Les Coffey stands at the Dade County border off Interstate 24 on Dec. 19, where he was was recently banned. Coffey was banned from all four counties of the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press
CHATTANOOGA, TN (Times Free Press) -
He's a menace, an outlaw, a bad man. The law told him to get out, and stay out. Don't come back now, you hear?
But on Thursday morning, in a field just off the shoulder of Interstate 24, Les Coffey stood at the edge of illegal. About 50 feet from the line that separates Tennessee from Georgia, Coffey walked toward Dade County and the land from which he has been banished.
Limping, he was 30 feet away now. Cars and tractor-trailers barreled past on the highway. He dragged his right foot slowly through the dead grass, shifted his weight onto that leg, then snapped his left foot out front, a sad stride -- the product of a broken back from falling off a 20-foot-high dock in a warehouse last year.
"Walking, standing, sitting: Much of any activity kills me," Coffey, 46, said. "Activity hurts. I hate to say it."