Local News Articles

Christmas Night Crash Claims One And Injures Three Others

December 26, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 20 year old man lost his life and three others were injured in a Christmas night crash on Highway 56 south at Pine Creek bridge.

Dead is Juan Garcia of Smithville.

Trooper Greg Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Garcia was driving north on Highway 56 in a 1990 Honda Accord when he crossed the center line of the road into the path of a southbound 1993 Chevy tow truck, driven by 32 year old Jamie L. Harris of Lebanon. Harris was towing a 1995 Chevy Blazer.

Harris and his wife, 32 year old Stephanie Harris of Lebanon received minor injuries in the crash and were taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

18 year old David Ortiz of Smithville, a passenger of Garcia's vehicle, was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. He was later transported by ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville with a broken arm, broken leg, and other injuries.

Trooper Tramel says all four people were wearing their seatbelts.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were called to the scene to perform extrication services. Others rendering assistance were members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, including the Keltonburg Fire Station, First Responders, DeKalb EMS, officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The crash caused a traffic tie up for more than three hours. Most motorists were re-routed during the investigation and clean-up.

Garcia's death marks the fifth traffic fatality on DeKalb County roads this year.

Cripps Charged With Robbery and Coercion

December 26, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has charged a local man with Robbery and Coercion of a Witness.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says officers and detectives from the Smithville Police Department arrested 22 year old Joshua Cripps of 541 Hodges Road on Thursday.

He says the case had originally started on Wednesday night when a Smithville Food Lion employee got off work and entered his vehicle to go home. Two vehicles pulled behind and along side the victim's vehicle blocking him from leaving the parking lot. It is reported that Cripps, who was known to the victim and driving one of the vehicles, got out of his automobile and approached the victim demanding $50.00. Cripps continued yelling at the victim as he grabbed the victim's shirt collar and tried to pull him through the window, repeatedly striking the victim's head on the window frame. The victim advised Cripps that he did not have any money due to it being so close to Christmas. The suspect continued roughing up the victim who stated that he felt in fear of his life and finally relinquished a $100.00 bill from his wallet. The two cars then fled the scene. The victim stated that he was fearful that the suspect would retaliate against him if the incident was reported, but he finally decided to make the complaint the following morning.

Chief Stufano says shortly before his arrest, Cripps made repeated calls to the victim stating that the incident should not be reported to the Police or the victim would be harmed. The investigation continues with additional arrests expected.

Cripps was arrested and booked into the DeKalb County Jail with a Bond of $25,000. The Probation Department notified Police that they would also be serving a No Bond Violation of Probation warrant on Cripps at the Jail.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is committed to keeping it's citizens safe and actively investigates all crimes of this nature. If you have information to this or any other crime you are encouraged to contact the Smithville Police Department.

Prisoner Caught Trying To Smuggle Drugs and Tobacco Into the Jail

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A man serving weekends at the DeKalb County Jail on a theft conviction was caught Friday trying to smuggle in tobacco and drugs.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 19 year old Gary Christopher Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. His bond is set at $20,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charge January 4th.

Sheriff Ray says when Ponder reported to the jail Friday, he was searched and nine white pills, believed to be seroquel were found along with some tobacco. He says the contraband was wrapped in a condom and covered with black electrical tape. Ponder had the package hidden in a body cavity.

Petty Arrested In Burglary and Theft at Local Nursery

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest in a recent burglary and theft case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 35 year old Homer Petty of Banks Pisgah Road is charged with burglary and theft of property. His bond is set at $40,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges January 4th.

Sheriff Ray says Petty allegedly broke into Young's Nursery and Greenhouses on Highway 56 south last Thursday night. A four wheeler, utility trailer, and rolls of copper wire were stolen from the nursery.

Officers have recovered the four wheeler, utility trailer, and some of the copper.

More arrests are forthcoming in the case.

B. Don James Charged In Federal indictment For Over $1.8 Million In Wire Fraud

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

B. Don James, the man accused of defrauding dozens of people in a so called \"Ponzi scheme\" has been indicted by a federal grand jury charging him with over $1.8 million in wire fraud.

In a prepared news release, United States Attorney Craig S. Morford announced Wednesday that James, an insurance broker from Smithville, was indicted on fifteen counts of wire fraud. James was arrested Wednesday on a warrant issued in connection with the indictment.

The charges stem from James' participation in a scheme to defraud investors in insurance premium financing contracts.

The indictment charges James with representing to investors that their funds would be used to purchase insurance premium financing contracts when, in fact, James knew that he would not use the funds in that manner. In addition, the indictment alleges that James told the investors that the only way for them to lose their money was if he stole it.

