SuperTalk WFHG Local News Stories
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bicyclist Injured in Kingsport After Object Thrown from Car
Kingsport police say a bicyclist required several stitches after suffering a head laceration when he says an object thrown by a passing car and it hit him in the head. Police haven’t determined what the object was. But spokesman Tom Patton says they do have a description of the car involved in the 1000 block of New Beasonwell Road. “He describes the vehicle as a newer model white sports car occupied by two younger white males but other than that we don’t have much to go on," Patton said. "He didn’t really have a make and model or a tag number.” (LM)

Surveillance Video Shows Man Buying with Counterfeit Money in Kingsport
More counterfeit money is turning up in the Kingsport area, and this time, a suspect was captured on surveillance video. A man used a counterfeit bill to make a purchase at the Apple Barn on Fort Henry Drive. Cameras show him pulling up in a black Honda Accord, with damage to the front end, and faded and missing paint on the roof. The clerk hesitated to accept the $100 bill but he convinced her. Sullivan County deputies say it appears a $10 bill was bleached and reprinted to look like a $100 bill. (LM)

Kingsport Man Takes Stand at Vehicular Homcide Trial
Cody Dingus of Kingsport took the stand at his trial for vehicular homicide by intoxication. He admitted to the jury he and his girlfriend were intoxicated and he was traveling 80 plus miles an hour two years ago on Knob Creek Road in Johnson City when the crash happened. But he insists his girlfriend and passenger, 18-year Sheridan Edwards, grabbed the wheel, causing the crash as police pursued him as a DUI suspect. She was killed. (LM)

Judge says No Prison Time for Bus Driver in David Crockett High School Crash
A judge requires no prison time for former Washington County, Tennessee bus driver Brenda Gray. she’ll serve two years on probation for assault and reckless endangerment in the crash that injured several David Crockett High School students. Gray was granted judicial diversion, which will clear her record if she has no more trouble. Judge Robert Cupp said no question Gray was speeding when she lost control and the bus flipped over. But he also was convinced she was distracted by students. She described them as “hooping and hollering.” She also testified she cared for them and they were her first concern when authorities and medical personnel arrived. “I told them I had to go help my kids," she said. "I didn’t mind doing what I had to do for the accident report, but I had to make sure my kids were ok.” (LM)

Looney Receives 2 Life Sentences for Killing Parents at Tazewell County Pizza Plus
With the threat of the death penalty hanging over him, Christopher Looney accepted a plea bargain in the killing of his parents at a Pizza Plus restaurant in Tazewell County. He pleaded no contest to two charges of capital murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms, with no possibility of parole. Sheriff Brian Hieatt said that’s what other survivors of Harvey and Valarie Looney wanted. “Their view of it was they didn’t want him to have the death penalty but they wanted to make sure he could never hurt anyone else in the future,” the sheriff said. (LM)

Woman Agrees to Plead Guilty in False Poisoning Claim
A Bluff City woman has agreed to plead guilty to falsely claiming a relative poisoned bottles of Tropicana juice. 52-year-old Elizabeth Ann Carrier reached a deal with prosecutors and will enter the plea in federal court on Monday. According to the plea agreement, in June 2013, Carrier called Tropicana Products and falsely claimed the person had put either bug spray or rat poison into the drinks over a several week period. (AP)

Announcement Expected in Cedar Bluff Pizza Plus Double Murder Case
Officials are expected to announce a significant development in the case of a Tazewell County couple’s murder. Harvey and Valarie Looney managed the Cedar Bluff Pizza Plus and were found dead at the business back in 2009. Their son, 32-year old Christopher Looney is charged in the double homicide. A hearing is scheduled for this afternoon and Commonwealth’s Attorney Dennis Lee along with Sheriff Brian Hieatt is expected to hold a press conference immediately following that hearing.

Kingsport Motel Stabbing Suspect in Custody
Kingsport Police officers say Howard Wells was stabbed at the Econo Lodge on Airport Parkway. Investigators tell us Richard Mark Thomas stabbed Wells after arguing with another man at the motel. Wells put himself between the two men to try to break up the altercation. That’s when Thomas pulled out a gun. Wells got the gun away from him, but Thomas pulled a knife. Richard Thomas is charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder. Officers say the men are in town doing some temporary work. Wells is still in ICU, but is listed in stable condition.

