JCP Week in Review, February 2

Jared Bentley • Feb 2, 2018 at 4:44 PM

Ballad Health is now official.

The state of Tennessee has finally granted a Certificate of Public Advantage, permitting the two entities of Wellmont and Mountain States to merge into Ballad Health, and the merger can now move forward with plans that have been long in the works.

Mountain States Health Alliance announced two leadership changes Wednesday, as Stan Hickson was named CEO of Washington County operations, and John Jeter was appointed CEO of Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia.


Wellmont announced changes as well. Bart Hove, set to be the newly merged Ballad Health’s CEO, suddenly announced his retirement yesterday to the apparent surprise of the system’s board of directors.

Former Mountain States CEO Alan Levine will take on Hove’s leadership duties in addition to his own role as executive chairman and president of Ballad.

Police are looking for a man in Johnson City in connection with a carjacking last week on State of Franklin.

A Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled a Chevy Impala over last Thursday afternoon, and as he approached the car, a woman opened the driver’s side door and stepped partially out of the vehicle. Before she could get all the way out, police say Johnson City native Cory Cox moved from the rear seat to the driver’s seat and accelerated away, spinning the woman into the road.

Some deputies followed Cox, and others stopped to help the woman, who told investigators Cox had forced her out of the vehicle using a small handgun. Cox then recklessly drove down State of Franklin, forcing deputies to stop the chase for safety concerns. Johnson City Police reported seeing Cox drive onto Interstate 26 heading toward Kingsport, but did not pursue the car.

Kingsport police found the stolen Impala on Monday, and Washington County deputies also found a black BMW that had been driven by Cox that same day.

Cox was wanted on charges including carjacking, felony reckless endangerment, reckless driving, felony evading arrest, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Tennessee’s Felony Offender Information website lists Cox with inactive status on a sentence that ended April 16.

Sheriff Ed Graybeal asks anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cox to call the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 423-788-1414 or another local law enforcement agency.

Four people were arrested in Johnson County this week for their alleged roles in the disappearance of a Burke County, North Carolina man.

Carlton Lamar Edmondson was first reported missing on Jan. 19, when his family contacted authorities after receiving a call demanding $700 in ransom money for their son’s return. Investigators believe several people kidnapped Edmondson and brought him to a remote area in Johnson County, where he was allegedly assaulted and left.

31-year-old Robert Leroy Littleton, III was charged with first-degree kidnapping and being a fugitive from justice. His wife, Leigh Katherine Littleton, was also charged with first-degree kidnapping, Michael Stacey May is charged with conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, and the case’s latest arrest occurred Saturday when James Combs was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and extortion.

A fifth person is expected to be charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, according to authorities. There is reportedly a video of Edmondson getting beaten up by the group.

As of now, Edmondson has yet to be found. He is a 29-year-old black male, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 250 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who may know information about Edmondson’s whereabouts is urged to call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is open and all leads are being followed.

For those of you who don’t know, the ETSU men’s basketball team is on quite a tear this year, evoking memories of the early ’90s teams that made history here in East Tennessee.

They’ve already won 20 games, and are currently touting a 14-game winning streak, which they will put on the line Saturday as Chattanooga comes to town. If you get the chance, make time to see these Bucs play, because there’s something special happening in the confines of Freedom Hall these days.

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