are serving for all the right reasons and doing it the right way," Haslam said. "We have a lot of great state employees and he's just one I've gotten to know personally and have a great appreciation for."

Russell's injuries include eight broken ribs, a punctured lung, two fractured vertebrae and swelling on his brain.

His family released a statement thanking the community for the outpouring of support.

"We especially want to thank all of the EMS, medical and law enforcement personnel for their outstanding work in saving Lowell's life and for the continued care he is receiving," the statement reads, in part. "We hope that everyone will continue to keep Lowell and our family in their thoughts, hearts and prayers."

Lewis, a driver with FHS Trucking Co. in Orlando, was hauling a load of construction buckets from Bedford, Pa., to Amarillo, Texas, at the time of the crash.

Federal regulations require commercial drivers to rest 10 hours for every 11 hours of driving, Martin noted.

Lewis "stated he had stopped on one or more occasions and splashed water in his face due to fatigue," records show.

The arrest warrant states federal law prohibits operation of a commercial vehicle "while ill or fatigued."

Martin said Lewis was unsure of where he stopped last to splash water on his face, but the driver indicated it was around the Strawberry Plains interchange.

Lewis' co-driver was asleep in the cab's sleeper berth at the time of the collision. Neither trucker was injured.

The federal investigation also may widen to include Lewis' employer, Martin said. The president of FHS Trucking could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Lewis' truck veered onto the interstate shoulder where Lowell was filling out paperwork following a traffic stop. Court records note that the cruiser's flashing blue light was activated.

Court records allege that the crash probe will "most likely reveal excessive speed was also a factor."

The impact tossed the cruiser some 300 feet across three interstate lanes and into the concrete median wall, where it burst into flames. A McMinn County ambulance crew, along with two Knoxville Police Department officers, all happened upon the scene within seconds. The four emergency personnel — along with Lewis — all worked to free the unconscious trooper from the wreckage.

Lewis has remained jailed since the crash in lieu of $10,700 bond. He faces felony charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, as well as misdemeanor citations for failure to follow the move-over law and failure to exercise due care.

Lewis has a Florida criminal record that includes two arrests for soliciting prostitution, as well as a 2007 felony conviction for grand theft of a vehicle.

Martin noted that falling asleep at the wheel isn't necessarily the same as criminal intent, and he said Lewis should be recognized for his part in helping to rescue Russell following the crash.

"But the fact is, (the crash occurred) because of the choices that he made," Martin said. "And we're all where we are now because of the choices that he made, regardless of his intent."

THP trooper's rescue from fiery I-40 crash was 'game of seconds'

If the ambulance crew hadn't been right there.

If a Knoxville police officer hadn't been seconds away. If the second officer hadn't circled back on a hunch.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Lowell Russell, 39, was critically injured in a violent collision with a flatbed truck while parked in his cruiser on the westbound shoulder of Interstate 40 near Walker Springs Road early Tuesday morning.

Authorities said he likely would have died, though, if not for a succession of emergency personnel who miraculously happened upon the scene within seconds of the 2:50 a.m. crash. They frantically worked to free the unconscious trooper from the mangled wreckage, pulling Russell clear just as his cruiser burst into flames.

"As we say time and again — divine intervention," Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said Tuesday afternoon. "It's a game of seconds. If neither the officers or the paramedics had been in the area, we would have had a much more tragic situation."

First on the scene were Paramedic Freddie Leslie and his partner Kristi Graham, who were traveling back to McMinn County in an American Medical Response ambulance after transporting a patient from Athens to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

The duo was driving about a quarter-mile behind as the tractor-trailer slammed into the rear of the cruiser, shoving it across three lanes of traffic and into the concrete median wall.

"We saw a car spin and hit the concrete wall and burst into flames," Leslie said. "I was pretty scared. It's not everyday you have to pull someone from a burning car."

The flames quickly spread toward the unresponsive trooper as he sat slumped over his seat belt. Just as Leslie exhausted one fire extinguisher, Knoxville Police Department Officer Andrew Keith came upon the burning cruiser.

"I wasn't real sure if somebody had hit it or if he had lost control — I didn't ask anyone, either," said Keith, a K-9 officer who had been en route along westbound I-40 to help another officer search a vehicle.

Leslie said he and an unidentified passerby forced open the cruiser's door to reach Russell. The civilian then worked to cut the trooper free from his seat belt, which was locked tight from the crash, said Keith, while he and the paramedics tried to beat back the growing flames with anything available. The man even gave Keith the shirt off his back, the officer said.

"With all the pressure of the car going up, I'm sure it happened real fast in real time. But in my mind, we couldn't get him out of the car fast enough," Keith said. "When we pulled him out, laid him down, I looked back to the car and his seat was already on fire."

In the same instant, the officer said, the flames began igniting emergency flares and shotgun ammunition stored inside the cruiser.

"The rounds started cooking off," Keith said. "Probably in the last few seconds before we got him out. We got him out of there seconds before it went up."

