Local News Articles

Man Responsible for Crash Charged with Vehicular Assault

May 15, 2017
Dwayne Page
Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
1996 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Christopher Keith Lane Derrick
2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber

A man believed to be responsible for a head-on crash and then leaving the scene Friday afternoon on East Broad Street was later apprehended and is now facing vehicular assault and other charges.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins said 21 year old Christopher Keith Lane Derrick of 323 Jackson Street Smithville is under a $15,000 bond and he will be in court on June 8th.


Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_23.pdf (3.95 MB)

According to police, Derrick was driving east on Broad Street in a 1996 Chevy Monte Carlo when he crossed into the westbound lane and struck an oncoming 2005 Chevy Classic driven by Alex B. Huber. Dustin Allen Sullivan and Ryan Powell were passengers with Derrick. Huber and Sullivan were taken by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Powell refused transport by EMS to the hospital.

Witnesses said that after the crash, Derrick fled the scene on foot carrying a green and white bag heading north into the woods between Eastside Inn and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

Smithville Police Officers, assisted by DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputies, set up a perimeter and conducted a foot search. Derrick was subsequently found and placed under arrest. Derrick had suffered a large cut near his right knee and across his leg. His speech was slurred and he was very unsteady on his feet. According to police, Derrick needed help at times to maintain his balance. Field sobriety tasks were not administered due to Derrick’s injuries. He was then transported by DeKalb EMS to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. A search warrant was obtained to get a blood sample from Derrick after he refused to voluntarily submit to a blood test.

In addition to vehicular assault, Derrick is charged with evading arrest, violation of the registration law and financial responsibility, driving without a license, failure to yield the right of way, and violation of the implied consent law.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

In other recent city crime news, 46 year old Juan F. Rodriguez was arrested on Saturday, May 6 for DUI and cited for implied consent and failing to come to a complete stop at an intersection. Police initiated a routine traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Rodriguez. The officer noticed that Rodriguez had blood shot eyes and a smell of alcohol on his person. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Rodriguez was then taken into custody without incident but he refused to give a blood sample. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 18.

45 year old DeWayn Amon Shoemake was cited on Sunday, May 7 for criminal trespassing and theft of property. According to police, Shoemake went onto the property of his victim after being told not to be there. Police learned that Shoemake had taken a tire off the victim's car and left with it. After removing the tire from the rim, Shoemake was later discovered trying to put the rim back on the car. His court date is May 18.

Dana Seborn Cantrell was arrested on Monday, May 8 for DUI. Police responded to the parking lot of Rite Aid Pharmacy where a man was found slumped over the steering wheel of a vehicle with the driver's door open. Upon arrival, police found Cantrell slumped over the steering wheel, his keys in the ignition, and the vehicle was still running. The officer awoke Cantrell and asked him to get out of the car. Cantrell’s speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Cantrell submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Police learned that Cantrell had taken prescription medication a couple of hours before operating his vehicle. Cantrell’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 8.

56 year old Donald Gene Rigsby was arrested Tuesday, May 9 for public intoxication. Police were called to Subway where a man on a bicycle ran into a vehicle as it was leaving the parking lot. The officer spoke with the man on the bicycle, Rigsby who had just opened a Miller High Life beer. Rigsby was unsteady on his feet, had an odor of alcohol on his person, and he couldn't keep his eyes open. Rigsby was determined to be a danger to himself and the public and he was taken into custody. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is June 8.

The following day, Wednesday May 10 Rigsby was cited for violation of the open container law. While on routine patrol, a police officer observed Rigsby walking on East Church Street trying to hide and conceal something under his shirt. The officer stopped Rigsby and asked him what was under his shirt. He produced an open can of beer. His city court date is June 6.

45 year old Richard Brandon Turner was arrested on Wednesday, May 10 for public intoxication and cited for simple possession. At approximately 10:30 p.m. police spotted a man lying on the side of the road near Wal-Mart on West Broad Street. The officer stopped to do a welfare check and found the man to be Turner. Upon approaching Turner, the officer could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his person. When the officer awoke him, Turner tried to stand up and almost fell several times. Due to Turner being intoxicated and being so close to the highway he was placed under arrest for his safety. Turner’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is May 18.

