Local News Articles

More Marijuana Spotted in Aerial Search

August 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

More marijuana was found Tuesday during a helicopter fly over of portions of the county.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, in cooperation with the Warren County Sheriff's Department Marijuana Eradication Team, conducted the aerial search.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "Officers in the chopper spotted some marijuana plants in the Dry Creek and Pea Ridge areas." Some of the marijuana was in patches and the rest was scattered among thickets on hillsides. According to Sheriff Ray, about 200 marijuana plants were found, from about one to four feet tall and it was all cut and destroyed.

Sheriff Ray encourages anyone having knowledge of drug manufacture or drug use to call him at 597-4935 or call the Drug and Crime Tip Line at 464-6400. You may also email him at sheriffray@dtccom.net. All calls are kept confidential.

Sparta Woman Wanted by White County Authorities Still at Large After Tuesday Car Chase

August 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Audria LeeAnn Estes (picture courtesy of The Expositor)

An 18 year old Sparta woman, wanted by the White County Sheriff's Department, remains at large today.

Audria LeeAnn Estes was last seen Tuesday afternoon in DeKalb County in the Hillcrest Hills area, after escaping on foot into the woods following a high speed car chase.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says White County deputies got in pursuit of Estes' car Tuesday morning in White County. The woman is apparently wanted there for violation of probation and four other active warrants. The chase continued into DeKalb County, until she wrecked her car, a purple cavalier, behind Hillcrest Restaurant on Highway 70 east. Estes then got out of the car and ran into the woods where the undergrowth is thick and the terrain is very steep.

Sheriff Ray says his department received the call around 11:00 a.m. and joined in the search for the woman.

In addition to officers of the DeKalb County and White County Sheriff's Department, members of the Cookeville Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol came to the scene with tracking dogs, and TWRA officers and Corps of Engineers officials monitored the shoreline by boat from the lake, but the woman could not be found.

According to Sheriff Ray, Estes did emerge from hiding briefly late Tuesday afternoon. Some men working on a house at Hillcrest Hills reported seeing and talking with her. Sheriff Ray says the men tried to get her to surrender, but she refused and took off running again. That was apparently the last time she was seen.

Estes was unarmed, wearing a white shirt and blue capris pants. She is white, medium complexion, with black hair and brown eyes. She weighs 130 pounds and stands 5 feet, 4 inches tall. She also has a tattoo of a rose on her right upper arm.

Sheriff Ray says officers suspended the search Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m. The search resumed Wednesday morning, with local officers monitoring roads and lake homes in the area.

Estes now faces additional charges as a result of Tuesday's events.

If you have information that could lead to her arrest, call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department at 597-4935 or the White County Sheriff's Department at 931-836-3621

Two Cash Counterfeiters Plead Guilty- Get Two Years Supervised Probation

August 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Somer Abdalla
Megan A. Lann

Two people charged in a counterfeiting operation earlier in the year and indicted by the Grand Jury this month were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, August 18th.

24 year old Megan Ann Lann and her boyfriend, 27 year old Somer Walid Abdalla both of Pine Grove Road, Smithville were indicted on charges of criminal simulation and passing counterfeit bills as currency.

Abdalla pleaded guilty to criminal simulation over $1,000 and received a two year sentence, all suspended to supervised TDOC probation. The case is to run consecutive with a violation of probation sentence against him in the General Sessions Court in another case. Under terms of the plea agreement, Abdalla cannot associate with his girlfriend Lann except for court authorized contact with their child. All jail credit of 143 days from March 28th, 2008 to August 18th, 2008 shall be applied to the violation of probation sentence in the General Sessions court case.

Lann pleaded guilty to forgery (passing) and received a two year sentence, all suspended to TDOC supervised probation. She must make restitution toWal-mart in the amount of $240 and perform 100 hours of community service work. She must not associate with her boyfriend Abdalla under terms of the plea agreement.

These two and another man, 22 year old Jason Ryan Chapman of 212 North Mill Street, Dowelltown were arrested as the result of a joint investigation by the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. The indictments stem from the Sheriff's Department cases against the three defendants. The Smithville Police Department has not yet presented it's cases to the Grand Jury.

