Local News Articles

Capitol Hill Week From Senator Mae Beavers

February 10, 2012
State Senator Mae Beavers

Law and order legislation dominated debate in the State Senate this week as lawmakers considered several of Governor Bill Haslam’s public safety bills. The Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), advanced legislation to enact tougher sentences for gun possession by those with prior violent felony convictions and two drug abuse measures, while the State and Local Government Committee approved a bill to realign under the Department of Correction the supervision of adult felony offenders to include probation, parole and community corrections.

The bills were drafted at the recommendation of a Public Safety Subcabinet Working Group composed of more than 10 government agencies which held meetings with over 300 leaders in law enforcement, substance abuse, and corrections. The group developed 11 objectives and 40 action steps in their multi-year safety action plan with the goal of significantly reducing drug abuse and drug trafficking; curbing violent crime; and, lowering the rate of repeat offenders in Tennessee.

Felons with Guns -- Among bills approved was Senate Bill 2250 that would increase from a Class E felony to a Class C felony the punishment for convicted felons carrying a firearm whose crime involved the use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon. The punishment would be a Class D felony for those whose conviction involved a felony drug offense. The purpose of the bill is to give District Attorneys in Tennessee a stronger tool to keep convicted felons, who are prohibited from possessing a firearm, off Tennessee streets.

Gang Violence – The Judiciary Committee also heard testimony regarding Senate Bill 2252 that would enhance penalties for certain crimes committed by groups of three or more people. Shelby County Deputy District Attorney General John Campbell told members of the Judiciary Committee that a person robbed by more than one assailant has a much greater chance of suffering severe injury or death. The bill to keep them behind bars longer bumps up penalties by one classification for aggravated assault, robbery, or aggravated burglary, if the crime is committed in concert with two or more persons. Action on the legislation was deferred until next week at the request of the sponsor.

Corrections -- Senate Bill 2248 was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee. The legislation gives the State Department of Corrections the authority to supervise probation and parole services to provide a seamless one person contact for offenders throughout the entire criminal justice system.

This bill was part of the administration’s top to bottom review of departments and agencies conducted last year. The consolidation of these agencies will reduce the competition for providers and allow for continuity of a single point of contact. Forty states operate under a consolidated system, which is widely recognized as a best practice in corrections. The existing organizational structure that actually performs under the Board of Pardons and Paroles will remain intact upon transfer to the Department of Corrections.

Drug Abuse – In other action on the Governor’s public safety legislation, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation clarifying two statutes in Tennessee law dealing with the purchase of amphetamines for the purpose of making meth. Senate Bill 2235 makes it a misdemeanor to “attempt to purchase” and “attempt to sell” amphetamines with the intent to sell it to another for a non-medical use or unlawful purpose, including the manufacture of meth, leaving the felony as the punishment for completing the act.

A second proposal approved by the Judiciary Committee adds numerous opiates, depressants, stimulants, and narcotics to Schedule I through V of the Controlled Substances Schedule. Senate Bill 2230 also adds Tramadol and Carisoprodol to Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Schedule. A controlled (scheduled) drug is one whose use and distribution is tightly controlled because of the potential for abuse. Controlled drugs are rated in the order of their abuse risk and placed in Schedules by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The drugs with the highest abuse potential are placed in Schedule I, and those with the lowest abuse potential are placed in Schedule V.

Other bills in the Governor’s public safety package, including a major prescription drug abuse bill, will be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks.

Issues in Brief

Tennessee Officials / Judicial Diversion -- The Tennessee State Senate gave final approval to legislation which makes state or local officials who have committed a crime during their term of office ineligible for consideration of either pre-trial or judicial diversion. Judicial diversion is the process in criminal law when a person pleads guilty to a crime and can later have the charge removed (or expunged) from their record following a period of probation. Senate Bill 2566 would simply add a criminal offense committed by an official in the executive, legislative or judicial branch to the list of those which are ineligible for judicial diversion, if the crime was committed, in their official capacity or involved the duties of their office.