DCHS Tigerettes to Open Region Tournament Play Monday

May 14, 2017
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Fish

After wrapping up another regular season and district tournament championship, the DCHS Tigerettes will begin region tournament play Monday evening in Smithville.

The Tigerettes, 27-5 overall and 13-1 in district play this season, will face Sequatchie County, 17-10 overall and 7-3 in the district, at 6:00 p.m at the Danny Bond Field at DCHS. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

“Any time you get to this time of year it’s the best playing the best. We are glad we are at home playing Sequatchie County. They are a very solid program. They have won the state tournament before in Class AA. They beat us down there three or four years ago in the regional finals. We’ve still got that in the back of our minds. It gives us a little more fuel for the fire but they will be a formidable challenge. Hopefully we will continue to play well. I think we played really well in the district. Hopefully we will continue to swing the bats like we did in the district tournament,” said Tigerette Coach Danny Fish.

If the Tigerettes win Monday, they will host the next game on Wednesday. A win then would put them in the sub-state with another possible home game on Friday.

DeKalb West Names Students of Month

May 14, 2017
Bill Conger
DeKalb West Names Students of Month

DeKalb West announces the May Students of the Month. Selected for the prestigious honor were Kira Wilbur, Kindergarten, Jordyn Agee, 1st grade, Charlotte Cripps, 2nd grade, Mireya Barrett, 3rd grade, Jordyn Turbeville, 4th grade, Jaxon Humphrey, 5th grade, Aniston Farler, 6th grade, Summer Crook, 7th grade, and Abby Lawson, 8th grade.

Students are chosen for their academics, character, and other traits that make them outstanding students.

Pictured front row left to right: Jaxon Humphrey, Mireya Barrett, Jordyn Agee, Kira Wilbur, and Charlotte Cripps. Back row left to right are Abby Lawson, Summer Crook, Aniston Farler, and Jordyn Turbeville.

Blood Drive To Help Save Lives and Raise Money for Senior Centers

May 14, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss Coordinates Another Blood Drive

Cookeville Blood Assurance and DeKalb County Clerk James L. (Jimmy) Poss are teaming up again for another blood drive and several elected and appointed county officials are joining the effort in support of local senior citizens centers.

The blood drive is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21 from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the county complex and for every blood donation, these county officials will donate $2.00 to the senior citizens centers to be divided equally between the Smithville and Alexandria Centers.

“I have received commitments from Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Trustee Sean Driver, Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen, Road Supervisor Butch Agee, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, County Mayor Tim Stribling, Sheriff Patrick Ray, and General Sessions Judge Bratten Cook, II along with Clerk and Master Deborah Malone and Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley,” said County Clerk Poss.

“All blood collected from the Cookeville Blood Assurance Center will supply the needs of hospitals in our communities first including DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, Wilson, White, Putnam, Warren, Jackson, and Overton Counties,” Poss continued.

The blood drive will take place at the County Complex, Smithville Senior Citizens building on South Congress Boulevard. Those who wish to schedule an appointment may go online at www.bloodassurance.org/dekalb or contact County Clerk Poss or Blood Assurance Coordinator Trudy Cody.

Drinks and snacks will be provided and each donor will receive a T-shirt

Annual All Day Gospel Singing in Alexandria May 20

May 13, 2017
Dwayne Page
The King's Way
Three Parts Grace
David Turner and Friends
Calvary Trio
Terri Lynn Weaver
Right On Time

The Annual All Day Gospel Singing will be Saturday, May 20 at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. WJLE will broadcast LIVE.

The lineup is as follows:

*Malone's Chapel Baptist Church: 10 a.m.

*Bethany Harrison: 10:30 a.m.

*Jim Bishop: 11:00 a.m.

*Jason Sanders: 11:30 a.m.

*David Turner and Friends: Noon

*Tristan Pope on the piano: 12:15 p.m.

* The King’s Way: 12:30 p.m.

*Terri Lynn Weaver: 1:00 p.m.

*Short Ridge Sisters: 1:30 p.m.

