2013 Fatal Crashes in DeKalb County Double Last Year's Count

December 26, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
In August Lisa Fineis died in a pickup truck crash on Hwy 70 near Dowelltown

The number of DeKalb County fatal crashes in 2013 has doubled from 2012.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that six persons have lost their lives in DeKalb County wrecks this year compared to three last year.

The first one occurred in May when 14 year old Jacob Billings died in a bicycle accident with two other vehicles on the Casey's Cove Road.

In June, 29 year old Joshua Jernigan of Mount Juliet was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a guardrail on Dale Ridge Road (Highway 96)

In July, 69 year old Haskel Junior Hawkins of Smithville died in a one car crash on Highway 146 (Short Mountain Highway) near Short Mountain Mini-Storage.

In August, 53 year old Lisa Fineis of Alexandria lost her life in a pickup truck accident on Highway 70 between Dowelltown and Liberty.

In September, 61 year old Michael J. Dean of Smithville was found dead in a one vehicle wreck on Four Seasons Road.

In December, 82 year old Mildred Spencer of the Temperance Hall area died two days after being involved in a two car crash at the intersection of Highway 53 and New Hope Road in Alexandria.

Others from DeKalb County who died in traffic crashes outside DeKalb County in 2013 include 62 year old Lebanon Dentist Dr. Steven Thaxton who was killed in a September motorcycle accident in Lebanon; 38 year Nathan Estes who died in a September pickup truck crash on Highway 264 (Temperance Hall Road) just across the county line in Smith County; A head-on crash on Highway 53 near the DeKalb line in Smith County claimed the life of 68 year old Wanda Williams of Brush Creek in October; 24 year old Joshua Maston Owens of Alexandria died in an October single vehicle traffic accident in Murfreesboro; and 65 year old Linda Summers of Smithville lost her life in a November two vehicle accident in Rockwood.

Although it was apparently not recorded as a traffic fatality, another woman, 40 year old Nancy Randolph of Putnam County died in May after driving her Chevy Blazer down a boat ramp and into the lake at Johnson Chapel. Two others with her escaped safely.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be out in force during the Christmas and New Year Holidays to ensure travelers reach their destination safely. State Troopers will focus their attention on impaired driving and seat belt usage.

The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving

Designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of the several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Other important tips include:

•Plan ahead: Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;

•If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;

•Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by dialing *THP;

•Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver;

•And remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

The Smithville Police Department will conduct sobriety checkpoints on Friday, December 27 near the intersection of Highway 56 south and East Broad Street. Saturation patrols will also be held throughout the city that day.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be conducting saturated patrols and sobriety checkpoints over the holidays targeting drunk drivers. Sheriff Patrick Ray said these checkpoints and patrols will occur at various locations across the county now through January 1. Some will be specifically conducted in the Alexandria area in conjunction with the Alexandria Police Department

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