Local News Articles

Woman Airlifted After Car Slams into Tree

December 10, 2013
Dwayne Page
Car Slams into Tree near Hurricane Bridge
Woman seriously injured in wreck

A Smithville woman was seriously injured Monday night when her car left the road and crashed into a tree on Highway 56 near Hurricane Bridge.

Central dispatch received the call at 7:15 p.m.

Trooper Jeremy Wilhite of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 59 year old Belinda Rose Williams was driving toward Smithville in a 1998 Oldmobile Intrigue when she failed to negotiate a curve just past Hurricane Bridge. The car went off the left side of the highway and into the wood line where she struck a tree. Though partially ejected, Williams was trapped in the car.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team were called to the scene. They removed the driver side door and pried the dashboard to help free Williams from the car. She was taken by DeKalb EMS to meet a Life Flight helicopter ambulance which landed near the scene. Williams was then flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. She is believed to have suffered broken bones and possibly other injuries.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and Cookeville Highway and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

Spencer Succumbs to Wreck Injuries

December 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
 Mildred Spencer
Asberry car (Photo by Dwayne Page-WJLE)
Spencer Car (Photo by Dwayne Page-WJLE)

An elderly woman who was seriously injured in a two car crash in Alexandria last Wednesday night has died.

82 year old Mildred Spencer of the Temperance Hall area, who was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga after the accident, passed away on Friday.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Highway 53 and New Hope Road. Central dispatch received the call at 5:42 p.m.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Spencer was traveling east from East Main Street crossing Highway 53 toward New Hope Road in a 1999 Chevy Lumina when her car was struck in the passenger side by a 2001 Toyota, driven by 52 year old Phyllis Asberry of Brush Creek who was traveling north on Highway 53.

The Asberry car came to rest off the east side of Highway 53 facing south. The Spencer car went off the east side of Highway 53 and crashed through a rock fence and into a small dry creek bed. Spencer was trapped inside the car.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team were called to the scene and removed the driver's side door of Spencer's car. She was then removed from the vehicle and taken by DeKalb EMS to meet a Life Force helicopter ambulance which landed on Highway 53 near the crash site.

Asberry was not transported by EMS and was not believed to have been seriously hurt.

Others on the scene were members of the Alexandria Police and Fire Departments and the Sheriff's Department.

The funeral service for Spencer will be held at 11:00 AM Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in McMinnville.

Spencer was a resident of Union Dale, Pennsylvania from 1954 before moving to Alexandria in 1987.

On August 21, 1948 she married Lei A. Spencer who died in 2002 after 54 years of marriage.

She is survived by two sons Alburn C. Spencer of Watertown and Mark (Patricia) E. Spencer of San Antonio Texas. Two sisters Charlotte (Price) Halstead and Dorothy (Price) Spencer, and a brother Charles Edward Price.

Heritage Funeral Homes & Cremation Services in Chattanooga is in charge of the arrangements.

Carthage Woman Charged in Alexandria Burglary and Theft

December 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
 Demelza Jane Frances Grisham
 Kellyie Dahn Wilkey
Reba Leach
Jessica Renee Bogle
Jeffrey L. White

A Carthage woman has been arrested in an Alexandria burglary investigation.

27 year old Demelza Jane Frances Grisham of Jordan Street, Carthage is charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $500. Her bond totals $15,000 and she will be in court December 12. She was arrested on Saturday, December 7.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, November 18 Grisham allegedly made entry into a residence on New Hope Road in Alexandria and stole a Hewett Packard Laptop computer, $300 worth of rolled change, and a book of checks all valued at under $500.

The case was investigated by a criminal detective of the Sheriff's Department.

A Smithville woman has been charged with filing a false report claiming her boyfriend had raped her.

