Local News Articles

One Airlifted After Midnight Crash

October 22, 2013
Dwayne Page
One Airlifted After Midnight Crash
James Matthew Crowe Injured in Wreck

One man was injured in a roll over traffic accident after midnight in the area of 459 Jacobs Pillar Road just outside the Smithville city limits.

Central dispatch received the call at 12:51 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 20 year old James Matthew Crowe was driving a 1993 Mazda southbound when the car veered off the right shoulder into an embankment. The car flipped and came to a final rest on its top.

Crowe was taken by DeKalb EMS to meet a Life Force helicopter ambulance which landed nearby to take him to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga

Members of the Short Mountain Highway Station and Rescue Truck of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded. The Keltonburg Station helped establish the helicopter landing zone. Officers of the Sheriff's Department were also at the scene of the accident.

Anderson Charged with Assaulting her Mother

October 21, 2013
Dwayne Page
April Lynn Anderson
David Shane Hacker
Benjamin Daniel Bell

A 30 year old woman has been charged with the domestic assault of her mother.

April Lynn Anderson of Quail Pointe, Drive Smithville is under a $2,500 bond and she will be in court on October 30. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, October 16 a deputy was dispatched to DeKalb Community Hospital in reference to a domestic call. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with a woman who was awaiting treatment. She told the officer that she was taken to the hospital after her daughter, Anderson kicked her in the stomach, punched her in the ribs, and punched her in the back of the head. The deputy noticed a red physical mark on the victim's left hand. The woman said she was covering up her head as her daughter was punching her. The injuries were photographed and the victim provided a written statement.

19 year old David Shane Hacker of Cardinal Lane, Smithville is charged with domestic assault, violation of an order of protection, and reckless endangerment. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court October 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, October 16 a deputy responded to a physical domestic call on Rosewood Lane, Smithville involving Hacker and his ex-girlfriend. The woman told the officer that Hacker shoved her into a brick wall while she was holding their daughter, causing the child to hit her head on the brick wall. The youngster suffered a small cut to her forehead. A computer check revealed that this woman (victim) has an active order of protection against Hacker. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

30 year old Benjamin Daniel Bell of Park City, Utah is charged with public intoxication, assault, and resisting arrest. His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court on October 31. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, October 20 an officer was dispatched to Craft Center Drive to check out a complaint of someone being on top of a water tower. Upon arrival, the deputy spoke with a security guard who reported that he had made contact with a man who had been on the water tower. According to the security guard, the man came down from the tower, shoved him, and then took off running. After searching the grounds, the officer made contact with Bell, who was found curled up in a ball, hiding in the woods behind a tree. Bell had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and he was uncooperative with the officer. He was placed under arrest and transported to the sheriff's office for booking.

Harlem Wizards Returning to DeKalb County

October 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Harlem Wizards Returning to DeKalb County
Harlem Wizards Wowed the Crowd Last Year
Harlem Wizards Get Audience Participation

The Harlem Wizards will bring their trick-hoops and alley-oops back to DeKalb County High School Tuesday night, October 29 at 7:00 p.m.

The Wizards, a show basketball team, will play local personalities to raise funds for the DeKalb County High School Basketball Booster Club.

"The Harlem Wizards came here last year and played against a team that we had put together here as a fundraiser for the DeKalb County High School Basketball Booster Club. They are coming back a second time. It will be on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:00 p.m. at the DCHS Gym. The doors will open at 6:15 p.m." said Suzette Barnes.

At a Harlem Wizards game, fans witness amazing basketball talent combined with hilarious comedy. When you're in the stands, you're more than a spectator, you're part of the show with loads of audience participation throughout the game.

Fans will experience a magical display of tricks, coordinated ball handling, fancing passing, and aerodynamic athleticism combined with high-energy comedy and audience interaction. The experience can only be summed up in two words: Awe-Inspiring!


"Tickets can be purchased at the Smithville office of Liberty State Bank, Kilgore's Restaurant, or from any basketball player, manager, or cheerleader," said Barnes. "Student tickets are $8.00 in advance (kindergarten through 12th grade). Tickets for adults are $10.00 purchased in advance. The night of the event the tickets will be $10.00 for students (kindergarten through 12th grade) and $12.00 for adults. The money will be used to support the basketball booster club. We do different things throughout the year for the players from senior night to the banquet. We try to go out to eat. In the past we have gone to a Vanderbilt basketball game. We do different things for the program, not just one specific thing," she said.

