Local News Articles

Dillard Charged with Aggravated Arson After Firing Flare Gun Into Residence

December 12, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Daniel Lewis Dillard
Brandon Chase Belcher
Vanessa Nicole Freeman
Timothy Shawn Roller
Jimmy Dwight Underhill
Jeffery Lee Johnson
Michael James Culver
Travis Dewayne Hawkins
Ronald Jeffrey Patterson

A 20 year old man is facing a charge of aggravated arson after he participated in firing a flare gun into a home while a woman and minor were inside the residence. There were apparently no injuries.

20 year old Daniel Lewis Dillard of Lee Braswell Road, Smithville is under a bond of more than one million dollars for the Class A offense of aggravated arson. He is also charged with resisting stop, frisk, halt, or search. Dillard was already on probation for a separate offense at the time of the incident. He will make a court appearance on January 4.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 4, Dillard did knowingly and recklessly partake in the shooting of a flare gun into a residence on Lee Braswell Road causing damage to the house and some of the furnishings. A female and juvenile were present in the home at the time of the offense.

Five days later while being taken into custody, Dillard tried to resist officers’ efforts in placing him under arrest. The case was investigated by a detective.

29 year old Brandon Chase Belcher of Kendra Drive, Smithville is charged with vandalism. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on January 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on November 9 Belcher was at a residence on Coconut Ridge Road and he spun gravel into the victim’s truck as he drove away causing $1,246 in damage to the vehicle. The case was investigated by a detective.

32 year old Vanessa Nicole Freeman of Sims Street, Dowelltown is charged with disorderly conduct. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is January 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 9 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Floyd Drive, Smithville for a possible domestic. Freeman was outside the home screaming and cursing after being ordered several times to stop. Freeman was then placed under arrest.

48 year old Timothy Shawn Roller of Foster Road, McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. Roller’s bond is $1,500 and his court date is January 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 10 a deputy spotted a silver Chevy truck failing to maintain its lane of travel on Evins Mill Road in Smithville. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Roller whose speech was slurred and he had an odor of alcohol about his person. Roller submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

48 year old Jimmy Dwight Underhill of Rolling Acres Road, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. He is under a $2,000 bond and his court date is January 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 10 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Rolling Acres Road due to a physical domestic and spoke with a woman who said that she and her ex-husband (Underhill) who still lived together had gotten into an argument over his drinking alcohol. According to the woman, she ordered Underhill to leave the home but he refused telling her she was the one who was going to leave. Underhill then kicked her in the back of the leg while wearing his cowboy boots which left a mark on the back of her left leg.

50 year old Jeffery Lee Johnson of Pack Circle, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is January 4.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 11 a deputy was patrolling on Lakeside Drive when he spotted a vehicle setting in the eastbound right lane with its lights off. The officer stopped and spoke with the driver, Johnson who appeared to be jittery. The deputy detected an odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle. Johnson’s eyes were glassy and red and his pupils dilated. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and refused to submit to implied consent. A search warrant was obtained for a sample of his blood for testing.

48 year old Michael James Culver of Sparta is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is December 21.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 2 a deputy responded to Highway 56 south near DeKalb Memorial Gardens due to a report of a suspicious man walking down the road and acting erratically. The officer spotted the man, Culver walking into lanes of travel on the busy highway. He was unsteady on his feet. He couldn’t tell the officer where he was at and his speech was slurred. After determining Culver was under the influence of an intoxicant, the deputy placed him under arrest for his safety and that of the public.

30 year old Travis Dewayne Hawkins of McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and Hawkins will make a court appearance on December 21.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy received a call on Tuesday, December 5 about a black Chrysler Sebring JX convertible traveling inbound toward Smithville from Sparta. The driver of the car was reported to have been involved in an aggravated assault in White County. The officer spotted the vehicle and pulled it over. The driver, Hawkins had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person, and his speech was slurred. Hawkins told the officer that he had taken Percocet and Gabapentin before driving and had consumed some Fireball whiskey. A half filled bottle of whiskey was found in the car. Hawkins submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

52 year old Ronald Jeffrey Patterson of Patterson Road, Smithville is charged with violation of bond conditions. His bond is $25,000 and his court date is January 11.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 3 Patterson was found to have violated bond conditions put in place to protect a woman (victim) by contacting her. She was a victim in an aggravated assault case. Patterson was also found to have an alcoholic beverage in his possession, which is also a violation of his bond conditions.

