Local News Articles

Febus Accused of Assaulting Another with Hammer

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Orlando Rivera Febus

Smithville Police have made an arrest in an aggravated assault in which one man allegedly hit another man in the head with a hammer.

58 year old Orlando Rivera Febus was arrested on Wednesday, December 7.

According to the victim, Febus accused him of being on his (Febus’) property and in his truck the night before. After the victim denied the allegations, Febus reportedly struck the victim in the head with a hammer. The victim defended himself and the two fought. After hearing from witnesses, police determined that Febus was the primary aggressor and warrants were obtained for his arrest. Febus was taken into custody later in the day. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is December 22.

Man Arrested After Threatening Woman with Knife

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bennie L. Simmons
Benito Saldivar Narvaez

Smithville Police have arrested a man for aggravated assault and evading arrest after allegedly threatening a woman with a knife before fleeing the residence.

38 year old Bennie L. Simmons is under a $15,000 bond and will make a court appearance on December 22.

An officer responded to a 911 hangup call at a residence on Tuesday, December 6 and upon arrival was told by the woman (victim) that a man (Simmons) was in her house and that he had a knife. The man ran out the back door while the officer was there and kept running as he was being ordered to stop. Police caught up with Simmons and took him into custody at the intersection of Hayes Street and Gentry Avenue.

The investigation revealed that Simmons had grabbed a knife out of a kitchen drawer, began to kick around furniture, and held the knife while threatening the victim.

In other city crime news, 20 year old Robert Alan Norrod was cited for criminal impersonation on Monday, December 5. Police responded to a call at Wal-Mart and upon arrival questioned Norrod, who gave the officer his brother's name. As a result, Norrod was cited and he will make a court appearance on December 15.

56 year old Benito Saldivar Narvaez was arrested for driving under the influence on Tuesday, December 6. An officer was dispatched to the area of South College and Vaughn Lane in reference to a gray Ford truck that had been observed setting in the middle of the road for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Upon arrival, police observed a man slumped over the steering wheel with the truck engine running and the transmission in drive. The officer awoke the driver, Narvaez. He had an odor of a fermented beverage about his person. His eyes were red and glossy and he was unsteady on his feet. Narvaez submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is December 22.

Elizabeth Chapel to Present "He Shall be Called"

December 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Elizabeth Chapel to Present "He Shall be Called"

The Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church invites you to join in the celebration of His precious name. His glorious birth. His coming!

Don’t miss “He Shall be Called” presented by the Living Christmas Tree at Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Saturday, December 10; Sunday, December 11; and Wednesday, December 14 at 6:30 p.m. each night.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 .

Its a Living Christmas Tree presentation, “He Shall be Called” at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church on Allen Ferry Road. Everyone is welcome.

Other churches in the area also have Christmas programs and services planned including the following:

* “The Christmas Guest” will be performed at the Indian Creek Baptist Church located 967 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville on Sunday evening, December 18 at 6:00 p.m. and on Wednesday evening, December 21 at 6:30 p.m. Santa will be present at the latter performance. You will be inspired by this very powerful and meaningful play. Everyone welcome!

*The Mount Pisgah Freewill Baptist Church will have a Christmas Play on Sunday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

*You are invited to attend a Christmas Play at the Covenant Baptist Church on Sunday, December 11 at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served following the play.

*Keltonburg United Methodist Church will host it's annual Live Nativity on Sunday, December 11. 2016 from 5:00-6:30pm. Come worship the Holy Christ child with the shepherds, wise men, angels and the Holy family, along with live animals. Enjoy our nativity from your car, or walk among the live scene if you would prefer. Hot chocolate and snacks will be available. The church is located at 5612 Keltonburg Road/Highway 288 Smithville, TN. For more information call 615-597-5682 or 615-597-5835.

*The Brush Creek Baptist Church will present the "Bethlehem Inn Dinner Show" December 10 & 11 starting at 6:00 p.m. The church is located on School House Circle, Brush Creek. Admission is free but reservations are required. Please call or text 615-218-4422.

Motorcycle Operator Arrested in High Speed Pursuit Sentenced in Criminal Court

December 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Coley Reade Hicks

A motorcycle operator arrested on Memorial Day after a high speed pursuit was recently sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

21 year old Coley Reade Hicks of Nashville entered a plea by criminal information on Monday, November 28 to aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest. He received a three year sentence for the aggravated assault and two years for the reckless endangerment charge to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a one year term for the evading arrest offense. His total sentence is four years but all suspended to TDOC probation on judicial diversion

