CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The prosecution continued to lay out their case against Janet Hinds for the hit and run death of Chattanooga Police Officer Nicholas Galinger in 2019.
We heard testimony about how much she had to drink that night.
Plus an emotional account from a DUI officer.
Joeli Poole continues our coverage from court.
It has been a busy day inside a packed courtroom as the second day of the Janet Hinds trial continued. Today, we heard testimony from the prosecution’s witnesses. The Prosecution further explored the extent of the car’s damage and the jury learned more about what happened that tragic evening.
Two CPD crime scene investigators, the general manager and a server from the “Farm to Fork” restaurant, as well as DUI officers from the Chattanooga Police Department were among the witnesses interviewed today.
In addition, the prosecution shared details about the extensive damage received by the car when it made impact with Officer Galinger and an analysis of the evidence that was collected from inside the car.
Booker “Because there were so many different hair samples on there it was easier for us to remove the entire section and encompass the cracked area that we took out. That’s what we did. We took out that entire section that had the broken section in it.”
Restaurant employees from “Farm to Fork” spoke about the quantity of drinks served to Janet Hinds and testified that despite having multiple beers and 1 shot, Hinds continued to behave in an appropriate manner.
McGowan “at any point did you have any concerns or were any concerns brought to your attention about the behavior or mannerism or anything having to do with this woman- Janet hinds?”
Hill “no , absolutely not.”
CPD DUI Officer Jeffrey Buckner explained what effect the consumption of alcohol could have on the body and about what the protocol is once an officer has been struck. The emotional toll on Officer Buckner was evident as he recounted the night’s events.
Buckner “I Heard- officer Jarrod Justice yell BREAK on the radio. That was my first inclination that something was wrong. That is our emergency code. That means That officer needs priority radio traffic. He said it actually twice and got his message out that a probation officer had just been hit by a car. Other officers had arrived. I noticed officer Galinger on the ground. I took over medical care. CPR had already been started and he had no pulse.”
The Jury was then shown the several hours that Janet Hinds was inside the Farm to Fork Restaurant.
Joeli Poole: ” I’ll continue to keep you updated as we move along through the court proceedings. You can follow along through my Twitter @JoeliWDEF12.
Following President Biden’s plans to enforce vaccine mandates with some private companies, Chattanooga employer Unum has announced a vaccine verification program.
“Personally I haven’t seen anyone who has the accommodation piece of this addressed as well,” says Ellen McCan, assistant vice president.
The new digital process will require employees to verify their vaccination status.
Those who have a reason to not get vaccinated will be provided guidance on getting COVID testing, and then data on who’s vaccinated, who’s getting tested, and the results of those tests will be kept on file.
“Employees will have the ability to upload their vaccination card into our solution and it will all be in one secure place for the employee as well as for HR, to have that information there.”
McCan says for the most part, it’s gone over smoothly with employees.
“It’s particularly well received by HR professionals who know that there will be a lot of administrative work for them to do and they’re looking for partners like us who offer them solutions to help them meet these new requirements that are coming.”
She says that it’s something that employers need to think long and hard about if they haven’t already.
“Even though we will have more details as time goes on, this will be something that all employers will have to deal with in the near future so just making sure they’re getting ready to comply and respond to anything that the government does publish for us in the next few weeks.”
HIXSON, TN (WDEF) – Being a teacher is so much more than a full-time job. The best educators consistently put in extra time to make sure their students have all the tools they need to succeed. That describes Cortney Fugate to a “T”.
Dr. Mary Catherine Gatlin is the Principal at Loftis Middle School.
She explains, “So, Ms. Fugate has been with us just a couple of years. She is a leader, but doesn’t know it. She is an innovator. She’s been just a really positive asset to Loftis.”
When asked to describe herself, Fugate says, “Cortney Fugate is a teacher who encourages her students to learn and grow. I’ve had a lot of good teachers over the years. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, but my most influential teacher were my sixth grade teacher Miss Fisher and my high school English teacher Mr. Austin.”
Perla Carbhal is an 8th grader at Loftis Middle.