DeKalb Prevention Coalition to Offer Free Training on Use of Naloxone

December 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lisa Cripps
DeKalb Prevention Coalition to Offer Free Training on Use of Naloxone

Recognizing an opioid overdose and knowing what to do to help save a life is not just for law enforcement officers and emergency responders.

The DeKalb Prevention Coalition is giving them and anyone else who wants to learn an opportunity to get the training needed to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose including administering Naloxone or Narcan to reverse the overdose.

The FREE training will be on Tuesday, December 19 in the History Room of the Mike Foster County Complex from 12-1pm. (Enter through the “Mike Foster” entrance to the building, turn to your right and the room is on the left). All attendees will receive FREE training in the use of Naloxone and a free Naloxone rescue kit (if available). This is open to anyone who wants to attend. The instructors will be Suzanne and Tommy Angel, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists. Please call or email to reserve your seat.

Naloxone is a safe nasal spray medication that reverses opioid overdoses caused by narcotics like codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and heroin. This training can save the life of a loved one, friend, co-worker, neighbor or anyone using prescription painkillers or heroin who are found to be unconscious, unresponsive, possibly with blue lips and blue finger nails, and there could be signs of drug use around them such as needles or empty pill bottles.

Lisa Cripps, who is the Coordinator of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition, said this training would be helpful to anyone, especially people who have regular contact with the public.

“With the introduction of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is 50 times more powerful than heroin with a fatal dose only being the size of a few grains of sand, we are thankful to offer our community a training with the medication called “Naloxone”, which is extremely affective medication that can stop opioid overdoses and can actually save lives,” she said.

“We already have our law enforcement trained and some of our first responders and now we want to offer that to the community. You might ask “who should get Naloxone training and have Naloxone on hand”? Certainly people who have overdosed before; people who are injecting drug users; pain patients; family or friends who are associated with active users; business workers who frequent homes to do work such as electricians, cable tv workers etc.; any first responders to wrecks, house fires, rescue workers, etc; and simply just if you want to be safe and have that Naloxone with you in case you need it at any point in time,” said Cripps.

If you are interested in attending this training please leave a message by contacting Lisa Cripps, Prevention Coordinator, at 615-580-9290 (text or voice message) or send a message to the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeKalbPreventionCoalition to reserve your seat. You may also send an email at dekalbtnprevention@gmail.com.

“Remember there is always hope for recovery for someone living but certainly not someone dead. Naloxone can save lives,” said Cripps.

Steven Jennings’ first Major League Baseball Card Now Available

December 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Steven Jennings’ first Major League Baseball Card Now Available.

Former DeKalb County High School pitching standout Steven Jennings’ first Major League Baseball card is now available.

The Bowman Company’s latest Draft product features Jennings on an insert card called “Recommended Viewing,” a two-player card that pairs up prospects from the same franchise.

Several copies have already appeared on ebay.

2017 Bowman Draft boxes are available at hobby shops and certain retail outlets.

Drafted this summer in the 2nd round by the Pittsburg Pirates, Jennings appears along with the player the team drafted in the first round, Shane Baz. The card has 4 parallel versions-refractors, gold refractors numbered to 50 copies, red refractors numbered to only 5 copies and a superfractor which is a one-of-a-kind card.

After being drafted, Jennings was assigned to the Pirates Gulf Coast League affiliate. According to rumbunter.com, a Pirate internet fan site, Jennings made 10 starts and compiled 26.1 innings. He had an earned run average (ERA) of 4.10 while striking out 13 batters and walking 10. While his strikeouts per nine innings rate was low at 4.44, he had an impressive groundball rate of 55.6 percent. Opponents batted only .281 off him which gave him a WHIP average of 1.56.

The website said “Jennings will most likely play in Short-Season A ball next season. He will likely make about 10 starts in Bristol and the Pirates will likely try to keep his innings limited in his second professional season.”

The website also said “The expectations are very high for him going forward. MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the Pirates number 10 overall prospect.”

Early Morning Fire Causes Damage at Home on Snow Street (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

December 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire early this morning (Monday) destroyed an outbuilding and caused some damage to the residence of Buck Mooneyham at 710 Snow Street.