Hicks was arrested after leading a Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper on a high speed motorcycle chase on Monday, May 30. The incident began when Trooper Sean Tramel of the THP spotted Hicks riding a Suzuki motorcycle on Highway 70 at Snow Hill and clocked his speed at 90 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. Trooper Tramel activated his emergency equipment (lights and siren) and initiated an eastbound pursuit. The chase continued on Highway 70 through the City of Smithville at speeds of over 120 miles per hour. Hicks ran all the red lights in town and as he crossed over into the opposite lanes to pass vehicles in front of him, oncoming motorists were forced to get out of his way .Although Hicks kept speeding east on Highway 70, Trooper Tramel terminated the pursuit near the Midnight Express. While he lost sight of Hicks, Trooper Tramel continued toward the White County line looking for him. After returning to the parking area of the Midnight Express, Trooper Tramel encountered Hicks again, some seventeen minutes after ending the pursuit. According to Trooper Tramel, he spotted Hicks on his motorcycle approaching from the east on Highway 70 heading west. When Hicks saw Trooper Tramel’s patrol car, he pulled off the highway and stopped. Trooper Tramel activated his emergency equipment and drove up next to Hick’s motorcycle. As Trooper Tramel was getting out of his cruiser, Hicks attempted to drive away but his motorcycle struck the open car door, pushing Trooper Tramel back inside the car. As he tried to flee, Hicks’ bike crashed into a guardrail. Trooper Tramel then held Hicks at gunpoint while placing him under arrest. Neither Trooper Tramel nor Hicks were injured. Trooper Tramel said Hicks told him the reason he was trying to evade was because he had no insurance on the motorcycle.

Convicted Felon with Loaded Weapon Arrested After Scuffle with Police

December 9, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Aubrey Glenn Rigsby

A convicted felon, armed with a loaded weapon, got into a scuffle with police in the parking lot of Walmart on Wednesday, December 7.

37 year old Aubrey Glenn Rigsby is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and illegal carrying or possession of a weapon as a convicted felon.

Smithville Police responded to Wal-Mart in reference to a person armed with a gun. Upon arrival officers confronted the suspect, Rigsby and ordered him to put his hands in the air and step out of his car. As Rigsby got out of his vehicle, one of the officers noticed that he appeared to be reaching for his waistline and warned the assisting officer who began to wrestle with Rigsby and saw that he was gripping a gun while it was still holstered in the front of his pants. As Rigsby was unable to draw the weapon, he stopped resisting and raised his hands in the air. The officer then removed the loaded handgun from Rigsby. A certified criminal history check revealed that Rigsby is a convicted felon. Bond for Rigsby is $60,000 and his court date is December 22.

School Board Holds Brief Meeting

December 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools and Board of Education

The DeKalb County Board of Education met in regular monthly session Thursday night at the Ernest Ray Education Center. The meeting was very brief lasting only about seven minutes.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly report on personnel. Four employees have been granted a leave of absence as requested since last month including Robbie Frasier, Sara Halliburton, Karen Jacobs, and Sara Young.

The board adopted several proposed policies on first and second reading including one establishing what percentage of student’s performances on End of Course exams will count toward their final grades at DCHS in the year 2018-19.

High school students are tested in core subject areas with End of Course exams as part of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP. Their performance on these exams factors into their semester grade for the course.

“For this year of testing, 2016-17 End of Course will count 10% of the student’s average. 2017-18 it will be 15% of the student’s average. We have a range of 15-25% (we can choose) for 2018-19. That is something the board will have to approve. I recommend 15% be counted as the average in their End of Course exam for 2018-19,” said Director Cripps.

The school board approved Cripps’ recommendation.

Two principals, Julie Vincent at Smithville Elementary School and Kathy Bryant at DCHS gave brief updates on school activities.

"At Smithville Elementary School we’re finishing up our winter benchmarks this week and the beginning of next week. December 15 at 6:30 p.m. will be our second grade musical at the county complex. Ms Kelly Jo Birmingham has been working very hard with the second grade students for that and its always a nice event to see when the second graders put that on. December 16th is pajama day which is a big fun day at Smithville Elementary. I would like to give a shout out to my custodians, Pat Milam, Sara Lomas, James Owen, and Cody Pack. The fire marshal came through and did his inspection and said numerous times how clean the school was for such an older building. They couldn’t get over how nice it looked and how clean it is so I want to give them a shout out for how hard they work each day to help keep Smithville Elementary clean,” said Principal Vincent.

“DCHS will have end of course exams for Advanced Honors Geometry starting next week on December 14 and 15th and then our finals will begin on Thursday, December 15 and continue through the following Tuesday. Parents may visit www.dchstigers.com to find the detailed finals schedule if they would like to,” said Principal Bryant.

The board also granted permission for DeKalb Middle to begin fundraising to send students to the National Jr. Beta Convention.

DeKalb Fire Department Recognized for Smoke Detector Installation

December 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Fire Chief Donny Green; Baylie Scott, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s Office; County Fire Lieutenant Brian Williams; and County Mayor Tim Stribling

The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) has recognized the work of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department in meeting the challenge to install 100 smoke alarms in one day as part of the SFMO’s “100 for 100” initiative.

