Local News Articles

Two Women Seriously Injured After Being Struck By Four Wheel Drive Pickup

January 11, 2007
Dwayne Page

A night around a campfire turned tragic for two women overnight after being struck by a four wheel drive pickup truck, driven by a man, who is the husband of one of the two victims.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the case is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol

It occurred around 12:45 a.m. Thursday on property at 3980 Oakley Road.

A group of family and friends had an RV on the property and were apparently sitting around a camp fire when the operator of the truck, William M. Overdorf III, asked another woman in the group, Jewel M. Scott, if she wanted to go mudding in his 1991 GMC Sierra four wheel drive pickup.

The two took off in the truck and later upon returning, the truck failed to stop and struck the two women, Debra Overdorf and Cathy Justice, who were still sitting around the campfire.

Mrs. Overdorf was airlifted from the scene to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga

Justice was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Officials say alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the incident.

Liberty Office of Liberty State Bank Robbed

January 11, 2007
Dwayne Page

Two people pulled off a noon time robbery at the Liberty office of Liberty State Bank Thursday taking an undisclosed amount of cash and making their getaway, possibly in a white colored car.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the robbers, a male and a female, entered the bank around 12:45 p.m.

Pictures from the bank's surveillance cameras reveal that the female was wearing brown coveralls and a paintball mask that covered her head. The male was wearing blue coveralls and a blue hoodie. He was also wearing a dark colored back pack with an orange colored letter \"T\" on it.

Sheriff Ray says the female first passed a note to a bank teller demanding money, but apparently got no satisfaction so she went to another bank employee and handed her the note.

The male then went behind the counter and helped himself to an undisclosed amount of cash.

The two then left the bank and are believed to have driven away in a white colored car.

Sheriff Ray says neither of the bank robbers produced a weapon during the hold up and none of the bank employees were injured.

After the robbery, one of the clerks called 911 and reported the hold-up and a BOLO was dispatched locally and to surrounding counties for authorities to be on the lookout for the suspects and the white car in which they may have been traveling.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

If you have information that could help solve the case, call the Sheriff's Office at 597-4935

Willoughby Updates School Board on Personnel Moves

January 11, 2007
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his written report on personnel to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Those employed for the 2006-2007 school year since the last meeting include:

Kelly Driver- part time licensed PTA; Mary K. Hearn- substitute teacher; Denise Merriman- cafeteria worker; Marla Beshearse- certified substitute teacher; Kimela Griffith- part time speech/language; and Helen Faye Lohorn- part time cafeteria worker.

Those who have resigned include Mattie Ruth Frazier- custodian at DeKalb West School; Sharon Farler- school nurse; and Jeanette West- cafeteria worker at DeKalb West School.

Karen Pelham, teacher at DeKalb Middle School, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

In other business, the board set May 18th as the date of the DeKalb County High School graduation exercises. The last full day of school for students will be on Wednesday, May 23rd.

The board granted permission for the Junior Class at DCHS to host the 2007 Junior/Senior Prom at Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro on April 20th.

Permission was granted for 5-8 band students to attend the honor band weekends at the Wind Band Conference at MTSU February 1-3, the Governors Honor Band at Austin Peay State University on February 8-10, and the Festival of Winds and Percussion at Tennessee Tech University February 15-17.

The board opened sealed bids and awarded surplus property to the highest bidders.

Timmy Kalmar of Smithville bid $250 on a 1978 Ford panel van with an engine problem and $401 on a 1986 Blue Bird 84 passenger bus with an engine problem.

Jamie Turner of Smithville bid $528 on a 1991 Blue Bird 72 passenger bus with a bad air compressor gear and $52 on a Jacobson Green King Field Mower that is not functional.

Dean Johnson of Lobelville bid $1,851 on a 1991 Blue Bird 72 passenger bus, $1,851 on a 1991 Blue Bird 78 passenger bus, and $1,851 on another 1991 Blue Bird 78 passenger bus.

