Local News Articles

Atnip Arrested A Second Time This Week By Smithville Police

February 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

A local man, arrested Monday by Smithville Police on theft and drug charges, is in more trouble with law after being arrested again on Tuesday.

Jared Atnip is charged with driving under the influence, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $10,000.

Police also arrested the woman with Atnip, 33 year old Tracy Schunke. She is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Her bond is $5,000.

Both Atnip and Schunke will be in General Sessions Court February 28th.

The arrests were made at Mapco Express by officers Randy King and Matt Farmer.

King's report states that "On Tuesday, February 12th, I was dispatched to Mapco Express on a suspicious vehicle. The vehicle had been BOLO'ed (Be on the Lookout) as a possible DUI."

"Jared Atnip was inside the Mapco Express. I went inside Mapco Express and encountered Mr. Atnip, who exited the business. The cashier alerted me that Mr. Atnip neglected to pay for his beverage. Mr. Atnip was attempting to drive off. I stopped Mr. Atnip and advised him that he needed to pay for his beverage. Mr. Atnip then exited the driver's side. He was very unsteady on his feet. I asked Mr. Atnip if he was under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. He responded that he had not been taking anything. I asked Atnip to consent to field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on those tasks. I placed Atnip under arrest for DUI."

"Upon a pat search of Atnip, I found a straw with a white residue in his right pocket. Upon the search incident to arrest, I found eight syringes, a spoon, and more straws.'

"After transporting Atnip to the police department, he produced a blue bottle with approximately six small yellow tablets. He tried to take the tablets from the bottle to ingest them. Atnip stated that he was going to take the pills to hide their discovery. Atnip then produced a syringe from the front pocket of his pants."

The report on Schunke states that she was in the vehicle with Atnip when he was arrested for DUI. When Atnip was placed in the patrol unit, she was asked to step out of the vehicle. She exited the vehicle and the officers noticed a needle and syringe in the side compartment of the passenger door. The needle was filled with a yellow liquid substance believed to be dilaudid. In a small purple bag, there were approximately nine syringes and eight straws. Also in the bag were her social security card and the social security card of her son."

Buck Will Not Seek Re-election to 19th Term as State Representative

February 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

After 36 years in office, State Representative Frank Buck has announced that he will not seek re-election this year.

In a prepared statement, Buck says "To the people of the 40th Representative District, I wish to announce that I will not seek re-election for a 19th term in the General Assembly. After 18 terms, the re-election percentage in 2006 wasn't much different than it was upon my first election in 1972. After 36 years of service that was a very flattering vote of confidence for which I shall always be flattered and grateful."

"Service in the General Assembly is not an easy job. Your job is to protect the folks back home by bringing home highway and other improvements which entail cooperation with the leadership and administration, but as the income tax and ethics crisis illustrate, both groups at times can act in a very misguided fashion. You want to get along with the powers that be, but there are times when you just cannot overlook what you know to be right and wrong. You must never forget who you are, what you believe in and what you know to be right and wrong."

"During the course of 36 years, I have been everything from the ethical hero to the illegitimate child at the family reunion. But as painful as some of those days were, I have never regretted my role because I knew I was doing right by the people of Tennessee. It is amazing how much respect you gain by ability, being tenacious, and working hard."

"Again, I thank you for permitting me to serve you for 36 years. I have tried to make you proud of the vote you have cast for me over the years."

Last month, three people announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative during the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting held at the high school.

Dean Sircy of Lafayette, Cleveland Derrick Bain of Smithville, and Gayla Hendrix of Smithville say they will be candidates in the August 7th State Democratic Primary.

Since then, fifth district county commissioner Jeff Barrett has filed papers with the election commission, to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative and Nicky Rittenberry of Lafayette has filed papers to seek the Republican nomination for the office.

The 40th Legislative District is made up of DeKalb, Smith, and Macon Counties.

The qualifying deadline for State Representative (State Primary) is noon on April 3rd.

The State General Election is November 4th.

Shoplifter Complaint at Walmart Results in Two Arrests by Smithville Police

February 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police were called to Wal-mart on a shoplifting complaint Monday night and arrested two people.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Jared S. Atnip of Smithville was charged with theft under $500, possession of a schedule IV and schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lisa Piles, wanted on a worthless check warrant out of Warren County, was also arrested.

