Local News Articles

Cripps Accused of Assaulting his Mother

May 2, 2017
Dwayne Page
Justin Matthew Cripps
Michael Eugene Lattimore
Edward Dale Caldwell
Shannon Dawn Stanick

A 29 year old man has been arrested after allegedly assaulting his mother and vandalizing her home and automobile.

Justin Matthew Cripps of Evins Mill Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault and three counts of vandalism. His bond totals $12,500 and his court date is May 11.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_21.pdf (3.77 MB)

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on April 27 a deputy responded to Short Mountain Highway for a possible domestic assault and vandalism. Upon arrival the officer spoke with a woman who reported that her son, Cripps smacked her several times in the face with his hands. He also allegedly head-butted her several times in the forehead. She further claimed that Cripps grabbed her arm, twisted it backward, and told her he was going to break her arm. Cripps is accused of vandalism for allegedly taking his mother’s walking cane and punching it through the wall and for using a hammer to break out the back passenger glass in the door of her vehicle.

Two days later on April 29 while in jail, Cripps vandalized a monitor after using a phone in the booking area. While hanging up the phone (slamming it down), he hit and broke the monitor.

34 year old Michael Eugene Lattimore of Pine Orchard Road, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is May 11. Sheriff Ray said that on April 26 a deputy was patrolling on Magness Road when he saw a vehicle on fire at a residence. The automobile was near a woodline. The officer also spotted a man walking down the road. He stopped and spoke to the man who said his name was Joseph Anthony Herman. The man did not provide his date of birth or any other personal information. A computer check failed to confirm his stated identity. After a further investigation, the officer learned that the man could be Michael Eugene Lattimore and confirmed it through central dispatch and a photo identification. Lattimore was subsequently arrested for criminal impersonation.

51 year old Edward Dale Caldwell of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 11. Sheriff Ray said that on April 29 an officer was dispatched to Fishlipz Bar & Grill on Jefferson Road due to an intoxicated man on the premises. Upon arrival the officer found the man, Caldwell lying in the grass near the parking lot. Caldwell had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His eyes were bloodshot and watery. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Caldwell initially submitted to field sobriety tasks but refused to take any more after the first task. He was placed in custody for his safety and that of the public.

40 year old Shannon Dawn Stanick of Lefever Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Sheriff Ray said that on April 29 a deputy was dispatched to a possible intoxicated driver in-bound from Cookeville Highway. After receiving a description, the officer spotted the vehicle at Village Market and a woman slumped over behind the steering wheel. He spoke with the driver, Stanick and noticed that her speech was very slurred and she did not know where she was. Stanick submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood alcohol test. According to Sheriff Ray, Stanick admitted to having taken valium.

Smithville Head Start Students Graduate

May 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
Graduation held for 74 Smithville Head Start Students Monday
 Head Start Student Jasmine Grace Gallegos Receives Perfect Attendance Award for the 2016-17 School Year

Seventy four students in the L.B.J. & C. Smithville Head Start Program received certificates during a graduation ceremony held Monday at the county complex auditorium.

Parents and other family members and friends turned out for the program which featured the children singing songs including ”Goodbye Friends” and dancing to the recording of “Happy”.

Students in each of the four classes wore graduation caps and came to the podium to receive their certificates as their names were called by the teachers.

Director Cathy Shehane read a graduation poem in honor of the students and presented a “Perfect Attendance” award to Jasmine Grace Gallegos for the 2016-17 school year.

20th Annual Relay for Life Friday Night, May 5

May 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
20th Annual Relay for Life Friday Night, May 5

The 20th annual Relay for Life to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society will be Friday, May 5 at Green Brook Park in Smithville.

This year’s theme is “Relaying Southern Style”

The entertainment begins at 5:15 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6:00 p.m. featuring personal testimonies from cancer survivors and then a Survivors' Lap, during which those who have survived the struggle circle the track together to help everyone celebrate what has been achieved against cancer.

A Luminaria Ceremony begins at 9:00 p.m. to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease.