New “I Hate Meth” law results are promising -- Just released January data collected by the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) reveals impressive results for Tennessee in blocking unlawful sales of pseudoephedrine (PSE) at the sales counter. Sponsors of the “I Hate Meth” law are touting the results as proof Tennessee is making progress in the fight against meth with legislation passed by the General Assembly last year. NPLEx uses real-time, stop-sale technology to block PSE sales. NPLEx has only been implemented in Tennessee for one month, but the electronic system has successfully blocked the sale of more than 4,993 illegal boxes of PSE, keeping more than 13,000 grams off of Tennessee streets.

Support for Israel – State Senators have approved a resolution expressing strong support for the nation of Israel. Senate Joint Resolution 523 acknowledges a long history of friendship with Israel and its role in democracy in the Middle East. It also states the State of Tennessee recognizes that Israel has a right of self-defense against attacks of terrorism and expresses “strong support and a steadfast commitment to the security, welfare, and survival of the Jewish State of Israel with secure borders.”

School Board Pays Tribute to Principals and Assistants

February 9, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring principals and assistant principals.

The resolution is as follows:

"Whereas, principals and assistant principals strive to enhance the learning and working environment for students and staff in our schools; and

Whereas, principals and assistant principals are leaders who provide important direction and support to students and employees in our district; and

Whereas, principals work diligently to enhance the working relationship between schools, parents and community to create the very best learning environment possible; and

Whereas, principals and assistant principals have enormous responsibilities and duties to keep their schools at the highest level and successful; and

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby adopts February 16 as Principal Appreciation Day in all our schools; and

Be it further resolved that the Board expresses deep appreciation to principals and assistant principals in our system and encourages the students and staff to join us in expressing appreciation to the leaders of DeKalb County Schools."

In a written director's report on personnel, the following have been employed since last month:

Substitute teachers: Jimmy Hendrixson, Bruce Parsley, and Dewayne Martin
Cody Randolph, teacher at DCHS
Joyce Jack and Peggy Sutton, substitute cafeteria workers

Elizabeth White from part time cafeteria worker to full time at Northside Elementary School
Thomas Fitts from sub bus driver to full time

Leave of Absence: Nalley Ortega-Prater, teacher at DCHS, leave as requested

Rebecca Ervin, cafeteria worker at Northside Elementary School

In other business, the board voted to request permission from the DeKalb County Commission to bid school buses to be funded in the 2012-13 General Purpose School Budget.

The board gave approval for its members to attend the "Day on the Hill" Legislative Conference February 21.

Approval was also granted for an overnight trip request for the DCHS Beta Club to attend the National Beta Club State Convention in Nashville April 9-11 at the Opryland Hotel.

Adam James Named DCHS Class of 2012 Valedictorian

February 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Adam James
Heather Vidal

DeKalb County High School has released the names of this year's Honor Students including the 2012 Valedictorian Adam James and the Salutatorian Heather Vidal

James is the son of Westley and Carol James of Smithville

Students among the top twenty five senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty five are as follows:

Adam James, Heather Vidal, Whitney England, Laura Martinez, Briana Vidal, Hailey Perry, Heather Hughes, Jessica Garrison, Jonathan Edwards, Erin Colwell, Jessica Ball, Alex Meadows, Victoria Tatrow, Riley Young, Lela Ambrose, Katie Merriman, Laura Pafford, Abigail Hendrix, Allison Little, Mason Merriman, Talisa Cantrell, Elizabeth Sanders, Brooke Hutchings, Sydney Robinson, and Joseph Angaran

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are:

Adam James, Valedictorian 4.0; Heather Vidal, Salutatorian 4.0, Jessica D. Ball 4.0, Erin L. Colwell 4.0, Jonathan D. Edwards 4.0, Whitney N. England 4.0, Jessica B. Garrison 4.0, Heather M. Hughes 4.0, Laura E. Martinez 4.0, Hailey D. Perry 4.0, Victoria D. Tatrow 4.0, Briana Vidal 4.0, Christopher R. Young 4.0, Lela E. Ambrose, Joseph L. Angaran, Talisa M. Cantrell, Taylor M. Cantrell, Morgan S. Garrett, Abigail Hendrix, Nicholaus T. Henry, Morgan B. Hutchings, Allison Little, Alexandria Meadows, Katie L. Merriman, Mason B. Merriman, Jacob A. Odom, Laura S. Pafford, Sydney Robinson, Elizabeth Sanders, Krystal T. White, and Austin T. Willmore