*Truly Blessed: 2:00 p.m.

*Right on Time: 2:30 p.m.

*Calvary Trio: 3:00 p.m.

*Kaylee Baker: 3:30 p.m.

*Three Parts Grace: 4:00 p.m.

*Faith Singers: 4:30 p.m.

*Dessa Ray: 5:00 p.m.

*Amanda Crawford: 5:30 p.m.

*Glory 2 God- Doug Collins and Family: 6:00 p.m.

*Spence and Friends: 6:30 p.m.

TDOT Rebids College Street Bridge

May 13, 2017
Dwayne Page

Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. is again the bidder on the repair project of the Veterans Memorial Bridge on South College Street in Smithville.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, May 12 and Mid-State submitted a bid of $222,894. 68. There were apparently no other bids.

The question now is will Mid-State get the bid for that price?

In the February 10 letting, Mid-State bid $238,600.58 but there were no other bids and TDOT rejected it as too high.

The bridge has been closed since Monday, June 27, 2016 when a county landfill truck hit it causing major damage.

DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball MVP Signs with Chattanooga State

May 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
Hanah Panter
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Standout Hanah Panter signs to play basketball next season for the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers. She is joined by members of her family for the signing Friday
DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Standout Hanah Panter signs to play basketball next season for the Chattanooga State Lady Tigers. She is joined by her teammates for the signing Friday

DeKalb County High School basketball MVP Hanah Panter will be trading one Lady Tiger team for another next season.

Panter, a senior, will continue her basketball career at Chattanooga State Community College, having signed with the Lady Tigers on Friday at the DCHS library. Members of her family, teammates, and coaches joined her for the signing.

“I’ve always wanted to continue to play basketball and this is a great opportunity and I love the campus. Right now I don’t know if I want to be a nurse or a physical therapist but they offer both of those so that is very good,” said Hanah.

Panter was named Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player for the DCHS Lady Tigers at the team banquet in March and she made the District 8AA 2nd team All-District.

“Hanah is a good player, great kid, and a great student and she really improved for us this year throughout the season. We’ve seen that happen over her four years here at DeKalb too. She has really matured into a nice kid and nice player. She shot the ball really well and led us in scoring. She is going to do well at Chattanooga State. Hanah is very athletic. She can defend and shoots the three ball very well. Hanah went down to Chattanooga State for a workout and they really liked her. I am very happy for Hanah. She worked very hard for us,” said DCHS Lady Tiger Basketball Coach Danny Fish.

Chattanooga State Community College is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association and the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association.

Joe Pat Cope Named NEW Lady Raider Basketball Coach at Coffee County Central High

May 12, 2017
Joe Pat Cope and his daughter Reagan

Former DCHS Girls Basketball Coach Joe Pat Cope was announced as the new girls’ basketball coach at Coffee County Central High School in a Friday morning press release. Coach Cope met with the returning members of the Lady Raider basketball team on Friday morning at CHS. Cope comes to Coffee County after serving as an assistant coach at Ole Miss for the last year under Matt Insell. Prior to his stint at Ole Miss, Cope served as an assistant girls coach at Riverdale High School and the head girls’ varsity coach at DeKalb County High School. Cope also served as an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Lebanon High School. Cope is a two-time graduate of Tennessee Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts degree.

When asked about his reaction upon getting the call with the job offer, Cope could not hide the excitement in his voice. “I am very excited,” said Cope. “Coffee County can be a very prestigious program again. With the talent that is there, and the talent that is coming, this is a special opportunity.” Since his interview on May 5th, Cope has been gathering information about current middle school and high school players in the Coffee County and Manchester school systems. “I expect us to begin competing this summer” added Cope.

Dr. Joey Vaughn, Coffee County CHS principal, was ecstatic with Cope’s acceptance of the job. “I was very pleased with the number and quality of applicants that applied(for the position). During the interview process, Mr. Cope showed a genuine interest in our basketball program, community and players” added Vaughn. Dr. Vaughn went on to say “His experiences can help advance our program to the next level. He has experience at a great high school program, a strong AAU program and a quality SEC program. Coach Cope demonstrated a commitment to building and developing players through strong fundamentals and a tireless work ethic. He was also very familiar with the history and current state of Lady Raider basketball.”

