Top stories from West Tennessee in 2021
JACKSON, Tenn. — Another year has come and gone, and WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News is highlighting the stories that made the year 2021 unique.
In January of 2021, the first of the COVID-19 vaccines were given out.
The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department held drive-thru vaccine clinics for those eligible to receive the vaccine.
Health officials were optimistic for the future.
“We finally feel like we are doing something that can help slow down the pandemic. We are all excited because we are pro-vaccine. That is what we do best. This is exciting for us,” said Kim Tedford, the Regional Director of the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department, in a Jan. 7 interview.
There have now been over half a million vaccine doses given in the U.S.
Also in January, authorities investigated the murder of two hunters that were found at Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee.
Zachary Grooms, 25, and Chance Black, 26, were found shot and killed in a duck blind.
The man accused of killing them, David Vowell, was found dead a few days later in Reelfoot Lake.
In February, a record-breaking snow storm hit several states, including Tennessee.
With several inches of snow and ice on the roads, life was at a stand-still for almost a week.
Residents say it was the biggest snow storm they have ever seen.
“Other than the fact that it is beautiful, it is just a little bit inconvenient for people and their jobs, trying to get to and from. Other than that, you just have to make the most out of whether it is sunshine or snow falling all over the place,” said Brooklyn Perry, a Jackson resident, during a snowy interview on Feb. 15.
In August, devastating floods hit Humphreys, Dickson, and Hickman counties.
“The water was very violent, very swift, very strong. We had about a four hour window where we could not get into the City of Waverly,” said Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis on Aug. 21.
Heavy rain accumulated over 10-inches of water, causing life-threatening floods.
Over 10 people were killed and several more were missing.
In September, Gov. Bill Lee announced a dramatic change for West Tennessee.
The Ford Motor Company selected the Memphis Regional Megasite to build a 3,600-acre mega campus called Blue Oval City.
The site is supposed to be the largest, most advanced, and efficient automotive production campus in Ford’s history.
It is expected to create 5,800 jobs for those living in West Tennessee.
In December, a shooting outside Humboldt High School’s auditorium left one dead and two injured.
Justin Kevon Pankey, 21, was shot and killed after a fight occurred with 18-year-old Jadon Devon Hardiman.
Xavier Clifton was also shot and seriously injured, and Dontavious Cross was shot with non-life threatening injuries.
Hardiman was accused of shooting all three victims and was later arrested by the Humboldt Police Department.
Also in December, a line of deadly tornadoes ripped through parts of West Tennessee.
Communities in the path were hit hard, with residents and businesses destroyed.
WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News talked to those that lived in Dresden about what they experienced.
“It is very scary when they tell you to take cover. Take cover because they mean it. This was so bad, and we didn’t know it was going to be this bad,” said Robin Taylor, who survived the storms.
The community and surrounding areas came together to help those that lost everything pick up the pieces.
Even Santa Claus paid a special visit to Dresden, riding in on a helicopter.
He brought gifts for children to make sure each child got a chance to celebrate Christmas!
For a full list and photos of our biggest stories from 2021, click here.