Local News Articles

Five Charged in Meth Lab Case; Another Indicted in Separate Burglary & Theft Investigation

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Patricia Lynn Durham
Tara Leann Alford
Andy Joe Certain
Brandon Wayne Hutchings
Sherry Kay Malone
Travis Marcus Melton

Five people have been arrested by the Sheriff's Department on drug charges after a detective found a meth lab at a Smithville residence last week.

46 year old Patricia Lynn Durham of Driver Street, Smithville; 36 year old Tara Leann Alford of Old Harrison Ferry Road, McMinnville; 36 year old Andy Joe Certain of Bright Hill Road, Smithville; and 25 year old Brandon Wayne Hutchings of Young Ridge Road, Sparta are all charged with promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. 34 year old Sherry Kay Malone of Commerce Street, Watertown is charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Bond for each is $50,000 and they will be in court August 22.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, August 6 a drug detective went to Durham's residence for a knock and talk. After receiving consent from Durham, the homeowner, to do a search, the detective found a one liter cook bottle, a 20 ounce bottle containing a bi-layered liquid, two lithium batteries, a bag of white powder believed to be Pseudoephedrine weighing 29 grams, 12 hypodermic needles, a visine bottle containing acid, and several other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

According to Sheriff Ray, Malone admitted to the detective that the meth making components found belonged to her. The others were charged because they were in the same room where the items were located.

20 year old Travis Marcus Melton of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta was arrested on Tuesday, August 6. He was named in a sealed indictment by the Grand Jury on Monday, August 5 for aggravated burglary (2 counts), theft of property over $1,000, and theft of property under $500. His bond is $40,000.

WJLE has obtained a copy of the indictment now that it has been unsealed with Melton's arrest. In the case of aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000, the indictment alleges that "On or about the 1st day of March, 2012, Melton did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly enter the habitation of the victim with the intent to commit theft of property, constituting the offense of aggravated burglary."

The indictment further alleges that Melton "did knowingly exercise control over certain property, to wit: a 12 gauge shotgun, 12 gauge ammunition, a Disney Pellet Rifle, a .22 Ruger handgun, ammunition, a 52 inch flat screen television, a DVD player, a leather jewelry box, $25 cash, several knives, an air compressor, tools, a tool box, pillow cases, several bottles of liquor, a gas can, a hatchet with sheath, a machete with sheath, a Browning hunting knife with sheath, two fishing poles with reels, a coke machine key and $3 in change, being over the value of $1,000, the property of the victim, constituting the offense of theft."

In the other case of aggravated burglary and theft under $500, the indictment alleges that "On or about the 3rd day of March, 2012, Melton did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly enter the habitation of the victim with the intent to commit theft of property, constituting the offense of aggravated burglary."

The indictment further alleges that "Melton did knowingly exercise control over certain property, to wit: a Henry .22 lever action rifle, being under the value of $500, the property of the victim, constituting the offense of theft."

After he was arrested on the charges in the sealed indictments, Melton was further charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. His bond on the drug charge is $10,000. Sheriff Ray said that while being booked into the jail on Tuesday, August 6, officers asked Melton if he had anything on him. He replied no. Before being locked down, Melton was searched by a correctional officer who found less than a half ounce of marijuana on his person.

Police Make Arrest in Burglary at Smithville Review Office

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Justin Clyde Hale

Smithville Police have arrested a man they believe broke into the office of the Smithville Review around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, August 9.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Monday that 26 year old Justin Clyde Hale is charged with vandalism over $1,000, theft of property over $1,000, and burglary. His bond totals $20,000 and he will be in court on September 26.

The case was investigated by Detective Brandon Donnell and Lieutenant Matt Holmes.

According to police, Hale allegedly gained entry by breaking out the glass in the front door. The office was reportedly ransacked and items stolen included some jewelry, $181 taken from a cash box, and some collectable ink pens.

During their investigation, Detective Donnell and Lieutenant Holmes developed Hale as a suspect and found him later that day (Friday) at a local residence where he had been staying. The owner gave police consent to search and found in an area of the home frequented by Hale were the ink pens taken from the Smithville Review office and the $181 in cash reported stolen. The items were found hidden with some of Hale's personal belongings. None of the stolen jewelry has been recovered.

Hale was placed under arrest and charged with the crimes.

Police say Hale is a suspect in other burglaries and thefts and he may be facing further charges.