19 year old Kellyie Dahn Wilkey of Poplar Street is under a $2,500 bond and she will be in court on December 19. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 16 Wilkey came to the Sheriff's Department to file a report that she had been raped by her boyfriend. A criminal detective investigated the case and after conducting interviews determined that Wilkey had lied about the rape. After returning to the Sheriff's Department for another interview, Wilkey admitted that she made up the rape allegation because she was mad at her boyfriend. She was arrested on Tuesday December 3 for filing a false report.

22 year old Reba Leach of South Mountain Street, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court December 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, December 3 a deputy went to Highland Drive on a domestic assault call. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with the victim who said that she and a man were arguing when his girlfriend, Leach came up and pushed her and punched her in the lip. The two ended up fighting on the ground. The victim had a large knot on the back right side of her head and Leach had a small cut under her left eye. Leach admitted to pushing the victim and punching her. Leach was determined to be the primary aggressor. She was arrested for domestic assault and transported to the jail for booking.

28 year old Jessica Renee Bogle of Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with evading arrest and violation of probation. Her bond on the evading arrest charge is $2,500 but she is being held without bond for the violation of probation. She will be in court December 12 for evading arrest and January 22 for the violation of probation. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, November 25, a deputy went to Bogle's home on Holmes Creek Road to serve the VOP warrant on her. Bogle told the officer she had to put on different clothes before leaving. She went into a bedroom, slammed the door, and then went out another door exiting the home. The officer was unable to locate her. Bogle was picked up on Friday, December 6.

43 year old Jeffrey L. White of Seven Springs Road, Smithville was arrested on Saturday, December 7 for a fifth offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued a citation for a light law violation. He will be in court January 16. He was also served with a grand jury sealed indictment returned January 30, 2012 for promotion of methamphetamine. His bond is $20,000 and he will be arraigned January 22

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 7, a deputy observed a white truck traveling on North Congress Boulevard with a headlight out. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, White. A computer check revealed White's drivers license was revoked for driving under the influence. He has four prior driving on revoked offenses against him. White was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

DeKalb Republicans to Hold Mass Meeting and Convention

December 9, 2013
Dwayne Page
Jennifer Winfree

The DeKalb County Republican Party will hold a Mass Meeting Saturday morning, January 11 at 10:00 a.m. in the first floor courtroom of the Courthouse.

Jennifer Winfree, Party Chairperson, said the purpose of the meeting is to select delegates to the DeKalb County Republican Convention and to give potential candidates an opportunity to formally announce their candidacies. The convention will be at the courthouse at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 18.

Republicans currently hold six local offices in DeKalb County County including Sheriff Patrick Ray, Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, First District County Commissioner Mason Carter, Second District County Commissioner Bobby Joines, and Fifth District County Commissioner Jerry Adcock.

Edge does not plan to seek re-election but a Republican is expected to announce for the office.

GOP candidates nominated for county offices at the convention will run against any Democratic and or Independent candidates in the August General Election.

Local Democrats will have a primary to select their nominees on May 6.

Both parties have also called for a primary to select nominees for district judicial offices in the 13th district on May 6.

Winners of those primaries will run against each other and any Independents in the August General Election.

The qualifying deadline for the May 6 primaries is NOON February 20, 2014.

Christmas Spirit Alive in Alexandria (VIEW VIDEO OF ENTIRE PARADE HERE)

December 9, 2013
Dwayne Page

The threat of rain did not dampen the spirits of those who turned out Sunday to enjoy the Alexandria Christmas parade.

M2U01351 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Showers held off as the parade made its way into town led by Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins followed by Sheriff Patrick Ray and Constable Mark Milam. The parade also featured veteran Jimmy Mullinax, clowns, girl scout troops, queens from local pageants, the DCHS band, local businesses, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, vintage automobiles, four wheelers and motorcycles, Alexandria and DeKalb County Fire trucks, Tennessee Division of Forestry and Smoky the Bear, Smithville- DeKalb Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, horseback riders, and Santa Claus.

Drawings were held after the parade for prize giveaways.

