By TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor
Ira “Darby” Prater, the only Cannon County deputy killed in the line of duty, will have a stretch of road named in his honor pending approval from the state.
The Cannon County Commission unanimously approved the family’s request to have a road named after Prater during its regular monthly meeting at the Cannon County Courthouse Tuesday (Aug. 12). Kevin George made the motion to have the road named in honor of Prater. It was seconded by Chuck Holt.
“My brother and I served as deputies for Cannon County,” said Shane Prater, who currently serves the Smyrna Police Department. “We have family roots here. I think it is a small thing to ask for a road to be named for the only deputy killed in the line of duty in (Cannon County). It would mean a lot to me and my family.”
Highway 70s will be named in honor of Ira “Darby” Prater pending approval from the state, which appears to be a mere formality. A designation will be placed at the Warren County – Cannon County line. The stretch of road named for Prater will continue to the Woodbury city limits.
Deputy Prater was killed after being involved in an accident while responding to a call. His patrol car left the road as the result of icy conditions, Jan. 8, 1996. He had graduated from the police academy the previous month.
In other business, Bobby Mingle addressed the Board regarding his road situation at Milligan Lane. It marked the third time Mingle has been before the Commission; however, all three county road commissioners and their supervisor also attended the August meeting.
Mingle is asking that a portion of Milligan Lane leading to his residence and three others to be added to the county inventory so it can be upgraded. The first 1,373 feet of Milligan Lane is on the county inventory; however, the next 1,400 feet leading to the Mingle property, and others, is not.
Mingle informed the commissioners he had done as told by Jackie Haley, former county highway director, in order to have the road added to the county inventory but after doing the work necesrect the situation.
“I guess if I had anything to say about this, Mr. Haley didn’t have the authority to tell you that,” said Ed Sissom, county road commissioner. “There is nothing up to standard about any of it other than this gentleman (Mingle) spent his money and did what (Haley) told him to do. Mr. Haley was wrong for saying that, in my opinion.”
Commissioner Jim Bush echoed the sentiments of the commission but added there was nothing the body could do.
“This is a Catch 22,” Bush said. “You have a gentleman here who was told something by another man who is no longer with us. There is no documentation.”
Sissom said Mingle would have to go through proper procedures in order to get his road added to the county inventory.
“This will have to come before the planning commission,” Sissom said. “They will have to decide the width or whatever the standard is for the road. After they make that decision and approve it, then it has to come to the standards of what they demand.”
From there, Sissom said it had to be approved by the County Highway Department and then the County Commission.
Sheriff Darrell Young asked the commissioners to consider moving funds from a line item in order to purchase new digital radios to replace the current analog phones. The new radios will cost $27,580.
“I have the money in the safety equipment line item,” Young said. “I am not asking for more money from the taxpayers. The money is there, but we just need to move it.”
Young said the 911 Center, the Woodbury Fire Department and the Woodbury Police Department are already switching to the digital radios.
The commissioners unanimously approved Young’s request.
Pam Sherrell asked the commissioners to consider naming a bridge on Pleasant View Road, “Dad’s Bridge.” Sherrell said her dad, Wilburn Jones, walks to the bridge four times daily.
“I thought it would be a good thing and the reason I ask that it be ‘Dad’s Bridge’ is because it could be anyone’s dad,” she said.
Bush made the motion to approve, seconded by Jimmy Mingle. It passed unanimously.