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Tennessee news briefs

Tennessee news briefs

Posted: Friday, August 14, 2009 8:01 pm

Traffic death case now probed as homicide
SEVIERVILLE (AP) — The death of a Gatlinburg woman, first thought to be a traffic fatality, is now being investigated as a homicide.
WBIR-TV in Knoxville reported the Sevier County sheriff is further investigating the Aug. 3 discovery of Shannon Hercutt’s body in her sport utility vehicle at the base off a cliff. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said the 40-year-old victim apparently had not braked in time to make a turn and the SUV slid off the road, landing on boulders 125 feet below.
Sheriff’s investigators have not said what new information led to the expanded investigation
Hercutt’s father, Ted Hercutt, and his wife, Anita, told the station they think someone killed the victim at her home, then tried to cover up the cause of her death with a staged crash.
Information from: WBIR-TV, http://www.wbir.com/
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4-year-old honored
for preventing fire
SHELBYVILLE (AP) — A sharp-eyed 4-year-old has been named a “junior deputy state fire marshal” for spotting what could have turned into a serious blaze at her grandparents’ home.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office bestowed the title on Alexa Powers of Murfreesboro during the Bedford County Commission meeting Tuesday.
The Shelbyville Times Gazette reports that last April while Alexa was visiting she told her grandparents she was seeing smoke at their home, a historical structure that was once Flat Creek School. The adults, preparing to go to church, didn’t see anything wrong but Alexa was insistent.
They listened and found a magnifying makeup mirror had directed the sun’s rays onto a cosmetic bag, which was beginning to smolder.
Besides the long title, Alexa also got a plaque and some stuffed toys.
Information from: Shelbyville Times-Gazette, http://www.t-g.com
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Former Nashville health care provider indicted
NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal indictment accuses the former owner of a Nashville-based heath care provider with cheating the government out of $1.1 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s office said Candyce Jones sent fraudulent claims on behalf of clients to be paid by TennCare, which uses federal Medicare funds. She was arrested Thursday.
Officials said the bills were for psychotherapy services that were either never performed or were done by unlicensed persons between March 2005 and February 2008.
Jones operated Merrilee Healthcare, which is no longer in business.
Authorities said Jones falsely used Social Security numbers and fraudulently used a doctor’s provider information to submit the claims.
A grand jury indicted Jones on eight counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com
Published in The Messenger 8.14.09

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