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Chelsea L. Cantrell, Megan L. Cantrell, Yesenia L Cintron, Alicia D. Crook, Jamie Florence, James D. Freeney, Tiffini Hendrixson, Johnna G. Hensley, Sarah L. Jones, David S. Phillips, Kidman D. Puckett, Lindsay B. Snyder, Erik Z. Thompson, and Alyssa A. Young.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Christian J. Atnip, Michael W. Caldwell, Tiffany D. Cantrell, Tiffany A. Celestino, Emily B Dawson, Jasmine M. Dimas, Katy J. England, John B. Foster, Quinton R. Harbaugh, Allyson R. Judkins, Danielle L. Knowles, Mary F. Knowles, Monserrat Leon, Xing (Tammy) Q. Li, Renny A. Mason, Preston S. Melton, Lorrie M. Merriman, Kalli A. Mitchell, Samanvi R. Munagala, Tevin M. Owens, Bradley C. Pack, Stephanie C. Rackley, Johnna R. Roller, Kayla D. Self, Laura A. Sullivan, and Ashlee M. Whitehead

The Class of 2012 at DeKalb County High School will graduate on Friday May 18th at 7:00 p.m.

Woman Arrested in Smithville Gets 15 Years for McMinnville Armed Robbery

February 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Patricia Johnson East

A Cookeville woman, stopped by Smithville Police after allegedly committing an armed robbery of the McMinnville Cash and Dash in October 2010, has received a fifteen year sentence for the crime.

23 year old Patricia Johnson East recently entered a guilty plea before Warren County Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to the charge of robbery, according to a report in the Southern Standard. East received a fifteen year sentence to be served in the women's state penitentiary with no chance of parole. The Warren County sentence will be served at the same time as sentences for similar crimes in surrounding counties.

East was stopped on South Congress Boulevard in Smithville shortly after 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19, 2010. Inside her vehicle, Smithville police found a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, cash, and a coat and hat she is believed to have worn during the robbery. East had apparently just come from McMinnville where she had robbed the Cash and Dash at gunpoint. She reportedly left with $600-$700 in cash.

According to Chief Randy Caplinger, police received a BOLO or "Be on the lookout" for a white SUV being driven by a white female. A license plate number was given. The BOLO, received at 3:50 p.m., reported that a woman had "just robbed at gunpoint a Cash and Dash in McMinnville." The car was last seen traveling toward Smithville.

Chief Caplinger said Captain Steven Leffew set up on South Congress Boulevard waiting for the vehicle and spotted it shortly after 4:00 p.m.

Captain Leffew's report states " I set up on South Congress Boulevard at 4:09 p.m. and saw a white Pathfinder driven by a white female traveling northbound. As I got behind the vehicle, I confirmed the license plate number. I stopped the vehicle and approached it from the passenger side. I instructed the driver to place her hands on the roof of the car. I told the woman, Patricia Johnson East, that the McMinnville Police Department was requesting to talk to her and they were enroute. East became upset and started crying. I told her to calm down but to keep her hands where I could see them. I asked her if there were any weapons in the vehicle and she stated "no".

"Officer Matt Farmer arrived on the scene. He approached the vehicle from the passenger side. Officer Farmer asked her if he could look in the vehicle and she said "yes". Farmer ordered her to get out of the vehicle. He noticed a gun case on the passenger side floor board. Farmer also produced a pistol from the car. She was handcuffed and taken into custody for protection and she was read her rights. She gave a verbal consent to search her vehicle."

Chief Caplinger says McMinnville and Sparta detectives came to the scene and authorities from Cumberland County later arrived at the police department to question her about similar crimes in those counties. She was then taken to Warren County to be charged. East reportedly confessed to the Cash and Dash robbery, as well as two other robberies in the Midstate.

