Local News Articles

Three Democrats, One Republican, and One Independent Qualify for Assessor Race

December 13, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three candidates are in the race for Assessor of Property in the February 5th DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

Democratic Incumbent Assessor Timothy (Fud) Banks will be challenged for the nomination on February 5th by Roy D. Merriman, a former Third District County Commissioner and a member of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, and Willie Thomas, who is also a Smithville Alderman and a Seventh District County Commissioner.

The nominee selected that day at the polls will face Republican nominee John David Foutch and Independent candidate Sandy C. Brown in the August 7th General Election. Foutch currently serves as the First District member of the Board of Education. Brown is a local businesswoman.

Today (Thursday) at noon was the deadline for candidates to qualify to run for Assessor of Property and Constable in next year's elections.

Those qualified to run for Constable include:

Republican Incumbent Reed Edge in the Second District, Democratic Incumbent Wayne Vanderpool in the Third District, Democrat Paul Cantrell in the Fourth District, Democratic Incumbent Mark Milam in the Fifth District, Democrat Cantrell Jones in the Sixth District, and Democrats Mary Ann Thomason and Johnny King in the Seventh District.

February 5th is also the date for the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries. Each party will select nominees for President and delegates to the National Conventions.

The Presidential Election will be in November, 2008

Barnes Charged in Drug Investigation

December 13, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a 33 year old Smithville man Wednesday in an undercover drug investigation.

Joseph Scott Barnes of Opossum Hollow Lane, Smithville was charged with attempted possession of a schedule II drug (Oxycontin) for sale and delivery.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the DeKalb Sheriff’s Department conducted an undercover drug investigation in which Barnes was found to have purchased 120 pills he believed to be Oxycontin 40 milligrams for $3,000.

Detectives seized $3,048 in cash and Barnes’ 1988 Toyota 4x4 pickup truck that he was driving.

Barnes’ bond was set at $10,000 and his court date is January 10th.

More arrests are pending.

Ramirez Charged with Statutory Rape of 14 Year old Girl

December 10, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 24 year old man was arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department on Thursday and charged with the statutory rape of a fourteen year old girl.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Jorge L. Ramirez of South College Street, Smithville is free on a $5,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on December 20th.

According to Sheriff Ray, detectives learned during an investigation that Ramirez had sexual relations with the girl within the last six months. Ramirez apparently had given the victim a ride and then allegedly pulled his vehicle over and engaged in sexual contact with her. Sheriff Ray says Ramirez admitted to county detectives about his involvement in the crime.

Meanwhile, on Friday deputies from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to a one vehicle accident on Vaughn Lane, Smithville. 24 year old Humberto Rocha Gerrero of West Side Trailer Court, McMinnville was charged with no driver's license and no insurance. Sheriff Ray says Gerrero lost control of his vehicle on Vaughn Lane and the vehicle overturned in the roadway. Gerrero posted a $1,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on December 19th.

Also on Friday, 25 year old Victorio Lopez of Short Mountain Road, Smithville was charged with driving under the influence. Deputies from the sheriff's department responded to an accident on Short Mountain Highway and Lopez was found to be the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident. Deputies at the scene say Lopez was so intoxicated, he was leaning on the patrol car to balance himself. Lopez's bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is January 4th.

43 year old Jeffery Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown was charged on Saturday with Possession of a Schedule IV Drug (Xanax) for Resale, Possession of a Schedule III Drug (Suboxone) for Resale, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Ponder was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. After the vehicle was stopped, deputies learned that Ponder had outstanding warrants against him out of Wilson County. Ponder was taken into custody and was found to have a syringe, Xanax Pills, and Suboxone Pills on his person. Ponder's bond was set at $21,500 and his court date is December 20th.

Smithville Firefighters Respond to Sunday night Structure Fire

December 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department rushed to the scene of a fire at a vacant building on West Broad Street around 5:37 p.m. Sunday night.