Craig Newby of McMinnville bid $110 on a 1991 Blue Bird 66 passenger bus with no engine or transmission.

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix, in her brief report to the board, congratulated teachers Judy Fuson and Chris Vance who have been inducted into the National Honor Rolls Outstanding American Teachers. She says this has been established to provide positive recognition to educators who have been identified as the kind of teachers who go beyond and above the call of duty.

The board approved general purpose budget amendment requests for $43,450 from the Microsoft Class Action Settlement Grant and $10,000 from the Family Reunion Grant.

Director Willoughby says money from the Microsoft Class Action Settlement Grant will be used for the upgrade of computer software. The money from the Family Reunion Grant will be used to purchase a computer software program called Reading Academy to help close the achievement gap for some students

The board also voted to contract with the DeKalb County Health Department to provide and administer the Hepatitis B Vaccine at the rate of $45.70 per dose from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2008.

Director Willoughby, in conjunction with School Board Appreciation Month, commended this board for \"putting students first\". \"They don't do it for the money, they do it to help out our county and to improve education. They are thinking about tommorrow, not just today. I want you to know I appreciate you.\"

Three Men Charged In Recent Theft Investigation

January 12, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged three people believed to be responsible for a burglary and theft last month on Poss Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 40 year old Roy Junior Wilkey, 18 year old William L. Morris, and 18 year old Mike Morres all of South College Street, Smithville are charged with theft of property over $1,000. They will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges January 25th. Bond for each is set at $5,000.

Sheriff Ray says these three men are accused of stealing thirty radiators, ten car rims, and about 200 pounds of aluminum cans from the Poss Road property on December 15th. . The items were believed to have been sold to recycling centers in White and Warren Counties.

Two Men Arrested By Smithville Police For Possession of Marijuana

January 13, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have arrested 20 year old Philando Darnell Fullilove of 104 Circle Drive in Dowelltown and 19 year old Brandon Matthew Byford of 805 Lutrell Avenue in Smithville for possession of a schedule VI drug.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says an off-duty Smithville Police Officer spotted Byford sitting in a vehicle stopped at the Sunshine Cleaners on Wednesday at approximately 4:30 p.m. Byford was wanted on unrelated charges. As the officers approached the vehicle they detected a strong smell of marijuana as the driver, Fullilove opened the window. The Police Department's K-9 Dog, already at the scene, was utilized and the dog alerted to drugs inside the vehicle. Further investigation noted that the vehicle did contain marijuana. Fullilove and Byford were subsequently arrested. Both were transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,500 bond each.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department would like to advise the motoring public that new traffic control devices have been established for the entrance of Walmart on Highway 70 in Smithville. Please be advised that with the addition of this new 24 hour facility, traffic along this route will increase and motorists must be vigilant in their driving. Currently the traffic lights have been placed on flashing yellow by the State to establish their presence, but will be changed to a working stop and go system shortly. Smithville Police will be actively monitoring this highly traveled area for violations in an effort to curtail accidents and traffic congestion. Motorists are encouraged to maintain proper driving distances between cars and observe the posted speed limits.

Sheriff's Department Arrests Ten Men At Cockfight

January 15, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department raided a cockfight in Dowelltown Saturday night and arrested ten people.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies received a call at 7:50 p.m. Saturday to go to 224 E.H. Haas Road where a chicken fight was taking place. Upon arrival, the officers found ten men either participating in or observing the cockfight. Two of the men also had two children there. The kids are ages 12 and 13.

Officers observed two injured chickens and one chicken that was almost dead. They also found needle spurs, razor spurs, bottles of vitamin B complex, and cages used to transport the chickens. Officers also seized $5,341 from the defendants.

Sheriff Ray says during the interviews of the defendants, officers learned that they were placing $100 bets per round during the fights.

It is against the law ( a class A misdemeanor) for anyone to be involved in a cockfight. It is also unlawful (class C misdemeanor) for anyone to be a spectator at a cockfight.

