Halloween decor causes quite a scare in East Tennessee

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — First responders rushed into what they thought was a heinous crime scene after dispatchers received a chilling 911 call Wednesday morning, but it turned out to be a Halloween joke.

CBS affiliate News Channel 11 obtained a copy of that 911 call from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

“There’s a guy laying in his driveway, with two big bloody handprints on side of the house. It looks like he was dead. I don’t know I didn’t stop. I just came on to work.”

Johnny Riddle made that frantic call to 911 after seeing what appeared to be a dead body in his neighbor’s driveway on Chuckey Pike in Greeneville.

“I thought it was somebody, I thought it was somebody laying up there on the driveway,” Riddle said.

It turned out to be clothing stuffed with paper.

Joseph Lovergive and his family live in the home. They say Halloween is their favorite time of the year and they always start early.

“This morning about 10 o’clock I get a pounding on the door,” Lovergine said.

That knock was from Greene County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Thinking the 911 call was serious, several deputies responded to Lovergine’s home.

“I said 'Thank you guys for caring but I’m doing just fine,'” Lovergine said.

He said officers even pulled the boot off of the stuffed clothing to make sure it wasn’t a real person.

“I was actually going to dress up under there after everyone’s seated for so long and when they come out to get drinks or something I was going to pop up out of the garage door and scare everybody,” Lovergine said.

He never thought 911 would be called and he’s hoping everyone can appreciate the joke.

“I thought it looked so real and so fun and I hope people don’t take offense,” Lovergine said.

Riddle said he’s relieved what he saw Wednesday morning was all a joke and he’s fine now that he knows it was not a real body. Other neighbors didn’t even realize what was in Lovergine’s yard until we pointed it out and they also thought it was funny. Most said they’re more amazed that the family has Halloween decorations up more than a month before the holiday.

Lovergine said this is just the beginning and he plans to add even more decorations to his yard as Halloween nears.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office posted an alert to the public – with a little bit of humor – on its Facebook page. It says – in part – attention everyone – this is a Halloween decoration – do not call 911 instead congratulate the homeowner on a great display.

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