Home State News briefs from around Tennessee at 1:58 a.m. EDT

News briefs from around Tennessee at 1:58 a.m. EDT

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1 killed in small plane crash near Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Police say a small plane has crashed east of Chattanooga, killing the pilot.

David Myrick of the Collegedale Police Department says the single-engine plane went down in a field shortly after 3 p.m. EDT Wednesday. In a video posted by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Myrick said the pilot was the only person on board. The pilot was not identified.

Hamilton County 911 center communications supervisor Josh Dover said there were no injuries reported on the ground.

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, said the plane took off from Knoxville and was headed to Jackson.

Police said the Federal Aviation Administration was on the way to the scene to investigation.

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Juvenile jail escape latest for troubled facility

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The juvenile detention center where more than 30 teens escaped under a fence has a long history of violence, allegations of sexual abuse and previous efforts to break out.

All but six of the teens from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center were taken back into custody by Wednesday. Officials said they had kicked out metal panels under the windows in common areas of their dorms to reach the courtyard and slipped out under a weak spot in the perimeter fence late Monday night.

The official tally of how many teens escaped varied in the hours after it happened, but officials said Wednesday that a review and headcount has placed that number at 33, including one who did not get out under the fence.

The facility was the site of a previous breakout attempt in 2004 in which more than a dozen teens armed with broom handles and hurling bricks injured 16 staffers before they were dispersed by police in riot gear. In May, one staff member was injured when a half-dozen students got into the courtyard, but never made it any farther.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice ranked Woodland Hills as 13th in the country among juvenile facilities where there had been reports of sexual abuse by staffers.

The facility saw a spike in assaults in 2012 after the state placed older teenagers there from a shuttered facility in eastern Tennessee. Between July and September of that year, police had to be called at least 47 times for assistance, which surpassed total police visits for the previous two years combined.

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Federal judge rules against TennCare

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state’s expanded Medicaid program must hold hearings for people who have waited months to learn whether they qualify for coverage because of delays in processing applications, a federal judge has ruled.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1lxld2h) reports U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell made the ruling this week on the lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Tennessee Justice Center and the National Health Law Program.

The judge also granted class-action status to the lawsuit, meaning possibly thousands of Tennesseans could also become plaintiffs in the case.

The lawsuit accused the state of not providing in-person assistance and forcing applicants to apply for TennCare through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace website, which the lawsuit says was not designed for that purpose.

The lawsuit also accused the state of failing to let people know within 45 days if they’re eligible for Medicaid and failing to provide a hearing if there’s a delay in the eligibility decision.

The judge specifically addressed that issue by stopping TennCare from refusing to provide hearings within 45 days after one is requested about a delayed determination.

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Tenn. judge sends custody dispute case to Nebraska

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A judge has ruled that a custody case involving a 10-year-old girl should be moved from Tennessee to Nebraska.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1Cq7xvk) reports Judge Andy Jackson ruled last week to move the case out of Dickson County, Tennessee, since Sonya McCaul currently resides in Nebraska with her biological father.

A Middle Tennessee couple who raised the girl for eight years before she was returned to her birth father filed a petition seeking to terminate the parental rights of the father and adopt the girl.

The case has drawn national attention in part because of the circumstances that allowed McCaul to remain in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services for close to nine years.

Jackson said Nebraska courts must agree to take the case before it is formally transferred.

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