Raider athletic director Ryan Sulkowski echoed many of the sentiments of Dr. Vaughn. “Coach Cope will bring great experience and excitement to the Lady Raiders and we are looking forward to him getting started.”

Cope will begin the transition from Ole Miss immediately and expects to be completely relocated to Coffee County by the end of the school year. “I will talk to Coach Insell and offer my assistance in helping my replacement” said Cope. “I expect to have tryouts as soon as school is out” added Cope. Cope also intends to begin the task of adding assistant coaches immediately. Cope is the proud father of a 12 year-old daughter, Reagan. Cope will also be a guest on the Coffee Coaches Show on Saturday, May 20th.

DCHS Seniors to Take 'Senior Walk' at Elementary Schools to Inspire Younger Students

May 12, 2017
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant

Graduation is two weeks away for DCHS seniors but next Friday, May 19 members of the graduating class will take a “Senior Walk” down memory lane, returning to Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West Schools where they once attended.

The seniors will stroll the halls of the schools in their caps and gowns as the elementary students look on. It will give the soon to be graduates a chance to reminisce, see their former teachers, and to inspire the youngsters to follow in their footsteps.

“On May 19 we will be traveling to Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. We are doing our first ever “Senior Walk”. Our seniors are going back to where they started with their caps and gowns and we are going to parade through the halls and let the kindergarten students see what graduation is all about. We are really excited about that,” DCHS Principal Kathy Bryant told the Board of Education Thursday night.

It's the first year for a DCHS Senior Walk but it may become a yearly tradition for each graduating class.

Meanwhile, Principal Bryant updated the school board on other important dates upcoming at DCHS.

"We have our final exams next week. On Tuesday, May 16 we will administer 5th & 6th blocks, Wednesday 3rd & 4th blocks, and on Thursday 1st & 2nd blocks," she said.

"We are also showing tonight and Saturday night our DCHS musical titled “The Little Mermaid”. That begins at 7 p.m. each night in the auditorium".

"I would like to congratulate our softball team. They are district champs and they will be hosting the regional tournament Monday night at 6 p.m.," Bryant continued.

"On Monday May 22 we will have our “Senior Award and Scholarship Night” at 6 p.m. in the gym and graduation will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 26 on the football field. We’re hoping and praying for fair weather," Bryant concluded.

Meanwhile in her report to the board, Assistant DeKalb Middle School Principal Amanda Dakas said the 8th grade musical is scheduled next week. "This coming Tuesday night, May 16 we will have the DeKalb Middle School 8th grade musical and we invite everyone in the community to come and be apart. It has a Disney theme this year and I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised. We have a lot of faculty involved in this year’s production as well. It will be lots of fun," said Dakas.

Karen Knowles, Principal at Northside Elementary School, said lots of activities are also set for next week there. "Wednesday, May 17 we’ll have our awards day. We’ve broken that up this year. It will be 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades at 8:15 a.m.. Fifth grade will be by itself with their DARE graduation. Kick-off for 5th grade activities will be at 9:45 a.m. On Thursday we will have our musical at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. On Friday our talent show will be at 12:45 p.m. You can come out anytime Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and find something fun going on at Northside," said Principal Knowles.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps updated the board on personnel leaves of absences and resignations/retirements announced within the past month.

Leave of Absence: Connie Haggard.

Resignations: Jacob Parsley, James Porter, and Michael Shaw.

"I’d like to recognize three educators that are retiring and starting a new part of their life and we would like to thank them for everything they have given to our community. That is Lisa Cripps, Regina Kent, and Michael Lewis. Thank you for what you have done for DeKalb County and our educational system," said Director Cripps.

DeKalb Student Among Pre-professionals to find path to health school programs at Tech

May 11, 2017
 Zachary Martin, left, and Lana Ngo, right, are among the growing number of students from Tennessee Tech being accepted to professional health school programs. Both Martin and Ngo are spring 2017 graduates of Tech headed to pharmacy school.
 Lana Ngo, concentrated on pre-professional scieneces during her time Tennessee Tech and has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida. Zachary Martin has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis following his work at Tech.