Before her arrest that day , Chief Caplinger said Smithville Police were called to two locations in Smithville to check out a suspicious person, which could have been East.

Chief Caplinger said an officer was called to 3D Financial at 2:31 p.m. in reference to a panic alarm. Upon arrival an employee stated that they received an alert in reference to a white female, driving a white SUV who had committed an armed robbery in Cumberland County and Putnam County. Employees said a female driving a similar type vehicle came into the business (3D Financial) and she was acting suspiciously. The woman had left the business by the time police arrived.

The police department was called to Cash Express on a similar complaint, but again the suspect was gone by the time police arrived.

Trapp and Stephens to be Interviewed for Vacant School Board Seat

February 8, 2012
Dwayne Page
Boyd Trapp
Doug Stephens

Two persons want to become the newest member of the school board in the sixth district.

Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens have met the deadline for submitting a letter to the county mayor's office expressing their interest in filling the position, which was left vacant by the recent resignation of Bruce Parsley.

The county commission, on January 23, voted to accept applications through noon on Monday, February 6.

Parsley, who was elected in August 2008, resigned as of December 31 to pursue a career as a certified teacher. His term expires August 31.

The person selected by the commission will serve until August 31.

The county commission will conduct interviews of both Trapp and Stephens during an all-committees meeting on the evening of Thursday, February 23 and then choose one of them to fill the unexpired term during the next regular meeting on Monday night, February 27.

Both Trapp and Stephens have also picked up qualifying petitions at the election commission office and plan to run for a full four year term in the August 2 DeKalb County General Election.

In the August DeKalb County General Election, school board members from both the fifth and sixth districts will be elected, each to serve a four year term. The qualifying deadline to get your name on the ballot in the school board races is April 5.

Rehab of Smithville Water Treatment Plant Completed, Open House Coming Soon

February 7, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Water Treatment Plant

The rehabilitation of the Smithville Water Treatment plant is finished.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson and Mayor Taft Hendrixson made the announcement Monday night during the city council meeting.

With completion of the makeover, city officials say the water plant is now a much more state of the art facility which will continue to provide its customers with a clean, safe, reliable water supply for many years to come. Mayor Hendrixson said an open house will be scheduled soon.

Work began in August, 2010 by the W&O Construction Company of Livingston, who was awarded the construction bid in February 2010 by the board of aldermen at a cost of $2,542,000. The city was awarded a $500,000 community development block grant administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development to help fund the project. But the bulk of the funding, $2,342,000 was appropriated from the city's water and sewer fund surplus. The city has spent a total of $2,610,000 on the project, including grant funds, according to Hunter Hendrixson.

The project at the water plant included the installation of new high service pumps; new electrical breaker boxes, new storage tanks, new automated water filter control panel, new chlorinator, new liquid fluoride feeder system, the addition of a new standby generator, among many other renovations and improvements.

Mayor Hendrixson said the city did not have to borrow the money because there were sufficient funds in the city's water and sewer fund reserves to support the project.

The water treatment plant was originally constructed in 1966. The last major update to the facility was in 1978 when work was done at both the plant and the pumps at the intake on the lake.

The aldermen Monday night approved on first reading, an ordinance to update the city's cross connection regulations.

What is cross connection? Simply put, cross connection occurs when contaminated water gains entrance to and pollutes a safe water supply. Through the careful monitoring of the City water supply system and the installation of backflow prevention assemblies, the risk of cross connection can dramatically be reduced.

A backflow prevention assembly prevents potentially dangerous substances or contaminated water from entering the public water supply. This assembly consists of a valve that allows water to enter a building but prevents the water from returning to the supply line. Cross connection contamination usually occurs if there is a loss of pressure in the water supply system. The loss of pressure can create a siphonage situation that will actually pull the water from a building back into the system.

The State Division of Water Quality requires that all public water systems maintain an active program to identify and control cross connections. This ordinance is the basis for the City's program. Everyone that installs or repairs these assemblies is required to be certified by the State of Tennessee.

Mayor Hendrixson said the city has someone certified to deal with cross connection and backflow prevention installation and repair.