Christmas Comes to Smithville (VIEW VIDEO OF ENTIRE PARADE HERE)

December 8, 2013
Dwayne Page
First Place Float-Matthews Family

Hundreds of enthusiastic kids and grown ups alike braved the cold weather Saturday for the sights and sounds of the Smithville Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Winning first place among the float entries was the Matthews Family for their theme "The True Meaning of Christmas". Second Place went to Girl Scout Troop #1915 and the Calvary Baptist Church Float received third place for the theme "Go Tell It On The Mountain".

The Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, went to Girl Scout Troop #2020.

This year's parade featured other floats, horseback riders, horse drawn wagons, boy and girl scouts, vintage automobiles, emergency vehicles, local politicians, and of course, Santa Claus. The Grand Marshalls of the parade were Mr. and Mrs. DeKalb County Butch and Cynthia Agee. State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver also rode in the parade.


M2U01348 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Alleged Major Dilaudid Dealer Busted in Thursday night Raid

December 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Tommye Lou Bell
Dilaudid Pills and Cash Seized in Drug Raid

Calling her one of the top Dilaudid drug dealers in the county, Sheriff Patrick Ray and members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested 52 year old Tommye Lou Bell at her travel trailer residence at 136 Hawkins Drive Thursday night while executing a search warrant.

During the raid, officers found 135 Dilaudid pills and recovered almost $1,400 in cash, believed to be from drug transactions.

Bell is charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Dilaudid) for sale and delivery. She is under a $20,000 bond and will make a court appearance December 12. She could also lose the travel trailer home where she was living. The Sheriff's Department hopes to have it seized.

Sheriff Ray told WJLE that the Sheriff's Department's drug detectives have had Bell under surveillance for some time and Thursday night officers executed a search warrant at Bell's home. " She is a well known drug dealer. Bell is considered one of the top Dilaudid drug dealers in the county," said Sheriff Ray. "Through our surveillance, we observed well known drug addicts coming and going from her home, staying only a short time. Through our lengthy investigation, we were able to do undercover drug buys at Bell's home," he said.

"While executing the search warrant Thursday night, we found that Bell had a bottle on her person containing 130 Dilaudid pills. We also found a small container in a living room chair that contained five Dilaudid pills. Along with the 135 Dilaudid pills, we were able to seize $1,394 in cash. We are in the process of checking with the state to seize her residence which is a travel trailer," said Sheriff Ray.

According to Sheriff Ray, Dilaudids are $40 to $60 per pill on the street. He said this raid produced between $5,400 and $8,100 worth of pills.

The case was investigated by drug detectives of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Two Injured in Wreck Near Walmart

December 6, 2013
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters help DeKalb EMS load wreck victim into ambulance

A crash on West Broad Street near Walmart Thursday night resulted in injuries to two people.

49 year old Michael Langtimm and 67 year old Marilyn Leck both of Smithville were transported to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Sergeant Andy Snow of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that Langtimm, driving a 2008 Ford Escape, was exiting the Walmart parking lot at the traffic light. From the turning lane, Langtimm was attempting to make a left turn to go west on Broad Street when he was struck in the driver side door by a 1998 Toyota pickup truck, driven by 39 year old Brad Johnson of Smithville who was traveling east on Broad Street.

Leck was a passenger with Langtimm. 46 year old Robert Rochefort of Smithville was riding with Johnson.

The Toyota truck came to rest facing west on the highway. The Langtimm vehicle came to a stop off the highway on an embankment.

Langtimm was trapped inside the Ford Escape. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team were called to the scene and removed the driver's side door of Langtimm's vehicle so that they could get him out.

Johnson and Rochefort were not injured.

“Rockin’ Around the Angel Tree” to be Presented Next Thursday

December 5, 2013
Dwayne Page

How would you like to help some less fortunate children in our community, while enjoying a night of great entertainment in the process? On Thursday night, December 12th, you will have that opportunity.

A musical concert titled “Rockin’ Around the Angel Tree” will be presented on that night, beginning at 7:00 p.m., with all proceeds raised from the event going to benefit the DeKalb County Angel Tree project. Several performers from the local area – and potentially some other special guests – will take the stage at the DeKalb County Community Center on South Congress Boulevard for a night of rockin’ fun, all to benefit a good cause.

