Local News Articles

Castillo Charged with Rape

April 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 29 year old man with the rape of a woman at her home.

Jose Luis Chavez Castillo of 920 Short Mountain Street will appear in General Sessions Court on May 29th on the rape charge. His bond is $50,000.

In his report, Officer Bradley C. Tatrow states that "On April 14th at approximately 2:50 a.m., I responded to a possible rape. Upon arrival, I made contact with the victim who advised me that an Hispanic male, whose name she thought to be Luis, had come into her home and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him. She advised me that he called her earlier in the night and said he wanted to come over to talk to her just as friends. She stated that the male subject came over to talk to her. She advised me that while he was at her home, she went into a bedroom to check on her son and he followed her in and shut the door behind him. She said he threw her on to the bed and forced her to have intercourse with him. He then ran out the door and left in his green station wagon and went in the direction of his residence on Short Mountain Highway. The victim was taken to the emergency room of the hospital for an examination. Castillo was later arrested at his home. DNA evidence was collected from both the suspect and victim.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr.

Meanwhile, Kelly Ann Gibbs of Evins Mill Road was arrested Thursday and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on the charge April 17th.

In his report, Officer Randy King states that "On April 10th, I was dispatched to Smith Road (park) along with Officer Travis Bryant. Upon arrival, I spoke with Gibbs. She had been reported as missing to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. I spoke with Lou Steinsiek, Gibbs' mother and the owner of the (Gibbs) vehicle. Steinsiek advised that her daughter had left in the vehicle at approximately 4:30 p.m. the day before. Steinsiek advised me that she did not want her daughter to have her vehicle and gave me and Officer Bryant consent to search it. Upon a search of the vehicle, Officer Bryant seized two syringes in the vehicle. Both were found on the seat. One had residue and the other was new. I asked Gibbs if she had anything else on her person. Before being taken to jail, she handed me a syringe from her bra that was wrapped in a blue eye glass cloth."

In a related case, 46 year old Danny Ray Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road was also arrested Thursday and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge April 17th.

In his report, Officer Travis K. Bryant states that "On April 10th, at 1:30 p.m. I responded to the park on Smith Road. Upon arrival I made contact with several subjects, one of them being Ponder. We obtained permission to search the vehicle from the owner and Ponder was asked to step out of the car. Ponder was sitting on the passenger side front seat and in the driver's seat in his immediate access were a jacket with two needles on it. The driver stated that the needles belonged to Ponder.

In another case, 22 year old Robert Terry Maxwell of Wenger Lane was charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $1,000 in each case and he will be in court on the charges April 24th.

In his report, Officer Bradley Tatrow states that " On April 10th at 9:47 p.m., I observed a vehicle traveling east on Highway 70 with a driver not wearing his seatbelt. Upon stopping the vehicle (at Juniper Lane and West Broad Street) I made contact with the driver (Maxwell). Upon consent to search the vehicle, I recovered a small baggie of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and rolling papers (in glove box). After securing the items, I returned to the vehicle. I smelled the strong odor of marijuana and had a suspicion that there was more in the vehicle. Upon K-9 Astro being deployed, he indicated on a gate very near the vehicle. A small baggie of a green leafy substance was recovered from a crack in the gate. Maxwell admitted that the substance belonged to him and he gave a written statement to that fact."

Meanwhile, on April 10th, Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 520 West Main Street in reference to an automobile burglary.

In the report, Officer Davis states that " Upon arrival, I made contact with the complainant. She stated that while she was in the hospital, an unknown person broke into her vehicle (broken driver side window) The amount of the damage to the victim's vehicle is estimated at $150. Property missing includes a black pocket book, an agner billfold, $25.00, a check book, a Goody's credit card, a Pay Pal credit card, a deed to property, and other miscellaneous items (papers).

Sheriff Ray Says Thieves May be Reading Your Classified Ads

April 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray is warning you to be careful about how you advertise items for sale from your homes, such as motorcycles, ATV's, and vehicles because it could entice thieves to steal them when you are unaware or away from home.

Sheriff Ray says "We have found out through our investigations that people who post items for sale on the Internet, newspapers, or radio and post their home phone number or home addresses, may be giving thieves valuable information. Thieves are taking the listed phone numbers and querying them through search engines on the Internet and finding out the location of the items. Then the culprit will use mapping systems on the Internet for directions to the home and attempt to steal the listed items. Items such as ATV's, motorcycles, and vehicles are among the most favorite because most people leave these items parked in yards to advertise them for sale. Sheriff Ray asks you to post a cell phone number instead of your home phone number and never post your address for someone to look at."