The objectives of the ordinance are to:

"Protect the public potable water system from the possibility of contamination or pollution by isolating within the customer's internal distribution system, such contaminants or pollutants that could backflow or backsiphon into the public water system;

To promote the elimination or control of existing cross connections, actual or potential between the customer's in house potable water system and non-potable water systems, plumbing fixtures and industrial piping systems;

To provide for the maintaintence of a continuing program of cross connection control that will systematically and effectively prevent the contamination or pollution of all potable water systems."

Second and final reading will be held following a public hearing at the next meeting on Monday, February 20 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

In other business, the aldermen voted to hire Shawn Thomas full time at the water treatment plant. He has completed his 60 day probationary period.

First reading action was postponed on proposed ordinance #438 until the February 20 meeting. This is an ordinance amending the City of Smithville's zoning ordinance in the B-3 (downtown business) district allowing the conversion of commercial buildings to residential dwellings

Former Alexandria Apartment Manager Pleads Guilty to Theft, Gets Three Year Sentence

February 7, 2012
Dwayne Page
Sharon Morton
Terry Collins

A former Alexandria apartment complex manager is going to jail after pleading guilty to theft Monday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

36 year old Sharon Morton of Readyville, charged with theft over $1,000, received a three year sentence to serve beginning March 1 at 6:00 p.m. She must also make restitution of $3,413.47. Judge Leon Burns, Jr. presided.

Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department told WJLE at the time she was indicted that Morton was working as a property manager for the Maplewood and Parkview apartment complexes in Alexandria which is owned by MACO Management Co, Inc . Chief Collins states that between November 2009 and September 2010 Morton took approximately $9,873 from approximately 10 tenants living at the properties . Chief Collins states that the money came from security deposits and rent which never got deposited to Maco. The case was investigated by Sergeant Chris Russell. Morton was booked in the DeKalb County Jail on April 15th, 2011.

Meanwhile, 29 year old Terry Collins pleaded guilty on Monday to theft of property over $1,000 and received a two year sentence to serve. He must also make restitution in an amount to be determined later.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Collins allegedly took a 1990 Dodge pickup valued at over $1,000 from a location on Holmes Creek Road and sold it to a local recycling center in July, 2011. He was arrested on Monday, August 8 after an investigation by a Sheriff's Department detective assigned to the case.

Collins was given jail credit of 184 days.

City Denied FEMA Grant Funding for Fire Department Ladder Truck

February 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
City Fire Department Had Hoped to Obtain FEMA Grant to Purchase Ladder Truck

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has been denied FEMA grant funding to help pay for the purchase of an aerial truck and the necessary equipment to go on it.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker reported to the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night that he has been informed that the department's applications for FEMA grant funds have been turned down.

Last June, the aldermen voted to hire a grant writer, Johnny Robertson, at the request of Chief Parker to assist the city in seeking federal funding. "The ladder truck is actually on one grant through FEMA and the equipment that goes on it (ladder truck) is on a second grant," said Chief Parker at the meeting last June. Both can be applied for at the same time. He (Robertson) has agreed to do both of these grants for $3,000. Its $1,500 per grant. He'll do all the narratives and get it in. If we are awarded the grant, the $3,000 cost is recoverable from the grant so the grant would actually pay for that money. In the event that we didn't get the grant, we would still have to pay him the $3,000," said Chief Parker.

Had the grants been funded, the city would have been responsible for a five percent local match for each.

Smithville firefighters have long wanted an aerial (ladder) truck, which they say the city needs to reach taller buildings and hard to get to structures and roof tops.

Last month, city firefighters had the opportunity to test run a 75 foot ladder demo truck from the EVS Mid South Company for a few days.

Alderman Shawn Jacobs, the city's police and fire commissioner, is convinced that Smithville needs a ladder truck, saying Monday night during the council meeting that the city could have used one during an apartment fire at City Walk Apartments last month. Jacobs said he was concerned for the safety of the firefighters watching them have to use a bucket truck in battling that blaze.

No word yet on whether the fire fighters will ask the city to fund a ladder truck in next year's budget.

