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  • "Woman in black" is from Alabama, Sullivan Co. deputies say

    Published On: Jun 04 2014 09:36:06 AM CDT
    Updated On: Jun 04 2014 03:46:54 PM CDT

    A mysterious figure known as the "woman in black" is capturing the attention of social media users across Tennessee.

    SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

    After multiple calls and Facebook posts from News 5 viewers wondering about a woman walking around the area in a black shroud, we have learned more about her identity.

    Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Lt. Andy Seabolt told News 5 WCYB the woman is Elizabeth Poles, 56, of Motts, Alabama. Deputies received a call on June 1 around 3:00 a.m.about a suspicious person in the area.

    When investigators found her in front of the B-Mart on Highway 11W just outside Kingsport city limits, Poles claimed she was on a Bible mission and needed a ride to Winchester, Virginia.

    When deputies asked the woman where she lived, she said she was from an Islamic nation and worked at the Pentagon.

    Investigators determined her claims were not true.  

    The sheriff's office took her to the Virginia state line so she could continue on her way to Winchester.

    MAP: The "Woman In Black" has been spotted in locations all over the Southeast. These pins represent visitors to our site leaving a location in our comments.

  • Tornado exposes stolen items in man's home

    By Stephanie Santostasi, ssantostasi@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 30 2014 04:08:32 PM CDT
    Updated On: Jul 28 2014 11:00:00 PM CDT

    One home in the Rock Springs area of Kingsport was right in the path of a tornado Sunday. Once the community came to help pick up the pieces, they discovered something much worse.

    KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

    One home in the Rock Springs area of Kingsport was right in the path of a tornado Sunday. Once the community came to help pick up the pieces, they discovered something much worse.

    Ed Cleek lives on Rock Springs Drive. Right down the hill at 1912 Rock Springs Road is where Jerrod Christian used to live; Christian now sits in the Kingsport City Jail after Cleek saw something belonging to him in the pile of debris.

    "The first thing that he noticed was this bright red air compressor that he just reported stolen the day before, so obviously his eye was drawn to it," says Thomas Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.

    Police were called shortly after, and in addition to finding the compressor, they also found Cleek's string trimmer and welder.

    "Basically, the end result was we were able to solve two burglaries out of this damage from the tornado," says Patton.

    Mr. Cleek tells News 5 he's just happy to have his property back.

    Officer Patton tells News 5 Christian was arrested the day before on an unrelated issue.

    He's being charged with two counts of burglary, one count of theft of property over $1,000, and one count of theft of property $500.

    Click here to view videos of the tornado that hit the home.

    Click here to view photos of the storm.

  • Man loses leg in motorcycle accident

    Published On: Jul 30 2014 11:43:03 AM CDT
    MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
    WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. -

    A motorcycle driver is recovering after losing his leg in a three-car collision.

    The photo above is what it looked like on Greenwood Drive in Washington County, Tennessee around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday.

    Investigators tell us they are in the preliminary stages of their investigation, but say the two cars, driven by Karen Simmons and Lyndsay-Ann Gentry were going north, when they hit the motorcycle.

    The driver of that motorcycle, Robert Leach, underwent surgery and had his leg amputated.

    Simmons and gentry were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.

    Police are still investigating what led up to the collision.

  • Man finds his stolen items in neighbor's tornado debris

    By Stephanie Santostasi, ssantostasi@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 29 2014 12:16:14 PM CDT
    Updated On: Jul 28 2014 11:00:00 PM CDT

    One home in the Rock Springs area of Kingsport was right in the path of a tornado Sunday. Once the community came to help pick up the pieces, they discovered something much worse.

    KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

    One home in Rock Springs was right in the path of Sunday's tornado, but once the community came to help pick up the pieces, they discovered something much worse.

    As one neighbor came to see if everyone was okay after Sunday's damage, he found something belonging to him.

    Ed Cleek lives on Rock Springs Drive. Right down the hill, at 1912 Rock Springs Road is where Jerrod Christian used to live. Christian now sits in the Kingsport City Jail. This after Cleek saw something belonging to him in the pile of debris.

    "The first thing that he noticed was this bright red air compressor that he just reported stolen the day before, so obviously his eye was drawn to it," says Thomas Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.

    Police were called shortly after, and in addition to finding the compressor, they also found Cleek's weed eater and welder.

    "Basically the end result was we were able to solve two burglaries out of this damage from the tornado," says Patton.

    Mr. Cleek tells News 5 he's just happy to have most of his stuff back.

    Officer Patton tells News 5 Christian was arrested the day before on an unrelated issue. He's being charged with two counts of burglary, one count of theft of property over $1,000 and one count of theft of property $500.

  • Church Hill woman who drove through church facing a new charge

    By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 30 2014 05:01:23 PM CDT
    HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. -

    A Church Hill woman accused of driving into a church and stabbing her husband is facing a new charge.

    The charge stems from an incident that happened in March.

    23-year-old Stephanie Hamman is now facing an aggravated assault charge on her husband.

    Hamman is already facing an attempted first degree murder and felony vandalism charges.

    We first told you about this story in March after Church Hill Police say Hamman ran through the front of Providence Church because she said God told her to.

    Officers told us Hamman then called her husband to check on her and when he got there she stabbed him.

    Hamman told police she felt her husband was worshipping the NASCAR Race at Bristol, which made her mad, and she began having thoughts she says the devil put in her head.

    At Hamman's first court appearance her attorney requested a mental evaluation for Hamman, which was granted.

    She is out on bond.

    Wednesday the judge set a preliminary hearing for October.

  • Railroading in miniature in Appalachia

    By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 30 2014 04:13:39 PM CDT
    Updated On: Jul 30 2014 10:08:11 PM CDT

    The public is invited to come and see one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region during Appalachia's Railroad Days.