The local team taking on the Wizards will be made up of public officials, educators, coaches, community leaders, and entertainers. "I am excited about this year's lineup," said Barnes. "We have both Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss and County Mayor Mike Foster on our team. We also have County Fire Chief Donny Green, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, TWRA Officer Tony Cross, Darrin Vincent of Dailey and Vincent, Tom Duggin of DTC TV, Shawn Tubbs of the Family Medical Center, School Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague, School Resource Officer Kenneth Whitehead, DCHS Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp, DCHS Tiger Soccer Coach K, Angela Johnson of Smithville Elementary School, Coach Danny Fish of Northside Elementary School, and Coaches Karen Pelham and Justin Nokes of DeKalb Middle School," she said.

Barnes urges you to get your tickets early as last year's show was a sell out. " We do not do reserved seats. All ticket prices are general admission. The seating is first come, first served. Last year our goal was to sell one thousand tickets. We sold one thousand tickets by 3:30 p.m. on the afternoon of the event. We had people at the door wanting tickets. We were allowed to sell a few more tickets. We did sell out with 1,235 tickets. I expect as big or bigger crowd again this year. I want to encourage everyone to get your tickets early if you want to see the show," said Barnes.

Entertainment has been scheduled this year for those who may be standing in line outside waiting to get in the night of the show. "From 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., there will be entertainment in the parking lot. Some prizes will be given away. Last year, we had a line from the front door all the way around the cafeteria at the high school. So we'll provide some entertainment to those people standing in line this year," Barnes continued.

For students who can't attend the show, the Harlem Wizards will be making a personal appearance at each school on the day of the event. "On the day of the event, October 29 the players from the Harlem Wizards will come and interact with the students at all the schools. During that day they will be at DCHS during the lunch time interacting with students in the lunch room getting them involved in tricks and handling the basketball. That afternoon from 1:00 p.m. until 1:20 p.m. they will be at Northside Elementary and at Smithville Elementary. At 2:00 p.m. they will be at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School to put on a little performance for the schools there from 2:00 p.m. until 2:20 p.m. It's a good way to get all the kids to see the Harlem Wizards and if they can't come that night. They will at least get to see them for a few minutes at their schools and get to interact with them. They (Harlem Wizards) are real good about taking students from the audience, bringing them out, and getting them to do different tricks and ball handling skills," said Barnes.

Woman Found in Closet Charged with Burglary

October 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Randy Caplinger

A woman found hiding in the closet of a home where she wasn't supposed to be has been charged with burglary.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 37 year old Valerie M Brown was arrested for burglary on Saturday, October 5. Captain Steven Leffew was dispatched to West Main Street to check on a vehicle parked in the road causing a traffic hazard. Upon arrival, Captain Leffew observed a vehicle parked in front of a residence and there was broken glass and damage to the door of the home. Captain Leffew requested assistance from Officer Matt Farmer and the two officers searched the house where they found Brown hiding in a closet. Police learned that Brown did not have permission to be inside the house. Bond for Brown is $5,000 and she will be in court on October 10.

41 year old Rachel Lynn Mabe was cited for simple possession on Thursday, October 3. Officer Will Judkins was dispatched to South Congress Boulevard in response to a possible reckless driver. Officer Judkins made contact with the vehicle and performed a welfare check on the driver, Mabe. Twenty pills believed to be Hydrocodone were found to be in Mabe's possession. She had no prescription for the pills. Her court date is November 7.

35 year old Aaron Dwayne Ponder was cited for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia on Thursday, October 3. K-9 Officer James Cornelius observed Ponder removing several hypodermic needles from his pants pocket and throw them into a garbage can at Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard. Ponder will be in court on November 7.

23 year old Heather Leigh Standridge was arrested for DUI on Friday, October 4. K-9 Officer James Cornelius responded to a possible impaired driver on East Broad Street and upon making contact with the driver, Standridge he noticed that her speech was slurred. Standridge submitted to but performed poorly on sobriety tasks. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on November 7.

20 year old James Matthew Crowe was arrested by Officer Will Judkins and charged with domestic assault on Monday, October 7. According to the warrant, Crowe assaulted his ex girlfriend by picking her up from a sitting position and throwing her onto the ground outside the residence causing a bruise on her arm. Bond for Crowe is $2,500 and he will be in court on October 31.

46 year old Yvonna Van Dyne was arrested for domestic assault on Monday, October 14. Officer Joey Myers was dispatched to a residence in reference to a domestic complaint. Upon arrival, Officer Myers spoke with the victim who stated that he and Van Dyne had gotten into a verbal argument and that she grabbed him in a headlock and punched him in the face resulting in a busted lip and redness around his nose. Bond for Van Dyne is $2,500 and she will be in court on October 31.