Baylie Scott, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator for the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office presented an award Thursday to DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green and Lieutenant Brian Williams at the department’s main station on King Ridge Road. County Mayor Tim Stribling was also on hand for the presentation.

The award states “On behalf of the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office this certificate is awarded to the DeKalb County Fire Department for their participation in the 2015 “100 for 100”. A century of saving lives and property. Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.”

Launched in 2015, the “100 for 100” initiative commemorates the SFMO’s 100th anniversary by challenging fire service organizations to install at least 100 free smoke alarms in just one day.

“We are giving out an award for the 100 for 100 campaign in honor of the 100 years of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Every department across the state was challenged to put in 100 smoke alarms in one day and the DeKalb County Fire Department did that,” Scott told WJLE.

" The "100 for 100" initiative started in response to Tennessee having an abnormally high fire mortality rate. Since then we have lowered the fire mortality rate 28% and we have installed a little over 130,000 smoke alarms statewide. We have also saved 154 lives. We have 458 organizations statewide that are participating in the program,” added Scott.

Although a group of DeKalb County volunteer firefighters met the 100 for 100 goal last year by installing 152 smoke alarms in one day, Lieutenant Brian Williams has placed or replaced hundreds of home smoke alarms himself over the last few years across the county, sacrificing his personal time and expense to make sure any home owner or resident who wants one has a working smoke alarm.

“We have to thank Brian for his commitment to this program. He has done the bulk of the work by himself. We’re proud that we have as many households in our county that are protected and we certainly want everyone to know that there is no reason for anyone not to have smoke alarms in their house because they are free. We come and install them for you and all you have to do is call 615-464-7176 or 615-330-4066 and let us know you need a smoke alarm. We will have someone get in touch with you," said Chief Green.

Anyone in need of a smoke alarm can also utilize the SFMO’s online alarm form to request a free installation at www.TN.gov/fire.

Parents Busted for Child Abuse and Neglect

December 8, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Donnie Ray Gillman
Christina Dawn Mooneyham

The parents of a 25 month old youngster have been charged with child abuse and neglect after testing positive for meth while caring for their toddler.

35 year old Donnie Ray Gillman and 39 year old Christina Dawn Mooneyham are each under a $5,000 bond and will make a court appearance on December 15.

Smithville Police took a report from a case worker of the Department of Children Services on Monday, November 28 who said she had received a referral alleging that Gillman and Mooneyham had been abusing methamphetamine. During an investigation by DCS Gillman and Mooneyham tested positive for methamphetamine during a urine drug screen and both admitted to having used drugs in the home while caring for their child. A hair follicle on the child also tested positive for methamphetamine. The toddler was placed in a foster home on Wednesday, November 9

Jessica May Sentenced for Attempted Aggravated Child Neglect (View Video Here)

December 7, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Deputies escort Jessica May from courthouse after her sentencing hearing today (Wednesday)

Almost one week after Cody Key was handed a 45 year prison term for the beating death of 23 month old Colten Alexander May, the child’s mother appeared for sentencing today (Wednesday) in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

20 year old Jessica May stood before Judge Gary McKenzie and entered a plea to attempted aggravated child neglect, a Class B felony, and received an eight year sentence as a range I mitigated offender to serve at least 20% before parole eligibility. However she may already be near qualifying for early release after having served 568 days since her arrest on May 19, 2015. If she is released early, May would be supervised for the remainder of the eight year term.

During May’s brief court appearance today, District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway presented the case against her to Judge McKenzie. He was joined in the courtroom by Assistant D.A. Greg Strong. May was represented by Daniel Barnes of Sparta, her court appointed attorney. Family members were also present for the hearing.

“That was a negotiated plea we came to in negotiating with her attorney. We feel good about it. I will say that Jessica May was not involved in the killing of her child, Colten May. She was not an actor in that homicide. We did charge her with neglect because of a history of abuse of the child in which she either turned a blind eye to or did nothing about it. The abuser of the child was Cody Key and he was convicted of second degree murder last week. But Jessica May did nothing to prevent the abuse that was inflicted on the child by Cody Key and she turned a blind eye to it over a period of time. In plain language that is the gist of the circumstances as to why she was charged with neglect,” D.A. Dunaway told WJLE after the hearing.

“I will say that she did assist in the prosecution of Cody Key. She accepted responsibility for her actions early and did assist the prosecution in making the case against Cody Key and had we tried Cody Key she was going to be a witness against him in that trial so that is really kind of the nature of why we agreed to a mitigated sentence,” added D.A. Dunaway.