The building was once the old Farmers Supply business location.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says the fire started in the old office portion of the building and spread into the area between the ceiling and roof where some file folders and papers were stored.

Although there was significant damage, fire fighters were able to get the blaze under control before it spread into the larger portion of the building. No one was injured.

Because fire hoses had to be stretched across West Broad Street to the nearest available fire hydrants, traffic had to be re-routed for a while.

Six Persons Involved In Saturday Afternoon Wreck Near Hurricane Bridge

December 9, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Six people were involved in a two vehicle crash around 12:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Highway 56 at Hurricane Bridge.

Trooper Shannon Brinkley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Jennifer A. Griffith of Smithville was driving north in a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country Minivan when she lost control in a curve before crossing the bridge. The vehicle went into a counter clockwise spin, crossed into the southbound lane, and struck a 2003 Nissan Frontier pickup truck head-on, driven by 48 year old Jeffery L. Delaney of Millington, Tennessee. Trooper Brinkley says Delaney swerved to the right toward the guardrail as far as he could but he was unable to avoid the collision.

Griffith's father, 49 year old Gary Hoffman of Toledo, Ohio and her two daughters, 5 year old Kristen Griffith and 18 month old Cadence Griffith were passengers of the minivan.

Hoffman was ejected through the rear window of the mini van and went over the guardrail and forty feet down an embankment.

He was taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Hoffman was later transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Meanwhile, 45 year old Maria R. Robertson of South Haven, Mississippi, a passenger of the Delaney truck, was trapped and had to be extricated from the vehicle by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team. The department's Cookeville Highway Station also responded to the accident.

Robertson was also transported by DeKalb EMS to the hospital in Cookeville.

Trooper Brinkley says Delaney and Jennifer Griffith were not transported by ambulance but later checked themselves into the emergency room of Cookeville Regional for treatment. Neither Delaney, Griffith, or the children were believed to have been seriously injured.

Mrs Griffith was charged with failure to use due care. Trooper Brinkley says the road was wet and it appeared she may have been driving too fast.

Delaney was charged with not wearing his seat belt.

Three Arrested in Drug Investigation

December 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Three people were arrested Friday night in an undercover drug investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 49 year old Gwynn Greer Prater, 32 year old Tabatha Shantell Murphy, and 60 year old Sharon Hindsley, who all reside at 830 South Mountain Street, Smithville were charged in the case.

According to Sheriff Ray, the sheriff’s department executed a search warrant at the residence after making at least one controlled drug buy there

Prater was charged after detectives found cash and 29 ½ dilaudid pills on his person. Murphy was charged after detectives found 23 ½ pills on her person. Also found in Prater and Murphy’s bedroom were morphine pills, Xanax pills, syringes, straws, glass pipes, and hemostats. In Hindsley’s bedroom, deputies found marijuana and Xanax pills.

Prater and Murphy are both charged with possession of a schedule II drug dilaudid for resale, possession of a schedule II drug morphine, possession of a schedule IV drug Xanax, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for both was set at $96,500.

Hindsley is charged with possession of a schedule VI drug marijuana and possession of a schedule IV drug Xanax and her bond was set at $12,500.

All three are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on December 20th.

Two Persons Named in Sealed Indictments Arrested/ Grand Jury Visits Jail

December 8, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people, named in sealed indictments, have been arrested.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 65 year old Gary Gilmore Britt of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville was indicted this month (December) on charges of sale of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid).

Britt allegedly sold drugs to an undercover operative in an investigation by the Sheriff's Department earlier this year.

Britt will be arraigned in Criminal Court on Monday, December 17th.

In another case, 33 year old Scotty Wayne Neisz of Green Pasture Road, Alexandria was indicted by the August term of the Grand Jury on four counts of aggravated statutory rape, two counts of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft over $1,000 and failure to appear. He failed to show up for court while on bail on the theft charge.

Neisz was picked up Friday morning in Joelton.