Lann and Abdalla were accused of producing at least $800 to $1,000 in counterfeit $10 and $20 bills on a desktop and laptop computer and printer in their home and then passing some of those bills at local and area businesses.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins' Jr. says the Smithville Police Department also charged Lann and Chapman with passing counterfeit bank bills as currency.

Chapman, an employee of Walmart in Smithville, could be seen on a videotape from the store's surveillance camera , along with Lann, making purchases at Walmart with some of the counterfeit money.

Sheriff Ray and Detective Sergeant Hutchins say counterfeit bills showed up at several businesses during the winter and spring. The bills had no water marks or bar codes and some were not cut squarely. The bills also had some of the same serial numbers.

According to Sheriff Ray, both Abdalla and Lann were involved in manufacturing the counterfeit bills.

Meanwhile, in other cases Monday, 31 year old Crystal Deck pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000. She received a three year sentence, all suspended to time served from May 25th, 2008 to August 18th, 2008. She must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution.

34 year old John Charles Deck, Jr. pleaded guilty to theft over $10,000 and also received a three year sentence suspended to time served from May 25th, 2008 to August 18th, 2008. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and make restitution.

43 year old Larry Frasier, Jr. pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and was sentenced to four years to serve. The sentence is to run concurrently with a Sumner County case he is now serving. Frasier was given jail credit from July 18th, 2007 to August 18th, 2008.

30 year old Joel Thomas Hayes pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to probation. He must pay a fine of $750 and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

51 year old Marc Jenkins pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault and received a three year sentence, all suspended to TDOC supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrently with a sentence in the General Sessions Court. Jenkins shall have no contact with a victim in the case. He will be permitted to have a pass for work related out of state travel as long as he complies with all probation prerequisites and conditions.

22 year old Corey Robert Winchester charged with sale of a schedule IV controlled substance and facilitation of sale of a schedule II controlled substance was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of three years. He must perform 100 hours of community service work, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, and pay $18 restitution to the sheriff's department. He was given jail credit of eleven days.

38 year old Randy A. Caldwell pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence committed to time served with the balance of the sentence suspended. The case will run consecutive to a violation of probation case against him. Caldwell must make restitution of $75 to the sheriff's department, pay a $2,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service work, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. He was given jail credit from April 18th, 2008 to August 18th, 2008.

28 year old Joey Phelps pleaded guilty to burglary and received a three year sentence, all suspended to time served. The case is to run consecutive to a violation of probation case against him. He must perform 100 hours of community service work and pay restitution. He was given jail credit from June 20th, 2008 to August 18th, 2008.

32 year old Donna Thompson pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. She received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently. She will be on probation supervised by community corrections. Thompson must pay a $2,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service work, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

32 year old Bryan Douglas Brannon pleaded guilty to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended except for 48 hours to serve. He must pay a $350 fine and attend an alcohol safety school. He will be on supervised probation and will lose his license for one year.

Lattimore Gets Lengthy Prison Sentence on Drug Charges

August 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Eddie Lattimore

A local man, who stood trial in April and was found guilty of some drug charges against him in DeKalb County Criminal Court, was sentenced Monday by Judge Leon Burns, Jr.

Eddie Lattimore was sentenced to fourteen years on the drug charges as a range 3 persistent offender. The sentence will run consecutive to a violation of probation case against him in which he must serve the balance of a four year sentence in a previous case.

Lattimore was charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (syringes), possession of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) with the intent to sell and deliver, possession of a schedule II drug (morphine) with intent to sell and deliver, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

A jury found him guilty of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) with intent to sell and deliver. However in the other drug case, the jury convicted him of the lesser offense of simple possession of morphine and found him not guilty of the weapon charge.

Lattimore was arrested on December 31st, 2006 following an undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, at the time, said county officers went to the home of Lattimore at 3785 Pea Ridge Road to execute a search warrant following an extensive investigation of Lattimore and surveillance of his home on suspicion of drug dealing which led to two undercover drug buys of dilaudid.

Lattimore was arrested at the scene. Officers found some dilaudid, morphine, syringes, and seized more than $7,400 in cash. Authorities also found a 9 millimeter pistol in an outbuilding on Lattimore's property.

