Moonshine: probe of shots leads to 'still' in Bradley County
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- 'No Trespassing' signs are part of the landscape on 15th Street NE, right outside Cleveland in Bradley County. but adding a few, in front of and around 945, has been the new tenants' own little way of saying Hell0.
"They came and told my husband not to go on the property," Regina Garcia says. "They were rude. They've been over here twice about going over. He (her husband) hasn't been over, so I don't know what their beef is."
Their respective landlords have a history of tensions. For months, a decrepit trailer has sat, vacant, on the edge of 945's property line, adjacent to the mobile home park at 923. Code Enforcement hasn't been able to resolve it. But that's not what sent Deputy Doug Boucher up 945's long winding driveway last Friday.
"There was a report of several gunshots being heard," Sheriff's spokesman Bob Gault says. "But they (those at the house) were outside the city of Cleveland. In the county, you're allowed to fire a weapon."
But then, according to the incident report Deputy Boucher filed, the tenant, Daniel Dunnavant, 55, "invited me into his residence....where I saw, in plain view two marijuana pipes and marijuana."
"Beside the guns that he owned were two five gallon glass jugs and a jug of clear liquid," the report continues.
Deputy Boucher maintains that Dunnavant identified the liquid as Everclear, a brand-name, legally-marketed, almost-pure grain alcohol. Dunnavent was detained, Deputy Boucher's report reads. "He (Dunnavant) stated without asking anything that he did not make moonshine."
That would change quickly.
"Once they (investigators) walked onto the back porch, that's when they discovered a still there," Gault says. Boucher's report indicates he read Donnavant his rights, after which Dunnavant "admitted to manufacturing moonshine," even leading deputies to two ten gallon containers in the kitchen were corn mash was fermenting.
"I was shocked, I really was,' Garcia says. "I couldn't believe it."
If Dunnavant volunteered whether the alleged moonshine was strictly 'home cooking' or for re-sale, Deputy Boucher's report doesn't indicate it.
Channel 3 has been unable to reach Dunnavant or his landlord for comment. A number listed for the landlord is disconnected. A number for Dunnavent elicited "never heard of him" in response, when a reporter identified himself.
What happens next is up to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC)
"They took possession of the still," Gault says. "Any charges to be brought or that could be brought, they will handle it themselves,"
The ABC's Chattanooga office manager, Kim Boleyn, hasn't returned phone calls seeking further information.
Unresolved though it may be, Regina Garcia is glad the still is gone.
"It was too close," she says. "I have my nephews here a lot and I don't want it near our property. It was dangerous."