An Overton County Jail inmate doing supervised work at the jail’s garden near Rickman was at the center of a manhunt after he disappeared from the garden Monday morning, July 8.
According to Sheriff W.B. Melton, inmate Johnny Nathan Crossman, 38, went amiss at approximately 8:45 a.m. He had been part of the supervised inmate work crew assigned to tend the garden, which the jail uses to supplement its meals.
“He brought a milk carton full of squash up and put them in the truck, and when he turned, that was the last time anybody saw him,” Melton said.
Melton said he received a call informing him of Crossman’s disappearance from the work crew at approximately 8:45 a.m. He said he and Deputy Johnny Cyrus responded to the garden.
“Of course, you don’t know how long he’d been gone before Royce realized he wasn’t out there picking squash,” the sheriff said, referring to work crew Supervisor Royce Hummell, who said he routinely supervises jail work crews.
“I don’t think it was over 15 minutes” from the time Crossman left the garden until Hummell learned of Crossman’s disappearance, Melton added. He said there had been six inmates working in the garden Monday morning.
Melton said Putnam County Sheriff’s Department sent a K-9 officer to assist in the manhunt, and Tennessee Highway Patrol assisted from the air in a helicopter.
According to Melton, Crossman pled guilty on theft of a hay bailer earlier this year and was serving a six-year sentence in the jail. He said Crossman’s history of crime was not a violent one.
“If you’d ever talk to him, he’s one of the nicest fellows, the hardest workers you’ve ever seen,” Melton said. “I mean, he’ll do more than two or three other people out there working.”
As of press time, Crossman was still at large, but was not considered violent, Melton said. Overton County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help locating him. A release from the department said Crossman stands approximately six feet tall and weighs approximately 210 pounds. He has dark brown hair and brown eyes. There is a faint rose tattoo on his left arm. OCSD officials said he has contacts throughout the Upper Cumberland.
Anyone with information related to Crossman’s whereabouts should contact the Overton County Sheriff’s Department at (931) 823-5635, the sheriff said.
“Well, he sure messed up. The judge may sentence him to serve day-for-day now the whole six years, where he could have been out probably in three otherwise, and I think he’s on probation for about another 16 more years, so it could be bad on his part,” Melton said.
A Livingston man was killed in a crash at the intersection of Highway 111 and Quinland Lake Road in Cookeville Friday, July 5 at approximately 1:20 p.m.
According to a report from Tennessee Highway Patrol, Fredrick W. Rinker, 68, of Livingston, was driving his 2005 Chevrolet Venture van northbound on Highway 111 near the intersection with Quinland Lake Road when the van left the roadway to the left hand side, “rolling…at least four times,” the narrative said.
Rinker was partially ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of the crash, the report said. A passenger, Whitney D. Sidwell, 23, of Livingston, was injured when she was completely ejected from the vehicle and into the southbound lanes of Highway 111 during the crash, the report said.
According to the report, neither Rinker nor Sidwell were wearing a seat belt. The report said in the opinion of the investigating troopers, seat belt use might have made a difference in the outcome of the crash.