Meanwhile, in other crime news, 65 Year old Phillip Roger Gravel of Andrew Street, Smithville was charged last Monday with driving on a suspended driver's license. Sheriff Ray says deputies, with knowledge that Gravel's license was suspended, stopped him on Restview Avenue after noticing him operating a motor vehicle. Gravel's bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is May 15th.

58 year old Jose Contrera of Old Smithville Road, McMinnville was arrested Wednesday for no driver's license and leaving the scene of an accident. Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a call on Highway 56 South where Contrera had hit a vehicle. Instead of staying at the scene of the accident, Contrera decided to leave. Contrera was found at a factory on Highway 70 West and was arrested. Contrera's bond was set at $2,000 and his court date is set for April 23rd.

Also on Wednesday, 30 year old Aron Dewayne Ponder of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown was arrested on a sealed indictment from the April Term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury. Ponder was indicted on one count of attempt to sell a schedule II drug (Oxycontin) and one count of attempt to deliver a schedule II drug (Oxycontin). Ponder's bond was set at $10,000.

26 year old Christina Love Johnson of Kendra Drive, Smithville was arrested Thursday on a sealed indictment from the December 2007 term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury. Johnson was charged with possession of a schedule VI drug for resale, possession of a schedule VI drug for delivery, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Johnson's bond was set at $5,000.

On Friday, 34 year old Martinez Velasquez of Bright Hill Road, Smithville was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence and no driver's license. The Sheriff's Department responded to a call on Highway 70 East about an accident. After an investigation into the accident, officers found that Velasquez had run a vehicle off the road way and that he was intoxicated. Velasquez also did not have a valid driver's license. He was arrested and a bond was set at $2,000. His court date is May 15th.

Burton and Ray Honored at GOP Lincoln Day Dinner

April 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Republican Women's Club hosted the Fifth Annual Lincoln Day Dinner Friday night at the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

Two long time party leaders, Walter Burton and Ernest Ray were recognized for their devotion and service.

Burton is a former DeKalb County Republican Party Chairman, a former Volunteer Firefighter, and he is a member of the Smithville Industrial Development Board. Burton is owner and operator of Voyager Carpets.

Ray is a former teacher, principal, and Superintendent of Schools.

Both were presented plaques by party treasurer Dennis Stanley.

Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey was the keynote speaker at the dinner.

Ramsey talked about recent Republican gains in the State House and Senate and issues over which Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill disagree, including how to address Illegal Immigration.

The State Senate is divided with 16 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and one Independent, while in the State House, Democrats have a four seat majority.

Ramsey says Republicans have a chance to pick up seats this year in both the House and Senate including the seat Frank Buck is giving up.

Other speakers during the dinner included Robin Smith, Tennessee GOP Chairperson, State Senator Mae Beavers, and Conservative Radio Talk Show Host Steve Gill, who served as the master of ceremonies.

State Senate Approves Resolution Setting up Special Committee to Investigate Removal of Gibson

April 11, 2008

The State Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) held a special committee meeting this week to hear a resolution that would set up a special committee to investigate the removal of William E. Gibson from the office of District Attorney General of the Thirteenth Judicial District by the Tennessee. The Thirteenth District includes Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Overton, Pickett, Putnam and White Counties.

Sponsor of the resolution, Senator Jim Kyle (D-Memphis) told Chairman Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and members of the committee, “improprieties have occurred. “They are clear and undisputed,” he said.

“This would create a committee and proceed with the process,” said Chairman Beavers. “They will than have an investigation and make a recommendation to the full Senate. The House will also participate as five members will be selected by each Speaker, House and Senate, to serve on the special panel. Then the report of the committee would come before both bodies for a vote.”

The Committee approved the resolution on Wednesday and sent the measure to the full Senate, where it was approved on Thursday. The resolution sets up the procedure to investigate the removal. Tennessee’s Constitution provides that attorneys for the state may be removed from office by a concurrent two-thirds vote of both Houses of the General Assembly, each House voting separately.

Gibson has been sanctioned with the temporary removal of his law license by the Board of Professional Responsibility which supervises the ethical conduct of attorneys. Kyle said the actions of the Board were due to several reasons, including Gibson “using his position to influence the outcome of a case.”