Meanwhile, in addition to returning indictments against some 70 people this month, the Grand Jurors also released a brief report on their visit to the DeKalb County Jail.

The report states that "During our recent visit to the DeKalb County Jail, we found it to be in good condition as well as sanitary. Sheriff Ray was very cooperative in his willingness to show us the jail from top to bottom as well as answer any questions that we had."

Two Airlifted to Erlanger Hospital After Thursday Night Crash

December 6, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two people were seriously injured a one car crash on South College Street in Smithville Thursday night.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 28 year old Michael Todd Jones of Smithville, the driver of a 1991 Chevy Cavalier, was traveling north when he lost control, dropped off the left shoulder of the road into a ditchline, struck a driveway culvert, went airborne, and then hit a utility pole, before coming to rest in the ditch on the west side of the road. The accident, which was reported around 6:15 p.m., occurred near the intersection of Jennings Lane.

Jones was trapped in the car and had to be extricated by members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's extrication and rescue team.

Both Jones and the passenger, 32 year old Amy Jo Scott of Smithville were airlifted from the scene by a Life Force Helicopter Ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. The accident remains under investigation and charges are pending.

Others on the scene, in addition to Trooper England, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, and Life Force, were First Responders, DeKalb EMS, Smithville Police, and the Sheriff's Department.

Grand Jury Indicts 70 Defendants

December 5, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Seventy people were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury this week.

Three people were named in sealed indictments.

Defendants will appear for arraignment in Criminal Court on Monday, December 17th at 9:00 a.m.

Those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Lisa K. Frasier- aggravated burglary and theft over $500

Lisa Frasier- forgery and passing a forged instrument

Ricky Johnson- statutory rape and rape

Frank Damien Hart- simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance

Jeremie D. Johnson- aggravated assault and violation of an order of protection

Michael Chad Owens- aggravated burglary and theft under $500

Michael Chad Owens- theft under $500

Michael Chad Owens- possession of drug paraphernalia

David A. Neisz, Jr.- theft over $1,000 and violation of the sex offender registry

Mandy Renee Bly- driving under the influence (1st offense) and violation of the implied consent law

Richard Scott Adams- public intoxication, evading arrest, aggravated assault x 3, and resisting arrest

Patsy Estes McCoy- theft over $500

Patsy Estes McCoy- possession of a legend drug

Jonathan Kyle McCormick- aggravated burglary x 3, burglary, theft over $500 x 3, and theft over $1,000 x 3

Elizabeth Ann Chalfant, Denise Jauregui, and Ashley Owen- theft over $1,000, forgery, and criminal impersonation.

Elizabeth Ann Chalfant-driving while suspended, simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Marc T. Jenkins- rape

Rex Allen Graham- driving under the influence (2nd offense) and violation of the implied consent law

Kathy Jo Massengail- driving under the influence (1st offense), violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the open container law

Timmy Dale Reece- driving on a revoked license (4th offense)

Joseph W. Judd- theft over $1,000

Tina Young- aggravated burglary and theft under $500

Joseph D. Demaio- burglary, theft under $500, forgery x 2, and passing a forged instrument x 2

Dereck C. Riggs- rape of a child x 4 and aggravated sexual battery under 13 years x 2

Robin H. Russell- driving under the influence (3rd offense), driving on a revoked license (2nd offense), reckless endangerment with a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage x 3, and violation of the implied consent law

Renee N. Fields- driving under the influence (1st offense), DUI per se, and speeding

Ginger F. Trapp- driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Victor Manuel Cruz- driving under the influence (1st offense), violation of the open container law, and violation of the implied consent law.

