October 2nd, 2013
03:32 PM ET

Fatalities, injuries reported in Tennessee highway wreck

A wreck Wednesday involving a tractor-trailer, tour bus and passenger vehicle resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said.

The wreck occurred about 40 miles east of Knoxville on Interstate 40 westbound near the 423 mile marker, said Tennessee Department of Safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls.

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Filed under: Tennessee
September 13th, 2013
10:09 PM ET

Man jailed, suspected in 4 Tennessee slayings

Jacob Allen Bennett has been detained for the killings of four people - who were between the ages of 16 and 22 - found dead in a car off a rural Tennessee road, authorities said.

Bennett, 26, was taken into custody on midnight Thursday, hours after the four victims were found. Authorities have not given a possible a motive in the case nor has Bennett been charged yet, though they've also expressed confidence they believe they have the perpetrator.

"The citizens of Cumberland County and Crossville can rest assured that we have the person who committed the crimes in custody, that the community is safe," said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn.

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Filed under: Tennessee
April 4th, 2013
05:03 PM ET

Soldier held in Fort Knox shooting

A soldier has been detained for questioning in Wednesday's shooting death of a civilian employee at Fort Knox, Kentucky, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

The soldier, who was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was captured in Tennessee.

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Filed under: Crime • Gun violence • Kentucky • Military • Tennessee • U.S.
March 18th, 2013
07:35 PM ET

Fire that destroyed dozens of cabins in Tennessee is contained

[Update 7:35 p.m.] Heavy rain has brought the wildfire in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, under control, the state's emergency management agency says.

The fire is contained to about 5 acres, and all crews have been sent home except for about eight people who will monitor hot spots, the agency told CNN affiliate WATE.

[Original post, 12:57 a.m] The National Guard will fly in two helicopters Monday to help battle a massive wildfire that has damaged more than 30 cabins in Pigeon Forge, a mountain resort city in Tennessee.

While the state Emergency Management Agency had not received reports of casualties, the fire prompted the evacuation of about 150 people.

The area is home to rental cabins with some permanent residences

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Filed under: Fire • Tennessee • U.S.
March 10th, 2013
12:25 AM ET

Police in Tenn. town must take polygraphs

After a series of problems that included a police officer using a racial slur, the new police chief in a Tennessee town is trying to clean up his department's image by requiring all applicants to take a polygraph test.

"I felt that it would help me to select people with good moral character to be police officers," Chief Shane Sullivan told CNN on Saturday. "The town's had enough bad happen to it, and I want to rebuild the department and give them professional law enforcement."

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Tennessee
'Gay' dog gets euthanasia reprieve
The Facebook page of TN Euthanasia said this dog was given up because its owner considered it gay.
January 31st, 2013
10:48 PM ET

'Gay' dog gets euthanasia reprieve

A dog whose rejection by his owner caused an Internet uproar has been adopted into a new, and presumably more tolerant, home.

The male pit bull mix, whose name no one seems to know, was left at the Madison County, Tennessee, Rabies Control animal shelter, CNN affiliate WBBJ reported.

According to the irreverent website Gawker, Facebook users had a hissy fit Wednesday when they found out the dog's owner got rid of the animal after he (the dog, not the owner) humped another male dog.

"His owner threw him away (because) he refuses to have a 'gay' dog!" a Facebook user named TN Euthanasia wrote.

The post went semi-viral, with 861 likes, 1,869 comments and 5,048 shares. After Gawker told the rest of the digital world about it, noting that the dog was in imminent danger of being put down, the shelter was swamped with calls offering to adopt the uncloseted canine.

By Thursday morning, shelter workers confirmed to WBBJ that the amorous animal had been adopted by a person associated with a rescue/shelter group.

