DECATUR COUNTY, Tenn.-A mother in Decatur County is charged with child endangerment after officers said her two toddler-aged children wandered away from home twice in the same month.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Traci Fleming was arrested and charged Tuesday. The first time her two and four-year- olds went missing, deputies said a tracking dog was used to find them. Officers said they are now with their father.

As of Wednesday morning, Fleming remained jailed.

Leaving the scene of an accident

JACKSON , Tenn — A family struggles with losing a loved one.

“Natasha Washburn made bond today. She got out,” Vanessa Robertson, family of the Ramiza Robertson,  said.

Wednesday, their loss turned to anger.

“She will probably do it to someone else. She will probably run over someone else,” Robertson said.

Natasha Washburn is accused of running over Ramiza Robertson on April 8 as she walked home from work along Old Hickory Boulevard and not stopping.

The family said the same day of the accident Natasha Washburn was on Facebook posting selfies like nothing ever happened.

“She changed her profile picture. She had the flower filter. It was like she hadn’t done anything,” Robertson said.

Washburn turned herself in days later. Her bond was lowered the same day Robertson died from her injuries.

“When they lowered her bond, she blew kisses to her husband and he said, ‘I got you’ and she had no remorse,” Robertson said.

Now almost four-weeks later, Washburn is home with her family.

“We need some peace. We need some peace with this,” Robertson said.

Vanessa said she cannot understand why new, upgraded charges have not been filed since her cousin’s death.

“We are very upset. Disappointed in the justice system. It’s like she was a dog,” Robertson said.

The family said they need justice in order to heal.

“It’s not going to solve the problem, but it will make us feel like she didn’t mean to do it,” Robertson said.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News spoke with the district attorney’s office and asked if additional charges will be filed.

We were told since the case is in between courts and there’s been no indictment, no additional charges have been filed.
However the district attorney’s office did confirm this case will go before a grand jury.

Washburn is free on $35,000 bond.

Washburn’s next court appearance is July 10.

JACKSON, Tenn.-A violent two-car crash along North Highland Wednesday evening sends two to the hospital.

Thanks to a News 7 Tipster, our news crew made it out to the crash at the intersection of North Highland and Carriage House Drive.
It is unclear what caused the collision but from the damage to the cars, the impact appeared to be severe.

Officers on the scene said two people went by ambulance to an area hospital, but are expected to be okay.
Both cars ended up in the Exxon parking lot, causing little disruption to traffic.

YORKVILLE, Tenn.-A local church got children together, young and old, to celebrate the end of the school year.

The Yorkville Cumberland Presbyterian Church hosted a ‘School’s Out’ block party.
. Dinner was served and provided by the church and it was the first year that they had jumpers and slides for the kids.

“Well, I hope they just enjoyed themselves and that being out of school, school year. that’s an accomplishment for a kid, you know, it’s something that they worked for all year and it’s just kind of a way of celebrating it for them,” said Jim Turner, church member and organizer of the event.

This is the second year the church has held this event.

 

 

 

 

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn.-If you have been to Pinson Mounds over the past few weeks, you have probably seen a lot of trees being cut down.

The state said the trees on Saul’s Mound Overlook have grown so large they have started to damage the mound during high winds.
Crews began taking down the trees on May 16 and expect to wrap up their work in a week or two.

Until then, the overlook will be off-limits due to safety concerns.

JACKSON, Tenn. — For 15 years, a local probation company has been doing all it can to ensure those arrested for domestic violence do not become repeat offenders.

 This is the Batterer Intervention Program. It is an option for those on supervised probation for domestic violence through Tennessee Correctional Services
 “Think about jail,” Tennessee Correctional Services Director of Programs Keith Bryant said. “You don’t want that to be their factor but you also want them to realize that’s the consequence.”
Offenders meet every week, for 26 weeks. Miss more than three classes and it is back behind bars.
“There’s ability to make your family whole, but first you have to start with yourself,” said Tennessee Correctional Services Regional Director Stacy Miller.
Rusticus Harris, 28, believes losing his mother when he was 12 and never dealing with it spilled over into his relationship.
“I ended up doing so much damage to the lady I was talking to, that she had very severe swelling on her jaw,” Rusticus Harris said.
He said this course is his second chance.
“I wouldn’t want to see no man do my mom like that,” Harris said. “I do think about it from the aspect.”
As a father of two, Johnathan Green said the class has given him a lot to think about when it comes to making better choices.
“It makes you think,” Johnathan Green said. “Something that you don’t do. Something that I didn’t do at first, and I can say I did that and I’m a better person now.”
The instructor said in class, these men are able to hold each other accountable. TCS is just guiding them moving forward.
“I’m not here to fix them because they are not broke,” Bryant said. “They’re not criminals, they’re not bad people. They’re people who made poor choices.
Both men said this course has helped them not only become better men, but also better dads.
“At every moment no matter what I’m doing, I focus on my kids, my family,” Green said. “I don’t want to be in jail, they need me, they depend on me.”
“If it’s genuine, if, you know, you’re trying to grow and develop in life, you’re not going to want to keep taking those back steps like that,” Harris said.
Although TCS is just a probation company on paper, their goal is to show offenders they are still valuable to the community. Even though they have made mistakes.
“Everybody no matter what walk of life we come from, we all have a few skeletons in our closet,”Miller said. “It’s that fact that they acknowledge their abusive behavior towards their partner, and they’re committed also to making sure that violent behavior doesn’t happen again.”
“Naw, I don’t see it being and issue again,” Green said. “It shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place. But sometimes the Lord puts us through certain things to put us in position to help people in the future.”
Each year about 200 men go through the Batterer Intervention Program in Madison County.   The TCS program has a 75 percent completion rate.