The schedule of events for the evening is as follows:

5:15 p.m.- Terry Hodges

5:35 p.m.- Kathy Goodwin

5:55 p.m.- Presentation of the colors by Boy Scout Troop #347

The National Anthem:
Invocation by Chris Moore, pastor of the Smithville Church of God

Welcome by Ivadell Randolph

Introduction of cancer survivors

Prayer for cancer survivors by Dwayne Cornelius, pastor of the New Life United Pentecostal Church
Song honoring cancer survivors by Don and Bonnie Rigsby

6:20 p.m.-Suzanne Slager

6:30 p.m.-Tina Boston

6:45 p.m.-DeKalb Middle School Beta Club Chorus

7:00 p.m.- David Turner & Friends

7:30 p.m.- Fluty and the Flutones

7:45 p.m.- Heritage from the Smithville First Assembly of God

8:00 p.m.- Elvis (Kevin Roberts) Salem Baptist Church

8:30 p.m.- Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church Young Adults

8:45 p.m.- Smithville Church of God Praise Team

9:00 p.m.- Luminaria Ceremony

Prayer by Alex Woodward, preacher at the Gassaway Church of Christ

9:15 p.m.- Seth Willoughby

9:30 p.m. Zone Status

11:30 p.m.- Closing Ceremony

Midnight-Relay Ends

WJLE Recognizes DCHS Class of 2017 (View Photo Gallery Here)

May 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2017 in May

WJLE and participating sponsors are presenting a photo gallery of the DCHS Class of 2017 in May. You may now view it at www.wjle.com.

Graduation is set for Friday, May 26 at the DCHS football field.

Click on the link below or the box on the left side of the WJLE homepage to view the senior formals.

Once you open the page, click each photo to view a larger image. The name of the senior you select is at the bottom of the photo. Or you may move your mouse over the photo to view the name.

There are 178 photos in the gallery divided up 30 photos to a page. Notice the box to the left in the photo gallery. After you view page 1 be sure to click the links for pages 2-6 to view the remaining photos. The names of seniors not pictured are also listed inside the box.

The WJLE photo gallery page is sponsored in May by Fast Pace Urgent Care Clinic, General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten H. Cook, II, Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Trustee Sean Driver, County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, DTC Communications, Arrow Termite & Pest Control, DeKalb Tire & Service, DeKalb Funeral Chapel, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss.

McMinnville Man Killed in Crash on Sparta Highway (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

April 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
45 year old Larry Jones of McMinnville killed in crash on Sparta Highway. 33 year old Brandon Temple of Hendersonville was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital
Crash Scene on Sparta Highway near former VFW Club location

A one vehicle crash claimed the life of a McMinnville man and seriously injured another from Hendersonville Saturday on Highway 70 east near the former VFW Club.

Dead is 45 year old Larry Jones of McMinnville. 33 year old Brandon Temple of Hendersonville was airlifted by Life Flight to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Jones was driving east on Highway 70 in a 2001 Chevy Blazer when he failed to negotiate a curve and went off the right side of the road. The Blazer struck a wooden post and old VFW sign and then ran off a steep bluff into the hollow below. The vehicle overturned and came to rest on its top. Jones died at the scene.

Members of the DeKalb EMS, DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department responded.

Because of the steep hillside, EMS and rescue volunteers used ropes to access the crash scene. The victims were removed from the passenger side of the vehicle, placed in stokes baskets, and brought back up to the top of the hill. The Life Flight helicopter ambulance landed in the parking lot of the old VFW Club and airlifted Temple to Vanderbilt Hospital. Jones’ body was taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.


The crash remains under investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Constable Mark Milam assisted in directing traffic.

Wilkins Named to Democratic Party Positions

April 30, 2017
Jordan Wilkins
DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine at a fundraising event in Nashville. Sen. Kaine was the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

The leader of the DeKalb County Democratic Party has been named Secretary of the Tennessee Democratic County Chairs Association, and re-elected Chairman of the 6th District County Chairs.