Lattimore was fined a total of $7,500 by the jury. Lattimore has other drug charges pending against him.

Farron Hendrix and Golf Course Management Group Awarded Bid to Lease City Golf Course and Pool

August 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Farron Hendrix-New Tenant at City Golf Course and Pool

Farron Hendrix and Golf Management Group will become the new tenants at the Smithville Municipal Golf and Swimming Club on September 1st, subject to signing a contract with the city.

The Smithville Aldermen voted 3 to 2 Monday night to accept Hendrix' s bid, which was one of only two submitted.

The other bid was submitted by Tony Poss, who offered to manage the facility for the city, rather than leasing it.

Aldermen Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. voted to award the lease to Hendrix. Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger voted against it.

Both White and Burger argued that more time was needed to study the bids before making a final decision.

In his remarks, Alderman Burger said "In my opinion, the lease needs to be written, and we discuss it. If you don't know what's in the lease, you don't know what you're voting on. I'm also not for studying bids at this meeting. You take 15 minutes to study four or five bids and decide what's what, the measurements and everything contained with them, I don't think it's the right thing to do. We need to study bids other than this meeting. Then you can make the decision here as to what you want."

Alderman White, in his comments, stated "I think we need to take some time to look at both of these (proposals). I'm also still in favor of looking at the option of us (city) taking over the pool and golf course (operation). I believe there is a good possibility that we could be making money by the city operating it instead of losing money over there every year. I think we need to, at least as a board, look at that option and I don't think that's even been looked at and I think that's a big mistake."

Alderman Sullivan replied that "I think it was discussed at the last meeting and due to the cost of the equipment, we chose to open this back up for bids."

Hendrix agreed to accept the requirements set forth in the bid specifications for leasing the golf course and swimming pool but he requested that the following provisions be added:

"The Lessee (Hendrix) would pay up to $500 on the repair or the replacement of the hydraulic watering stations for the golf course, pumps, and any structural damage that may occur to the swimming pool. The City of Smithville would pay for any costs above the $500 on the repair or replacement of new equipment.'

"The Lessee bids $750 per month for the term of the lease"

The city received $2,500 per month under the previous lease with Jimmy Lewis.

The bid specs are as follows:

"Lease will be for a 5 year period starting September 1st, 2008 and will expire August 31st, 2013. Bidder shall state in his/her bid package the amount per month they will offer to pay for the term of the lease. Rent will be due on the first of each month beginning September 1st, 2008 with a 5 day grace period each month."

"Lessee shall have the right and option to extend the term of the previous lease for an additional 5 years beginning September 1st, 2013 and ending August 31st, 2018 under previous lease agreement pending Mayor and Board of Alderman approval at said time.'

"Lessee shall provide at it's sole expense, public liability insurance, including general liability coverage, with a limit of not less than one million dollars for any one person and three million dollars coverage per occurrence. Certificates of insurance shall be deposited with the Secretary-Treasurer at or prior to the beginning of the term and thereafter within 30 days prior to the expiration of such policies."

"Lessee shall provide the City a Letter of Credit in the amount of $10,000 either at or prior to the beginning of the term."

"Lessee will provide the necessary equipment and supplies for maintaining and operating the golf course and swimming pool, including but not limited to all proper mowing equipment for fairways and greens mowers, tractors, and swimming pool equipment. Tenant must, at all times, maintain a minimum of 20 golf carts available to golf course patrons."

"Lessee agrees to manage, from start to finish, the entire operation of the golf course and swimming pool facilities and tennis courts. Landlord will maintain tennis courts, nets, and fence as well as the electricity from the tennis court lights. All monies received by the lessee for use of pool and golf course, including concessions, shall be the property of lessee. Subletting of said demised properties will not be permitted."

"Maintenance of the Smithville Swimming Pool shall be at the lessee's responsibility. This includes certified lifeguards during all hours of operations. The Swimming Pool will be open for the general public on a daily basis from at least Memorial Day until the first day of school as designated by the DeKalb County Board of Education. Lessee shall also provide at least one day of "Free" swimming to school children K-12 that have successfully passed their recent school year. The City of Smithville will provide the water to fill the swimming pool once a year for filling and also provide necessary chemicals for proper maintenance and operations."