Perla says, “She explains things really good, and she is fun.”
8th grader Denver Priest chips in, “You can ask her questions when you need to ask her questions about things that you are confused about.”
8th grader Ethan Rankhorn adds, “She is a very nice teacher, and if there is like any questions you need you just ask her.”
8th grader Pete Laxton agrees, “Well normally in class, you know, you get a start talking, (you’re told to) do you work, but you know, in this class, it is like more open and you still get your work done, but at the same time you get to have fun in the class.”
Ms. Fugate explains, “I always try to remind them that it’s my job to help you learn and grow, and there’s no sense of sitting in my class confused or overwhelmed, you know. I will always encourage them to just ask for help.”
She concludes, “I really enjoy creating relationships with my students and getting to know them as they grow in themselves, and then they’re learning and watching them as they succeed in life. I want them to be confident in themselves, to have a love for learning that they take with them outside of the school building.”
Tennessee Valley (WDEF): One More Round of Showers Before the Cold Front Hits!
Overnight: Clear skies and much, much cooler. We’ll start Thursday morning with a few areas of fog and lows in the upper 40’s and low 50’s.
Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search “WDEF Weather”.
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Several fire agencies evacuated the Silver Tree apartments this morning because of a fear of fire.
Several residents smelled heavy smoke in their homes around 7:15 AM.
Five fire departments and Hamilton County Sheriff’s officers responded to the 9 story building on Highway 58.
Silver Tree houses senior citizens.
92 people were evacuated to a nearby shelter.
It turns out that a Heating and Air unit on the roof began smoking because of electrical issues.
The ventilation system then pumped the smoke throughout the building.
No one was hurt.
Two hours later, the air was cleared and residents allowed back inside.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Silverdale Baptist Academy is home to a new state of the art building.
Daniel Ashworth is the Director of Communications.
He says, “This building has been probably five years in the making, from drawing up some plans, to fundraising for a few years, and then actually a two year building process that literally wrapped up a week before school started. It’s a $12 million facility. The idea is we never had a space for our performing arts students to showcase their talents. So, the primary focus was theater.”
Casey Rosado is a sophomore at SBA.
She says, “When I come over here to this facility, I mean, I have the best class of my day. I really enjoyed it so much. Being with people I love, and this is a great place just to gather and have fellowship with each other, and that means a lot to me.”
Ahsworth adds, “We have a gymnasium on campus, but we have never been able to host tournaments in the postseason. So that 1,000 seat capacity number was a big deal for us. We needed that to be able to host in the postseason. With what athletes in volleyball and basketball are doing in their sports.”
He goes on to say, “And beyond that, we have some specialty facilities like the band room. We’ve got a dance studio and a black box theater, also places we’ve never had homes for before, and expand our weight room as well. Our athletes are loving that, because it’s far better than what we had before. And we have some academic spaces up on the second floor that support our middle school right now.”
Molly Kane is a current teacher and 2013 graduate of SBA.
She says, “So, I was in the other building and they were starting to build, but I never really got to experience a lot of the new facilities. This was always what they were talking when I was in school. So, it’s just given a lot more space.”
Daniel concludes, “We’ve got a lobby space here with a café that we call it. It’s a great place for our students to collaborate, and also we share the facility with the church. We share the entire campus with Silverdale Baptist Church. So they are going to be able to use the space for Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights and all different kind of formats that the church needs for expanded service and worship opportunities. So, being able to have a casual gathering space like this creek side theater lobby is great for a students to come and kind of extend the classroom beyond the traditional four walls. There is a lot going on here anytime of day. We are really excited for the new space.”
Tennessee Valley (WDEF): The Wet Cycle Continues, But We Do Have Relief In Sight!
Make sure you & your family stay in touch with us. Remember the Storm Team 12 app can always bring you the latest weather alerts for your location as well as Titan Radar. Download it for free from your app store – just search “WDEF Weather”.Continue Reading
DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – There was no doubt that Devon Raphael Wheeler fired the gun that killed Rashad Goldston.
But just how guilty was he?
Wheeler entered a guilty plea on Friday to Voluntary Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault, instead of murder.
