Alto Police Department Mourns The Death Of One Of Its Officers


Alto Police Department is in mourning after the death of one of its officers from complications of COVID-19 on Friday.

40-year-old Corporal Michael Tanksley had served Alto for the past two years and previously served the Dillard Police Department for four years.

0:14 {IVEY 1: “He always had a smile on his face. He was just a good person, all around. You couldn’t ask for a better one. He was always there anytime I needed something, anytime the town needed something. He definitely was one of those that put the department first.”}

That’s Alto Police Chief Josh Ivey, who says Tanksley was one who wanted to work – even when he was sick. In fact, there were times Ivey had to tell him to rest rather than trying to come in to work for an hour or two when he was sick.

Ivey is one of those asked to help officiate Tanksley’s funeral service at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Whitfield Funeral Home, South Chapel, in Baldwin.

Burial will follow at Yonah Memorial Gardens with honors by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard and Masonic Rites by Clarkesville Masonic Lodge No. 325 F & AM.

0:14 {IVEY 2: “They asked me. I’m gonna try, but I told them I can’t guarantee it, because Tanksley was my friend as well as my employee. We hunted some. He used my farm equipment, I used his farm equipment. We were friends.”}

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 Tuesday.

Those who routinely drive in the Cornelia area should take note that Level Grove Road begins another extended closure today.

City Manager Donald Anderson explains why another closure is necessary.

0:29 {ANDERSON: “I know it’s taken a lot longer than people anticipated, but they have to understand that this is a 100-year-old road with 100-year-old infrastructure and we have run into so many things that nobody knew existed that it has just caused massive delays with water lines that nobody had a clue were in the ground. You find ‘em. You have to figure out where they go. Are they still needed? It’s a time-consuming process, so we’re doing it as best as we can and hopefully three to four weeks and we’ll be open for good.”}

City leaders had asked the contractor to open the road temporarily to accommodate traffic for the Big Red Apple Festival and Sawyer Brown concert, but now Anderson says crews can complete needed infrastructure work.

The driver in Wednesday afternoon’s fatal wreck on U.S. Highway 76 and Charlie Mountain Road in Rabun County has died.

41-year-old Gretchen Echols succumbed to her injuries Saturday, says Rabun County Coroner Sam Beck.

Echols’ 8-year-old son, Ian Echols, died in the wreck Wednesday when Echols’ 2014 Ford Taurus collided with a Ford F-150 truck.

The only thing I could add is what all of her friends knew. She lived for her family and encouraged them to do what they loved,” says her friend Tresa Dyer. “She was a devoted friend to anyone she met and will always be remembered for her genuine love of life.

When I worked for the school system, she was one of my go-to subs when I had to take a day off,” Dyer says. “She had a love for all kids and they loved her. I don’t know if she fully realized the impact she made on so many lives, but she made a mark in the world and will be missed by so many. She was definitely a very special person.”

Dyer shared her memories with WCHM News in writing, saying both Gretchen and Ian Echols touched many lives.

The left backseat passenger of Echols’ car, 9-year-old Xavier Ankrom, was taken to the hospital by private vehicle, then transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for treatment of injuries.

The driver of the truck, 68-year-old Clyde Martin, was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

A Clermont teen who was seriously injured in a head-on wreck in southern White County Thursday night is continuing to recover.

The family has asked friends and the community to remember 14-year-olld Katie Nanney in prayer now and in the days to come as she continues to undergo surgeries at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for numerous broken bones and other injuries.

The family is using the hashtag #katieSTRONG on social media to remind people that Katie is a miracle because of God’s protection during the crash.

She was a front-seat passenger in a Chevrolet Tahoe that was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado pickup, says Sergeant First Class D.A. Rathel of GSP Post 6 in Gainesville.

After impact, she was trapped in the vehicle for an extended time.

Michael Anthony Parris Jr of Cleveland was driving the truck northbound on Cleveland Highway in the left lane when it crossed the centerline and traveled northbound in the southbound lane, striking the Tahoe head-on.

The wreck happened on Cleveland Highway (U.S. 129), about 100 feet north of Marvin Miles Road and in front of the Dollar General store near the Hall County line about 6 p.m.

Parrish is suspected of being fatigued/asleep at the time of the wreck, but DUI is not a factor in the crash, Rathel says.