Local News Articles

Man Arrested after Threatening Deputies with Knives

September 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Jeremy Austin Scruggs

A Smithville man who threatened deputies with two knives was tased and forcibly restrained before being placed under arrest last week.

39 year old Jeremy Austin Scruggs of Highland Avenue, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. His bond is $8,500 and his court date is September 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, August 28 deputies were dispatched to a residence on Highland Avenue due a man with a knife. The officers found the man, Scruggs, in an outbuilding. Scruggs had two knives, one in each hand. After being given verbal commands by the officers several times to drop the knives, Scruggs started to charge toward them. A taser had to be used to stop Scruggs and he was forcibly restrained.

Sparta Man Arrested for Theft of Utility Trailer

September 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Bruce Randall Bumbalough
Stephanie Ann Pierce

A Sparta man has been arrested for stealing a utility trailer.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_37.pdf (2.43 MB)

52 year old Bruce Randall Bumbalough of North Butler Street, Sparta is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and his court date is September 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on August 10 the sheriff’s department received a report that someone had stolen a 6 x 12 foot utility trailer from a residence on Big Hurricane Road, Smithville valued at $1,200.

A detective was assigned to the case and developed Bumbalough as a suspect. He was later arrested for the crime.

In another case, the sheriff’s department has served a sealed indictment from the grand jury on May 30 charging 42 year old Stephanie Ann Pierce of Pea Ridge Road, Elmwood with one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and violation of the drug free zone. Her bond is $50,000 and she will be arraigned in criminal court on September 11.

Six Bronze Stars Stolen from Veterans Monument at Green Brook Park

September 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Photo shows missing bronze star from veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park
Veterans Memorial Monument and Cannons at Green Brook Park
Monument former location at former VFW Post on Sparta Highway

Smithville Police want to know who stole six bronze stars off the veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park.

City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson told WJLE Tuesday that an off duty city employee was in the park a few days ago and noticed that the stars were missing from the monument. Its not known when the theft occurred. City officials believe whoever committed the theft used a pry bar to remove the stars .

The monument and two cannons, once located on the grounds of the former VFW Howard Gill Post 7623 on the Sparta Highway, were relocated to Green Brook Park after the Post was closed two years ago. The six sided monument stands in tribute to those from DeKalb County who lost their lives during the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Iraqi Freedom.

Chief Mark Collins said the Police Department is seeking tips from the public. If you have information that may help solve the crime contact Crime Stoppers at 615-464-6199.

Students Get Kick Out of Tae Kwon Do National Competition

September 5, 2017
Bill Conger
Bane Averitte
Riley Fuson
Chris Caldwell
George Lloyd with Hall of Fame Honor

7-year-old Bane Averitte stood across from his higher ranked opponent at the national competition in Daytona Beach, FL. The first grader at DeKalb West School had performed well in his first round of sparring in front of a crowd of 350 from 16 states, but now the purple belt student of Middle Tennessee Tae Kwon Do in Smithville, was facing a bigger competitor.

“I was a little worried about the second kid,” Averitte, 6, admits. “He was actually charging at me, and I didn’t get any points.”

Bane ended up placing second in Sparring at the U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association, Inc. 2017 Edward B. Sell National Championship 50th Anniversary. During the July 20-22 event, five of the local school’s students competed under the direction of owner and instructor, George Lloyd, 4th dan or master.

Riley Fuson, 11, red belt, joined Bane in competing in the competition for ages 3-13. Amy Averitte, blue belt, Chris Caldwell, brown belt, and Cody Edge, brown belt, competed in the categories for ages 14 and up. Riley and Bane both won 1st place in Extreme Kamas, and Fuson placed 2nd in Sparring, going against an opponent who was one rank higher.

“There was nobody in his weight class and his rank, so he had to fight higher,” explains Lloyd. “He knew it was going to be harder. They’re a lot more aggressive. That’s the second rank in the advance level, so they’re aggressive and they want it. He stepped forward, and he stepped up. He accomplished going after fear, the fear of a higher rank, and the fear of everyone watching.”