Steve Taylor
The ambulance crew immediately began treating Russell. Meanwhile, Officer Steve Taylor — who graduated in the same KPD cadet class with Keith in January 2007 — arrived.

Taylor had been eastbound on I-40 moments earlier when he noticed Russell's cruiser parked on the westbound shoulder. Taylor had taken the next exit to circle back and see if the trooper needed backup just as the crash occurred.

Once on scene, Taylor jumped in the ambulance and repositioned it to shield the rescuers from the fire as they performed CPR on Russell, Keith said. Taylor was not available for comment Tuesday.

Knoxville Fire Department crews also soon arrived to extinguish the flames.

Leslie, who said he sustained "very minor burns" to his face during the rescue, later accompanied Russell to the hospital in a Rural/Metro ambulance.

Once things subsided, the identity of the civilian passerby who helped the others became clear, Keith said.

Eric D. Lewis
"He did not say a word to me," said Keith. "I actually didn't know he was the driver that had struck the cruiser until later, until I saw Officer Taylor take him into custody."

Eric D. Lewis, 32, of Orlando, Fla., now is being held in a Knox County jail in lieu of $10,500 bond. He faces felony charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

Lewis "apparently fell asleep or was drowsy," when his truck veered onto the shoulder and struck the cruiser, according to THP Sgt. Randall Martin.

Russell, working a midnight supervisor shift, had just completed a traffic stop and was filling out paperwork when he was struck.

"The trucker drove 200-some feet on the shoulder and another 1,200 feet after he hit the trooper," Martin said.

Martin added that he expects misdemeanor charges of failure to comply with the move-over law and failure to exercise due care to be filed as well.

Lewis, a driver with FSH Trucking Co. in Orlando, was hauling a load of buckets for construction equipment from Bedford, Pa., to Amarillo, Texas, according to his employer.

His co-driver was asleep in the cab's sleeper berth during the crash. Neither trucker was injured.

The president of FSH said Lewis has been driving for the company, which has only one truck, for less than a year.

Russell, a 14-year veteran of the THP, remained in critical condition Tuesday night. He sustained a brain injury, fractured neck and spine, fractures to all of his ribs, second-degree burns to his neck and back, and lung damage from smoke inhalation, according to a Facebook update posted by Crystal Brown Russell, his sister-in-law.

Martin added that the injured trooper had responded "non-verbally" to medical personnel at the hospital.The head of the Tennessee Highway Patrol called Russell "one of Tennessee's finest" and expressed gratitude for the quick work of the KPD officers and emergency responders.

"Our troopers put their lives on the line every day to keep citizens safe," according to a statement from THP Col. Tracy Trott. "It is especially difficult when one of our troopers is injured in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Lowell Russell and his family during this difficult time. We pray for his recovery and thank him for his service to our state."

Dumb as a box of chocolates

THP troopers run cartheft rackets in Tennessee

TN cops steal $100,000 to buy guns and sex

TVA employees' tryst ends in federal charges

Knoxville News Sentinel

Money can't buy you love, but a former Tennessee Valley Authority Police employee stole plenty of it to buy her married paramour — a TVA policeman — $100,000 in guns, court records allege.

Cheryl E. Hall has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges including bankruptcy fraud and falsifying invoices to cover up her alleged thievery of TVA money.

According to court records, Hall worked as a business support representative for TVA Police. In February 2008, she began using a TVA Police credit card to buy items including ammunition and clothing "of a type that was not used by TVA" police officers, a plea agreement stated.

Her thievery using that credit card spanned more than two years and involved more than $21,000 in personal purchases, the agreement stated. To "cover her tracks," Hall crafted a total of 22 fake invoices, prosecutors wrote.

In February 2009, Hall began an affair with a married TVA policeman and needed cash to woo him with expensive — and deadly — gifts, the agreement stated, so she then hatched a scheme to steal some $200,000 from family and friends, prosecutors alleged.

"By telling a series of lies," Hall persuaded peo

ple to give her money she never intended on repaying, records stated.

"Many of these loans were from elderly individuals that (Hall) had known since childhood," the plea agreement stated. "All told, (Hall) bilked victims out of more than $200,000 and bought approximately $100,000 in weapons that she gifted her married boyfriend."

According to the plea agreement, Hall bought 10 "extravagant firearms" for her lover. No other details about the weapons are provided in court records.

Much like a Ponzi scheme, Hall used money from recent loaners to repay earlier ones but eventually, in March 2010, filed bankruptcy, court records stated.

The bankruptcy trustee "noted inconsistencies" with Hall's statement of financial affairs, the plea agreement stated. The trustee later discovered that Hall had sought to hide her gifting of guns to her paramour and the $200,000 in "loans" from family and friends as well as her thievery from TVA, prosecutors wrote.

Hall's lover is not named in court records.

Hall faces a May 30 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips

Dragon closed by rockslide

Entire Dragon now closed from state line to the Blockhouse Airport.

TDOT reports that "long-term" bids are being sent out to explosive demolition companies linked to the September 11 terrorist massacres, again. Another 6-month demolition and "cleanup" costing taxslaves $10-million?