911 received the call at 2:15 a.m. and dispatched city police and firefighters. DeKalb EMS also responded.

According to Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, a police officer was first on the scene and awoke Mooneyham, who had been asleep when the fire started. Mooneyham was not injured.

Smithville firefighters arrived to find flames protruding from the roof of the outbuilding behind Mooneyham’s home. The fire had also spread to the back porch and rear exterior of the house. Heat from the flames melted blinds on windows inside the residence.

Chief Parker said firefighters believe the blaze started from a propane heater inside the outbuilding that had been left on overnight.

103 Year old Carrie Helen Smith Serves as Grand Marshal of Alexandria Christmas Parade

December 11, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Alexandria’s oldest resident, 103 year old Carrie Helen Smith with her son Wade Smith
Carrie Smith's sons, James, Wade, and Bill Smith and other family members joined her at the Alexandria Christmas Parade

Alexandria’s oldest resident, 103 year old Carrie Helen Smith, was the Grand Marshal of Sunday's Alexandria Christmas Parade.

The parade also featured the DCHS, Gordonsville, and Watertown High School bands among other attractions including the stars of the show, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Many excited Santa fans poured into town to greet them.

Oakley’s Thrift Store won first place among the float entries. Wilson Bank and Trust received second place and third place went to Lovers Lane Neighborhood.

Don Barrett was awarded first place in the vintage automobile category for his 1965 Chevy truck while Paul Johnson received second place for his 1966 Ford F100. Third place went to Randy Murphy for his 1956 Chevy Bel Air.

Cody Hale took first place for best tractor with his 1952 John Deere MT.

M2U02613 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Probation Revoked for Man in Attempted Kidnapping Case

December 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
John Thomas Mason

A Smithville man who was on probation for attempted especially aggravated kidnapping and theft is going to prison to serve the balance of a ten year sentence.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 12/04/2017 Thru: 12/11/2017)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_51.pdf (2.82 MB)

Judge David Patterson revoked the probation of 23 year old John Thomas Mason following a hearing Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Mason, who was originally charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, has been on probation since he entered a plea by criminal information in April to the lesser offense of attempted especially aggravated kidnapping and theft over $1,000.

In April, Mason received a ten year sentence on the kidnapping charge as a range 1 offender to serve six months of the term with the rest to be served on TDOC probation. Mason got a two year sentence for the theft as a range 1 offender with the term suspended to probation. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other. Mason is to make restitution of $6,246 to one victim and $371.64 to another.

Although Mason was to stay out of trouble and make regular reports to his probation officer, he failed to do either.

A probation officer testified Friday that Mason never reported to her as part of his conditions for release. A deputy also testified that in August he spotted Mason in a vehicle running a stop sign. When he tried to pull him over, Mason failed to stop and sped away. Mason was later arrested and charged in the case for evading arrest and driving on a revoked license.

Mason’s attorney, Gayla Hendrix asked the court for an alternative to incarceration such as Mission Teens but the judge denied the request and ordered that Mason’s probation be revoked.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, December 19, 2016 the Sheriff’s Department received a report of a stolen 2005 Toyota Corolla, valued at $6,000. Two days later, on Wednesday December 21 Mason and a co-defendant, 36 year old Christina Love Johnson were found in possession of the car in Warren County. A further investigation revealed that Mason held a man at gunpoint in the car forcing him to drive to Midway Road and then he took the car at gunpoint. The case against Johnson remains pending in court.

DeKalb Foster Children's Fund Needs Donations for Holidays

December 10, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

Once again the Christmas season is approaching.

Christmas is a time for love, a time for joy, and a time for family. Not all children this year will take part in a celebration with their own families. Children who have been taken out of abusive or neglectful homes may be sharing Christmas with a family of strangers. Many of these children may wonder if Santa Claus has received their new address and if he will be bringing gifts this year.

There are currently more than 734 children in the Upper Cumberland area who are in state’s custody and approximately 86 of those children are from DeKalb County. These children need your help.

As in years past, your assistance is requested with funds for the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund Account. This account provides assistance to foster and underprivileged children all year. If you or your organization is willing to help provide funds, please contact Annette Greek at 615-597-5023 or make your check payable to the DeKalb County Foster Children Fund and send it to Annette Greek, 1101 South College Street, Smithville Tennessee 37166.