What would you name this dog if you adopted him? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Facebook • Gay and lesbian • Tennessee • U.S.
July 3rd, 2012
05:31 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Rednecks at play

Self-proclaimed "rednecks" gather across the country to enjoy some fun in the mud and we've captured them on video. Watch as some swim in a mud pit, hurl hubcaps and compete in beer-related contests. One woman states "what makes it so fun is that it's a bunch of rednecks getting along."

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'Redneck Resort' offers fun in the mud

The "Redneck Resort Mud Park" in Tennessee promises a good time for those who don't mind getting dirty. WVLT reports.

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Beer + cigarettes + mud = Redneck Games

Annual Redneck Games are held in East Dublin, Georgia. Mud pit bellyflops and hubcap hurls are among the games played.

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Maine town hosts 'Redneck Olympics'

Hundreds came out for toilet seat horseshoes and pigs feet bobbing in one town's alternative Olympics. WCSH reports.

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Filed under: Georgia • Gotta Watch • Maine • Sports • Swimming • Tennessee • U.S.
Police: Musician Bob Welch kills self
Bob Welch, Fleetwood Mac's guitarist for three years, is pictured in 1978 in Los Angeles.
June 7th, 2012
06:51 PM ET

Police: Musician Bob Welch kills self

Bob Welch, a guitarist who played with Fleetwood Mac before launching a solo career, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest, Nashville, Tennessee, police said Thursday. He was 66.

Welch's wife found his body in their Nashville home about 12:15 p.m., Nashville Police spokesman Don Aaron said.

"All indications are that it was a suicide," Aaron said. A suicide note was found, he said.

Welch played guitar with Fleetwood Mac starting in 1971. He left the group in late 1974, just before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the group.

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Filed under: Music • Showbiz • Tennessee
June 1st, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Vanderbilt football coach in hot water over comment on assistants' wives

Vanderbilt University head football James Franklin is playing defense today after comments this week that he looks for assistant coaches based on how attractive their wives are, not on their experience.

Here's what he said on 104.5-FM "The Zone" in Nashville on Wednesday concerning his assistant coach hiring criteria.

"His wife, if she looks the part and she's a D-I recruit, then you've got a chance to get hired. That's part of the deal," Franklin said, according to CNN affiliate WSMV.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Sports • Tennessee
May 30th, 2012
12:22 PM ET

Tennessee mosque's fate up in the air

The long-running battle between a Tennessee Muslim community and its critics over a new mosque took a dramatic turn with a county judge's ruling that could bring construction to a halt.

"Everyone is really shocked, many people are crying about this," Imam Osama Bahloul, leader of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, said early Wednesday.

"We did exactly what other churches in the county did," he said. "We followed the same process that other churches did. Why did this happen? Some people feel like it is discrimination."

The judge, Chancellor Robert Corlew, ruled Tuesday that plans for the new mosque that had previously been approved by a local planning commission were now "void and of no effect."

He said the planning commission violated state law by not providing proper public notice. The ruling throws the date of the mosque's completion, scheduled for July, up in the air.

Rutherford County Attorney Jim Cope said Corlew did not address the issue of whether work on the mosque has to stop right away. He said county planners will discuss options and determine an appropriate course of action.

"I don't have answers at this point," Cope said.

Bahloul said construction will go on until the Islamic Center receives orders to stop.

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Filed under: Anti-Islam • Islam • Religion • Tennessee • U.S.
Reports conflict on murder-kidnap suspect's death
Adam Mayes was found dead Thursday in Union County, Mississippi, authorities said.
May 10th, 2012
09:02 PM ET

Reports conflict on murder-kidnap suspect's death

[Update 9:52 p.m. ET] Adam Mayes - accused of murder and kidnapping in a case involving a Tennessee mother and her three daughters - has died, said FBI spokesman Joel Siskovic. There have been conflicting reports about Mayes since he was found after suffering an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday night in Union County, Mississippi.