“That was a challenge,” says Fuson. “That was probably the best fighting I’ve ever done.”

“I’m proud of these two,” says Lloyd of the two boys’ success. “They’re stepping into the advanced rank. They’re doing good.”

Bane’s mother, Amy Averitte, won 2nd in Forms and 1st in Sparring. Chris Caldwell place 2nd in Sparring, and Cody Edge took 1st in Sparring.
“Our green belt did a great job,” says Lloyd. “Our brown belts did good. Everyone did remarkable.”

Lloyd, who has been a student of the martial arts sport since 1980 except for a ten year break, was added to the association’s Hall of Fame at the tournament. He was named Most Talented Master Instructor and Outstanding Coach and Referee.

“Awsome! I’ll take it,” he modestly responds. “Every five years they do a Hall of Fame. I came back four years ago with gusto, enthusiasm. I started taking classes for refereeing and coaching so I can get the students [motivated] so they don’t get discouraged when they’re losing.”

Lloyd has been operating Middle Tennessee Tae Kwon Do, now located at 301 S. 3rd Street, Smithville, for the last three years. With a goal of reaching the rare accomplishment of 5th degree black belt next year, he plans to keep the doors of his teaching studio open.

“It’s much more than a sport,” he says.

“If you don’t teach, you’re not really learning because leaders are learners,” Lloyd said. “They have to constantly learn from everyone.”

Approximately 57,000 people will earn first degree black belt, but as the training toughens from there, the numbers go down with only 1,000 students advancing to second degree black belt.

To succeed, Lloyd says his students need to set goals, truly try to learn and improve, and simply show up.

“The only way to get better is to do it even if you hate it,” says Lloyd. “One of our mottos is do what you hate the most. You’ll be good at it, and you’ll never hate it later.”

For more information about Tae Kwon Do, contact Lloyd at 615-225-7493 or check his business out on the web, http://mttkd.com.

(UPDATED) Labor Day Motorcycle Crash Claims Portland Woman

September 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Labor Day Motorcycle Crash Claims One Life

One person died and another was airlifted in a motorcycle crash Labor Day on Highway 70 at the intersection with Snow Hill Road near Bert Driver Nursery.

Dead is 60 year old Nancy L. Pipers of Portland. She was a passenger of a 2008 Suzuki motorcycle operated by 56 year old Garry L. Midgett of Westmoreland, who was seriously injured.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Midgett was traveling eastbound in the right hand lane of US Highway 70 as a 1996 Ford F350, driven by 57 year old James C. Wilkerson of Smithville was turning left from Highway 70 onto the Snow Hill Road. The truck, which was pulling a trailer with a lawnmower on board, crossed into the path of the motorcycle. The bike struck the trailer as it was turning. Pipers succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

The THP reports that both Midgett and Pipers were wearing their safety helmets and Wilkerson was wearing his seat belt. Wilkerson was not injured but was cited for failure to yield to the right of way.

The crash was investigated by Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were on the scene.

TNReady EOC results show some progress at DCHS, Remains Below State Average in Three Subjects

September 4, 2017
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School students were able to show progress over the previous TNReady year-end tests in two out of four subjects, but not at the same rate as the state in three of the four categories.

In English, 33.9 percent of students were on track or mastered the subject, up from 27.4 percent in 2015-16 but slightly below the statewide percentage of 34.3

In all math courses, 15.5 percent performed on track or mastered the subject, up from 10.3 percent last year, but below 21.5 percent for the state

For U.S. history, 24.4 percent of students scored on track or higher, down from 27.3 percent and below the statewide percentage of 30.8

And in science, 54.7 percent scored proficient or higher, down from 58 percent last year, but higher than the state’s 51 percent although the science exam was taken under a different, less rigorous test.

Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the district-level end-of-course results from the second year of TNReady last week, noting that 102 districts – more than three-fourths of districts with high schools – increased the percent of students now scoring on track or mastered in high school English, and 61 districts showed an increase in students who are meeting course expectations in high school math. Overall, 54 districts increased the percent of on track or mastered students in both high school math and English.