While investigating a stabbing at City Walk Apartments on Tuesday, October 15, Sergeant Andy Snow was approached by a victim who stated that a family member had struck her in the mid-section with his cane. The victim had bruising in her rib area. 43 year old Royce Virgel Ashford Jr. was arrested and charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on October 31.

29 year old Roxanne Landis was also arrested by Sergeant Andy Snow at City Walk Apartments for public intoxication as she appeared to be under the influence of something. She was unsteady on her feet and was causing a nuisance for the public and for law enforcement officers who were investigating another incident. Landis was asked to return to her apartment several times but she kept coming back outside causing a disturbance. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on October 31.

Man Escapes Serious Injury in Rollover Accident

October 19, 2013
Dwayne Page
Man Escapes Serious Injury in Rollover Accident

A 35 year old man received minor injuries in a rollover traffic accident Friday morning on Big Rock Road.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Anthony Glen Johnson of Antioch Road was on his way to work, driving north in a 1997 F-150 pickup when he lost control while attempting to negotiate a curve to the left. The truck went off the road to the left, entered a ditchline, and went up a small embankment. The truck then overturned onto its passenger side. Johnson was wearing his seatbelt and received only minor injuries. He was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

According to Trooper Jennings, dense fog at the time may have contributed to the accident.

Attorney Sarah Cripps Welcomes New Law Partner Brandon Cox

October 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
Brandon Cox receives oath from Judge Bratten Cook II
Attorney Sarah Cripps welcomes new law partner Brandon Cox
Brandon Cox family with Judge Bratten Cook II

DeKalb County has a new attorney.

Brandon Cox took the oath Thursday morning administered by Judge Bratten Cook, II. The brief ceremony was held in the General Sessions Courtroom.

Cox is joining the law office of Sarah Cripps. "We are extremely pleased to announce that Mr. Cox will be associating and joining my law practice. He recently has passed the Tennessee Bar exam and is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law. I am very happy to have him joining my practice," Cripps told WJLE.

Cox, a lifelong resident of Smithville, is the son of Ms. Virginia Cox, also of Smithville. He graduated from DeKalb County High School in 2004. In May, 2009, Cox graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in sociology.

Brandon graduated from the Nashville School of Law with his Doctorate of Jurisprudence in May, 2013. In July, 2013, he sat for and passed the Tennessee Bar Examination. "It's really exciting. It's been a long road with years of school but joining Sarah is going to be great. She has a lot of knowledge and experience and she has been very helpful showing me the ropes. I can't wait to get started," Cox told WJLE.

He is married to Whitney Rice Cox. They have one daughter, Cora Marie Cox, who is two years old.

Prior to graduating from law school, Brandon was employed with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services as a Family Service Worker.

In 2009, he served as the assistant baseball coach at DeKalb County High School.

(In the group photograph above, pictured from left to right are Bob Rice, Whitney Cox's paternal grandfather; Virginia Cox, Brandon Cox's mother; Whitney Rice Cox, wife of Brandon Cox; Brandon J. Cox; Cora Marie Cox, daughter of Brandon and Whitney Cox; and Judge Bratten Hale Cook, II.)

Tony Tarpley Sworn In As Mayor of Alexandria

October 18, 2013
Dwayne Page
City Attorney Vester Parsley with Alexandria Mayor Tony Tarpley

Alexandria has a new mayor.

Alderman Tony Tarpley was appointed mayor by his fellow aldermen in a special meeting held Thursday morning at city hall.

Tarpley was sworn into office by city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr.

Alderman Addie Farley was named Vice Mayor.

Other members of the city council are Pat Jackson and Bennett Armstrong.

Jim H. York, Jr. was elected mayor last month but he resigned three days after taking office in a dispute with the Aldermen.

According to Alexandria's City Charter "the board shall fill vacancies"....but any portion of an unexpired four (4) year term for Alderman or Mayor that remains beyond the next municipal election shall be filled by the voters at such election..."

In other words..in this case, the mayor can't serve beyond the next election, unless he is elected mayor.

Therefore, in 2015, Alexandria will be electing three aldermen for four year terms and now a mayor to fill the remaining two years of the unexpired term.

The city government in Alexandria is made up of a mayor and six aldermen. Three of the aldermen seats are now vacant. The remaining members of the council are hoping to appoint persons to fill those seats soon.

Body of Man Found in Lake Identified as Joseph Loupe

October 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Joseph Loupe

The body of a man found floating in Center Hill Lake last Friday has been positively identified by the state medical examiner as Joseph Loupe of Rutherford County.