Jordan Wilkins was elected to the positions on Saturday, April 29 in Murfreesboro at the annual Statewide Conference.

The 6th district includes the following counties: Pickett, Fentress, Cumberland, White, DeKalb, Cannon, Coffee, Wilson, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Clay, Putnam, Trousdale, Macon, Sumner and Robertson counties.

“My goal is to make sure each county party is strong and active in their communities, spreading our message on what Democrats are doing to help make life better for all Americans. I plan to work closely with each county Chair to ensure that we have good candidates running up and down the ballot in 2018," said Wilkins.

Meanwhile Wilkins recently met Virginia Senator Tim Kaine at a fundraising event in Nashville. Sen. Kaine was the 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.

NHC Smithville Honors Volunteers

April 30, 2017
Volunteer of the Year Linda Davis with NHC Administrator Clint Hall
NHC Smithville Honors Volunteers

April 23-29 was NHC Volunteer Week. A special luncheon was held on Friday, April 28, 2017, to honor all NHC Smithville volunteers and celebrate their important contribution to the patients of NHC Smithville. Representatives from churches, civic clubs, schools, and others were on hand to enjoy the lunch. Smithville resident Linda Davis was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year. Mrs. Davis has volunteered for over 7 years, giving generously of her time and talents.

“Volunteers are an important asset to any organization and we are blessed to have so many caring individuals involved at our center,” said Clint Hall, Administrator. “They are truly a part of the NHC Smithville family. The time, energy, care, compassion, talents, and genuine love they have for the patients and families are incredible.”

Those interested in volunteering at NHC Smithville are welcome to stop by during office hours (M-F, 8-5). For more information, please call Kayla Beth Adams at (615) 597-4284 or email kadams@nhcsmithville.com. All volunteers must pass a background check.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com.

DeKalb Fair to Honor Veterans with Exhibit

April 30, 2017
Dwayne Page
Ria Baker

The DeKalb County Fair is honoring local veterans with a special exhibit for them on “Memory Lane” at the fairgrounds this year.

Organizers are seeking names, photos, and other military information of veterans now in preparation for this exhibit.

“The 2017 DeKalb County Fair, with help of the Liberty State Bank, will be adding a Veterans Exhibit on Memory Lane this year at the fair. We are asking everyone who knows a veteran to please send us your information,” said spokesperson Ria Baker.

“We’d love a copy of a picture with their name, branch of service and the years served. Past years to present, all men who served in wartime or keeping the peace.,” she said.

“This building will also have exhibits of any memorabilia we can get from different wars and lists of all the names we can verify through records and we have access to,” Baker added.

The Veterans Exhibit on Memory Lane will be open July 17-22 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. nightly during this year's DeKalb County Fair.

You may contact Ria Baker at 615-529-2840 or leave your information and photo at any of the Liberty State Bank locations. Please don’t bring any pictures unless they are copies and be sure to put the name on the back.

“It’s a labor of honor and respect in progress and we hope to add to it yearly. Help us out by sharing your information and by coming by to see the building,” Baker concluded.

Parole Hearing Scheduled for Jessica May

April 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jessica Ashley May

21 year old Jessica Ashley May, serving an eight year sentence for attempted aggravated child neglect stemming from the 2015 death of her 23 month old son, will have her first parole hearing next month.

Although May is a state prisoner, she is incarcerated at the Carroll County Jail and the parole hearing will be held there on Tuesday, May 23.

May stood before Judge Gary McKenzie in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 and entered a plea to attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, and received an eight year sentence as a range I mitigated offender to serve at least 20% before parole eligibility. At the time May had already served 568 days since her arrest on May 19, 2015.


Less than a week before May’s plea, her fiance at the time, 25 year old Cody Key was handed a 45 year prison term for the beating death of May’s child, 23 month old Colten Alexander May after entering a plea in Putnam County Criminal Court to second degree murder. Key is to serve 100% of the sentence but he was given jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.

Key is incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Center in Wayne County, a Tennessee Department of Correction facility.