[Update 9:43 p.m. ET] Two federal law enforcement sources now say that Adam Mayes - accused of murder and kidnapping in a case involving a Tennessee mother and her three daughters - was alive after suffering an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday night in Union County, Mississippi. One of those sources had previously said that Mayes was dead. A different law enforcement source had also stated that Mayes was dead. The two surviving sisters "are suffering from the experience of being out in the woods and from being kidnapped. They are suffering from dehydration and exhaustion, but appear OK," a federal law enforcement source at the scene told CNN.

[Earlier] Adam Mayes, accused of murder and kidnapping in a case involving a Tennessee mother and her three daughters, was found dead Thursday in Union County, Mississippi, and the two girls he allegedly kidnapped were found alive, two law enforcement sources said. The girls' sister and mother were found dead last Friday after being killed by Mayes, according to authorities.

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Filed under: Crime • Mississippi • Tennessee
Wife of fugitive suspect in Tennessee kidnappings charged with first degree murder
Authorities arrested Teresa Ann Mayes on Tuesday.
May 9th, 2012
12:36 PM ET

Wife of fugitive suspect in Tennessee kidnappings charged with first degree murder

Adam Mayes, who remains at large, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, and false report, police documents show. His wife, Teresa Ann Mayes, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, said her lawyer, Shana Johnson. Additional kidnapping charges against her were dismissed.

The FBI on Wednesday will announce that Adam Mayes is being added to the agency's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list. Authorities continued their search Wednesday for Mayes, who is suspected of kidnapping Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters in Tennessee.

The reward leading to Mayes' capture is now up to $175,000, including a combination of state and federal agency reward money.

Mayes, 35, is believed to be armed and dangerous with Bain's two youngest daughters, Alexandria, 12, and Kyliyah, 8. Bain and her eldest daughter, Adrienne, 14, were found dead in a home linked to Mayes in Guntown, Mississippi.

The case has drawn at least 17 law enforcement agencies and hundreds of investigators, but an FBI special agent had no updates Wednesday morning.

Teresa Mayes' lawyer, Shana Johnson, told CNN that her client is cooperating with police but would not say whether she knows the whereabouts of Adam Mayes or the girls.

The Mayes family and the Bain family are connected through Adam Mayes' sister Pamela, who used to be married to Jo Ann's husband Gary Bain, the lawyer said.  Adam and Teresa Mayes were married for 11 years and lived in Guntown, she said.

Johnson said she has asked for a mental health evaluation of her client.

According to an arrest warrant, Teresa Mayes admitted driving Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters from Hardeman County to Union County, Mississippi. Bain and her daughter Adrienne suffered "serious bodily injury as a result of their removal or confinement," according to the warrant.

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May 8th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Police arrest wife, mother of Tennessee kidnapping suspect

Police in Tennessee have arrested the wife and mother of the man suspected of kidnapping Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters, Hardeman County, Tennessee Deputy Clerk Pat Kirk said Tuesday.

The women are accused in connection with the kidnappings, according to Kirk.

The FBI said Monday night that the mother and her 14-year-old daughter Adrienne are dead, though the man they believe abducted them - along with two other daughters - remains at large.

Authorities previously reported that they had found two bodies Friday at a Guntown, Mississippi, residence tied to the kidnapping suspect, Adam Mayes.

Mayes is considered armed and dangerous, with authorities asking for the public's help in tracking down him and the two other girls, 12-year-old Alexandria Bain and 8-year-old Kyliyah Bain, whom he also allegedly abducted.

Authorities established contact with and tried to interview the 35-year-old Mayes soon after the mother and her three daughters were reported missing on April 27 by Jo Ann's husband from Whiteville, a western Tennessee town of 4,600 people, but then he fled, Joel Siskovic, the spokesman for the FBI bureau in Memphis, Tennessee, told CNN affiliate WPTY.

He was last seen May 1 in Guntown, the same northern Mississippi town where the bodies were found. Details haven't been released as to how or exactly when they died.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late last week issued an Amber Alert asking for the public's help in finding the Bain sisters and for information leading to Mayes' arrest.

