Jessica Campos, 27, died after being struck by a suspect on the run after allegedly stealing a Cadillac Escalade from the Coffee County Funeral Chapel on Friday.
Family and friends of Campos say they believe the pursuit was unnecessary.
Garieon Simmons allegedly entered a residential area and almost struck two people in their vehicles. He’s later accused of nearly hitting a Manchester Police car head-on.
“He posed a danger as soon as he left the chapel heading down the wrong way,” Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves said.
Sgt. Landon Pence of the Manchester Police Department said in his report that he swerved to the right and the stolen vehicle continued to drive erratic and swerved to come back on the proper side of the road.
Investigator Billy Marcom, a 32-year veteran with the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, led the pursuit.
According to the sheriff’s department pursuit policy; a chase is justified when it poses the risk of loss of life, serious injury, major property damage or other emergency situations.
Reports indicate that Simmons led officers to Interstate 24 but was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
Reports also say that Manchester officers backed off once the chase entered Rutherford County.
Sheriff Graves said his deputies slowed down once losing sight of Simmons.
Graves says his deputies continued to travel while the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department took over the pursuit because the theft took place in Coffee County.
Authorities say Simmons could have possibly been on the run from Franklin County for an alleged armed robbery on Friday.
The Decherd man is facing several charges including the most serious, which is vehicular homicide. He is being held at the Rutherford County Jail.
In November 2014, TBI Special Agents and investigators with Adult Protective Services began investigating Robin West Qualls. At that time, Qualls was employed by Centerstone as an on-site residential coordinator in Tullahoma. Two dependent vulnerable adults who lived at the residence relied on Qualls to manage their daily finances, including personal checking accounts. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that Qualls initially was not paying the victims’ monthly rent. The investigation and a review of banks records further revealed that from 2008 through 2014, Qualls had taken more of the victims’ funds in addition to the rent money.
Recently, the Coffee County Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Qualls with two counts of Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult and one count of Theft over $60,000. Qualls, 45, turned herself in to authorities Thursday, and was booked into the Coffee County Jail on a $30,000 bond. Qualls’ employment with Centerstone was terminated in 2014.
Late last week Manchester Police was called to the scene of a possible break-in of a home at 275 Fredonia Road. Officers were given a description of a male subject and a female. Officer Jamie Norris states in the arrest warrant that the subject was on the property without permission and admitted to officers that he was on the property. The warrant states that witnesses saw the man in his vehicle on the property and the female exiting the residence with a large TV under a sheet in her arms. Officers located the television on 480 Skinner Flat Road.
Norris arrested Emily Finchum age 25 of Chalet Dr Manchester and Jeffery E Reames age 31 of the same address.
It was later discovered that Reames was wanted out of Indiana for kidnapping and Finchum was wanted out of Indiana for Manufacturing/delivery/sell of Meth.
Reames was booked at the Coffee County Jail for Burglary, Theft of property, Aggravated criminal trespass and being a Fugitive from Justice. His bond was set at $115,000. Finchum was charged with Burglary, Theft of property and being a Fugitive from Justice and her bond is $112,500. Both have court dates of July 26, 2016.
Election officials are advising Tennessee residents that the last day to register to vote for the Aug. 4 election is July 5. Officials say people have an extra day to register this year because the last day to register actually falls on a national holiday, July 4. Officials say voters can register at election commission offices or online. Officials say anyone who registers online must vote the first time in person and is not eligible to receive an absentee ballot.
Several local and state races are on the ballot.
On Friday her husband Blaine Roper, who was set to go on trial Aug. 8 for the same murder pleaded guilty as well.
Blaine Roper accepted a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On Oct. 31, 2014, the Moore County Grand Jury indicted the Ropers, each with one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder, one count of premeditated first degree murder and two counts of felony murder.
Investigators discovered the newborn’s remains in a fire pit and ditch located on and near the property where the Ropers lived in Moore County.
Britain’s vote to leave the European Union could impact Americans in a variety of ways; one of them could be lower gas prices. The price for crude oil, which is globally traded on the stock market, declined by nearly $2.50 the day after the vote. Since two-thirds of the price of gasoline is influenced by oil prices, this reduces the likelihood of gas prices rising in the near future.