In addition to this growth in students who achieved proficiency, districts also reduced the percentage of students who scored in the lowest performance level, which is called below. This shows that even while students have not yet reached proficiency, they are still advancing to higher performance levels. Nearly every district reduced the percent of high school students scoring as below in English, and about two-thirds of districts with high schools reduced the percent of students scoring at below in both high school math and English.

DeKalb County reduced the percentage of high school students scoring “below” in Math, English, and History while Science increased by just under one percent,

Across the state, 10 districts reduced the percent of students performing below course expectations in every individual TNReady end-of-course subject – which shows high school students across all content areas and grades are growing out of the lowest performance category. Those districts are: Fayette County Public Schools, Lenoir City Schools, Roane County Schools, Rutherford County Schools, Arlington Community Schools, Collierville Schools, Germantown Municipal School District, Sullivan County Schools, Sumner County Schools, and Williamson County Schools.

"These encouraging results show that our students are rising to meet the more rigorous expectations of our standards," Commissioner McQueen said. "Seeing substantial improvements at this scale will take time, but we know the strong instruction our educators focus on every single day is most important to students' long-term success. We are committed to holding all of our students to high expectations while supporting them on the path to get there."

TNReady is the statewide assessment administered to all students in grades 3-11. It is a more rigorous assessment compared to past state TCAP tests and is fully aligned to Tennessee's academic standards, which are based on what students need to know and be able to do each year to ultimately be prepared for college and their careers. TNReady scores fall into one of four achievement levels: mastered, on track, approaching, and below. These categories aim to help teachers and parents easily understand if students are ready for the next step in their academic journey and identify which students may need additional support ¬¬– which are the goals of state assessments.

Earlier this summer, Commissioner McQueen announced that at the state level, Tennessee high school students improved across all subject areas – English, math, science, and U.S. history – on TNReady end-of-course exams. This improvement means that thousands of additional students are meeting course expectations.

On the majority of the end-of-course exams, Germantown Municipal School District out performed all other districts in the percentage of students performing in the on track and mastered categories. In high school science, 89.6 percent of Germantown students met course expectations, while 71.9 percent did the same in high school English, 65.2 percent did in U.S. history, and 55.4 percent did in high school math. In all cases, those were the highest scores in the state.

Four additional districts out-paced all others in individual subject tests by having the highest percentage of students score on track or mastered: Bradford Special School District, Bristol City Schools, Trousdale County Schools, and Clay County Schools. There were 129 districts with high schools in Tennessee in the 2016-17 school year.

This year's results build on the first year of TNReady end-of-course assessments from 2015-16, where high school students set a new baseline for achievement based on educator-developed expectations that better ensure all students are on track for success in postsecondary and the workforce. In addition to overall growth, 2017 end-of-course results show some encouraging performance from Tennessee's historically underserved student groups. In particular, all student groups – students with disabilities, English learners, economically disadvantaged students, and Black, Hispanic, and Native American students – improved on TNReady end-of-course exams in English. In the district-level end-of-course results released last week, the public can also view information on how individual student groups performed in each district and on each subject test.

For example, in high school English:

*64 districts improved the percent of Black, Hispanic, and Native American students who scored on track or mastered,

*79 districts saw the same improvement for economically disadvantaged students,

*57 districts had more students with disabilities scoring on track or mastered, and

*11 districts improved the percent of English learner students scoring on track or mastered

In the coming weeks, districts will receive family and educator reports on the TNReady end-of-course exams to distribute to their families and teachers. Teacher evaluation data will also be available for educators over the next few weeks. This fall, the department will finalize scores and release the TNReady results for grades 3-8 at both the state and district level. For all grades, including high school, school-level TNReady data will be available when the state report card is released in late fall. Districts may choose to release their school-level end-of-course data earlier at their discretion.

Nashville Couple Airlifted After Motorcycle Crash

September 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
Scene of Sunday Motorcycle Crash on Dale Ridge Road

A Nashville couple was airlifted after a motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon on Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road).

70 year old Randall Barnes and 72 year old Pauline Barnes were injured in the accident and were airlifted by separate helicopter ambulances from a landing zone set up on Highway 70 at the top of Snow Hill.

Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Randall Barnes was operating the 2008 Harley Davidson with Pauline Barnes as his passenger. He was traveling south on Dale Ridge Road (toward Highway 70) when he failed to negotiate a curve. The motorcycle went off the right side of the highway, into a ditchline, and then about 25 feet down an embankment. The Barnes’ were thrown from the bike.

They were transported from the scene by DeKalb EMS to the helicopter landing zone. One of the victims was airlifted by Vandy Life Flight and the other by Erlanger Life Force. Both were believed to have been flown to Vanderbilt hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Nashville Man Indicted for Human Trafficking After Using Liberty Teen for Prostitution

September 3, 2017
Dwayne Page
 Charles Earl Denton

A Nashville man was indicted by a special session of the DeKalb County Grand Jury last Friday, August 25 accused of using a 15 year old Liberty girl for prostitution.

34 year old Charles Earl Denton is charged in the sealed indictment with trafficking for commercial sex act. He is under a $250,000 bond and will be arraigned in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, September 11.

Denton was picked up today (Friday) in Nashville by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. He was being held by Metro Nashville Police after being taken into custody Thursday.

The indictment against Denton alleges that on or about August 1, 2017, Denton did knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, provide, purchase, or obtain by any other means, a 15 year old minor child for the purpose of providing a commercial sex act, in violation of state law.

The investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department began on Friday, August 4th after the girl’s family reported her missing. The family said the teen sought and received permission to spend the night at a friend’s house two days before on Wednesday, August 2nd but she never came home. The investigation revealed that the girl knew Denton and that he had arranged through social media to meet her. Denton drove to Liberty on Wednesday, August 2, picked up the girl, and transported her to Nashville for the purpose of commercial sex. She was later found at a Nashville motel with another missing teen and an adult woman. Denton was not at the motel at the time.

Sheriff Patrick Ray explained how the story unfolded in the following prepared statement.

“On August 4th the Sheriff’s Department received a complaint about a missing 15 year old female in Liberty. The father of the 15 year old girl said his daughter had told him on August 2nd she was going to a friend’s house to spend the night. The next day, she texted her father back and said she wanted to spend that night with another friend. On August 4th the father could not get back in touch with her and contacted the Sheriff’s Department and filed a missing juvenile report”.

“After the report was filed on August 4th, officers tried to enter her information into the Amber Alert System, but were advised that she did not meet the standards of an amber alert because she was not abducted and left on her own free will”.

“While we were working on trying to locate the juvenile, we were able to gain access into one of her social media networks. It was discovered the juvenile was having conversations and was uploading explicit pictures of herself to a man named Charles Denton, age 34, from Nashville. It was then found there were uploads of the juvenile’s pictures along with another young girl’s picture on a website that is known to be associated with illegal activities”.

“Detectives found where they believed a person associated with the ad was located in a motel off of Wallace Road in Nashville. They called an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who specializes in commercial sex crimes. He went to the motel on Wallace Road and set up surveillance. The agent then called and asked for two of my detectives to come to Nashville and setup an undercover sting on the motel room. After the Detectives arrived in Nashville, a TBI agent setup an appointment to purchase sex there in a motel room through the website”.

“A decision then was made to take down whoever was in the motel room. An undercover TBI Agent went to the room as planned for the appointment to purchase sex. After he was in the room, other officers entered the room and detained everyone”.

“Officers found our missing juvenile there along with another 17 year old juvenile that was reported missing from Nashville. An adult female was also in the room with the juveniles”.

“Through an investigation, it was found that Charles Denton was the one who planned to meet our missing juvenile on August 2nd. Denton drove to Liberty here in DeKalb County and picked the juvenile up and transported her to Nashville for the purpose of commercial sex”.

“After returning back to DeKalb County, Detectives obtained a state warrant for Charles Denton”.

“On August 25th, a special called meeting of the DeKalb County Grand Jury convened and a sealed indictment was obtained for trafficking for a commercial sex act on Charles Denton”.

“Denton has been entered into the national crime information center as wanted since August 6th”.