Aaron T. Ford, special agent in charge at the FBI's Memphis bureau, told CNN on Sunday that investigators believe all the kidnapping victims "were transported across state lines into Mississippi."

Local, state and federal law enforcement's focus is now in Union County, Mississippi, where Guntown is located, the FBI agent said. Authorities have also pointed out, however, that Mayes has connections to Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida and could be en route to Arizona.

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May 5th, 2012
03:49 PM ET

3 Tennessee sisters 'may be in extreme danger' after alleged abduction

Three Tennessee sisters "may be in extreme danger" after allegedly being abducted late last month by their mother and a man possibly carrying a gun, the state bureau of investigation said Saturday.

An Amber Alert was issued Saturday for the siblings - 14-year-old Adrienne Bain, 12-year-old Alexandra Bain and 8-year-old Kyliyah Bain. They were last seen April 27 in Whiteville, a town of about 4,600 people in western Tennessee.

The possibly armed male suspect, Adam Mayes, cut his own hair and may have done the same to the three children, according to the Amber Alert from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The 35-year-old man - who has blue eyes and brown hair, weighs about 175 pounds and stands 6 feet, 3 inches tall - was last seen May 1 in Guntown, Mississippi.

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Filed under: Crime • Missing Children • Mississippi • Tennessee
April 19th, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Tennessee's Summitt: 'It has been a privilege'

Pat Summitt said Thursday it wasn't easy stepping down as University of Tennessee women's basketball coach, but nearly a year after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, it was time.

"It's never a good time (to step down), but you have to find a time that you think is a good time, and that time is now," she told reporters at Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena.

Summitt, whose 1,098 wins are the most in major-college basketball history, spoke to reporters a day after the school announced that she would now serve as "head coach emeritus," helping with on-campus recruiting and mentoring players. Her associate head coach, Holly Warlick, has been named Summitt's successor after being an assistant on the team's staff for 27 seasons.

Shortly before Thursday afternoon's news conference, the White House announced that President Barack Obama would award Summitt the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, CNN's Brianna Keilar reported.

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Sports • Tennessee
Pat Summitt steps down as Tennessee women's basketball coach
Summitt, seen here in 2011, announced she had early onset Alzheimer's disease last year.
April 18th, 2012
02:08 PM ET

Pat Summitt steps down as Tennessee women's basketball coach

[Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET] Eight months after revealing her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's, the head coach of the University of Tennessee's women's basketball team announced she was stepping down Wednesday.

Summitt, who led the Lady Vols to eight national championships and whose 1,098 wins are the most in major-college basketball history, will now serve as "head coach emeritus," helping with on-campus recruiting, mentoring players and serving as a liaison between the coaching staff and the athletics director, Tennessee said.

"I've loved being the head coach at Tennessee for 38 years, but I recognize that the time has come to move into the future and to step into a new role," Summitt, 60, said in a statement released by Tennessee.

Holly Warlick, an assistant on the Tennessee staff for 27 seasons and a former Lady Vols player, has been named Summitt's successor.

"I support Holly Warlick being named the next head coach, and I want to help ensure the stability of the program going forward," Summitt said. "I would like to emphasize that I fully intend to continue working as head coach emeritus, mentoring and teaching life skills to our players, and I will continue my active role as a spokesperson in the fight against Alzheimer's through the Pat Summitt Foundation Fund."

Tennessee has scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon.

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Outbreak of deadly tornadoes tear through U.S.
A car lies overturned in the parking lot of the Henryville school after a tornado ripped through Henryville, Indiana.
March 2nd, 2012
08:36 PM ET

Outbreak of deadly tornadoes tear through U.S.

A powerful storm system rolled across the U.S. Friday causing at slew of tornadoes from Alabama to Indiana. The deadly tornadoes left a devastating path of destruction behind. This is something you'll have to see to believe.

