published Friday, December 20th, 2013

Georgia woman killed by train — and more Chattanooga region news

Georgia woman killed by train

POLK COUNTY, Tenn. — Polk County authorities are investigating a fatality involved a woman who was struck by a train Wednesday around 11:30 a.m., according to a news release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials said the body of the victim, tentatively identified as Brittany Mitchell of Summerville, Ga., was found on tracks just south of the York Road crossing.

The train engineer and conductor told authorities they saw Mitchell “lying in the tracks with her head facing north, feet facing south and looking toward the east,” according to the news release.

“They stated they hit the braking system with audible alarms already active due to crossing ahead but stated [the] female didn’t leave the tracks prior to impact,” officials said in the statement.

An investigation is ongoing pending autopsy results.

CATOOSA COUNTY, Ga.


Worker charged with obstruction

A Catoosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Wednesday arrested a 67-year-old daycare employee who tried to stop him from giving someone court documents, an arrest reports states.

Deputy Toby Hill drove to the Noah’s Ark Daycare Center on Battlefield Parkway in Fort Oglethorpe to serve employee Amanda Barbee with civil court papers. When Hill arrived, according to an arrest report, the front desk clerk told him that Barbee was not at work.

Suzanne Hawkins Holder, of 167 Cinderella Drive in Flintstone, told Hill that Barbee was on vacation and would not be back until after Christmas, the report states. Hill then drove to Barbee’s apartment, where a neighbor told him that Barbee was, in fact, working at the daycare center. The neighbor also confirmed that Barbee drove a gray Nissan.

When Hill returned to the daycare, he found the car and confirmed it belonged to Barbee. Then he saw a woman hop into a daycare-owned van and drive away. An unidentified maintenance man told Hill that the woman was Barbee, and he followed her and stopped her at Kellerhalls Drive and Battlefield Parkway.

After Hill gave Barbee the civil court document, Barbee confirmed Holder knew she was at work that day. Holder could have just gotten her out of class, she said, according to the arrest report.

Hill returned to the daycare and asked Holder for her information so he could get a warrant and arrest her, but she refused to reveal her identity, the report states. Hill then arrested Holder, who allegedly admitted that she and the others who work at the front desk agreed to lie about Barbee so she would not be served with the documents.

Holder is charged with obstructing a law enforcement officer.


Money missing; deputy clerk fired

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. — A deputy court clerk in Franklin County has been fired after state auditors found more than $3,000 missing from the clerk of court’s office.

The shortage was discovered in accounts for General Sessions and Circuit courts in September 2012, according to the investigative audit by the Tennessee comptroller’s office.

Auditors found the former clerk “diverted cash collections and delayed making deposits to the official bank account …” Investigators traced the skimming to a specific person because each deputy clerk had unique computer log-ins.

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