Action by State Senate Committee Would Deter “Sanctuary Cities” for Illegal Aliens in Tennessee

April 11, 2008

The State Senate and Local Government Committee has approved legislation to cut off economic and community grant money to any Tennessee city that might declare itself a "sanctuary city" for illegal aliens. The bill aims to deter the creation of any local zones where aliens could live illegally in the state.

Sanctuary communities are a danger to the public because illegal immigrants who commit crimes are able to repeat their offenses instead of being dealt with by immigration officials,” said Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet). “San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and many more localities are evolving into ‘city-states.’ They've sprung up all over the country, declaring their independence from the rule of law. During a time when our borders are being used as gateways for terrorists and other illegal activities, there is no reason for knowingly providing illegal aliens with sanctuary from prosecution.”

A sanctuary city is a term given to a city in the United States that follows certain practices that protect illegal aliens. The term generally applies to cities that do not allow municipal funds or resources to be used to cooperate with federal immigration laws. This most commonly occurs when cities do not allow police or municipal employees to inquire about one’s immigration status.

Thirty-eight cities in the U.S. have been recognized as sanctuary cities. However, many sources have identified over 200 city or county governments nationwide as practicing such policies. Thus far, no Tennessee city has been identified in these groups.

“The legislation is a preemptive measure to guard against adoption of any policy by cities in the state to provide a sanctuary for illegal aliens in Tennessee,” said Senator Beavers. “This would enable police to do their job and see that criminal aliens are not allowed to live invisibly among our communities in violation of our laws.”

Issues in Brief

DUI / ignition interlock -- The Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would require ignition interlock devices to be installed on motor vehicles driven by DUI offenders with alcohol concentration levels exceeding .20, or for repeat offenders. The bill requires the Department of Safety to create an interlock indigency fund for offenders who cannot afford the installation of the interlock equipment by adding a $50 alcohol and drug addiction treatment fee for DUI offenders. Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) said, “We have research from the Highway Safety Administration that shows that ignition interlock devices are one of the most effective ways to keep drunk drivers from continuing to drive intoxicated. Unfortunately, they’re significantly underused across the state. Passage of legislation to require use of these devices will greatly help in our efforts to get drunk drivers off our roads.”

DUI / education – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that gives judges the option to order DUI offenders to attend victim impact panel programs. The bill authorizes the court to assess a fee of no less than $25, but no more than $50, to offset the cost of participation.

McDonald Withdraws as Candidate for State Representative

April 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

One of the candidates for State Representative has pulled out of the race.

Citing personal reasons, George McDonald of Riddleton has withdrawn as a candidate for the Democratic nomination to succeed Frank Buck

That leaves seven Democrats, two Republicans, and one Independent candidate.

Democrats hoping to win their party's nomination on August 7th include Cleveland Derrick Bain of Smithville, Jeff Barrett of DeKalb County, Steven K. Cantrell of Smithville, Gayla C. Hendrix of Smithville, Carl (Hix) Jones of Westmoreland, Dean Sircy of Westmoreland, and Sarah Marie Smith of Carthage.

Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for State Representative on August 7th include Nicky Rittenberry of Lafayette and Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster.

The winners of the Democratic and Republican Primaries in August will run against each other in the November State General Election along with Ray Amalfitano of Dixon Springs, who will be an Independent candidate for State Representative.

Willoughy Hires Certified Personnel for 2008-09 School Year

April 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby has signed contracts with the Professional Personnel for the 2008-2009 school year.

Willoughby presented a list of the employees to the Board of Education Tuesday night.

Certified personnel at each school are as follows:

DeKalb County High School-

Angie Anderson, Lori Barnes, Danny Bond, Amanda Brown, Kevin Burchfield, Boyd Cantrell, Harriett Cantrell, Jeanine Cantrell, Mary Anne Carpenter, Patrick Cripps, Dixie Crook, Jared Daniels, Linda Dean, Donna Emmons, Marshall Ferrell, Tina Fletcher, Amanda Fuller, Judy Fuson, Wayne Fuson, David Gash, Michael Hawkins, Marie Hill, Susan Hinton, Sonja House, John Isabell, Lori Isabell, William Jennings, Dylan Kleparek, Brad Leach, Deborah Loring, Lynus Martin, Rolanda Navarro, Jenny Norris, Scott Odom, Rebecca Oliver, Lori Page, Shelly Painter, Walteen Parker, Linda Parris, Rebecca Purdue, Kristin Reagh, Joey Reeder, Leslie Rice, Melissa Ruch, Frederick Sanders, Daniel Sebers, Larry Steffee, Amy Tobitt, Steve Trapp, Chris Vance, Michael Whitefield, Carol Williams, Charlotte Wruble, Melvin Young, and Kathy Hendrix.