Lieutenant Leffew says on Monday night at about 9:02 p.m., Smithville Police Officers Randy King and Brad Tatrow responded to Wal-mart in answer to a shop lifter complaint. Wal-mart employees suspected two females of shoplifting. Officers ran a warrants check on the two women, Lisa Piles and Patsy Estes and learned that Piles was wanted in Warren County for a worthless check, but there was no evidence of shoplifting by either of the women. Piles was taken into custody but Estes was released.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, during the investigation of Piles and Estes, the Wal-mart manager approached the officers and advised that there was another person in the store suspected of shoplifting.

The manager reported that the man, Atnip, had allegedly stuffed some things into his clothing. Lieutenant Leffew says when the officers approached Atnip, they noticed that he appeared to be intoxicated, but he denied having any Wal-mart merchandise on him. Atnip began emptying his pockets and did not produce any merchandise. However, when the officers conducted a pat down search of Atnip, they found some Wal-mart merchandise inside his pants. They also found a syringe, a tourniquet, and a small silver container with pills believed to be Xanax and Dilaudid.

Atnip was taken into custody and charged in the case.

Four Arrested by Sheriff's Department Since Wednesday

February 11, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested four people since last Wednesday on various charges.

41 year old Dwayne Scott Massengail of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville was charged Wednesday with a first offense of driving under the influence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies received a call on Keltonburg Road and observed Massengail driving. After stopping Massengail, officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol on his person. After performing and failing field sobriety tasks, Massengail was placed under arrest for DUI. His bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is February 21st.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, 22 year old Joshua William Thomas of High Street, Alexandria was arrested on a violation of probation warrant. Thomas is also listed as a sex offender from DeKalb County with a "Homeless" address. Deputies found that Thomas was residing at 105 High Street in Alexandria where he had been staying since November 8th. Sheriff Ray says Thomas was also charged with violation of the sex offender registry for not listing the address where he has been residing. Thomas' bond was set at $11,000 and his court date is set for February 21st.

On Friday, 51 year old Johnny W. Trapp of Arrowhead Drive, Smithville was arrested for a fifth offense of driving under the influence and violation of the habitual motor offender law. Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a call on Arrowhead Road to investigate a vandalism to a residence where someone had broken out a bedroom window. The victim gave the officers the identity of the suspect and they later spotted his vehicle, stopped it, and found Trapp to be the driver. Deputies noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Trapp's person and asked him to perform field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. The officers placed Trapp under arrest for a fifth offense of driving under the influence and also charged him with violation of the habitual motor offender law, an offense for which he had been convicted in 2000 in Warren County. Trapp was also charged with vandalism of the window. Trapp's bond was set at $12,500 and his court date is set for February 21st.

On Saturday, 36 year old Micheal Joseph Foster of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown was charged with no driver's license and theft of property over $500. Sheriff Ray says on February 4th, Foster allegedly took $850 from a purse at a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road, Dowelltown. Then on February 7th, Foster was stopped on Gentry Avenue in Smithville for a traffic violation and was found to have no driver's license. Foster's bond was set at $5,000 and his court date is February 21st.

Two Cabins Lost in Saturday Fires

February 10, 2008

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a reported structure fire around 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a remote area of the county off of Adamson Branch Road in Liberty.

Two cabins, belonging to Walter J. Gordon of Florida, were destroyed but firefighters managed to keep the blaze from reaching three other structures nearby also belonging to Gordon including another cabin, a storage outbuilding, and a three bay garage.

Chief Donny Green says that although the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and DeKalb County Fire Department Main Station responded with pumpers, firefighters could not get equipment to the scene due to the poor access drive that led approximately one mile through a wooded area to the location where not only one, but two cabins were fully involved and threatening three more structures nearby. The fire had also spread into the wooded areas on each side of the steep ridge where the structures were located.

Green says firefighters were able to gain access with the department's brush truck and called for mutual aid assistance from Cannon County's Short Mountain and Eastside Fire Departments who responded with 4 X 4 brush trucks.

Although the two fully involved cabins were totally lost, Green says firefighters did manage to prevent the other three structures from becoming involved. The DeKalb County Fire Department's Wildland Task Force also worked in coordination with the Tennessee Division of Forestry to contain and extinguish the fire.

Chief Green says that in spite of the problem of having very poor access for firefighters and equipment, the department did a great job, working with Tennessee Division of Forestry and Cannon County mutual aid departments, in minimizing the additional potential losses to the other threatened structures and the many acres of woodland that became involved. He says the department located the owner, Walter J. Gordon, who uses this property as a secondary home and has his primary residence in Florida. No one was at the premises at the time of the incident and no one was injured.