Richard A. Schilt- driving under the influence (2nd offense), driving on a revoked license (1st offense), and violation of the implied consent law

Anthony W. Tramel, Jonathan D. Thomas, and David M. Caldwell- aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000 x 2, and burglary

Todd Odell Hindsley- driving under the influence (2nd offense) and violation of the implied consent law

Michael D. Dirden- theft over $1,000 and filing a false report

Jackie Mark Mullican- driving on a revoked license (2nd offense) and violation of the stop sign law

Jackie M. Mullican- driving under the influence (4th offense), DUI per se, and driving on a revoked license (2nd offense)

Shannon L. Newby- possession of drug paraphernalia and violation of the stop sign law

John W. Braswell- possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale, possession of a schedule II controlled substance for delivery, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a legend drug.

Amanda M. Riley- theft under $500 and driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Erik C. Suarez- driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Larry Lee George- evading with a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, driving on a suspended license, improper passing, and violation of the light law

Larry Lee George- leaving the scene of an accident with property damage

Larry Lee George- escape, aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000 x 2, and theft under $500

Paula Lynn Almasri- reckless endangerment

Amanda M. Riley- driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Treva J. Hartman- driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Virginia D. Ayala- driving under the influence (1st offense)

Danny L. Smithson- driving on a revoked license (5th offense)

Frank S. Smith- driving under the influence (1st offense) and violation of the implied consent law

Bobbie S. Wilson- driving under the influence (1st offense)

James M. Reynolds- driving under the influence (1st offense) and public intoxication

Alvin Douglas Sink, Jr.- manufacturing a schedule II controlled substance (meth), possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale, and possession of a weapon to go armed

Steven E. Anderson- aggravated statutory rape and evading arrest with a motor vehicle

Justin L. Blevins- driving under the influence (4th offense), violation of the implied consent law, child endangerment, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia

Stephen Brannon and Justin W. Marek- theft over $1,000

Justin W. Marek and Stephen Brannon-burglary and theft over $500

Jason D. Campbell- sale of a schedule III controlled substance and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance

Kara L. Funk- possession of a schedule II controlled substance for resale, possession of a schedule II controlled substance for delivery, possession of a schedule III controlled substance for resale, possession of a schedule III controlled substance for delivery, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for delivery, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for resale; possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for delivery, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Homer Petty- sale of a schedule II controlled substance, delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia

Ernest E. Hill- burglary and theft over $1,000

Ernest E. Hill- escape

Christopher L. Gammons- theft under $500, forgery x 6, and passing a forged instrument x 6

Charles R. Wilmoth- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Christopher Bryan Pack- simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance

Kole B. Laxton- driving under the influence (1st offense), violation of the implied consent law, and reckless endangerment

Carl W. Presley- driving on a revoked license (1st offense)

Jeffrey L. Brashears- driving under the influence (1st offense) and violation of the implied consent law

Joshua S. MacDonald- driving under the influence (1st offense), and DUI per se.

Roxanne Hendrixson- possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale, possession of a schedule II controlled substance for delivery, and possession of drug paraphernalia

Larry D. Lepley- violation of the sex offender registry law

Joel Thomas Hayes- driving under the influence (1st offense), possession of a schedule III controlled substance for resale, possession of a schedule III controlled substance for delivery, and possession of drug paraphernalia

Martin O. Bryant- speeding, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for sale and possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for delivery.

Bill Bailey Swaner and Charlotte Marie Hill- theft under $500

Keaton Charged in Undercover Drug Investigation

December 4, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 57 year old man was arrested Monday in an undercover drug investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Larry Junior Keaton is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid). His bond is set at $75,000 and his court date is December 13th.

According to Sheriff Ray, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department executed a search warrant Monday at Keaton's residence at 1662 South Tittsworth Road, Smithville. As a result of the undercover operation, at least one controlled drug buy was made from the home.

The warrant states that "On or about November 27th, 2007, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made a controlled drug buy of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) from Larry Keaton at his residence at 1662 South Tittsworth Road in DeKalb County. A confidential informant who was wired was given recorded funds (money) and did purchase dilaudid from Larry Keaton."

During the search, detectives seized cash and records believed to be evidence of the illegal drug trade.

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