"Any person bidding on the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Club may add or delete any provision mentioned in the bid specs in his/her bid proposal. The bidder that is awarded the lease to the Smithville Golf Course and Swimming Club must sign into contract with the City of Smithville before the lease becomes valid."

"The City of Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen reserve the right to accept or refuse any bid proposal."

Hilton Conger Reappointed Smithville City Judge

August 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
City Judge Hilton Cnger

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night re-appointed Incumbent City Judge Hilton Conger to a new two year term, effective September 1st. The vote was 5-0.

Conger's current two year term expires August 31st.

Conger's salary as City Judge is $1,000 per month.

The Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

The City Judge, previously elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006.

The changes in the City Charter, regarding the City Court, came following a State Attorney General's opinion in the fall of 2001 that only the District Attorney General and his staff had the responsibility of prosecuting state criminal action in municipal courts.

City to Purchase New Playground Equipment for Smith Road Park

August 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Playground Equipment

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night voted 5 to 0 to purchase new playground equipment at the city park on Smith Road.

The board accepted a bid from School Sales and Services of Gallatin. The city will spend $8,015 to make the purchase. The company will install the playground equipment.

School Sales and Services was among four companies to submit bids.

(Playground equipment similar to that depicted in this photo will be purchased for Smith Road Park)

Meanwhile, Mayor Taft Hendrixson reported that the city has done some street paving.

According to the mayor, paving has been done on all or at least of portion of Hayes Street, West Bryant, Fisher Avenue, Duncan Street, and Anthony Avenue. The city tennis courts are also being paved.

The city hopes to have enough money left in the street budget to pave Adams Street

Questions were raised by George "Blackie" Davis and Faye Sandusky about the paving of the private driveway of the mayor's son.

Mayor Hendrixson said the company doing the city street paving also did the work on the driveway, but he says no city equipment, employees, or city funds were used on the project.

The mayor said he asked the company to give him a price on paving the driveway, which he thought was too high, but he asked them to do the work. The mayor added that he is paying the $3,700 for the project.

When asked by Sandusky if other residents in the area where the streets are being paved were given the same opportunity to have their driveways paved when the construction people came through, Mayor Hendrixson replied that "they had the same opportunity to contact the pavers, because they (pavers) were coming down the streets in front of their houses."

Mayor Hendrixson said "I'm certainly not trying to steal anything from the City of Smithville".

Complaints are beginning to surface about an on-going flea market at West Main and North Mountain Street, which has been in operation each week since prior to the Fiddler's Jamboree

City officials say there have been public complaints about the property becoming an eye sore, a possible violation of the city's beautification ordinance, and some business owners are grumbling about it.

City Attorney Vester Parsley says while the city apparently does not have a yard sale ordinance, there is a peddler's ordinance. " It's been on the books since 1976. They have to apply to Hunter Hendrixson (Secretary-Treasurer) to get a permit. It doesn't say what that permit costs. I assume it's free if they apply and meet the requirements of the ordinance which provides that they give their name and brief description of the nature of the goods they are going to sell; If employed, the name and address of their employer; and if a vehicle is going to be used, a description of it, together with a license plate number, and evidence of good moral character of the applicant."

City officials will check to determine if this property is in violation of city ordinances and if the flea market operation there can be regulated.

Local Law Enforcement Agencies Team up for "Booze It and Loose It" Campaign

August 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department will be teaming up to make our roads in DeKalb County a safer place to drive next week in the "Booze It and Loose It" campaign.

All three law enforcement agencies will combine their efforts to do Sobriety Check Points on Highway 56, Highway 70, Highway 146, Highway 53, and possibly others on August 25th through September 1st.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "We will be looking for impaired drivers through extra patrols, check points, and saturation patrols."

"Booze It & Lose It" is designed to reduce impaired driving injuries, fatalities, and associated economic losses. The Booze It & Lose It campaign provides for increased law enforcement efforts and public service messages to accomplish its goal. The intervention targets all drivers who are impaired due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Impaired driving and impaired-related crashes constitute one of the nation's leading health problems. These events result in more deaths each year than do total homicides, and alcohol is a factor in 35% of all crashes in the United States.