“I hope you burn in hell”, said Jennifer Pitt, Colten’s paternal grandmother, in addressing May during the plea hearing today (Wednesday).

Pitt, who was allowed by the judge to speak after the plea was announced, walked up next to where May was seated in the courthouse. Pitt held a picture of Colten, looked directly at May, and said “I hope you see this when you go to sleep at night and for the rest of your life. You had no right. You could have stopped it but you didn’t. I hope you burn in hell,” said Pitt.

May and her fiancé at the time, 25 year old Cody Key were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 in Colten’s death. Key was charged with first degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse. May was indicted for aggravated child neglect, a Class A felony, and had she been convicted of that offense, May could have served from 15-60 years, which is the range of punishment for that crime.

The couple brought the child to the emergency room of Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital on Sunday morning, May 17, 2015 but he was already dead. It was determined that the child had suffered internal and other physical injuries that resulted in his death. Law enforcement officers concluded that Key had severely beaten the child and that May knew the abuse was taking place.

The indictment against May alleged that "between the 17th day of May, 2014 and the 17th day of May, 2015 in DeKalb County, Jessica May did unlawfully, knowingly, and other than by accidental means, neglect the child so as to adversely affect the health and welfare of the child, thereby committing the offense of aggravated child neglect".

May, who was pregnant again at the time of her arrest, was later transferred to the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction due to her special needs. Since giving birth, she has been incarcerated in the Warren County Jail. Her child was placed in the custody of the Department of Children Services and is reportedly now with May’s family members.

Last Thursday, December 1st, Key entered a plea in Putnam County Criminal Court to second degree murder and received a sentence of 45 years to be served at 100%.He will receive jail credit of 563 days for time served from May 19, 2015 to December 1, 2016.

After the plea today (Wednesday), May was returned to the Warren County Jail.

City Addresses Water Theft in New Ordinance

December 7, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen

Anyone caught stealing water from the City of Smithville is subject to criminal prosecution and civil penalties under a proposed policy ordinance adopted on first reading Monday night by the Smithville Board of Aldermen.

Although violators have been criminally prosecuted in the past the city has apparently had no formal policy or ordinance spelling out the terms of civil penalties and the state is recommending that it be done according to City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson

“We have had some issues with theft of water, especially this year. We recently prosecuted a gentleman and he has to make restitution on it. This (theft) does go on. Not a whole lot but it does happen. Anyway the state mandates that we have a policy,” said City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson .

Under the proposed “Water and Sewer Policy and Procedures” ordinance , theft is defined as “tampering with city equipment or stealing service which is grounds for discontinuance of utility service.

If evidence suggests that a theft of services has occurred, a “Notice of Violation” may be mailed or otherwise delivered to the accused at the discretion of the City Administrator or Mayor.

The accused will be subject to a $100 violation payment as well as service call charges and costs of labor and replacement parts as detailed by the city.

If the city determines that theft of services has occurred, it reserves the right to adjust the customer’s current bill and the bills for the past twelve months of usage. If the approximate amount of service that was stolen cannot be reasonably determined, the (accused) customer’s usage will be set at two to four times the minimum bill, as set on a case by case basis by the City Administrator or the Mayor according to the facts of each case.

Service will not be restored until all payments are made including the adjusted payment for water service, violation payment, all service call charges, labor, replacement parts, and reinstatement of service charges.

Service will be reinstated only during regular working hours Monday through Friday except in the case of an emergency.

Discontinuance of service by the city shall not release the customer from liability for payment of services and the city shall not be liable for any loss or damage resulting from the discontinuance of service.

The customer whose name appears on the application for service is the person responsible for payment of all charges.

In the event any customer fails to pay any city fee or charge, the customer shall pay all costs of collection including court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the city in collecting such sums.

The city shall have the right to refuse to render service to an applicant or to any member of an applicant’s household who is living at the same address whenever such person is delinquent on any payment to the utility or had his or her service discontinued because of a violation of the regulations or policies of the city.

Under the proposed ordinance, theft of service shall include but not be limited to the following:

*Opening valves at the curb or meter that have been turned off by city personnel

* Breaking, picking, or damaging cut-off locks

* By-passing meters in any way

* Taking unmetered water from hydrants by anyone other than an authorized official of a recognized fire department, fire insurance company, or utility for any purpose other than firefighting, testing or flushing of hydrants.

*Use of sprinkler system water service for any purpose other than fire protection

*Removing, disabling, or adjusting meter registers

*Connecting to or intentionally damaging water lines, valves, etc for the purpose of stealing or damaging city equipment

*Moving the meter or extending service without permission of the City of Smithville Water and Wastewater Department.

*Any other intentional act of defacement, destruction or vandalism to utility property or act that affects city property.

*Any intentional blockage or obstruction of city equipment.

The aldermen will consider second and final reading of the proposed ordinance next month.

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