published Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Sheriff awaiting ID on Bonnaroo body

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Steve Graves

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Gillian Bolsover Agents David Seibers, left, and Andrea Ray search a car entering the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Thursday. Agents with the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force were looking for drugs, weapons and other prohibited items being brought into the festival.

Crashes, Citations and Arrests

Year Total crashes DUIs Minor drug Felony drug

* 2004 35 15 15 5

* 2005 39 10 23 6

* 2006 17 3 29 14

* 2007 25 6 47 7

* 2008 12 8 13 3

* 2009 24 4 5 0

Source: Tennessee Department of Safety

Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves is awaiting fingerprint information from the Tennessee Medical Examiner’s office in Nashville to identify a man found dead at the site of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Sheriff Graves said a medic spoke with the man, who was white and in his 20s, about 3 p.m. Monday. Cleaning workers found the body about noon Tuesday.

Festival organizer Rick Farman released a statement through Kaleidoscope Media on Wednesday.

“The site was examined late Monday afternoon, and we had every reason to believe that it was all clear of guests. The area was re-examined Tuesday morning in preparation for final cleanup, and that’s when the discovery was made by a volunteer,” Mr. Farman said.

Sheriff Graves said preliminary information could be available by the end of the week. If the cause of death can’t be determined immediately, he will have to await toxicology reports.

The latest discovery was at least the sixth death since the festival began in 2002.

Sheriff Graves and Manchester Police Chief Ross Simmons agreed crime was down overall.

“The crowd this year was a little more calm,” the sheriff said.

Chief Simmons said concertgoers seem to have learned that they can have a good time, but police are watching out for certain behavior.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 74 people on a variety of charges, mostly drug-related, while drug arrests by the Tennessee Highway Patrol were the lowest in five years.

Troopers made no felony drug arrests and five misdemeanor citations. That compares with a high of 29 misdemeanor and 14 felony drug charges in 2006.

“I think it really comes down to violations,” said Mike Browning, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Safety.

He explained that troopers often make DUI or drug arrests after a traffic stop, so when traffic moves smoothly there are fewer violations.

There were 24 crashes reported this year out of an estimated 60,000 vehicles driving to the festival. There were no fatal accidents and six crashes with injuries.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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