Smithville Police Arrest Man for DUI and Simple Possession

February 9, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently arrested a man for impaired driving and found him with an unlabeled prescription bottle containing pills believed to be Xanax.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Officer Matt Holmes arrested Steve Hale and charged him with a second offense of driving under the influence and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, Officer Holmes responded to Mapco Express to investigate a complaint of a possible impaired driver. Upon arrival, he found a vehicle matching the description and saw the man slumped over the steering wheel. As the officer approached the vehicle, the man sat up and began attempting to place the keys into the ignition, but was unable to do so. Upon speaking to Hale, the officer observed that the man's speech was very slurred and he appeared to be disoriented.

The officer asked Hale to step out of the vehicle and he was asked to perform sobriety tasks. He performed very poorly on all tasks and was arrested for DUI. Upon a pat down of his person, the officer found a pill bottle on Hale containing seventeen and a half small blue pills believed to be Xanax.

Forty One Students to Compete in County Spelling Bee

February 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

A total of forty one students will be competing during the Fifth Annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night, February 15th at 6:30 p.m. at DeKalb County High School.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from thirty nine other counties, the first and second place winners in the DeKalb County Spelling Bee will compete in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 7th at the Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 25th through May 31st with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee are:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade- Chase Bryant, Ashli Chew, Andrew Cooper, and Caitlin Turner

Fifth Grade- Issac Beck, Brandon Chapman, Haley Davis, Lenzi Dickens, Ashland Dillon, Corey Ferrell, Kelsey Hedge, Justin Johnson, Brandon Leiser, Jeffery Rigsby, Makalee Ruch, Emilee Stephens, and Jacob Washer

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade- Emily Snow

Seventh Grade- Jessica Acuna, Jacob Parsley, and Martilia Tallent

Eighth Grade- Jesse James, Kallie Mitchell, Kayla Matthews, Destiny Thomas, and Riley Young

DeKalb West School:

Fourth Grade- Morgan Vickers

Fifth Grade- Leah Burchfield, Cason Oakley, Zachary Roberts, and Lydia Trail

Sixth Grade- Courtney Avera, Sarah Hunt, Paige Lohorn, McKenzie Poteete, and Crystal Vickers

Seventh Grade- Casey Alderman, Taylor Leach, and Ashley O'Conner

Eighth Grade-Dylan Freeney and Rachel Goodman

Smithville Police Confiscate $600 Brick of Marijuana and Make One Arrest

February 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Officers, acting on a complaint after midnight Thursday morning, arrested a 21 year old man on a drug charge after finding a brick of marijuana on him, with an estimated street value of more than $600.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Officers Brad Tatrow and Randy King charged Timmy Wayne Tomlinson with sale and delivery of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale. His bond is set at $5,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on February 28th.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, the officers stopped a vehicle on Short Mountain Highway for excessive speed and unnecessary noise. Inside the vehicle were two females who told the officers that the reason they were speeding was to get away from two men who tried to force them into their vehicle at Mapco Express. The officers checked out their story and confirmed with the manager of Mapco that two men had been causing trouble there, but that they had gone across the street to the Hardees parking lot.

Officers Tatrow and King found both Tomlinson and Joshua Gammons in a truck at Hardees. According to Lieutenant Leffew, Tomlinson got out of the vehicle and tried to throw something away. The officers advised Tomlinson of the complaints that had been made and later reported that he seemed very nervous and had bloodshot eyes.

Upon further investigation, the officers asked for and received consent to search and found several marijuana shakings (crumbs) in the vehicle. Both Tomlinson and Gammons denied having any drugs on them, but after the Smithville K-9 unit was brought to the scene, Tomlinson produced a large brick of marijuana from one of the boots he was wearing. The marijuana was wrapped in a sandwich bag. The officers also found a large box of sandwich bags in the glove box of the truck.

Lieutenant Leffew says the brick of marijuana weighed 4.3 ounces and the estimated street value is approximately $150 per ounce, which would make this brick worth more than $600.

Tomlinson was taken into custody and charged in the case. No drugs were found on Gammons and he was not charged.

Banks Wins Democratic Nomination for Property Assessor

February 5, 2008
Dwayne Page

Incumbent DeKalb County Property Assessor, Timothy "Fud" Banks, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday easily beating both challengers, Roy Merriman and Willie Thomas.

Banks received a total of 1,922 votes (66.2%) and won 15 out of 16 precincts along with a majority of the early votes and absentees. Merriman carried only one precinct (Rock Castle) and finished second with 625 votes (21.5%) while Thomas placed third with 356 votes(12.2%).

