HARDIN CO., Tenn. — Tragedy at a popular spot many people go to find peace.

“I would not advise anyone to put a boat in there at all it is very very dangerous,” one man said.

Wednesday, two bodies were recovered on the bottom half of the Pickwick Dam after officials say they and their boat were swept over the concrete edge.

“Two males were on the lake side of the dam at Pickwick and went through the spillway or they might have gone over. Somehow they went from that side of the dam to the other side of the dam,” TWRA Spokesman Doug Markham said.

Hardin County fire officials said security cameras captured the moment when an aluminum flat bottom boat with two men on board went over the edge.

“It started on the lake side of the dam and ended up on the other side of the dam, the tail water side of the dam,”  Markham said.

The men have now been identified as Casey Cox, 32, and Michael Terry, 69, both from Chester County.

Officials said the strong currents carried their bodies several miles down the river.

“We saw the Air Evac probably around 1 p.m. and it did go up river from the dam,” one witness said.

Investigators spent hours combing both sides of the dam hoping more evidence in this tragedy will was ashore.

“Getting their boat removed and going to take it to a place where we can do some more investigation with boat investigators that might be able to identify exactly what happened,” Markham said.

People said this is not the first time an incident like this has happened.

One lady said she remembers when a pontoon boat was swept over the dam with two people on board.

JACKSON, Tenn — The USJ Bruins took down Chester County, 2-0.

JACKSON, Tenn — The South Side Lady Hawks took down McNairy Central, 2-0.

MARTIN, Tenn..-What better way to get through ‘hump day’ than to actually ride a camel. That is what UT-Martin’s Chancellor Keith Carver did Wednesday as part of “I Heart UTM Week”!

Organizers said it is a time dedicated to showing school spirit and connects undergrad students with alumni. The school is also hosting the “Captain’s Challenge”, to raise $300,000 for the school.

“That’s more of a push towards alumni to give back to the campus and see what’s going on on campus, but we use “I Heart UTM Week” to kind of push that out to alums and to show them what’s going on on campus and what’s changed since they’ve been gone,” said Jared Anderson,

JACKSON, Tenn.-The Jackson budget review committee made a big decision Wednesday concerning your tax dollars.

They agreed to work toward a balanced budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Currently the city is operating at a deficit.
According to the committee, their decision will mean across the board budget cuts, affecting every department in the city, with some facing very steep budget adjustments.

“We’re hoping that maybe, down the road somewhere we can find some more revenue sources and maybe increase revenue to help with the expenditure cuts, so they won’t be permanent. but for the time being, for us to have a balanced budget, that was about our only option,” said
Randy Wallace, chairman of the budget review committee.

The committee plans to present its finalized plan to the council on June 20.

 

Eliott Eddings joined the WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News team in January 2017 as the station’s assignment editor.

Eliott is from Bells and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

He can be reached by email at eeddings@wbbjtv.com.

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office is searching for an inmate who walked off work detail Wednesday afternoon.

James Glen Owings

James Glen Owings, 26, walked away from his work assignment while working at Morning Star Church on Mitchell Street in Humboldt, according to Sheriff Paul Thomas.

Owings is from Munford and was serving a sentence for a previous drug arrest. He was part of a four-man crew that was being supervised by church employees to help with renovations to church property.

He is described as a while male standing five feet 11 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and navy blue pants.

The U.S. Marshals Service is assisting in the search.

Anyone with information on Owings’ whereabouts is urged to call the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office at 731-692-3714.

JACKSON, Tenn. — The United Way of West Tennessee pitched in Wednesday to help prepare the next generation for work after graduation.

The nonprofit presented a $20,000 check Wednesday at Arlington Elementary School, one of three schools taking part in the “Leader in Me” program.

The initiative aims to prepare young students for the workforce.

“It really empowers the students to take responsibility and accountability for their actions and just a great workforce development tool,” United Way of West Tennessee President Scott Conger said.

Both North Parkway and Isaac Lane take part in the program as well.

Conger says he’s open to eventually introducing the “Leader in Me” program at other area schools.

JACKSON, Tenn. — Students in Tennessee could soon learn American Sign Language and get credit for it. State lawmakers already signed off on the change.

“Translators are not readily available,” STAR Center President Dave Bratcher said.

The STAR Center in north Jackson helps people with hearing loss find work. Bratcher said it is an under-served area. “We’re trying to place them in employment. We’re working with them on job readiness training, and finding a translator is one of the largest barriers,” he said.

A new bill in the state legislature could change that. It allows students to take ASL to fulfill foreign language requirements.

“This in turn will create a stronger pipeline of people interested in studying ASL at the university, which will hopefully encourage people to go for the interpreter certifications,” Dr. Jean Marie Walls said.

Walls chairs the language department at Union University. They offer several ASL courses. “We’d love to be able to offer more courses, but we’re limited right now by access to teachers who can teach those courses for us,” Walls said.

Jackson-Madison County School System Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin said they do not currently officer ASL classes. “I certainly think there’s a need to include sign language, and I’m glad it’s going to be included,” she said.

Ruffin said colleges and universities should also include ASL in their curriculum. “What’s going to happen in finding the teacher to meet the needs of the students when students say they’re interested in taking sign language?” Ruffin said.

The bill’s sponsor said about 500,000 Tennesseans are deaf or hard of hearing, and many use sign language to communicate.

“The more folks that can learn sign language, the better off all of us will be,” Bratcher said.

The bill still needs the governor’s signature. If approved, it would take effect July 1.

HUMBOLDT, Tenn. — An 18-year-old Humboldt man appears in court Wednesday, accused of shooting and trying to kill a man visiting his home.

Daniel McBeth

Daniel McBeth waived his right to a preliminary hearing and his case has been bound over to the grand jury. He is charged with attempted second-degree murder.

McBeth is accused of of shooting a 34-year-old visitor who came to his home, according to a release from the Humboldt Police Department. Police say the two exchanged words before the shooting.

Trent Williams

Family identified the victim to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News as Trent Williams. They say he is still in the hospital.

“His condition right now is stable,” his cousin Angela Williams told us over the phone. “We have kind of went from critical to stable and back to critical, so now we are heading back towards stable. At this point they still say it could go either way.”

Williams’ family says they aren’t giving up, and neither is Trent.

“He really is all in all a good guy, and we are going to stand behind him and we are going to push for justice. We do not want this fight off the books,” Angela said.

We spoke with McBeth’s family after the court hearing off camera, and they said they believe McBeth is innocent and will be cleared of all charges.

McBeth’s case will go before the Gibson County grand jury on Monday. He is currently being held on a $150,000 bond.

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