The couple brought the child to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Sunday morning, May 17, 2015 but he was already dead. It was determined that the child had suffered internal and other physical injuries that resulted in his death. Law enforcement officers concluded that Key had severely beaten the child and that May knew the abuse was taking place.

“I will say that Jessica May was not involved in the killing of her child, Colten May. She was not an actor in that homicide. We did charge her with neglect because of a history of abuse of the child in which she either turned a blind eye to or did nothing about it. The abuser of the child was Cody Key but Jessica May did nothing to prevent the abuse that was inflicted on the child by Cody Key and she turned a blind eye to it over a period of time. In plain language that is the gist of the circumstances as to why she was charged with neglect,” District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway told WJLE after the hearing.

May, who was pregnant again at the time of her arrest in 2015, was later transferred to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction due to her special needs. After giving birth, she was initially incarcerated in the Warren County Jail. Her child was placed in the custody of the Department of Children Services and is reportedly now with May’s family members.

Smithville Police Make Arrest for Burglary of Outbuilding

April 28, 2017
Dwayne Page
Donnie Ray Gillman

Smithville Police have arrested a man for allegedly breaking into an outbuilding.

36 year old Donnie Ray Gillman was charged on Thursday, April 27 with theft and burglary. Gillman allegedly entered an outbuilding on Dearman Street and took several tools belonging to the victim without his knowledge or consent. As a result of the investigation, the items were returned to the victim and Gillman was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $7,500 and his court date is May 11.

30 year old Justin Nathaniel Sparkman was taken into custody for evading arrest on Friday, April 21. According to police, Sparkman fled Wal-Mart Loss Prevention while being questioned about a possible theft from the store. Sparkman reportedly ran from the store and was observed by law enforcement officers on the front porch of a nearby residence. When Sparkman saw the officers he ran into the woods. He was spotted again about three hours later in Hardees parking lot where he was taken into custody without incident. Sparkman’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 11.

50 year old Sandra Kay Thomason was arrested for public intoxication on Friday, April 21. According to police, Thomason was outside of her home in the front yard, yelling and cursing at people. Thomason was unsteady on her feet and her speech was unrecognizably slurred. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is May 11.

36 year old Cindy Renea James was arrested on Monday, April 24 for a 5th offense of driving on a revoked licensed and cited for speeding. Police observed a vehicle traveling 62 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour speed zone, confirmed by radar. An officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, James. She informed the officer that she didn't have a valid driver license. A computer check through Central Dispatch revealed that Sparkman has four prior driving on suspended/revoked convictions. Her bond is $5,000 and her court date is May 18.

28 year old Jessica L. Bain was arrested for public intoxication on Tuesday, April 25. Police responded to a domestic on College Street and upon arrival observed a woman (Bain) chasing a man carrying an infant child up the sidewalk. The officer separated the parties and spoke with Bain. She was unsteady on her feet and had an odor of alcohol coming from her breath. Bain was determined to be a danger to herself and the safety of others due to her intoxication and was taken into custody without incident. Bain’s bond is $1,500 and her court date is May 18.

31 year old Justin Ray Lohorn was issued two citations for simple possession on Wednesday, April 26. According to police, on or about Monday, April 24 Lohorn is believed to have been in possession of approximately 1/2 gram of a crystal like substance thought to be methamphetamine while on the job at Star Manufacturing. After the citations were issued, Lohorn was located two days later, on Wednesday, April 26 at Hardees and had in his possession a white pill believed to suboxone for which he had no prescription. His court date is May 11.

26 year old Heather Leigh Stanridge was cited for theft of property on Thursday, April 27 for allegedly putting several products belonging to Mapco in her purse in an attempt to deprive the business of its merchandise. Her court date is May 18.

55 year old Deborah Ann Pierce was cited for theft of property on Friday, April 28. On Monday, April 24 police took a report from a man who had left his wallet on the register at Wal-Mart and when he went back to retrieve it, the wallet was gone. During an investigation police checked the store video surveillance and saw Pierce take the wallet. Her court date is May 11.


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