Elderly man's death prompts plea to Governor, probe of police - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Elderly man's death prompts plea to Governor, probe of police response

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – Chattanooga Police Officers are under investigation by Internal Affairs for how they answered a medical call. The patient, an elderly man died.

Some of his friends and neighbors want the governor involved.

A series of strokes and heart attacks had left Glenn Atchley partially paralyzed and totally dependent for years.

He died five days ago.

Friends and neighbors haven't put forth any specific evidence, nor will they give their names, but they claim this death is case of abuse and neglect, that police and first responders either missed or ignored.

Marian 'Gail' Atchley had been the primary, in most cases, only, caregiver to her husband Glenn, 78, since a second, devastating stroke 14 years ago.

"He's had numerous falls, he could barely walk," she says. "All I'm saying is., it was traumatic, what happened.

The medical report tends to agree. Emergency Room Dr. Gregg Shander concludes that Glenn Atchley suffered cardiac arrest when he collapsed at the couple's apartment in the Lakeshore on the Hill complex Saturday night. He died three hours later at North Park hospital.

"There were no signs of trauma or foul play," Dr. Shander wrote. "Apparently natural death."

Two of the Atchley's neighbors have filed a formal complaint with Chattanooga Police. CPD's Internal Affairs Unit is investigating.

"I. A. is fact-finding," says CPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Jerri Weary. "Checking reports. Going back and speaking with officers and other people involved, to see if proper procedure was actually followed."

The complainers want their names kept out of it. But Eyewitness News has obtained a copy of the letter they sent Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Monday.

"(Glenn Atchley) was barely coherent, and they retrieved three partially dissolved 500 mg hydrocodone pills from his mouth," the letter states. "

The police officer was told of this, the EMT's were told of this, yet when he arrived at the hospital, there were no tox-screen runs, no investigation of any sort....no reports after three witnesses stood there and told them of this."

"Evidently, he must have thrown them (the pills) in his mouth," Gail Atchley says. "Does that make sense? Because there were quite a few pills laying on the floor."

Atchley says she harbors no ill will, nor blames anyone for how anybody has reacted to her husband's death.

But she has a message for those who would question how she treated him.

"Sometimes people look at what they see on the exterior, and judge the situation out," she says, fighting back tears. Not knowing what goes on, internally."

Glenn Atchley was laid to rest Thursday.

Internal Affairs has not determined how long its probe will last, Sgt. Weary says. "It will focus on the officer's actions, not those of anybody else."

She declined to name the officers in question.

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