Northside Elementary School-

Joyce Alexander, Rebecca Baugh, Lisa Bell, Marla Beshearse, Kelly Birmingham, Kathy Bryant, Linda Bush, Wendy Colvert, Michael Crockett, Amanda Dakas, Alisha Day, Holly Espinosa Jerry Foster, Carrie Gottlied, Amy Green, Amanda Griffith, Jennifer Griffith, Jessica Hale, Patty Hale, Karen Jacobs, Kristy Lasser, Amanda Mathis, Libby McCormick, Pamela Miller, Louise Owen, Joy Parker, Amy Raymond, Bethany Rigsby, Melissa Roysdon, Tammy Sims, Jama Todd, Carol Tripp, Cheryl Vance, Julie Vincent, Betsye Walker, Tad Webb, Ginger Wenger, Sandy Willingham, and Gayle Redmon.

DeKalb West School-

Pat Allen, Doris Cantrell, Jeanna Caplinger, William Conger, Kim Crook, Martha Damron, Genrose Davis, Tonya Ellis, Janet England, Sabrina Farler, Carol Hale, Lesa Hayes, Ricky Hendrix, Regina Kent, Kathy Lawrence, Michael Littrell, Shelia McMillen, Melanie Molander, Tammy Payne, Debra Poteete, Cynthia Preston, Lori Pryor, Joyce Robertson, Susan Robinson, Pam Sanders, Lori Sexton, Jane Watson, Vicki Wilson, Amy Young, and Danny Parkerson.

Smithville Elementary School-

Sharon Anderson, Ana Bain, Renee Beaty, Kelly Birmingham, Kim Brown, Vickie Burton, Beth Cantrell, Laura Carter, Alisha Cheatham, Layra Crook, Trena Curtis, Sue Driver, Vicky Duke, Wanna Foster, Kelli Foster, Amy Fox, Misty Franklin, Tina Gash, Amanda Hardiek, Vicky Hawker, Bradley Hendrix, Holly Hendrix, Mary Henny, Jill Herren, Betty Hickey, April Hines, Anna Johnson, Sabrina Kirksey, Karen Knowles, Carrie Lee, Lisa Mabe, LeVaughnda Midgett, Margaret Nichols, Christina Ontiveros, Lisa Pack, Beth Pafford, Jane Parsley, Kristy Parsley, Jennifer Peek, Mary Pugh, Lori Purnell, Jane Ramsey, Amanda Rhoady, Carol Tallent, Jan Thomas, Janet Trapp, Carol-Ann Tripp, Fay Turner, Sherian Waggoner, Janet Woodward, Crystal Young, Christie Young, and Billy Tanner.

DeKalb Middle School-

Joey Agee, Josh Agee, Jan Alexander, Ashley Barnes, Pat Barnes, Lori Cloyd, Lisa Craig, Lisa Cripps, Jennifer Davenport, Tena Davidson, Nancy Dillon, Lori Hendrix, Tom Hill, Michelle Jones, Gail Kirksey, Mike Littrell, Michael Lewis, Debra Moore, Rebecca Oliver, Karen Pelham, Anita Puckett, Judy Redmon, Kevin Rigsby, Joyce Robertson, Candice Scarbro, Mike Schockley, Penny Smitty, Jenny Stephenson, Lori Sexton, Tonya Sullivan, Kitty Thomas, Vicky Terrell, Jennifer West, and Randy Jennings.

Central Office Staff-

Gina Arnold, Katherine Ballard, Michelle Burklow, Clay Farler, Carol Hendrix, Danielle Collins, and Mary Nelle Summers

County Wide-

Penny Bileyu, Tonya Dickens, Judy Malone, Lori Rogers, and Peggy Semmes.

In other business, Director Willoughby recommended that the following teachers be granted tenure because they have successfully completed the statutory apprentice period of three years as required for tenure:

Ana Bain, Layra Crook, Donna Emmons, Holly Espinosa, Christina Ontiveros, Kristy Parsley, Karen Pelham, Bethany Rigsby, Fredrick Sanders, Lori Sexton, Amy Tobitt, Steve Trapp, Betsye Walker, and Vicki Wilson.

The school board approved the tenure status of those teachers.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby updated the board on other personnel moves since last month.

Gordon Williams has been employed as a substitute bus driver and Colleen Eslick has been named a substitute Deaf Interpreter for the 2007-08 school year.

