Coroner recognizes fire dept. for help in fatal wreck

Taylor Six/The Register

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison gives recognition to the city fire department for their help in a death investigation two weeks ago. 

Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison spoke before the Richmond City Commission singing praise to the city's fire department after assisting with a fatal accident on I-75 nearly two weeks ago.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 22, Robert Hepler, 58, of Johnson City, Tenn., was killed after being struck by a tractor-trailer on the side of the interstate.

Cornelison said Tuesday he wanted to address the commission to "throw glitter in the air" for the recognition of the fire department and its help in "literally piecing the scene together."

"What they did was stay with us and find everything we could," the coroner said. "They had no hesitation about what to do. They suggested to us what to do, and they helped do it all. We couldn't have functioned without them."

Cornelison reported it took his office and the fire department nearly three hours in the cold and rain to piece the scene together to get an idea of what occurred in those early morning hours.

"This was different -- different for me -- and not many things are," he said. "I've been doing this for a long time. … I wanted to let you all know as their employers what they have done."

Mayor Robert Blythe thanked Cornelison for his report and also thanked him for his long service to the county in his role as coroner.

"We would like to thank you for the service that you have given us and the spirit in which you have served," he said.

• • •

In other business:

• Paul Sowers, a representative of Richmond's Room in the Inn program said that on the first night on Monday, three people used the services.

• The city approved the second reading of Ordinance 19-24, or the food truck ordinance, which establishes necessary permits and restrictions for operating a mobile food unit in the city.

• A change order for the Water Street project in the amount of $8,325 for additional work required that was not included in the original bid. Most of the additional work is for drain collection systems in the area.

• Cameron Wilhoite's resignation from the Public Works Department was approved.

• Katlin Cappel was approved for a transfer from the finance department to the codes, planning and safety department for a position as an administrative clerk.

• Elizabeth Davidson was approved for the position of finance clerk for the finance department.

• The city manager was approved to purchase a recycling truck with a bin for the total price of $115,000.

A workshop meeting of the Richmond City Commission will be held Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m. at Richmond City Hall. A regularly scheduled business meeting will not be held until after New Year's Day.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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