The steps Zachary Martin takes across the stage at Tennessee Tech’s commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6 will not be his last as a scholar. He has been accepted to pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and is among a growing number of Tech’s pre-professional health sciences students getting accepted into professional schools.

Martin, a DeKalb County resident, will earn his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, but he knew he wanted to be a pharmacist and a bachelor’s degree is not required for admittance to pharmacy school. However, once Martin got to Tech and became involved in all that the pre-professional health sciences concentration had to offer, he chose to see his bachelor’s degree through at Tech.

“I worked with a couple pharmacists who had been to Tech, and they said among professional schools Tech is recognized for producing well-prepared students,” Martin said. “That gave me confidence to know that if I could do this, I could be accepted anywhere.”

And when it comes to getting into professional schools, the application and interview process can be tough.

Marina Naguib, who will also receive her bachelor’s degree on Saturday before heading to the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, remembers the feelings she had before her optometry school interview.

“I was very nervous,” Naguib said, “but I talked with my advisor, who told me what to expect and did a practice interview with me. That was so helpful and made me feel so much better.”

Naguib knows that it’s easy to become discouraged or be intimated by the idea of applying to tough professional programs, but she says she felt encouraged by everyone she encountered at Tech.

“Through the Chem-Med Club, I got to meet with an optometrist who talked about how she struggled through getting into school,” Naguib said. “She gave me hope that even if I didn’t make it the first time, I could do it.”

Shikha Amin will take her degree in chemistry from Tech with her to dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina, but it is more than just her degree that she will carry with her.

“I think classes have prepared me to do well,” Amin said. “I have had such great relationships with all of my professors. That’s what I love about the chemistry department. It is like one big family. The faculty and staff really see the good in you.”

Add that to the undergraduate research and teaching assistant opportunities that she’s had and Amin says she is confident moving on to dental school.

Like Martin, Lana Ngo didn’t have to have her bachelor’s degree to get into pharmacy school.

“I wanted to it,” Ngo, who has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida, said. “Especially here, being in the chemistry department, the relationships and encouragement I have had is worth all of the hard work I have put into it.”

Health sciences at Tech is not a degree granting program, though many students in the program earn degrees. It is designed to allow students to follow a curriculum path that meets their interest and ultimately makes them well-rounded candidates for professional health schools.

“The professors here are totally on your side,” said Emily Carney, who is headed to the pharmacy program at Belmont University after finishing this semester at Tech. “They want you to learn and to be able to share that knowledge in your future job. They are here to be your teacher but it’s more than that. They take so much pride in your education and it is extremely encouraging.”

Health sciences students get personalized advisement within the chemistry department to ensure that the work they are doing at Tech will take them to where they want to go.

“They make sure you get the classes you need in. They remember your name. They know you. They remember what your major and concentration is,” Martin said. “I never felt like I was doing this alone.”

And they have a reputation of doing that well.

“When I went to my two interviews for pharmacy schools, the first thing they would say is, ‘I see you went to Tennessee Tech. We like Tech students,’” Martin said.

Tech student Elizabeth Trainham has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at UTHSC and Whitley Pollard has been accepted to the School of Optometry at the University of Alabama Birmingham. As this semester ends, other Tech students will be headed to professional health programs at South College, University of Kentucky in Pikeville, A.T. Still University of Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, the University of Cincinnati, Meharry University and the University of California Davis.

While the classes were tough and the interview process for their next steps was intimidating, the students agree that the faculty and staff at Tech did right by them.

“They start you out running and if you never stop running, you don’t know that you could’ve ever walked,” Martin said.


Zachary Martin, left, and Lana Ngo, right, are among the growing number of students from Tennessee Tech being accepted to professional health school programs. Both Martin and Ngo are spring 2017 graduates of Tech headed to pharmacy school.

Lana Ngo, concentrated on pre-professional scieneces during her time Tennessee Tech and has been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Florida. Zachary Martin has also been accepted to the pharmacy program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis following his work at Tech.


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