Holly Bain, an Educational Assistant at DeKalb West School, and Lesa Hayes, teacher at DeKalb West School, have been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Donna Davis, teacher at DeKalb West School, is retiring.

Three teachers have resigned, Alisa Rice, Christine Rivers, and Eric Helton.

The board approved an overnight trip request for members of the golf team to participate in a golf tournament August 10th-12th in Chattanooga (TGF-Baylor Preview Golf Championship).

An overnight trip request was also approved for FFA students to attend the State Forestry Camp at Fall Creek Falls State Park June 1st-7th and the FFA State Leadership Camp in Doyle July 7th-11th.

In other business, board member Kenny Rhody says the state has authorized making all school zones in DeKalb County 25 miles per hour.

Currently, there are different speed limits in three of the school zones.

Rhody says the Smithville Elementary School zone will also be relocated from South Congress Boulevard to East Bryant Street and Walker Drive. "I spoke with Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings this week about the progress of getting all of our school zones with one speed limit. He spoke to the state commissioner from TDOT. He came down here and reviewed our proposal. I met with Sheriff Patrick Ray, Chief Jennings, the City Manager, and Mr. Willoughby. We looked at our proposal. As many of you know we have one school zone on a three lane highway (Northside Elementary) at 30 miles per hour. We have one at the West School that's 25 mph and the one at the high school is 15 mph. I spoke with Sheriff Ray and Chief Jennings and we talked to the guy with the state. He agreed to make them all the same. They agreed on 25 miles per hour for all the school zones and the one on South Congress will be moved to behind Ace Hardware on Bryant Street all the way through and then on Walker Drive, where the actual school traffic is to start with."

McMinnville Man Injured In Tuesday Wreck

April 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 19 year old McMinnville man was injured in a one car accident around 1:49 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 56 south near Magness Road.

Trooper Charlie Caplinger of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Jeffrey Allan Hillis was driving north on Highway 56 in a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am, going to work, when the car dropped off the right shoulder of the road, went into a ditch, struck a driveway culvert, and then overturned clipping a utility pole. The car came to rest on it's top off the road.

Hillis was taken by DeKalb EMS to Riverpark Hospital in McMinnville with a dislocated shoulder and other minor injuries.

Others on the scene providing assistance were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Traffic was re-routed for several hours during the investigation and cleanup.

County Beer Board Denies Permit

April 7, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night denied a permit for Paul David Maynard, Sr. to sell beer both on and off the premises at a business, yet to be built, called the Do-Drop-In Dinner and Dance on the Liberty to Dismal Road.

Maynard was not present at the meeting but several people from the community were there to express their opposition including members of the nearby Fullers Chapel Methodist Church and the Cooper's Chapel Baptist Church.

In order for an applicant to qualify for a county beer permit, the business must be at least 300 feet from the nearest residence and no closer than 2,000 feet from a church or place of public gathering.

A neighbor, Glen Wilson, said the proposed establishment is less than 300 feet away from his home. Others claimed that the property was also too close to the Fuller's Chapel Methodist Church. Some warned that increased traffic on this narrow road could also create more safety hazards including the possibility of alcohol related accidents because of this business

In addition to the distance problem, the board found that because the establishment has not yet been constructed, Maynard's application lacked sufficient information as to the actual physical address of the business.

Lattimore Faces Sentencing In Drug Case

April 7, 2008
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man, who stood trial last Thursday in DeKalb County Criminal Court, was found guilty on some of the drug charges against him.

Eddie Lattimore was charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (syringes), possession of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) with the intent to sell and deliver, possession of a schedule II drug (morphine) with intent to sell and deliver, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

A jury found him guilty of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) with intent to sell and deliver. However in the other drug case, the jury convicted him of the lesser offense of simple possession of morphine and found him not guilty of the weapon charge.

Lattimore was arrested on December 31st, 2006 following an undercover investigation by the Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, at the time, said county officers went to the home of Lattimore at 3785 Pea Ridge Road to execute a search warrant following an extensive investigation of Lattimore and surveillance of his home on suspicion of drug dealing which led to two undercover drug buys of dilaudid.

Lattimore was arrested at the scene. Officers found some dilaudid, morphine, syringes, and seized more than $7,400 in cash. Authorities also found a 9 millimeter pistol in an outbuilding on Lattimore's property.

Lattimore was fined a total of $7,500 by the jury and he will be sentenced by Judge Leon Burns, Jr. on June 20th. Lattimore has other drug charges pending against him.


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