"The pathologist was able to take xrays to make a positive identification," Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Thursday afternoon. "The autopsy revealed that Loupe was the victim of a drowning. No foul play is suspected, according to Sheriff Ray.

Loupe's badly decomposed body was spotted by a fisherman last Friday morning, October 11 on what would have been the victim's 45th birthday. The remains surfaced in the area of Edgar Evins State Park and Center Hill Marina, near where his boat was found on the day of his disappearance nearly three years ago.

Loupe rented a pontoon boat from Center Hill Marina on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 and set out on the lake. Later that day, the boat was found unoccupied but still in gear and traveling in a circle, about three quarters of a mile from the marina.

" In my career as a law enforcement officer, I never heard of any body surfacing after being in the lake for that long," said Sheriff Ray.

"We believe he either fell or jumped into the water from the boat. A fanny pack was on the body that contained his identification but since the remains were so badly decomposed, we couldn't tell who he was. After his body was sent to Nashville for an autopsy, the state medical examiner asked us to see if we could find Xrays to help confirm his identity," said Sheriff Ray.

At the time of Loupe's disappearance, the incident was initially treated as a possible boating accident. " He rented the boat around midday from Center Hill Marina," said TWRA Officer Tony Cross on the day Loupe went missing. "Approximately 50 minutes to an hour later, the boat was discovered unoccupied out on the lake, still moving, in gear. Several different agencies are working on it. We're working side by side with the sheriff's department in DeKalb and Rutherford county," said Officer Cross.

After getting the boat stopped, an Edgar Evins Marina employee and park ranger began a visual search, scanning the banks and shoreline in the area, before contacting the TWRA.

Officer Cross said there was one sighting of the man on the lake prior to his disappearance. "We had a witness (an employee of Edgar Evins Marina) who saw the rental pontoon and saw that there was a person on board, but he was quite a distance away. He just happened to take notice of it since there is very little boat traffic on the lake right now. He noticed it was a rental pontoon from Center Hill Marina and it looked like one person was on the boat but nothing appeared to be amiss."

TWRA officers scanned the banks by boat throughout the afternoon and dragging operations by the rescue squad continued until dark, but to no avail.

"As soon as he went missing, we did a missing person report on him," Sheriff Ray told WJLE Thursday. "We entered him into the National Crime Information Center as missing and over the last three years we did some investigation and checked tips we received but nothing ever came from it," he said.

Blackwell Charged in Burglary and Stabbing Incident

October 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Russell Blackwell

A Smithville man is charged with breaking into his neighbor's apartment and assaulting another neighbor with a knife.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 37 year old Russell Blackwell of City Walk Apartments on East Bryant Street is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. His bond totals $20,000 and he will be in court on October 31.

According to Detective Brandon Donnell, who investigated the case, Smithville Police received a call of a stabbing on Tuesday at City Walk Apartments. "Sergeant Andy Snow contacted me and I initiated an investigation. It was determined that Blackwell forced his way into an apartment, causing damage to the front door, and started fighting with the resident there. As another neighbor got between the two to try and break up the fight, Blackwell allegedly pulled a large kitchen knife and cut the neighbor several times who was trying to stop the fight. After the assault, Blackwell ran out of the apartment and allegedly threw the knife on top of the building before returning to his own residence in the apartment complex," said Detective Donnell.

After witnesses identified Blackwell as the man responsible for the assault, police went to his apartment where they found Blackwell and placed him under arrest. The knife was also retrieved from the top of the apartment building.

The wounded man in the knife attack was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

Applicants Sought for Constable in Three Districts

October 17, 2013
Dwayne Page

Anyone interested in being appointed to the positions of constable in the first, second, or third district may soon apply.

The county commission Tuesday night voted to advertise seeking applicants for the open seats.

Respondents will be interviewed by members of the county commission in an informal meeting. A vote will later be taken on filling the vacant seats at a regular meeting of the commission.

Constable terms are for four years. The last election for constables was in 2012. Five of the seven district seats were filled including Wayne Vanderpool in the third district, Paul Cantrell in the fourth district, Mark Milam in the fifth district, Carl Lee Webb in the sixth district, and Johnny King in the seventh district. No one ran for the positions in the first and second districts. However in recent months persons in those districts have expressed an interest.

Vanderpool has since passed away, creating a vacancy in the third district.

If the commission appoints persons to fill these three positions, the appointees would serve until August 31, 2014. Elections will be held in 2014 to fill the remaining two years of the terms.


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