A total of 4,507 people voted in the Primaries for a turnout of 35.04% including 3,206 on election day, 1,294 early voters and absentees, and seven provisional voters.

The following is a break down of the votes by precinct:

Alexandria: Banks- 86, Merriman 47, and Thomas 35

Belk: Banks- 64, Merriman 26, Thomas 14

Blue Springs: Banks- 78, Merriman 25, and Thomas 9

Cherry Hill: Banks- 12, Merriman 7, Thomas 2

Church of Christ Annex: Banks- 155, Merriman 60, Thomas 25

Courthouse: Banks- 156, Merriman 48, Thomas 28

Dowelltown: Banks- 52, Merriman 22, Thomas 9

Edgar Evins State Park: Banks- 6, Merriman 2, Thomas 1

Elementary School: Banks- 163, Merriman 59, Thomas 16

Johnson's Chapel: Banks- 39, Merriman 10, Thomas 8

Keltonburg: Banks- 90, Merriman 31, Thomas 9

Liberty: Banks- 53, Merriman 25, Thomas 15

Middle School: Banks- 155, Merriman 41, Thomas 33

Rock Castle: Merriman- 18, Banks 8, Thomas 5

Snow Hill: Banks- 72, Merriman 20, Thomas 10

Temperance Hall: Banks- 45, Thomas 19, Merriman 13

Absentee (paper ballots): Banks- 30, Thomas 12, Merriman 2

Early Voting: Banks- 658, Merriman 169, Thomas 106

Banks will face Republican nominee, John David Foutch, and Independent, Sandy C. Brown, in the August General Election.

Meanwhile, Johnny King defeated Mary Ann Thomason in the seventh district constable race King received 178 votes (58.9%) to Thomason's 124 votes (41.1%). King had 102 votes at the Church of Christ Annex and 70 early votes and 6 absentees. Thomason collected 66 votes at the Annex and 54 early votes and 4 absentees.

The other four constable candidates were unopposed. Their complimentary vote totals are as follows:Third District Incumbent Wayne Vanderpool- 230 votes; Fourth District Nominee Paul Cantrell- 268; Fifth District Incumbent Mark Milam- 289; and Sixth District Nominee Cantrell Jones- 310

In the Presidential Preference Primary, Hillary Clinton carried DeKalb County by a wide margin over Barack Obama on the Democratic side, while Mike Huckabee edged out fellow candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, among DeKalb County Republican voters. Clinton received 2,410 votes in DeKalb County to Obama's 347. Other Democratic candidates on the ballot and their totals include John Edwards 272, Bill Richardson 10, Joe Biden 7, Dennis Kucinich 6, Mike Gravel 4, Chris Dodd 1 and 31 Uncommitted.

Clinton easily carried all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County and had a majority of the early votes and absentees.

Huckabee garnered 573 votes in the Republican primary, McCain had 399, while Romney received 267 DeKalb County votes. Other GOP candidates and their vote totals include Ron Paul 63, Fred Thompson 30, Rudy Giuliani 7, Duncan Hunter 4, Alan Keyes 1, and 4 Uncommitted.

Huckabee carried 13 of 16 precincts and tied Romney with 10 votes each at Cherry Hill. Romney and McCain tied with 7 votes each to carry Edgar Evins State Park and they tied with 21 votes each to carry Rock Castle. Huckabee also had more early votes than his opponents.

Be sure to check out precinct-by-precinct numbers on our special election page. Find the "Election Night Results" link on the left side of our homepage for the breakdown.

Monday Evening Wreck Causes Power Outage

February 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

Three Hispanic men, involved in traffic accidents Monday evening on Vaughn Lane, escaped injury but were cited for not having a drivers license and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance)

Trooper Todd Logan of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 51 year old Pedro Candelario of McMinnville was driving west in a 1995 Chevy pickup truck when he went off the left side of the road and struck a utility pole as a westbound Honda Accord, driven by 24 year old Eleazar Perez of Smithville, was passing him.

Perez then rear-ended a Ford Taurus, driven by 21 year old Virgilio Mendoza of McMinnville, who had stopped in the road after the Candelario crash.

Again, no one was injured in the accidents but several customers of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, including WJLE, were without power for about three hours.

In addition to being cited for no drivers license and no insurance, Perez was also cited for improper passing and failing to exercise due care.

All three men are reportedly employees of Zelenka Nursery.


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