Police to boost downtown patrols
Chattanooga Police Department officials said in a news release Friday they will boost police presence downtown this weekend.
Officers will be positioned on the North Shore, inside and around Coolidge Park and around the downtown area.
Parents are strongly encouraged not to drop off children and teens and leave them unattended, the news release stated.
“While we encourage a family atmosphere downtown and welcome citizens to get out and enjoy all that Chattanooga has to offer, weekend entertainment and public gatherings aren’t meant to create panic and general lawlessness,” Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.
City ordinances will be enforced to deal with large crowds creating traffic hazards or public nuisances, according to the news release.
Last week officers encountered large groups of juveniles running through the streets and creating traffic problems, the release stated. Some merchants and patrons of downtown businesses complained of youths blocking entrances to businesses, running out into traffic and creating disturbances.
Hawthorne sought in slaying
Chattanooga police are looking for a 24-year-old man in the shooting Wednesday that killed a man and seriously injured his girlfriend.
Jerrico Lamont Hawthorne is wanted on several warrants in connection with the slaying, including felony murder, attempted first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary.
In a home robbery at 2305 E. 17th St., James Williams Jr., 23, was killed and Yetta Harris, 38, was shot, police said.
Harris’ 18-year-old son was at the home early Wednesday when two males demanded money from him, police said. When Harris and Williams arrived, the men also demanded money from them, Weary said. One of the suspects fired several shots, then both fled with an undisclosed amount of money, Weary said.
Hawthorne was arrested July 15 on charges of driving on a revoked, suspended or canceled license, evading arrest, possession of a firearm during commission of a crime, theft of property and reckless endangerment, records show.
Anyone with information on Hawthorne is asked to contact Chattanooga police. He is considered armed and dangerous. Police still are working on the identity of the second suspect.
Woman badly burned in bed
A Chattanooga woman was taken to the hospital Thursday night with severe burns after her home caught fire, authorities say.
Edy Baker, 60, apparently was smoking in bed when she fell asleep and her mattress caught fire, said Bruce Garner, spokesman for the Chattanooga Fire Department.
With burns over 60 percent of her body, Baker was sent to Erlanger hospital, then flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga.
Firefighters were called shortly before midnight to the home at 3024 Westside Drive. They arrived to find smoke in the house.
The homeowner, Davie Cayce, told firefighters he had put out the fire using two fire extinguishers. But the firefighters noticed flames still visible and doused them with a hose.
Cayce told firefighters that his friend had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette.
The fire will be ruled an accident, Garner said.
‘Booze It & Lose It’ campaign planned
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office will join nearly 10,000 other law enforcement agencies nationwide Aug. 19-Sept. 5 in support of “Booze It & Lose It,” an intensive crackdown on drivers impaired by alcohol or medicines.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the number of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in America fell from 2008 to 2009, but police say the numbers still are too high.
In 2009 alone, 10,839 people died in crashes in which a driver or motorcycle rider was at or above the legal limit for alcohol, the NHTSA figures show. The 21- to 24-year-old age group had the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities, figures show.
“All too often, innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones due to this careless disregard for human life,” said Sheriff Jim Hammond.
He said patrol officers will focus on nights and weekends, the mostly likely time for impaired driving.
Oldfort youth dies in ATV crash
Derrick Brown, a 13-year-old boy from Oldfort, Tenn., died late Thursday night after he drove his four-wheeler into a telephone pole on Mountain Drive near the Cherokee National Forest, according to the Tennessee Highway Partol.