Fugitive Wanted for Attempted Murder in West Virginia Found in Smithville

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Keith O'Brian Jeffries

A man wanted in Mercer County, West Virginia for attempted second degree murder was found at a Smithville residence last week.

47 year old Keith O'Brian Jeffries is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $100,000 and he will be in court on August 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 a deputy went to a residence on Morgan Drive after receiving information that Jeffries was there and that he had an active warrant against him. When the officer arrived at the residence, he knocked on the door and was let in. People there told the deputy that Jeffries was in a back bedroom. The deputy went to the bedroom and knocked on the door but no one answered. The officer then forced his way into the room, found Jeffries, and arrested him.

21 year old Joshua Lee Anderson of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with vandalism. His bond is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 while in the jail on other charges, Anderson stuffed a blanket down the toilet and flushed it, causing the cell to flood. He covered up the cameras to keep correctional officers from being able to witness the incident.

42 year old Richard Brandon Turner of East Market Street, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on August 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 a deputy was dispatched to a call of a person lying in the roadway on Highway 70. Upon arrival, the officer found Turner leaning on a vehicle. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. For Turner's safety and that of the public, he was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

28 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Woodbury Highway, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court on August 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 9 Pugh was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 west when he was stopped by a deputy for failure to maintain his lane of travel. The officer had prior knowledge that Pugh's license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for a prior DUI on May 14, 2009 in DeKalb County. Pugh's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Pugh also had a white powdery substance in and on his nose. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Pugh was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

41 year old Chad Brian Hunsberger of Possum Hollow Road, Gordonsville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 10 Hunsberger was involved in a motor vehicle accident in the Handlebars parking lot on Highway 70. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Hunsberger refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and he refused to take a blood test. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

25 year old John David Anderson of Quail Point Drive, Smithville is charged with criminal trespassing. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, July 30, Anderson was at the home of a family member on Quail Point Drive after being told several times to stay off the property. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

34 year old Hector Caballero of Talley Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 2 Caballero was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 when he was stopped by an officer for failure to maintain his lane of travel. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Caballero performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood test. Caballero admitted to the officer that he had consumed beer and that he was too drunk to drive. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

New SRO's Began Duties Monday

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
New SRO's Begin Duties

The four new School Resource Officers have completed training and began their duties Monday morning at the schools to which they have been assigned.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Monday that the SRO officers will be working at the following schools:

Officer Terry Cowart, Jr. at Smithville Elementary School

Officer Roger Whitehead at Northside Elementary School

Officer Chris McMillen at DeKalb Middle School

Officer Kenneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School

Officer Lewis Carrick at DeKalb West School.

SROs are new to all schools except DCHS where officer Kenneth Whitehead has worked as an SRO for several years.

"The new SRO's just completed a 40 hour intense School Resource Officer Training Seminar in Williamson County," said Sheriff Ray. "They graduated last Friday. They started Monday morning at the schools to which they were assigned. Each school resource officer and I met with their principal, some of the teachers, and some of the students. We were made to feel very welcomed in each and every school. I plan to meet with the SRO's every week to discuss what is going on at each school to keep me up to date. That way I can pass information on to the deputies and detectives or back to the SRO's if I need to," he said.

According to Sheriff Ray, a School Resource Officer is intended to be more than just an armed guard at the school. " The main goal of the school resource officer is to prevent juvenile delinquency. He does that by promoting positive relations between youth and law enforcement," said Sheriff Ray. "These five school resource officers are not just cops on the school campus. These school resource officers provide law enforcement duties but they also provide education and counseling. They educate the students by teaching law related classes and other subjects in the classroom and they also counsel both the students and the parents on various topics. The SRO's main objective is to be a positive role model in the life of a student. It's intended for the school resource officer program to bridge a gap between juveniles and law enforcement. By doing this, it is to help prevent juvenile crime," he said.

County funds have been budgeted this year to pay for the four new SRO officers. Two of the positions are funded in the county general budget and the other two by the school budget. "I would like to thank County Mayor Mike Foster, the county commission, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, and the DeKalb County Board of Education for allowing funding for the extra four school resource officers this year. We have a total of five schools in DeKalb County and now all five schools has an SRO assigned to them," said Sheriff Ray.