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‚ÄėTake it away from us‚Äô

A woman near West Liberty, Kentucky can be heard praying on camera as a huge funnel cloud forms over her house.

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'This was time to take shelter'

A WDRB reporter and photographer got caught in the storm as they headed out to cover the severe weather in Indiana.

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‚ÄėIt‚Äôs heartbreaking‚Äô

Indiana was among the hardest-hit states.

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Well built homes 'wiped' to the ground

Video captures the heartbreak as tornado survivors try and pick up the pieces from what's left of their homes.

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Filed under: Indiana • Kentucky • Survivor Stories • Tennessee • Tornadoes • U.S. • Weather
January 5th, 2012
11:42 AM ET

Critics say proposed Tenn. bill could enable harassment in schools

A proposed bill that will be debated in Tennessee would create a loophole in state schools' anti-discrimination laws that could protect students who engage in harassment if it falls under their religious or political beliefs, opponents of the bill told CNN.

Currently schools in the state are being required to adopt policies that prohibit harassment and bullying.

Supporters of the bill say their goal is to make sure whatever policies are implemented will keep in mind a student’s freedom of expression and protect the student from being punished merely for expressing their views so long as they aren’t threatening harm or damaging property.

‚ÄúThis bill clarifies that the policy may not be construed or interpreted to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of students and may not prohibit their expression of religious, philosophical, or political views as long as such expression does not include a threat of physical harm to a student or of damage to a student's property,‚ÄĚ the bill states.

Read the proposed bill (PDF)

But opponents say it will create an dangerous exemption that allows those who condemn homosexuality to openly harass gay students strictly because of their religious views without  punishment - so long as they don't actually harm them.

The bill, which was introduced in 2011 in the House and Senate, has gained attention after the conservative Family Action Council of Tennessee (FACT) announced it would be one of their highest priorities for the year. The sponsors of the bills did not return calls for comment about where discussion on the bill stood.

The group's December newsletter says it hopes "to make sure [the law] protects the religious liberty and free speech rights of students who want to express their views on homosexuality,‚ÄĚ according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Because of the specific protection requested for religious and political views, activists for the LGBT communities fear the law may be sending the wrong message to students that it would be OK to harass each other under the cloak of religious or political views.

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December 28th, 2011
05:02 PM ET

Rescuers reach trapped miners in Tennessee

Rescuers on Wednesday reached three miners trapped in an eastern Tennessee zinc mine after a fire, and were bringing them to the surface, a fire rescue spokesman said.

They should all be out by 5 p.m. ET, said Capt. Sammy Solomon of New Market Fire Rescue.

The miners were trapped by smoke after a rig fire broke out 800 feet underground Wednesday at the Young Mine in New Market, Solomon said. They were among 54 miners in the mine at the time. The others managed to get out, though two were transported to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

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Filed under: Tennessee
December 1st, 2011
01:48 PM ET

1 dead, 16 injured in Tenn. crashes involving 176 cars

[Updated at 1:48 p.m. ET] One person was killed and 16 others injured Thursday in three separate chain-reaction crashes involving 176 cars north of Nashville, authorities said.

Heavy fog and black ice were thought to have contributed to the crashes on State Highway 386 in Sumner County, said county emergency medical services Capt. Vincent Riley.

The incidents began just before 8 a.m. ET, when a car ran off the highway and caused a chain reaction accident in "heavy, heavy fog," he said.

At least one school bus, with children aboard, was involved in the crashes, he said. None of the children were injured.

The man who died was driving a compact car that went under a semitrailer, Riley said. The 16 people transported to local hospitals were not critically injured, he said.

The highway remained closed throughout most of the day as authorities attempted to clear the wreckage. As of Thursday afternoon, one side of the highway was still blocked with 50 cars that were not driveable and must be towed, Riley said.

A fog advisory was not in effect for the area at the time of the crashes, said CNN meteorologist Sarah Dillingham, but the heavy fog could have been a localized event.

– CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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