- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014
2 dead in Tenn. tornado were couple in mobile home

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A married couple killed in a tornado in southern Tennessee had returned to their mobile home mistakenly believing the danger had passed, a neighbor said Tuesday.

Authorities identified the victims as John Prince, 60, and his wife Karen, 44.

Tiffani Danner, whose own home across the street was destroyed, said the couple had taken refuge at Karen Prince’s father’s house, but returned to the mobile home after the first wave of the storm. The Princes were living there while building a new house on the property, she said.

“We pulled up, and were in shocked seeing our own home. But then we saw Karen’s father, and he said ‘John and Karen are gone - They didn’t make it,’” Danner said.

The Princes weren’t alone in thinking the worst of the weather had passed on Monday evening.

Families taking shelter in the South Lincoln Elementary School left after the first wave passed. About half an hour later a tornado struck the school, blowing out windows and taking off much of the roof, said Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder.

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Haslam signs bill to punish pregnant drug abusers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law legislation that would punish pregnant women who abuse narcotics and harm their babies as a result.

He signed the bill in spite of a call from health and women’s organizations to veto the bill. The measure would allow women to be charged with assault if they abuse narcotics while pregnant and give birth to a child who is dependent on drugs or harmed as a result.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a New York-based advocacy organization, says despite attempts by other states, Tennessee is the first to pass such a bill. Under the law, the women would be charged with misdemeanor assault.

Haslam said Tuesday after signing the bill that he is aware of the concerns opponents have to the measure and will use updates with the courts and health professionals to monitor its impact.

“In reviewing this bill, I have had extensive conversations with experts including substance abuse, mental health, health and law enforcement officials,” Haslam said in a statement. “The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs.”

He added that the law has a provision in it that calls for it to be reassessed in two years, which would allow officials to get data on the impact of babies and mothers.

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