(Left to Right: Officers Lewis Carrick, Terry Cowart, Jr. Roger Whitehead, Chris McMillan, Kenneth Whitehead, and Sheriff Patrick Ray)

Sunday Fuel Spill at Mapco Express Keeps Cleanup Crew Busy

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sunday Fuel Spill at Mapco Express
Mapco Express

A fuel spill at Mapco Express Sunday morning kept the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and the HEPACO cleanup crew busy for most of the day.

According to Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, a hose came loose from the tanker of a fuel delivery truck which caused about 100 gallons of fuel to spill onto the ground in the parking lot of the store.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were alerted around 10:30 a.m. and quickly came to the scene. The parking lot was blocked off to traffic and the store was closed during the cleanup of the spill.

"Some of the fuel went down a storm drain," said Chief Parker. We (firefighters) put down some absorbent booms (pads) where the storm drain empties out into the creek to soak up the fuel. We also assisted the HEPACO cleanup crew in flushing some chemicals through the storm drain to break down the fuel and then rinsing it out," he said.

The fire department cleared the scene around 5:00 p.m. No one was injured.

Local Couple Wins National Homesteading Award

August 12, 2013
Local Couple Wins National Homesteading Award

Want to raise your own food but don’t have a farming background? Desire trumps experience, according to Andrew and Suzanne Cox of Smithville.

Although they only began homesteading three years ago, the Coxes have been named runners-up on Grit’s 2013 Homesteaders of the Year list. Grit will profile the couple in its September-October issue, on newsstands Aug. 27.

The Coxes now raise most of their meat, with chickens, sheep, pigs, a steer and two milk heifers roaming their 24 acres. The family plans to add milk goats next year. They also grow fruits and three large heritage-crop gardens. Bartering helps them acquire equipment and animals without going into debt.

“Andrew and Suzanne embody the Grit spirit: ‘stick-to-it-iveness,’ a strong sense of family and community, and a desire to be self-sufficient,” says Hank Will, editor in chief of Grit.

The magazine names Danielle Figel, Ocean County, N.J.; Lewis and Eleanore Janetos, Rollinsford, N.H.; and Eric and Wendy Slatt, Kershaw, S.C., Homesteaders of the Year. Other runners-up are Mike and Alison Buehler, Starkville, Miss., and Robert Reid and Britnee Atnip, Gastonia, N.C.

Grit sought Homesteaders of the Year nominations from its readers, online audience and through social media.

The Homesteaders of the Year kick off International Homesteading Education Month in September. Grit, Capper’s and Mother Earth News magazines sponsor this celebration of modern homesteading. Their online hub enables anyone to register tours, workshops, open houses or other events, and the titles have promoted Homesteading Education Month throughout the summer. Everyone is welcome to participate — individuals, organizations and companies offering products for self-reliant living — both by signing up to host an event and by using the online listings to find nearby events to attend. Current and would-be homesteaders can also enter the Holy Hee-Haw! Homesteader Giveaway.

To nominate a 2014 Homesteader of the Year, email information and photos, if available, to hwill@grit.com with the subject line “Homesteader of the Year.”

About Grit
Grit magazine (www.Grit.com) has celebrated rural American lifestyles since 1882. Each bimonthly issue combines practical articles, product reviews, do-it-yourself building plans, beautiful photos, reader advice, humor and a healthy dose of fresh attitude to offer a complete guide to life outside the city limits.

About Ogden Publications Inc.
Ogden Publications Inc. (www.OgdenPubs.com) is the leading information resource serving the sustainable living, rural lifestyle, farm memorabilia and classic motorcycle communities. Key brands include Mother Earth News, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader, Capper’s and Grit. Ogden Publications also produces environmentally friendly housewares through Natural Home Products LLC, and provides insurance and financial services through its Capper’s Insurance Service division.

Payne Denman to Compete in US Amateur Championship

August 12, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Payne Denman

DeKalb County's own Payne Denman will have a chance to showcase his skills on the national stage this week during the 113th United States Amateur Golf Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Denman competed last week in the 98th Tennessee State Amateur Championship in Chattanooga, where he placed 4th.

To view results of the US Amateur Championship, visit http://www.usga.org/ChampEventScore.aspx?id=17179869326&year=2013&type=p...

Elvis: Aloha 40 Performers Entertain Crowds at County Complex

August 11, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page

Elvis would have been proud.

Crowds gathered at the DeKalb County Complex for two entertaining shows Saturday as Smithville helped kick off Elvis Week 2013 in a tribute called Elvis: Aloha 40.