JACKSON, Tenn.-The Campbell Street Church of Christ held its weekly community prayer meeting, Wednesday evening, this time at North Side High School.

The congregation invited those who live in the nearby neighborhoods to join in for food, fun and fellowship.
Each Wednesday this summer the church will hold similar gatherings throughout the city.

Along with praying together, church members took a walk through the area in hopes of meeting more people.

“These kind of remind us of who our neighbors are and what our neighborhoods are and people want to come out and kind of meet their neighbors that they might not even know and I think it’s become really popular for people to have those gathering places to do that,”said Andy Frizzell, youth minister at the Campbell St. Church of Christ.

Next week’s prayer event will be held at the Northeast Middle School. The prayer meetings will continue through July 26.

 

 

JACKSON, Tenn. — If you see something happening in your area, we want to know about it. Become a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News Tipster. You can remain anonymous and keep your community informed.

Jackson police are operating in secret. The Jackson Police Department recently switched to a new radio system silencing scanner traffic, meaning the community cannot hear what is going on in the city.

“I don’t think it’s fair to cut the people out,” Martha Smith, a Jackson resident, said. “I think they ought to be able to know what’s going on when it’s happening.”

Police investigated an officer-involved shooting Tuesday outside a busy restaurant in north Jackson followed by a two-county manhunt. We first got it confirmed thanks to a tip from a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News viewer. The Crockett County Sheriff’s Office released the suspect’s name and picture hours before Jackson police.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News met with the Jackson Police Department several weeks ago about the radio transition that now keeps you and us from hearing the scanner traffic. During that meeting, law enforcement said they believe encrypting the radio traffic is a safety issue for the department.

“The community should be aware of their surroundings whether it’s good or bad,” Ruthie Franklin, a Jackson resident, said. “You should be able to know so you can take action for your family.”

You can help keep the community informed by becoming a WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News Tipster. If you see something in your neighborhood, contact us. Call the newsroom at 731-424-4515, email us at news@wbbjtv.com, send us a message on Facebook, or tweet us at @WBBJ7News. You can remain anonymous.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reached out to several City Council members about the issue. Some were not aware of the change and others stand behind the police department.

 

MILAN, Tenn. — Summer break is underway for most West Tennessee students, but many teachers hope it’s not a complete break from learning.

“The summer slide is a very real thing,” third grade teacher Brenda Merritt said. “Our kids do have to review a lot at the beginning of the year.”

Merritt said that’s the situation at many schools after a long summer, and getting students back to where they were academically before the break can be a challenge.

Teachers said the summer break is a time for relaxation and fun, but that doesn’t mean your child needs to stop learning.

Pre-K teacher Tonya Taylor said there are many ways parents can keep the learning going.

“Reading signs while you are riding in the car, naming the colors, talking about the days of the week and the weather are just a few examples,” she said.

Although summer work is not required at many Tennessee schools, parents can always request it.

“We do have parents that request work for their children, but we don’t require it,” Merritt said.

Director of Schools Jonathan Criswell said the break is well deserved.

“I wish the parents the best of summer and hope they enjoy their family time,” he said. “I hope the students enjoy their time off and come back ready to learn next year.”

Teachers also recommend getting your child involved in summer library programs.

The Milan Special School District as well as the Jackson-Madison County School System will start back the first week of August.

MILAN, Tenn. — Small pups now have a place to go when left all alone in the city of Milan. A new holding kennel was completely funded by the community.

Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers says their old shelter was outdated and it was time for an upgrade.

“We have a facility now when we have stray animals they can be kept that’s up to date, and it gives them a little more comfort,” Chief Sellers said.

Thanks to about $6,000 worth of donations and supplies, there’s six new dog houses, new fencing, concrete flooring and a sturdy roof behind the police station

“People have actually have come and claimed their dogs here,” Companion Rescue volunteer Carol Hood said. “And before they didn’t know or couldn’t see that there was a facility here because it was kind of covered up.”

The labor was free thanks to volunteers for local construction companies and trustees from the Gibson County Jail.

“It turned out to be more than a Milan Police Department or a Gibson County Sheriff’s Office project,” Gibson County Sheriff Paul Thomas said. “Other people in the community brought resources to the table at no charge to anybody.”

Sheriff Thomas says this addition hasn’t only been beneficial for the lost dogs but also his trustees who helped work on the project.

“He liked the work that my staff, the trustees done so well, he told them, when y’all get released if any of you need a job, come see me. I’ll put you to work,” Sheriff Thomas said.

Dogs are typically held in the new kennel for about a week. If they aren’t claimed, they are put up for adoption by Companion Pet Rescue.

“We’re hoping that the people will know to come here to check to see if their dogs are here or not,” Hood said.

Organizers want to make it clear that the holding kennel is not a place to dump unwanted pets. It’s just a temporary home for pets who may have lost their way.

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