Prosecutors admitted the circumstances may have made it hard to convince a jury he was guilty of a murder charge.
In started back in April with a fight outside The Oyster Pub & Grill at the Outlet Mall in Dalton.
Wheeler and another man “took it outside.”
Wheeler punched Andy Johnson once, almost knocking him out.
Then again as others tried to help him up.
That’s when Johnson’s cousin entered the story.
Rashad Goldston pulled his vehicle up to the scene to get his cousin out of there.
But he pulled a gun and brandished it at Wheeler and the crowd.
But Wheeler pulled a gun of his own, so Goldston tried to drive away.
Prosecutors say Wheeler went after him and fired several shots at him.
One of those shots went into the vehicle and hit Goldston in the back.
The vehicle wrecked and Goldston died.
Wheeler fled the scene but was captured and arrested two days later in Marietta.
The legal question was whether he acted in self defense, since Goldston produced a weapon first.
Prosecutors believe “While Wheeler was clearly the primary aggressor, and neither his assault on Johnson nor his shooting of Goldston were justified, Goldston’s actions did escalate the confrontation leading to his own death. ”
They thought a jury might see it differently.
So they plead the charges to Voluntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Wheeler has prior convictions in Hamilton county for cocaine possession and theft.
Under the deal, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the manslaughter and 30 years of probation for the rest.
DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – Investigators do not suspect foul play in a deadly fire Sunday in Dalton.
Firefighters were called to a home at 1011 Riverbend Road around 5:45.
They found the body of 86 year old Ida bonds in a back bedroom.
A family member smelled smoke and when he went to investigate found the back of the home in flames.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
But the family member said the power had been out for about 24 hours and had just been restored before the fire began.Continue Reading
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – Youth Villages is looking for community and business partners to help expand foster care and adoption awareness.
Jessi Bernardini said she know not everyone is in a position to foster or adopt but anything helps.
“They’re giving us an opportunity to expand our circle so they’re using their voice the raising awareness they’re letting people now and the community about the need for foster parents. There is a need for foster parents, adoptive parents, and then sell their voice will help raise that awareness.”
She said there are between 70 and 80 kids on foster care looking for their new family.
“Some of them come in looking just a foster and other families come in hoping to find a child to stay in their family. So we are A foster to adoption organization.”
Youth Village can help take people through the state requirements to become foster parents and adoptions.
Businesses joining youth village can help expand the foster care system while aiding kids to find families.
“The more people that are out there talking about foster care the more normalizes it adds more viewed as a way to help, a way to support biological families and so we leave all those negative opinions behind and we just help so I think that’s something that we feel strong about business is partnering with us just to be able to spread that message.”
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – “He is finally walking away from that, symbolically walking away that tragedy,” said artist Jerome Meadows.
Ed Johnson and his two lawyers now have scriptures to be remembered for changing US history.
“The nature of the memorial itself, I decide to use down to connect it with the bridge. In terms of the story 1906 the Bridges I mean character found a lot of contemporaneous development going on so I felt it was important for the memorial to take us back if you will to 1906,” said Meadows.
Ed Johnson was the first African American given a stay of execution from the Supreme Court. Despite that, he was lynched by a white mob for a crime he didn’t commit, being hung from this bridge.
Meadows said he wants the memorial to spark discussion with each other, not at each other.
“We can agree to disagree but you need to be talking with each other rather than at each other,” said Meadows.
After the dedication, people walked across the bridge to remember a part of history. The dedication is something Meadows is still getting used to.
“And I was just awestruck by the fact that descendants we’re here. It makes it more personally real and that’s ultimately what the memorial is designed to live from now on within our personal realities,” said Meadows.
He said it’s was incredibly important to him to have Johnson surrounded by those who tried to save his life.
RINGGOLD, Georgia (WDEF) – A jury convicted 37 year old Jonathan William Miller this week of molesting a family member.
Prosecutors say he sexually molested a 12 year old girl in Tennessee for years and the molestation continued when the family moved to Georgia in 2019.
They say Miller told her to lie about it if anyone questioned her.