The program featured an opening performance by the legendary Stamps Quartet, followed by a full on Elvis tribute show, with the group - as they did for six years with Presley - providing the back-up vocals. Smithville resident, Tom Duggin, provided the vocals for the Elvis part of the show, backed by Tim Colwell and a local group of musicians known as "TCB." Much like the Presley stage show of the 70's, Elvis: Aloha 40 featured a brass ensemble on stage as well as female back-up singers, in addition to the core musicians and the Stamps Quartet

Elvis Week is held every year with a number of festivities to honor the late singer in his hometown of Memphis.

Police Report No Serious Injuries in Three Auto Wreck

August 10, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
2004 Nissan Altima driven by Eureatha Cripps
 2013 Nissan Frontier driven by Kenneth Knowles
1993 Dodge Caravan driven by Jerry Madison

Three people were involved in a three auto accident Friday afternoon on Broad Street in front of DeKalb Community Bank.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that 35 year old Eureatha Cripps of Smithville was traveling west on Broad Street in a 2004 Nissan Altima when her car struck the rear of a westbound 2013 Nissan Frontier pickup, driven by 61 year old Kenneth Knowles of Smithville who was attempting to turn right into the parking lot of DeKalb Community Bank.

The impact of the crash forced the Knowles truck into a 1993 Dodge Caravan, driven by 29 year old Jerry Madison of Smithville, who was waiting for traffic to clear so he could pull onto the highway from the parking lot of the bank.

According to Captain Leffew, there were no serious injuries and no one was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene to assist

4-H Members Receive Awards at State 4-H Roundup

August 9, 2013
by: 
Michael Barry
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown
Kayley Green of Dowelltown (Right)
Kayley Green, William Cain, Cassie Cain, and Lydia Trail.
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown (Seated right)

DeKalb County 4-H members recently attended the 90th Tennessee 4-H Roundup and All Star Conference at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Since 1924, Tennessee 4-H’ers have gathered annually on a campus of the University of Tennessee for 4-H Roundup. The event serves to recognize 4-H members for their outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments. State All Star Conference is a part of the Roundup program. All Stars conduct service-learning projects and recognize outstanding service projects. DeKalb County 4-H members who attended 4-H Roundup, included Kayley Green as a State 4-H council member, Lydia Trail who participated in the Photography project, William Cain who participated in the Nutrition, Health, & Fitness project, and Cassie Cain who participated in the Personal Development project. Angela Tripp, Volunteer Leader and Michael Barry, Extension Director accompanied the group to Knoxville. Cassie Cain was named the State winner in the Personal Development project and will receive $500 college scholarship and a trip to the National 4-H Congress later this year. In addition, Cassie received the Vol State award and was elected as a representative to the State 4-H council. Kayley Green was awarded the Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association Scholarship valued at $1250, which she will utilize as a student at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The 4-H program is a part of the University of Tennessee Extension and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, sex, national origin, or disability.

Photo captions:

VOL STATE
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown was recently recognized at Tennessee 4-H Roundup in Knoxville with the Vol State award, the highest level of recognition a Tennessee 4-H member may achieve. Vol State is presented to high school juniors and seniors in recognition of excellence in all phases of 4-H work, as well as service and leadership rendered in their communities.

SCHOLARSHIP
Kayley Green of Dowelltown received the Tennessee Rural Health Nursing Scholarship at the Tennessee 4-H Roundup held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Kayley received the $1250 college scholarship based on her 4-H accomplishments, academic achievements and financial need. The scholarship is given by the Tennessee Rural Health Improvement Association. Pictured with Kayley is Ben Sanders, representing Tennessee Rural Health.

DEKALB COUNTY
4-H members from DeKalb County who attended 4-H Roundup include: (Left to right): Kayley Green, William Cain, Cassie Cain, and Lydia Trail.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Cassie Cain of Dowelltown was recently recognized as Level II (11th and 12th grade) state winner in the personal development project at the Tennessee 4-H Roundup held at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Seated from left to right are Claire Garrell, Level I winner from Petersburg; and Cassie Cain, Level II winner from Dowelltown. Standing are Matt Devereaux, UT Extension specialist; Martha Jo Tolley (donor); and Walter Malone, Eastern Region Tennessee Association of Extension 4-H Workers (silver bowl donor). Cassie received a $500 college scholarship and trip to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta.

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