Man Breaks Bar Window to Steal Booze
A witness noticed a broken window at Capone’s Bar on Main Street in Johnson City. When the police arrived, they found 43-year old Michael Holder sleeping on the ground about 50 yards away with cuts on his back and a bottle of Jack Daniels next to him. Officers say the lone bottle of whiskey was the only thing missing from the business. Holder was arrested on burglary charges.

Abingdon Grand Jury Indicts 100 Defendants
Commonwealth’s Attorney Nicole Price says 73 people were indicted in Circuit Court on 229 separate offenses. She says another 27 waived their rights and entered guilty pleas. Among those indicted is 26-year old Kristina Pennington who is charged with felony child abuse/neglect after her 3-year old child ingested meth left on a plate in their kitchen. They also indicted 32-year old Michael Couch of Abingdon. He’s accused of having sex with an 8-year old girl back in 2011.

Jury Hears Testimony in Vehicular Homicide Case
A jury is hearing evidence for the trial of Cody Dingus, charged with vehicular homicide by intoxication and felony evading arrest. Two years ago, on the run from Johnson City police, the Kingsport man crashed his car on Knob Creek Road, killing his passenger, Sheridan Edwards. His attorneys claim it was she who grabbed the wheel and caused the accident.

Marion Man Arrested for Rape
A charge of forcible rape has been brought against a Marion, Virginia man. Police say 29-year old Justin Carl Perkins of Spruce Street is charged for a sexual assault that occurred July 15th. They say the rape occurred at a residence, but released no further details.

Maintenance Work to Disrupt Water Service in Jonesborough
Water service will be disrupted today for sections of Jonesborough. The water department will do waterline maintenance work on East Main Street, at the Long View Avenue intersection. Customers between the area of Vines Drive to New Halifax subdivision will have water disrupted from 8 in the morning until noon.

74-year-old Arrested in Kingsport for Crack Cocaine
Kingsport police announce the arrest of a 74 year old resident of Dale Street on charges of possession of crack cocaine for resale, close to a city park. Harry B. Watts was charged after a police search of his home. Police say they seized more than a half gram of crack cocaine, $4,000, and a large amount of collectable coins, alleged to be proceeds from narcotics sales. Watts is also charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a home where narcotics are sold. He posted $20,000 bond and is free pending a preliminary hearing October 30th.

ETSU Hires Emergency Management Specialist
East Tennessee State University has determined it’s time to create a new position of emergency management specialist, and Andrew Worley, former director of the Elizabethton-Carter County Emergency Management Agency, has been hired. Using his ties and expertise, Worley will oversee policies, training and drills, for the university, which he says is not unlike a city in need of a focus on preparedness. He said, “Large population, multiple locations and facilities and they are all at risk for natural or manmade disasters or intentional acts of violence.”

Man Accused of Stealing Gun, Credit Cards Arrested in Johnson City
Johnson City police say Joshua Lee Fender is facing more charges. The convicted felon from Erwin is accused of breaking into a vehicle on Pactolas Road July 4th, stealing a pistol and credit cards. Police say they traced him through purchases made with the credit cards in Erwin and Johnson City. Police also say the firearm was recovered from his home.

Kingsport Mother Arrested for Neglect, Drugs
Kingsport police, called to check on the welfare of children, arrested their mother after finding no running water, only spoiled food, and also noted dog waste at the residence on Fairview Avenue. 31-year old Misty Martinez is facing charges of attempted child neglect and possession of prescription drugs. Police say her children are three and eight-years-old.

Matthew Hill Says Why He Changed Position on Wine in Grocery Bill
Tennessee State Representative Matthew Hill still insists his first vote against the Wine in Grocery stores’ bill was for the people. In an interview Hill talked about why he changed his position and then voted for the bill. "They weren't going to allow any discussion or debate on such an important issue," Hill said,"So we needed to have more time. We need to have discussion and debate and we were able to do that so after that I was more than happy to vote for it."

Survey says JCMC Is 8th Best Health Facility in Tennessee
U.S. News and World Report places Johnson City Medical Center at number eight in Tennessee. These ratings were found through an extensive study that rated all 154 hospitals in the state based on specialties offered at the facility, survival rates, nurse-to-patient ratio, and many other qualities. This puts the medical center as the highest rated hospital in Northeast Tennessee.

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