Tom Duggin and Tim Colwell featured in video below were guests on WJLE's Chamber Chat Program Wednesday morning with Suzanne Williams and Jen Sherwood.

M2U01346 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

No tickets will be sold to the event, but donations will be asked for at the door. Attendees are asked to give what they are able to, with no minimum donation required. Seating for the show will be limited, and attendees will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The Community Center auditorium will hold roughly 400 people for a performance.

Many of the gifts for this year’s Angel Tree will be purchased by the time of the concert, but remaining gifts will be purchased with the money raised, and the remainder of the proceeds will go into an account to give Angel Tree organizers a head start on the 2014 holiday season.

The night of entertainment will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m., featuring local performers Brad Hennessee, Jamie Nokes, Sabrina Kirksey and Demytris Savage among others, with other special guests potentially performing. The night of entertainment will conclude with a rockabilly-style Christmas performance featuring Tom Duggin and TCB (the Tim Colwell Band ). The band consists of lead guitarist Tim Colwell, keyboardist Steve “Kujo” Kujowski, bassist Brian Benedict, drummer Michael Young and rhythm guitarists Nick Nokes and Brad Hennessee.

So, put on your Santa hats and your dancin’ shoes, and come out for a rockin’ good time, again with all proceeds to benefit the DeKalb County Angel Tree Project. Remember the date, Thursday night, December 12th, at 7:00 p.m., at the DeKalb County Community Center auditorium for the first-ever Rockin’ Around The Angel Tree.

For more information, contact the center at 597-2121.

DA Randall York to Run for Circuit Court Judge in 2014

December 5, 2013
Dwayne Page
Randall York

District Attorney General Randall A. York , who serves DeKalb and six other counties in the 13th Judicial District, has decided to run for another office next year, instead of DA.

York announced Tuesday that he will be seeking the position of Circuit Court Judge, Part II, the seat currently being held by long time Judge John J. Maddux, Jr.

Judge Maddux announced last week that he is retiring from the bench and will not be seeking re-election in 2014.

York has served as District Attorney General for the 13th Judicial District for the last five years.

Governor Phil Bredesen appointed York as the District Attorney General in September 2008 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of William E. Gibson. York was elected in 2010 to fill the remaining four years of Gibson's unexpired term.

York and his family reside in Crossville but his wife, Judy is originally from DeKalb County. "My wife is from Smithville, the former Judy Dodd. Her mother Genelle Dodd is from Liberty. I have two children, John and Anna," he said.

In making his announcement, York said he gave it a lot of thought before deciding to run for the judgeship, rather than for District Attorney General.

“This decision to run for this office was not made lightly, but was made after considerable prayer and thought by me and my family,” General York said. “The decision to run for this office was a bittersweet decision. I am excited about the opportunity to run for this office and serve the people of the 13th Judicial District in a different capacity, but it is also a sad decision because I will be leaving my position as District Attorney General.”

In his time as DA, General York led the office as it became the first DA’s office to become digital, led efforts to establish the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center, helped establish the Upper Cumberland Drug Court and reestablished the 13th Judicial Drug Task Force.

“It has been an honor and privilege to hold this office for the past five years,” General York said. “Over the past five years, I have worked diligently to restore the integrity and dignity to the Office of the District Attorney General. I have had the opportunity to work with an incredible staff and cooperating agencies.”

York is licensed to practice in all Tennessee courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. He has served on the Executive Committee of the District Attorneys General Conference, currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Tennessee Bar Association and the Human Trafficking Task Force through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and was appointed and served on the Tennessee Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee.

“I hope to follow in the tradition of great jurists that I have practiced before including Judge John Turnbull, Judge John Maddux, Judge Tom Hale, Judge Leon Burns and Chancellor Vernon Neal,” General York said. “I also look forward to serving with our existing judges and Chancellor.”


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