The following persons were charged with cockfighting:

38 year old Artemio Alfaro of Board Valley Road, Sparta; 27 year old Joel Mendez of Fred Hill Road, Sparta;32 year old Juan Orozco of Cascade Avenue, McMinnville; 20 year old Juan Avalos of Short Mountain Road, Smithville; 31 year old Leonardo Guadarrana of Fred Hill Road, Sparta; 23 year old Nicolas Reyes of Carter Street, Smithville; 33 year old Mariano Reyes of Carter Street, Smithville; 35 year old Hugo Reyes of West Greenhill Road, McMinnville; 33 year old Rodolfo Reyes of E.H. Haas Road, Dowelltown; and 49 year old Antonio Ornelas of Disneyland Road, Sparta.

Rodolfo Reyes and Antonio Ornelas were also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for having their children present at the cockfight.

Sheriff Ray says he also intends to make the DeKalb County Humane Society aware of this case.

$200,000 Powerball Winner In Smithville

January 15, 2007
Dwayne Page

A player in Smithville won $200,000 in Saturday night's Powerball drawing. In addition, there were over 54,000 winners who purchased tickets from retailers in the state of Tennessee, including 11,878 players who doubled their winnings with Power Play. No additional information is available until the winner claims the prize.

The Powerball jackpot for the next drawing on Wednesday, January 17, is estimated at $180 million.

The Tennessee Lottery began selling its first tickets on January 20, 2004. As of September 30, 2006, the Lottery has raised more than $699.1 million to fund specific education programs, including college scholarships, pre-kindergarten and after-school programs.

Wire Fraud Case Against B. Don James Set For Trial March 6th

January 16, 2007
Dwayne Page

The case against B. Don James, the man accused of defrauding dozens of people in a so called \"Ponzi scheme\" has been set for trial March 6th in U.S. District Court in Nashville.

James was named in a fifteen count indictment by a federal grand jury last month charging him with over $1.8 million in wire fraud.

James apparently waived an appearance and submitted a written plea of \"not guilty\" at his arraignment last Thursday.

An order, signed by U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campbell, states that \"The trial in the case is set for March 6th at 9:00 a.m. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for March 2nd at 1:00 p.m. A status conference is scheduled for February 12th at 9:00 a.m. All lawyers who will try the case shall attend the status conference.\"

\"Any plea agreement shall be consummated by February 26th and the courtroom deputy so notified. Any proposed plea agreement shall be submitted to the court by February 27th. If a plea agreement is submitted, the hearing to take the plea will take place on March 2nd at 1:00 p.m.\"

\"Any motion to continue the trial, pretrial conference or plea dates, shall be filed no later than one week before the pretrial conference date.\"

If convicted at trial, James could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Smithville Man Charged With Statutory Rape

January 16, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested an 18 year old man for rape Sunday.

Julio Cesar Bernardo of 817 Luttrell Avenue is charged with statutory rape of a minor.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \" Investigators working a \"Missing Persons\" report of a 14 year old minor were able to track down the whereabouts of the teen to the Bernardo residence in Smithville. During the course of the investigation Smithville Detectives were able to substantiate that the minor had been intimate with Bernardo over the last few days and that Bernardo knew the minor was under the age of consent. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $10,000 bond.

Meanwhile, in another unrelated case 36 year old Danny Lee Smithson of 135 Woodland Cir. Crossville was arrested for Driving on a Revoked License -5th Offense. An officer running radar traffic enforcement on East Broad Street stopped Smithson for speeding and when approached, Smithson stated that his license was currently revoked. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,500 bond.

Chief Stufano says Smithville Police are committed to actively investigating all crimes within the city limits and are grateful for the citizen's vigilance in Crime Watch.

Smithville Police Make Seven Arrests In Recent Drug Investigations

January 18, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have arrested numerous individuals in a recent drug sting targeting the sale and distribution of illegal prescription narcotics in the City of Smithville.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says law enforcement agencies, Drug Enforcement Administration, and medical professionals in DeKalb County have recognized a growing pattern in the type of illegal drugs being bought and sold in Middle Tennessee. Investigators in both the city and county are identifying a high incidence of this type of drug activity due to the large availability of unauthorized use of prescription drugs.