Man Arrested Trying to Outrun the Law in Stolen Car

August 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 23 year old man, trying to outrun the law in a stolen car Saturday, was arrested by an officer of the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Michael Frederick Teachout of Students Home Road, Smithville is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence, evading arrest, aggravated burglary, and theft of property over $1,000.00. His bond was set at $84,500 and he will appear in court on September 4th.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies were on a call on New Home Road on Saturday when they heard a vehicle on Dry Creek Road driving erratically. The vehicle came upon the intersection of Dry Creek Road and New Home Road and stopped at the stop sign. The driver then began to smoke the tires on the vehicle. A deputy pulled up to the car and activated his blue lights, but the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed trying to evade the deputy. The car went approximately one mile down the road and stopped. The driver then exited the automobile and took off running. The driver was found by the pursuing deputy within seconds. Upon capturing the driver, Teachout, the officer noticed that he had a pair of socks on his hands. Teachout also had a strong odor of alcohol on his person, slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet. The deputy obtained the vehicle tag number and contacted the owner. Through an investigation, Officers learned that Teachout went to a home on Old Blue Springs Road, Smithville and entered a house without the owner's permission and took the key to a 1995 Mercedes Benz. Teachout then stole the car.

Meanwhile in another case, 41 year old Todd Allen Bussiere of Lake Motel, Smithville was charged Monday, August 11th with violation of the sexual offender law.

Sheriff Ray says Bussiere, who is a convicted sex offender from Waterbury Vermont, was living at the Lake Motel and never registered with the DeKalb Sheriff's Department. Bussiere was convicted in Vermont on charges of Lude and Lascivious Conduct with a Child. Bond for Bussiere was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on August 21st..

22 year old Tracy Ann Thomason of Bryant Street, Smithville was arrested Tuesday, August 12th on two counts of theft and one count of forgery.

Sheriff Ray says Thomason was arrested after she stole a check from a ladies purse at a church in Smithville. After taking the check, Thomason wrote it out for $200, and then forged the victim's name on the check. During the investigation, Officers also learned that Thomason had gone to Hayes Street just before she was taken to the jail and stole a package off a porch there. She also allegedly stole a debit card and cell phone from another address on Hayes Street. Thomason's bond was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on August 21st.

Former Cannon County Jail Nurse Pleads Guilty to Theft and Fraud

August 16, 2008
Kyra Robinson

A DeKalb County woman and former nurse at the Cannon County Jail entered a guilty plea to charges of theft and fraud Friday in Woodbury.

Kyra Robinson is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of prescription drugs from the taxpayers.

WBRY reports that Robinson pled guilty in Cannon County Circuit Court to theft and 37 counts of fraud. Robinson was indicted by the January, 2008 term of the Cannon County Grand Jury on over 260 counts of fraud for obtaining inmate prescriptions and then keeping them for herself. Robinson was employed by the Cannon County Jail until shortly before her arrest and reportedly cost Cannon County's taxpayers well over $30,000.

Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III sentenced Robinson to a total of 8 years in prison as a standard 30 percent offender. A suspended sentence hearing was set for November 14th to determine if Robinson will have to serve that sentence or if she will be placed on probation.

The case stemmed from a local investigation.

In December, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant at the home of Mark and Kyra Robinson on Anthony Avenue in Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says officers made at least one drug buy from Robinson's residence and during the search, they found 193 Xanax pills, 203 empty prescription bottles with numerous individuals' names on them, hemostats, rolling papers, roach clips, syringes, and a pill grinder.

In the December case, Mark Robinson was charged with possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers seized the cash from Robinson.

Sheriff Ray says it was during the December investigation that he learned that the empty prescription bottles found at Robinson's home had the names of several Cannon County inmates on them.

He then contacted the TBI and the Cannon County Sheriff's Department with this discovery.

During the April term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury, Mark Robinson of Dry Creek Road, Smithville was indicted on charges of sale and delivery of a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax), and conspiracy to sell a schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax).

Kyra Robinson of Braswell Lane, Smithville was indicted for conspiracy to sell a Schedule IV controlled substance (Xanax).

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