“Denton was picked up in Davidson County on August 31st. He was transported to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department where he remains in custody on a $250,000 bond. His court date is September 11, 2017”.

“Local officers working the case were Deputy Michael Trusty, Detectives Jimmy Martin, Robert Patrick, and Stephen Barrett and Sheriff Patrick Ray,” the statement concluded.

“Sheriff Ray strongly advises parents to beware of what your child is doing on the internet. “Monitor what your children are doing on Social Media sites such as Facebook, Snap Chat, Twitter, Kik, Instagram, and text now. Pedophiles try to communicate with minors as a friend and setup meetings with children promising them freedom, money, lavish lifestyles, and sex. If you find someone trying to setup a meeting with a child or making any odd comments, please report them to us,” advised Sheriff Ray.

12th Annual History Hayride Set for October 14 at Edgar Evins State Park

September 3, 2017
History Hayride Re-enactors
History Hayride Costumed Character

The 12th Annual History Hayride, a fundraising event for the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, will be held on Saturday, October 14 at the park.

Registration is now open for the Hayride. The cost is $15.00 per person. Seating is limited. This event sells out very quickly so be sure to get your reservations made early to ensure your seats! A Visa or Master Card will be accepted.



Ride hay wagons back into the "olden days", with approximately 11 stops along the route where costumed characters will reveal the history of the park and area. A guide on each wagon will provide additional narratives between stops.

This is not a Halloween themed event and is not suitable for small children or those who have difficulty sitting still for 2 1/2 hours.

If you need help email Fount Bertram, President of Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, at fwbertram@dtccom.net or contact the park office at 1-800-250-8619 or 931-858-2114 for his telephone number.

Complimentary warm beverages will be at the Park Office. Homemade cookies will be priced per serving. If the weather is chilly there will also be a campfire in front of the park office where visitors may roast marshmallows.

Departure and returns will be at the Park Office. A circuit will last approximately 2 to 2½ hours during which spectators will remain on the wagons.There will be ten loads. Wagons will leave about every half hour.

Reservation times are for specific wagon loads and are not exact times of departure. It is necessary to be present at the stated reservation time to complete the registration process. If it is cooler on the lake you might wish to bring a jacket or blanket with you, especially for the evening rides.

Visit Facebook www.facebook.com/friendsofeesp and return often to this website at http://foeesp.alturl.com/

For park information phone the office: (931) 858-2114 or toll free at 1-800-250-8619.

For information about the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park contact Fount Bertram, President: email fwbertram@dtccom.net or phone (615) 765-5357

Teen Driver Rear Ends School Bus

September 1, 2017
Dwayne Page
Teen Driver Rear Ends School Bus
2000 Chevy S-10 damaged in rear end collision with school bus
Chevy S10 and School Bus after rear end collision

A 17 year old boy was cited for failing to exercise due care Friday evening after his vehicle rear ended a school bus transporting six students home from school.

According to Trooper Danielle Neal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the bus driver, Myron Rhody was turning from South Mountain Street (Highway 146) onto Jackson Street in Smithville when the teen, driving a 2000 Chevy S-10 rear ended the bus. 18 year old Chris Hobbs was a passenger with the boy.

One of the students on the bus, an 11 year old girl, reportedly complained of back pain and was transported by DeKalb EMS to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital. The teen driver of the Chevy S-10 was also transported to the hospital. Neither was believed to be seriously hurt.

No one else involved in the accident was transported.

Parents of the students were notified and arrived at the scene to take their children home.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were also on site to provide assistance.

The bus, #19, is a sub and received some damage to the rear bumper in the accident. The bus will not be used again until the state inspects it.

Meanwhile, in a separate accident 18 year old Dominick Barlow of Sparta escaped injury Friday night in a one vehicle crash on Highway 70 east near Sligo bridge.

According to Trooper Neal, Barlow was driving west on Highway 70 in a 2001 Dodge 1500 when the truck went out of control, spun around, and overturned coming to rest on the driver side door in a ditch facing east.

Barlow was helped from the truck but he refused transport to the hospital. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, and EMS were on the scene.


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