“Gas prices were already falling before the vote, but reductions in the price of oil should allow that trend to continue,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Increased gasoline demand is currently being offset by healthy refinery production, and gas prices are expected to remain at their lowest point for this time of year since 2005.”
The average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.10 in Tennessee, down 4-cents from last week.
In Coffee County this week the low price is $1.93 in Tullahoma and in Manchester it’s a $1.95.
Specifically, the report looked at the potential impact of President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan and found that it could save the average Tennessee household more than $1,800 dollars in electricity costs over the next 15 years.
Stephen Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, says the report validates a belief many have had for years.
“We have long challenged the Tennessee Valley Authority and their local power companies to do more in the energy efficiency area, so this reinforces other discussions that we’re having,” he states. “What we need is the political will and we need the utility to make the investment.”
According to the report, without any change in the way we produce and use electricity, households in Tennessee can expect to pay almost 6 percent more over the next 15 years.
The study says if Tennessee’s leaders adopt the least-cost compliance scenarios from the Clean Power Plan, electric bills would see significant savings.
Study author Marilyn Brown says it’s wrong to assume that consumers would have to do without common comforts by using Clean Energy.
“Energy efficiency is not taking cold showers and drinking warm beer,” she states. “It’s not suffering, it’s not consuming less in order to cut your bills. It means using energy more wisely, purchasing and using equipment in a more efficient manner.”
A common argument among fossil fuel advocates is that as the population grows so will the demand on energy, but Smith says that’s not the case.
“Just because the economy is growing, doesn’t mean that we have to be using a lot more energy,” he argues. “And that’s what has changed and that’s what the Clean Power Plan reinforces is – we have these technologies, we have the ability to keep people saving money, through using less power, and therefore that’s what we need to drive forward.”
The Environmental Protect Agency projects that the Clean Power Plan will help avoid more than 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks and 490,000 missed days of work annually by 2030.
Eighty-two new laws will go into effect in Tennessee on July 1.
A number of them will impact the safety of Tennesseans, including a law that will require people convicted of human trafficking for prostitution to register as a sex offender.
Also, anyone convicted of taking unlawful pictures for sexual gratification will be added to the sex offender registry.
The new laws will also impact veterans.
Starting Friday, they can get a handgun carry permit without taking the required class.
This will include active duty, honorable discharged, or retired members of the US Armed Forces.
One of the biggest changes will come for grocery stores. On July 1, they’ll be able to sell wine.
So far, the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission has approved licenses for more than 400 grocery across the state. At least 4 of those are in Coffee County.
Shoppers will be able to purchase wine between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. (WKRN)
A police pursuit of a stolen black Cadillac Escalade from Manchester ended in Rutherford County with a fatal crash. The vehicle was stolen from Coffee County Funeral Chapel.
The pursuit included Manchester officers and deputies from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department before Rutherford County took over. At one time the Escalade was traveling on the wrong side of I-24, driving into oncoming traffic.
Lt. Bill Miller, spokesman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol says the pursuit ended in a head-on collision at the intersection of South Church Street (Highway 231) and Veterans Parkway in Murfreesboro.
Three vehicles were involved in the crash that killed 28-year old Jennifer Campos of Murfreesboro. Authorities said that her 7-month old infant female daughter survived the crash, because of a child restraint seat. The driver of the stolen vehicle was airlifted from the scene.
The driver of the stolen SUV first gave officials the wrong name, but he was later identified as 28-year old Garieon Simmons of Decherd, TN.
The suspect continued a short distance after hitting the Campos car on South Church when he reportedly crossed the median and hit another vehicle head-on. 27-year old Katrina Sadler received non-life-threatening injuries in that crash. Simmons was airlifted from the scene with injuries.
Simmons, who is now in jail, was charged with vehicular homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, violation of probation and being a habitual motor vehicle offender.
A body was found just off Highway 55 near the railroad tracks in Tullahoma on Saturday afternoon.
Tullahoma Police investigators have been working the scene, gathering information near the tracks by Silver Street.
Authorities confirmed more information would be released as soon as the investigation is complete.
The person who was said to be very decomposed at the time of recovery has not been identified.