Man Wounded in Officer Involved Shooting Gets Probation

December 8, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Gerald Petty

A man who was shot after drawing a weapon on two officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department over four years ago has been granted probation.

58 year old Randy Gerald Petty appeared for a sentencing hearing Friday in DeKalb County Criminal Court before Judge David Patterson.

In June, Petty entered a plea to two counts of attempted aggravated assault and is facing a three year sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of six years. The hearing Friday was to determine how Petty was to serve the six years, either on probation, in prison, or split confinement. As a special mitigated offender, Petty would have only been required to serve 20% of the sentence (one year and two months) before becoming eligible for parole had he gone to prison.

On May 23, 2013, Deputies (at the time) Jeremy Taylor and Erik Russell responded to a 911 call of shots being fired at 255 Petty Road in Smithville. There, while standing at the rear of Deputy Taylor’s vehicle, Deputy Russell saw and heard something off to his side. Using his flashlight, Russell spotted Randy Petty pointing a scoped rifle at the two deputies. Both of them drew their weapons and fired, striking Petty several times in his extremities (arm and leg).

Petty was named in a sealed indictment by the DeKalb County Grand Jury in April, 2014 charging him with the more serious offenses of two counts of attempted first degree murder. He was arrested without incident by agents of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Over the last four years, Petty has undergone several surgeries but the injuries he suffered in the shooting have left him with permanent damage affecting the use of his arm and hand. But Petty is now getting better medication treatment for a mental health issue and that condition has improved.

During Friday’ s sentencing hearing, Petty asked the judge to grant him probation, saying that while he did not fire any shots at the officers he is sorry for what he did. Petty said he had consumed some homemade wine the night of the incident and suffered from a mental disorder which affected his behavior. “I’m not saying it wasn’t dangerous. I walked up on them (officers) and spooked them but I can look back on it now and know I was crazy,” said Petty.

Three of Petty’s sisters and a nephew by marriage, who is also a McMinnville Police Officer, testified that Petty has changed since the shooting. According to them, Petty was a difficult person to be around before because of his mental state, in that he often didn’t make sense when he talked and could be argumentative. They blamed his behavior on a misdiagnoses of his condition for which he was not prescribed the proper medication. After the shooting, though his physical condition has suffered, his mental state has improved after being treated at Vanderbilt Hospital with the proper medicines. Members of the family said since the shooting, Petty has not been in any trouble with the law and mostly stays at home supervising the care of his elderly mother. The family asked the court to grant Petty probation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, who also testified, asked the judge to not be swayed by the lasting effect of the injuries Petty sustained in making his ruling on sentencing.

“As Sheriff here in DeKalb County and also as the employer of the two deputies who were involved in this incident, I have an obligation to not only the two officers involved but also the citizens of DeKalb County to testify today”.

“I understand Mr. Petty has sustained injuries that he may suffer with for the rest of his life, but these 2 officers have something that will last all their lives also. We as law enforcement officers take people to court that have gotten injured while committing crimes and they are appropriately sentenced for their crimes regardless of their injuries. I would ask the court to not use Mr. Petty’s injuries while sentencing him today”.

“I would also ask the court to look at the crime Mr. Petty has committed, review the charges my officers from my department have agreed to let him plea to, and sentence Mr. Petty as the court sees fit”.

In making his plea for probation, Petty’s Attorney Jeremy Trapp pointed out to the court that his client has undergone a life changing experience because of the shooting; that he has engaged in no further criminal behavior within the past four and a half years since the shooting; and that no testimony or proof was shown during the hearing to indicate that the officers involved suffered any injuries or emotional anguish.

Stribling, Barton, and Barnes Pick up Qualifying Petitions to Seek Re-Election

December 8, 2017
by: 
Dwayne Page

County Mayor Tim Stribling has picked up a qualifying petition from the Election Commission to run for re-election next year.

Stribling plans to be a candidate in the May 1 DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

Others who have obtained qualifying petitions today (Friday) are 3rd District County Commissioner Jack Barton and 6th District County Commissioner Jeff Barnes, who both intend to seek re-election to those offices and will be candidates in the May 1 Democratic Primary.

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