The indictment specifically alleges fifteen instances in which James told investors that he would place their funds in insurance premium financing contracts when he had no intention of doing so. The total funds involved in these fifteen instances is over $1.8 million.

As defined in the indictment, insurance premium financing occurs when an individual purchasing an insurance policy elects to pay the premiums over an extended period. When the insured individual makes that election, that individual typically pays an additional amount beyond the cost of the premium that would be due had the insured made the payment in full at the time that insurance coverage went into effect. Because of this payment, there is a market where insurance companies sell the contracts for extended payment policies to third parties. The third party makes the premium payment to the company at the time the coverage policy begins and receives both the premium and the additional amount in payment from the insured individual, thereby permitting the outside investor to profit from the arrangement, the insured individual to pay over an extended period, and the insurance company to receive the full premium payment at the beginning of the coverage.

The investigation into James' conduct was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Williamson is leading the prosecution.

An indictment merely represents an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless he is proven guilty.

Smithville Police Arrest Five People On Drug Charges

December 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five people were arrested Tuesday by the Smithville Police Department on drug charges

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says these persons, 55 year old John Braswell, 53 year old Bobby Brymer, 51 year old Michael Pack, 41 year old Vickie Dornes Marsh, and 23 year old Bradley Ferrell are accused of dealing in drugs at 208 Dearman Street in Smithville.

According to Chief Stufano, \"The house had been under surveillance for over a week due to complaints that illegal activity was occurring during all hours of the day. Drivers would consistently stop by the house, pull in the driveway, and then leave 2-3 minutes later after interacting with individuals in the house or driveway. For almost a week police officers counted over 70 cars stopping by the residence. Smithville Police raided the residence after sufficient information was obtained via a variety of investigative sources and arrested Braswell, the owner of the residence. He has been charged with sale and delivery of schedule II narcotics, sale and delivery of legend drugs and possession of paraphernalia (syringes). Braswell is already under House Arrest for the same type of crime. His bond is set at $105,000. Smithville Police are also working with Probation and Parole and the State Comptroller's Office to seize the residence under the State's Drug Forfeiture Act.\"

Brymer, who has the same address as Braswell, was arrested for sale and delivery of a schedule II narcotic.

Chief Stufano says \"Brymer's role in the sale and distribution of the illegal narcotics was to contact the buyer, collect the money, and return all proceeds back over to Braswell. His bond was set at $50,000. Brymer had just sold a schedule II narcotic to Michael Pack of 306 Bell Street in Smithville for $30.00. The money was recovered on Braswell. Pack was arrested for sale and delivery of a scheduled II narcotic as he negotiated the buy for an unknown female and was to get half of the narcotic for his payment. Bond was set at $50,000.\"

As undercover police were at the residence making the arrests, Chief Stufano says a female came to the front door wanting to purchase narcotics. An undercover detective took his police jacket off and contacted the female who wanted to negotiate a drug deal. The detective also saw a syringe sticking out of the female's jacket pocket. Police arrested the female, Vickie Dornes Marsh of 200 Green Acres Drive in Smithville and charged her with possession of unlawful drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $2,500

A fifth party arrested at the scene was Bradley Ferrell of 708 South Mountain Street in Smithville. He is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Stufano says \"Ferrell attempted to throw a syringe under a vehicle when police ordered him to keep his hands in plain sight\". His bond was set at $2,500.

Chief Stufano says \"In checking with Probation and Parole all of the arrested parties are currently on Supervised Probation for similar drug offenses. The Smithville Police Department in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and our citizens are committed to actively investigating all drug activities in the City. Our partnerships have afforded the citizens increased protection against these types of illegal enterprises and with continued citizen support illegal narcotics sales in our neighborhoods will stop\".

Police Make Several Arrests Over The Christmas Holiday

December 28, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are reporting a busy holiday season with a number of arrests for DUI, drug offenses, domestic violence and shoplifting.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \"On December 23rd officers of the Smithville Police Department arrested 30 year old Juan Lucio with a listed address of Pirtle's Nursery in Smithville for Driving under the Influence. Lucio was stopped at 10:00 pm at West Bryant and College Streets when officers saw the vehicle driving erratically, swerving into oncoming traffic and narrowly missing a head-on collision. Lucio was arrested and transported to the Dekalb County Jail and booked under a $1,000 bond.\"

\"On Christmas Eve Smithville Police Officers also arrested 45 year old Keith Dolberry of 914 Moore Street Toledo, Ohio for DUI when he was driving on Highway 56 South. A concerned citizen had seen the erratic driving of Dolberry and reported it to the Police. Upon contact with Dolberry Officers noted that he was so unsteady on his feet that he had to be held up against his car so he would not fall during the investigation. He was arrested and booked into Dekalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.\"