But the victim finally disclosed the abuse when she was out of the house and in foster care.
She first told her foster sister, who convinced her to tell the Children’s Advocacy Center.
The case went to trial in Catoosa County this week.
The jury found Miller guilty after just 10 minutes of deliberation.
He had a prior child molestation conviction in 2003.
Miller was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ten more on probation.
Prosecutor Chris Arnt says the Lookout Mountain Circuit gets some of the toughest sentences for sexual abuse in all of Georgia.
“While many voices in our country are calling to empty our prisons and complaining about over incarceration, I believe anyone who targets children like this should be behind bars. We will not tolerate the sexual abuse of our children.”
His office credits the “loving and diligent” foster family for making the case.
They included an email to his office from the victim’s guardian after the verdict:
“This may have been one of the hardest things our family has ever had to do. However, I am eternally grateful for the employees and service of the Catoosa County District Attorney’s office. We are happy with the outcome and grateful that our justice system and the jurors found and served justice for our foster daughter. Thank you Mr. David Wolfe for an excellent job in court, Judge Brian House for sentencing and bringing a small little window of hope to this little girl, to Mr. Arnt and all the district attorneys who came to offer support and lastly to Mrs. Ashley Nicholson, Catoosa County DA child advocate for walking us through every step of this process and defining some of those big lawyer words that no one can possibly understand. Thank you all for finding justice for [**]!Continue Reading
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Hamilton County Health Department is putting a number on the younger fatality rate we are seeing now from Covid-19.
Back in the winter surge, we saw that only 4% of the deaths were under 50 years old.
But over the Delta variant surge of the last 3 months, 22% of deaths have been under 50.
“We extend our sympathy to all of our community members who have lost a loved one to COVID-19,” says Health Department Interim Administrator Sabrina Novak. “A greater number of young people are being hospitalized and dying compared to last year. We strongly recommend that anyone eligible get vaccinated to protect themselves from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.”
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga Police have charged a third woman, employed at an immigrant facility on Vance Avenue, with Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure.
22 year old Rebeka Perez is now being held at Silverdale.
Two other women were charged earlier.
Police say the victim is a 16 year old boy, but not if he is the same victim in one of the other cases.
The Department of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security is also investigating.Continue Reading
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – If you contract the Covid-19 virus does your natural immunity serve as a replacement for the vaccine? The answer is no and health officials say relying on natural infection is like playing a game of Russian roulette.
Health care experts explain that immunity from natural infection is lasting longer than they first estimated, but the amount of actual protection can vary, leaving some people vulnerable to reinfection.
“We do know that if you have had a natural infection and you do not get vaccinated then you are about 2 ½ times more likely to be reinfected with Covid than if you have had a previous infection and are vaccinated,” says Dr. Anna Durbin, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Doctors say depending on one’s natural immunity after an infection is a risky business, especially when the outcomes are so unclear.
“You don’t know upfront if you are going to do well or not. Clearly, if you have escaped the disease, chancing it is a big gamble. If you know that you are going to have a mild infection that’s ok but nobody knows that upfront. There’s no way of predicting that. We don’t have a good test to tell you if your natural immunity has lessened,” says Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, Pulmonologist at CHI Memorial.
“What vaccination does is provide very good immunity without the severe illness that natural infection does,” says Dr. Durbin.
In fact, doctors say that if you’ve had the virus, recovered, and then received the vaccine, the results are an extremely strong immunity. So when should someone who’s recovered from the virus get vaccinated?
“The recommendation from the CDC has been 10 to 90 days. So essentially after you come out of your isolation period you become eligible to get the vaccine and certainly you would want to get it by three months after you had a natural infection to make sure you are not having waning natural immunity. My advice is if you have been previously infected, you are likely to benefit from getting the vaccine and there really is no downside to doing so,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, Erlanger Infectious Disease.
Health experts want to remind you that even though the pandemic seems to be old news, doctors are continuously learning more and more about how the virus works and keeping you up to date about protecting yourself – and your loved ones.