Meanwhile, the aldermen Monday night approved the list of city volunteer firefighters and officers elected by the department for the calendar year.

Those officers include Chief Charlie Parker, Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale, Captain Jeff Wright, and Lieutenants Danny Poss, Jon Poss, Anthony Wright, and Donnie Cantrell.

Chief Parker also mentioned the number of years each city fighter has been a member of the department including the following:

Kevin Adcock ,one year
Corey Killian, in his first year
Ronald Whitaker, three years
Glenn Lattimore, four years
Stephanie Wright, six years
Gary Johnson and Randall Hunt, seven years
Wallace Caldwell, eight years
Charles Young, thirteen years,
Wink Brown, fourteen years
Greg Bess, seventeen years as photographer
Anthony Wright, twenty years
Jon Poss, twenty one years
Jeff Wright, twenty six years
Hoyte Hale, twenty seven years
Danny Poss, Donnie Cantrell, and Charlie Parker, thirty two years

Chief Parker reported that the city fire department responded to two fire calls in January and one hazmat call due to a gas spill.

The city has $10,000 budgeted this year under capital outlay to purchase a vehicle, possibly a pickup truck, to transport firefighters to training or to run errands for the department so that they don't have to use the other emergency vehicles or their own automobiles. Chief Parker said Monday night the department has not had any success so far in finding a good used truck through government surplus. He asked if the department could buy a used truck from a dealership instead. City officials said such a purchase would have to be within 10% of market value and meet any other purchasing requirements. No action was taken.

More Arrests Made in Sheriff's Department Drug Investigation

February 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
Anthony Joe Hamilton
Kimberly Ann Patterson
David Glenn Sparks
Bobby Wayne Pinegar, Jr

Four more defendants were arrested over the weekend, charged in sealed indictments returned last week by the grand jury as a result of an undercover drug investigation by the sheriff's department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the latest to be picked up and their charges include the following:

27 year old Anthony Joe Hamilton of Smithville- Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug in a drug free zone (2 counts) ($80,000 bond)

43 year old Kimberly Ann Patterson of Smithville- Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (2 counts) ($60,000 bond)

30 year old David Glenn Sparks of Quebeck - Theft of property over $1,000 ($20,000 bond)

35 year old Bobby Wayne Pinegar, Jr.- Sale and delivery of a schedule II drug in a drug free zone (2 counts) ($80,000 bond)

Hamilton, Patterson, Sparks, and Pinegar along with the thirty nine others who were indicted and arrested last week will appear for arraignment in criminal court on Friday, February 24. Twelve more who were indicted in this investigation have yet to be arrested.

Meanwhile in his regular weekly crime report Sheriff Ray said that 50 year old Sabra Maurine Bussell of Halls Hollow Road, Smithville is charged with DUI and introduction of drugs into a penal institution. She was further issued a citation for failure to carry a drivers license and registration for her vehicle, hit and run, and failure of due care. Her bond totals $6,500 and she will be in court March 8.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday February 2, Bussell was involved in a hit and run accident. After stopping Bussell's vehicle, the arresting officer noticed that she had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person. Her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. Bussell performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. She submitted to a blood test.

Bussell could not provide a valid drivers license or registration. She also had a 1.75 liter open container of rum and failed to show due care.

Later, as correctional officers were removing her from the cell into the booking area of the jail, Bussell dropped a plastic bag containing marijuana, two pills believed to be soma, and three pills believed to be Valium.

26 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. He was issued citations for not wearing a seatbelt, violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violation of the open container law. Pugh will be in court on February 9 and his bond totals $4,500.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, February 2 a deputy stopped to perform a welfare check on a vehicle parked in the roadway on L. Hendrixson Road. The driver, Pugh had apparently passed out. The deputy awoke Pugh, who had very slurred speech and an alcoholic beverage in his hand. Pugh was very unsteady on his feet and had trouble staying awake. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood test. A computer check revealed his license to be revoked for driving under the influence on May 14, 2009 in DeKalb County. Pugh could not show proof of insurance or registration and he was not wearing a seatbelt. He also had a small amount of marijuana on his person. Two syringes were found in the floorboard of the vehicle, which Pugh admitted belonged to him.