Stufano says \"In sweeping drug arrests starting on Tuesday January 16th , two different investigations resulted in the arrest of 25 year old Andrea Nickole Bass of 732 Gentry Avenue and Patsy Estes McCoy of 862 Highland Drive. The two were arrested after Smithville Police Detectives, operating in an undercover capacity, witnessed the transaction of narcotics between the two females. Upon arresting the women, Estes swallowed a pill she had, apparently thinking she could avoid prosecution. Officers recovered a large amount of illegal pills known as K-4 Dilaudid and cash was seized. Bass was charged with Sale and Distribution of Narcotics. She is under a $25,000 bond. Estes was also charged with Sale and Distribution with an additional charge of Tampering with Evidence. Her bond was set at $35,000. Both were transported the DeKalb County Jail.\"

Chief Stufano says \"A second operation resulted in the arrests of 28 year old Matthew Justin Daniel of 427 Hurricane Road and Bonnie Lou Stembridge of 223 Adams Street. The two were charged with Sale and Distribution of Narcotics (K-4 Dilaudid). The monitored transaction occurred outside of the Stembridge residence. Detectives had received information that illegal narcotics were consistently being sold by Stembridge and that Daniel was her supplier. At the time of her arrest Stembridge swallowed a pill she had received from Daniel for her part in the transaction. A large amount of narcotics, cash, and a vehicle were confiscated from Daniel under the State's Drug Seizure Law. Both were transported the DeKalb County Jail and charged with Sale and Distribution of Narcotics. Bond for each was set at $25,000 bond. Stembridge was also charged with Tampering with Evidence. Her bond on that charge was $10, 000.\"

On Wednesday January 17th the continued undercover operations netted a father and son for the Sale and Delivery of Narcotics. Chief Stufano says 58 year old Harold Blackwell and Russell Blackwell sold a large quantity of prescription drugs to an Undercover Officer. \"The exchange took place in the parking lot of a local medical facility. It was discovered at a later date that Russell Blackwell ingested 20-40 pills of Xanax and Morphine just prior to officers arresting him to avoid prosecution. The younger Blackwell was being held at the DeKalb County Jail when an alert Corrections Officer noticed Blackwell acting strangely. Upon questioning him , Blackwell made the admission. He was immediately transported under Police protection to the hospital where he was admitted overnight. He was released and then transported back to the County Jail on Thursday morning. Both have been charged with Sale & Delivery of Narcotics and their bond is $25,000 each. Russell Blackwell was also charged with Tampering with Evidence to avoid prosecution. His bond on that charge is $10,000. The Smithville Police also seized the Blackwell vehicle, a large cache of K-4 Dilaudid and cash in accordance with the Drug Seizure Law.\"

Later Wednesday evening Smithville Police Detectives again setup an operation using an Undercover Officer. Chief Stufano says 34 year old Katherine Michelle Carr of 207 Poplar Lane was arrested for Sale and Delivery of Narcotics, Possession of illegal Schedule II and III Narcotics and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon. \"Carr had arranged a meeting at a local gas station located on the corner of Highway 56 and Highway 70. Once the exchange of money and drugs took place, Investigators were able to make the arrests without incident. A search of the vehicle and her person disclosed a large amount of drugs including K-4 Dilaudid, Xanax, Hydrocodone, Percocet, and Somas along with cash. Carr's vehicle was also seized under the State's Drug Seizure Act. Carr was transported to the DeKalb County Jail. Her bond was set at $80,000. Carr listed her occupation as a Certified Nursing Technician caring for the elderly at a temporary Nursing agency in Tullahoma.\"

Smithville Police are committed to actively investigating all illegal drug activity in the city and wishes to express their appreciation to our partnering agencies and citizens for their continued help. If you have information about these types of crimes please contact the Smithville Police Department.


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