Knoxville News Sentinel
March 16, 2012

Rock slide cleanup on 'The Dragon' extends to next week

A section of U.S. 129 called "The Dragon" will be closed until early next week to through traffic because of a 60-foot-high rock slide this morning, according to state officials.

The slide was reported at 4:54 a.m. on the road, which also is called Calderwood Highway, according to the Blount County E-911 Center.

The slide is near the Power House along "The Dragon." Tennessee Department of Transportation regional spokesman Mark Nagi said the slide is about nine miles north of the North Carolina state line.

TDOT has sent crews to the site to determine the severity of the slide. Nagi said the slide is 125 feet long, more than 60-feet high and is covering about 14 feet of the pavement. The slide consists of shale, top soil and trees.

"The cleanup to open SR 115 (U.S. 129) to traffic is expected to last until early next week," Nagi said.

Nagi said TDOT crews will remove the slide debris and then send in specialists who will be tasked with developing a long-term fix for the problem. That work may be bid out to a private firm on an emergency basis.

Cars and motorcyclists can continue to use the road from the North Carolina side, and will be assisted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol at turnaround points, Nagi said. TDOT maintenance crews will have detour maps available for drivers encountering the blockage.

On the Tennessee side, however, U.S. 129 will remain closed to all traffic from just south of the Foothills Parkway to the site of the slide, Nagi said.

Nagi said TDOT and its North Carolina counterpart have placed message on connector routes alerting drivers of the slide.

Nagi said about 1,265 vehicles a day use the portion of U.S. 129 at the Blount and Monroe counties line.

The road has been called The Dragon because of the more than 300 curves along the route that attract motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world.

TDOT suggested detours include:

From North Carolina - Motorists travelling on U.S. 74 can take State Route 68 north to Ducktown. Continue on SR-68 through Polk and Monroe Counties to I-75 in Sweetwater.

Non-commercial drivers travelling on State Route 143 in North Carolina will continue to travel north onto State Route 165 to Tellico Plains to State Route 68 north to U.S. 411 (State Route 35) toward Maryville.

Non-commercial drivers also can use U.S. 441 to travel through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Cherokee, North Carolina. For road closures on U.S. 441 through the Smokies, motorists can call (865) 436-1200.

‘The Dragon’ closed by rock slide

Iva Butler
Maryville Daily Times

At approximately 6 a.m. Tennessee Depaartment of Transportation was notified of a rock slide at mile marker 9.5 on the portion of U.S. 129 known as The Dragon.

The slide is blocking the northbound and southbound lanes of the two-lane road, according to Mark Nagi. TDOT community relations officer.

TDOT geotechnical engineers are on he scene and TDOT maintenance crews are bringing equipment to clear the roadway.

One lane is blocked by a large rock, the other blocked by trees uprooted from the slide.

TDOT: Rock slide closes 'The Dragon' for weekend

Knoxville News Sentinel

A section of U.S. 129 called "The Dragon" will be closed through the weekend because of a 60-foot-high rock slide this morning, according to state officials.

The slide was reported at 4:54 a.m. on the road, which also is called Calderwood Highway, according to the Blount County E-911 Center.

The slide is near the Power House along "The Dragon." The road that runs into North Carolina is entirely closed, according to Tennessee Department of Transportation regional spokesman Mark Nagi.

TDOT has sent crews to the site to determine the severity of the slide. Nagi said the slide is 125 feet long and 60-feet tall and consists of shale, top soil and trees.

"Early estimate for the time of this closure is throughout the weekend," Nagi said. "But that is just an estimate."

There is no detour route. Nagi said there is room for unaware motorists to turn around at the blocked point [unless you're driving a tractor trailer].

Nagi said about 1,265 vehicles a day use the portion of U.S. 129 at the Blount and Monroe counties line.

The road has been called The Dragon because of the more than 300 curves along the route that attract motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world.

Tractor trailer roadtrain crashes on the Dragon

'Dragon' reopened after rockslide

March 20, 2012

TALLASSEE — Dragons of myth and legend had a habit of breathing fire at their enemies.

Tennessee's "Dragon" doesn't do that, but it will occasionally throw a rock at you, and that is what crews from the Tennessee Department of Transportation finished cleaning up Tuesday.

Dozens of dump truck loads of rock, dirt and fallen trees had been removed from a site where a hillside collapse occurred Friday on U.S. Highway 129, blocking a road popular with sports car and motorcycle enthusiasts. The road, referred to as "The Dragon," features 318 curves in an 11-mile stretch.

The rock slide occurred a couple of miles from the Foothills Parkway in Blount County at a place where the road has a steep hill above it on one side and a 50-foot drop-off on the other.

TDOT workers used heavy equipment to remove the debris and to bring down additional rock and soil from the hillside that might later fall.

Mark Nagi, a TDOT community relations officer, said the final touches on the cleanup were completed at 5 p.m. Tuesday and the road was reopened.

TDOT geotechnical personnel will continue to evaluate the area to determine if further measures may be necessary to stabilize the hill.