ROSSVILLE, Georgia (WDEF) – The Walker County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a suspect for vandalism this summer at Ridgeland High School.
On June 14, someone broke windows and spray painted fixtures at the school.
The damage added up to more than $1,700 in repairs.
Investigators have charged Andrew Daniel Brown with Criminal Damage to Property, 1st Degree.Continue Reading
CLEVELAND, Tennessee (WDEF) – Bradley County authorities warn about a scam in their community involving fake health department employees.
The scammers go door to door and present false identification that they work for the health department.
They say they need to ask you questions about Covid-19.
But their health questions are detailed and include your social security numbers.
The Mayor’s Office says that’s not how the health department operates.
They only contact you in case of contact tracing and never visit your home.
They will only contact your by phone and will never ask for your social security number.
The County Mayor’s Office say police are investigating the cases.
But their best advice is if you get suspicious, just don’t give out sensitive information whether over the phone or in person.Continue Reading
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the city of Chattanooga and member businesses, announced today the launch of the Healthy Chattanooga Coalition.
The Healthy Chattanooga Coalition is a group of employers working together to provide strong incentives for vaccine use among workers and to increase vaccination rates across the city.
The goal is to see a minimum of 60% vaccination rate in Chattanooga and Hamilton County by Dec. 1.
The Coalition will work within three tiers of choice to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19
“It’s a voluntary sign-on for businesses that are doing one of three things. They are either encouraging their employees to get vaccinated. Their 2 is that they have some sort of an active incentive for them to do it and third is that they have mandated it for their employees,” says Justin Groenert, VP of Public Policy.
As new guidance on vaccinations continues to develop from federal, state, and local officials, the Chattanooga Chamber will serve as an educational resource for local businesses.
To learn more about the coalition and to sign up, visit https://www.chattanoogachamber.com/hcc
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – With flu season right around the corner and the delta surge in full swing, many people are wondering about the possibility of a “twin-demic’ and if a Covid booster shot will be necessary?
Experts with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health explain.
Within an average year, the flu causes 30-60 thousand deaths, 300 to 600 thousand hospitalizations, and as many as 15 million trips to the doctor- but last year was an exception.
The numbers were at an all-time low probably as a result of better hygiene- but NOW with nearly 130-thousand new daily coronavirus cases in the US, and more than 100-thousand people in the hospital, the concern is that health care systems won’t be able to accommodate the load.
“The big risk here is that our healthcare system has limited capacity and in the winter it usually hits that capacity and replaces absent covid. Flu is often a big contributor. If we see covid hitting capacity in our healthcare systems the dual whammy could be a lot,” says Dr. Dan Salmon, Institute for Vaccine Safety, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The CDC is recommending that people get a COVID-19 booster 8 months after their second shot. For many people that’s going to fall right in the middle of flu season- so is getting both vaccines a good idea?
“The flu virus changes so much every year and the vaccines that we have are far less potent than the vaccine we have against covid. Those are the two factors that are requiring yearly vaccinations. I think we will require boosters, or more than just our primary series of vaccinations against Covid if we are unable to control this pandemic,” says Dr. Anna Durbin, Center for Immunization Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We have really good vaccines for covid. We have reasonably good vaccines for the flu. We should use them both as widely as possible and hope we don’t see co-pandemics that make things worse,” says Dr. Salmon.
For information on how to schedule your vaccine or upcoming flu shot, click here.
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Chattanooga area Burger King franchises are open for more than just customers on Tuesday.
Hometown Hospitality, which is a Burger King franchisee, is holding a job fair with the goal of hiring 150 workers today in our area.
That’s 110 crew members and 40 managers.
No appointment is necessary and they are prepared to hire you on the spot.
You can also apply online at careers.bk.com and interviews may be conducted via video chat or phone.
“We invite the community to stop by our restaurants in the Chattanooga area and learn more about Hometown Hospitality’s career advancement opportunities,” said GPS Hospitality’s Vice President of Operations Carmen Gianguzzo. “We are looking for hourly crew members and managers to join our teams immediately. If you want a job with flexible hours, bonuses, training and growth potential – we are here to meet with you.”
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