\"A second arrest for DUI was made on the same night when Smithville Police Officers came in contact with 32 year old Jimmy Martin of 2454 Hurricane Ridge Road in Smithville. Officers saw Martin driving his vehicle on Miller Road at 5:00 am without his headlights on. While police tried to stop the vehicle, the driver repeatedly crossed the line numerous times before he was eventually stopped some 4 blocks away. The driver was processed for DUI, arrested, and booked into Dekalb County Jail under a $1,000 Bond.\"

\"Another arrest made over the holiday period was 18 year old John David Anderson of Kendra Drive in Smithville, charged with simple possession of a narcotic. He was taken into custody after officers responded to the area on a complaint of an illegal activity taking place in a parking lot. Anderson was seen throwing a bag of pills under the police car. He gave the officers a consent to search his vehicle where an additional bag of marijuana was also found. Anderson was arrested and transported to DeKalb County Jail and booked. He is under a $2,500 bond\".

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police also responded to 805 Anthony Avenue in Smithville on a reported Domestic Violence complaint. Upon arrival they found 50 year old John Prater in a drunken state claiming that someone had broken out his vehicle windows and kicked in the residence back door. The investigation disclosed that Prater himself had broken out his windows and damaged two other vehicles. Prater was heard by witnesses that he was going to kill his wife and stepson. Officers found that Prater had also loaded a muzzle loader rifle just prior to the police response placing the weapon next to the door. Prater was arrested under the State's Domestic Violence Act and transported to the Dekalb County Jail under a $2,500 bond\".

\"On December 22nd Smithville Police responded to the Dollar General Store and arrested 39 year old Christopher Hendrixson and 32 year old Jennifer Hendrixson of 407 Hendrixson Hollow Road in Smithville for Theft as they tried to conceal over 30 items in their clothes without paying. Upon doing an inventory of their vehicle a large amount of additional items were recovered. The two were booked into Dekalb County Jail under a $2,500 each\".

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are committed to actively investigating all crimes occurring within the city limits and appreciate the citizens support in reporting suspicious activity\".

DeKalb Jobless Rate Inches Upward

December 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 5.3%, up from the October rate of 4.8%.

The DeKalb County Labor Force for November was 9,520. A total of 9,020 were employed and 500 were unemployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November was 5.0 percent, up from the October rate of 4.5 percent.

County unemployment rates for November show that two county rates decreased, 90 county rates increased, and three county rates remained the same.

Williamson County had the lowest unemployment rate for November in Tennessee at 3.0 percent, up from the October rate of 2.6 percent. Clay County had the state's highest county rate at 9.3 percent, up from the October rate of 8.3 percent.

Knox County had the state's lowest unemployment rate of the major metropolitan counties in November at 3.6 percent, up from 3.1 percent in October. Davidson County was 4.1 percent, up from 3.7 percent in October. Hamilton County was 4.0 percent in November, up from 3.7 percent in October; and Shelby County was 5.4 percent in November, up from 4.9 percent in October.

Young Arrested For Disorderly Conduct After Allegedly Making Threats Against The President

December 30, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a 48 year old man Wednesday for disorderly conduct at a local restaurant.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Clyde Randall Young of 634 Crestview Avenue is charged in the case.

According to Stufano, \"On Wednesday Smithville Police responded to Susie's Restaurant on a reported disorderly person complaint. Officers responded and met with County EMS personnel who were both the complainants and witnesses to the incident.\"

Chief Stufano says \"The witnesses stated that Young had been in the restaurant making veiled threats against the President of the United States. They went on to state that the man seemed very agitated and mad making numerous remarks. Numerous patrons in the restaurant were so disturbed over the demeanor and comments that they got up from their tables and left. Young left the restaurant prior to police arrival but was stopped a short distance away. Witnesses identified the subject and he was detained and escorted to the Police Department for further investigation. Due to the nature and type of comments made, the US Secret Service responded to conduct a federal investigation of Young. Young was eventually booked on Disorderly Conduct charges and released.

Schools Re-Open Tuesday January 2nd

December 30, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The winter break is almost over for students and teachers.

They will return to the classrooms Tuesday to begin the third nine week session of schools.

The remainder of the calendar reveals that schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 15 and for President's Day, Monday, February 19.

The spring break will be April 2 - 6.

Schools will be closed Friday, March 16 and Friday, May 11.

Students will not attend on Thursday, May 24. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend.. The last day of school will be Friday, May 25. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be given to the students.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, March 13 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, February 1 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Thursday, January 4 and Thursday, March 8.

Competency testing at DCHS will be February 13-16.

Gateway testing at DCHS will be May 1-3. Gateway test makeup will be May 4.

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 1. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 2.

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 23-27.

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