26 year old Melinda Beth Murphy is charged with theft of property under $500. Her bond totals $2,500 and she will be in court on February 16. According to Sheriff Ray, Murphy allegedly took three blank checks valued at less than $500 from a residence on Evergreen Circle. She was arrested on Friday, February 3.

21 year old Craig Randall Whitaker of Lost Creek Lane, Carthage is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on February 16.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, February 4 a deputy stopped to do a welfare check on a vehicle parked on the side of the road on Highway 70. The door on the driver's side was open. Whitaker, the driver, was passed out under the steering wheel. The arresting officer initially could not wake him up. DeKalb EMS was called to the scene to check on him. Whitaker had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood test and admitted to the deputy that he had consumed too much alcohol. Whitaker was believed to be under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

44 year old Andy Butch May of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on February 16. Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, February 5 the sheriff's office received a call about someone walking in the roadway on Highway 70. Upon arrival, the deputy found May beside the road. May had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. May admitted to the officer that he had too much to drink. For his safety, May was arrested to get him off the roadway.

Meanwhile, two DUI arrests were made last week by Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

63 year old Jerry Hutchings, Sr. is charged with driving under the influence, and possession of a schedule III and IV drug. His bond totals $4,500 and he will be in court on April 19.

According to the warrant, Trooper England stopped Hutchings on Wednesday, February 1 on Highway 56 south near South College Street for failure to maintain lanes. "Upon contact with the driver, Mr. Hutchings stated he had taken a xanax at lunch. He had drank a 24 ounce Coors lite on the drive home. He also stated that he took a hydrocodone at bedtime last night (Tuesday) with a restoril sleeping pill. Mr Hutchings failed field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest", according to the warrant. Investigator Jeremy Taylor and Deputy Houston Cantrell of the Sheriff's Department were called to the scene by Trooper England to witness the field sobriety tasks.

The arrest warrants on the drug charges state that "Mr Hutchings was in possession of three and a half hydrocodone pills in an unmarked pill bottle and does not have his prescription in possession and that he was in possession of three blue xanax pills in an unmarked pill bottle and did not have his prescription in possession."

Meanwhile on Thursday February 2, Trooper England stopped 66 year old Willie J. Thomas on Highway 56 near Jewel's Market for no seatbelt. Thomas was charged with driving under the influence and possession of a schedule IV drug. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on April 19.

According to the arrest warrant, "Upon contact with the driver, Mr. Thomas admitted that he had taken a 10 milligram diazepam earlier in the day. Mr. Thomas failed all field sobriety tasks and was placed under arrest for DUI. The city police department witnessed the test. Officer (James) Cornelius."

The arrest warrant on the drug charge states that "On February 2, Thomas was in possession of one yellow pill identified as a five milligram diazepam. He did not have it in a proper prescription bottle. It was mixed with other pills."

Four Involved in One Car Wreck

February 6, 2012
Dwayne Page
Four Involved in One Car Wreck

Four people were involved in a one car wreck Saturday morning on the Cookeville Highway.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:48 a.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 45 year old Clay Allan Binkley of Smithville was driving south on Highway 56 in a 2003 Chevy Cavalier when he failed to properly negotiate a curve to the right. The car crossed the center line. Binkley overcorrected and the vehicle spun around, left the roadway to the right, and entered a ditchline, making an angle impact with an earthen embankment and metal culvert.

Others in the car with Binkley were his wife, 43 year old Georgetta Lynn Binkley; a son, 15 year old Troy Allan Binkley; and another relative, 35 year old Rebecca Faye Ross.

Ross was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Mrs. Binkley, who suffered minor scrapes and cuts, rode in the ambulance with Ross to the hospital, but Binkley was not seriously injured. No one else was hurt.

Mr. Binkley was issued a citation for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for not wearing a seatbelt.

In addition to Trooper Jennings and DeKalb EMS, deputies from the Sheriff's Department and members of the Cookeville Highway station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.


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