    APPALACHIA, Va. -

    The small town that carries the region's namesake, "Appalachia," calls its annual community-wide celebration Railroad Days. Like so many communities throughout the area, it grew up around the railroad.

    The celebration is this weekend and the hidden jewel of the little town lies in the basement of their cultural center -- it's one of the largest model railroad layouts in the region.

    The trains still roll through Appalachia, just not as frequently as in years past. "Railroading and coal mining, that's what's been our livelihood for years here," says Larry Jackson with the Lonesome Pine Model Railroad Club.

    And it's railroading that's on display at the Lonesome Pine Model Railroaders giant layout in the basement of the cultural center. It's near impossible to see everything that this club has constructed down here and there's always something new. "It's never done, it never will be done. It's a labor of love. Once we finish one area we'll start on another area even if its just re-modifying and redo it, update it, improve it," Jackson said.

    All who visit are amazed at what they see from the layouts, to the trains themselves and each Railroad Days celebration it draws hundred to see it.

    "It's amazing how many people come in here and are truly amazed at the size of this layout in such a small mining town as Appalachia," Jackson said.

    The newest member of the club who retired here from Massachusetts stumbled on it. "It was just by chance I happened to be around the area and I like trains, saw a caboose out back of the club.  I didn't realize the club was here, my wife pointed out the sign," said new member Jonathan Morse.

    And he was hooked and joined in. He's been helping with one of the newest pieces to the layout a shipyard. "Once the shipyard is finished then we're going to complete an oil refinery create some industry for the people that live in this small town here a place for them to work.,"

    Jackson said he wishes he could do that for the area now. "Yeah, I wish I could do that for Appalachia and the Big Stone Gap area," he said.

    The layout will be on display Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday for railroad days.

  • Police search for hit and run suspects in Abingdon

    By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
    News 5 Staff, news@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 29 2014 04:54:55 PM CDT
    Updated On: Jul 29 2014 09:41:42 PM CDT
    hit and run 4
    ABINGDON, Va. -

    There was a reported hit and run collision at 15305 Black Hollow Road in Abingdon Tuesday afternoon.

    When we got on scene, Virginia State Police told us a light-colored Toyota hit a blue Chevy Cavalier.

    The driver of the Toyota was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Officers at the scene did not know the extent of his injuries.

    VSP told us two people in the Cavalier took off into the woods. Two VSP K-9 units were called in to search for them.

    "[We] tracked them a ways , then apparently they came back down the road and either called somebody to pick them up, we don't know," said Roy Owens, with VSP. "[The] track went up the hill and then turned come back down toward the road."

    Officers left the scene after almost two hours of searching. They were not able to tell us the identity of any of the people involved in the accident.

  • Washington County, VA Board of Supervisors reviewing hydrofracking ordinance

    By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
    Published On: Jul 08 2014 11:12:12 PM CDT
    Updated On: Jul 08 2014 11:19:41 PM CDT
    WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. -

    There was a heated discussion over hydraulic fracturing in Washington County, Va. on Tuesday night, as the Board of Supervisors talked about whether to move towards allowing it in the county.    

    Hydrofracking, as it's called, is the process of injecting chemical and sand-laced water into rock to open cracks, allowing natural gas to flow out.

    The board had to decide whether to pass a re-zoning ordinance allowing hydrofracking, or take more time to look it over and make changes.

    County residents packed the meeting room to hear the decision.

    They took turns speaking to the board during the public comment period, which lasted for more than an hour. Twenty-three people in total gave their opinions.

    Virginia Oil and Gas Association spokesperson Beth Stockner told the board that she supports natural gas drilling here because it's a step towards energy independence for  the United States. She also voiced concern they will increase regulations on gas companies.

    "We're already regulated by the state and federal agencies and do not require any further regulations," Stockner said.

    The State Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy currently regulates all hydrofracking in the Commonwealth.

    The proposal the board has in front of it is to re-zone land along Rich Valley Road, possibly up to Saltville, to allow gas companies to drill on that land.

    Stockner told us it is only recently that hydrofracking stopped in Washington County.

    "There's been hydraulic fracturing going on in Washington County since the 1960's, so it's nothing new," she said.

    Mary Puckett, who lives on Phillips Road, told us she's still against the idea.

    "I do not understand how, if you just did the basic research and knew the basic facts about hydrofracking, how anyone could ever say yes to it," Puckett said.

    She told us she's done research into the road damage she said will be caused by the trucks bringing water in and out of the county for the hydrofracking process. Puckett also has concerns about how the chemical-laden water will be disposed.

    She told us there are too many risks.

    "I mean no one can live without clean air, no one can live without clean water," said Puckett.

    The board did pass a motion to have an employee with the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy come speak to them about the risks of the gas drilling before they move forward with the ordinance.

    If they decide to pass it, it will go back to the planning commission for adjustments and then be returned to them for a final vote.

  • Viewer videos: July 27 storms

    These three videos submitted by viewers show the suspected tornadoes that hit the Rock Springs area about 6 p.m. on July 27.

  • Teen who survives cancer needs new teeth

    A California teen survives cancer twice. Now he needs a set of new teeth.

  • Tenn. lab nixes 'Lose Your Southern Accent' class

    If you have a Southern accent, would you consider saying good-bye to "Howdy, y'all?"

  • 'Short Track Tuesday' 7-29-14

    This week's edition of 'Short Track Tuesday' features racing at Wythe Raceway and Volunteer Speedway.

  • Rescue dog helps thwart burglary

    A rescue dog named Squid helps thwart a burglary in Colorado by waking his owners in the middle of the night.