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Van, body recovered from Tennessee River in Shiloh

A van which plunged into the Tennessee River is pulled from the water Saturday.

Members of the Hardin County Fire Department’s dive team recovered a body in a van Saturday afternoon that drove into the Tennessee River last night.
Witnesses told authorities it appears the driver may have intentionally gone into the river, and that he waved to people in the parking lot at Hagy’s Catfish Hotel in Shiloh where the incident occurred.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating and the name of the deceased has not been released.
Hardin County Fire Chief Melvin Martin said the van was found by sonar a short distance downstream in about 30 feet of water in zero visibility conditions.
The Tennessee River is currently running high and swift due to recent heavy rains and is in flood stage. Martin, who dove for the van with fellow firefighter Buck McClendon around 100 feet from shore, described conditions below the surface as “like a hurricane.”
A woman Friday night messaged The Courier, saying, “I was just at Hagy’s for dinner and a man in a silver minivan purposely drove into the river at a high rate of speed. As he sank he waved goodbye to people in the parking lot.”
“It looks like the guy just came rolling down the road and never even checked up — just went right into the water,” said Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander.


  1. Martha Hieronymus on March 20, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    Sure appreciate the first news notice and now this update with picture. Thank you.

    • Editor on March 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      You’re very welcome, Martha. Such sad news, though.

  2. Mary Jane on March 20, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    This is so sad. How bad does your life have be to do this? I guess he felt he couldn’t take anymore of this life for whatever reason. But ohh, the loss, the grief, his family and friends are left with. The questions they’ll never have answered. I’m praying he Knew Jesus very well and maybe he just wanted to go home to be with his Lord and Savior. God please bless those who are left behind trying to put the pieces of their life back together. 🙏

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