Local News Articles

Woodbury Man Involved in Crash After Pursuit

October 17, 2015
Dwayne Page
Woodbury Man Involved in Crash After Pursuit
2010 GMC Terrain driven by Richard Bogle of Woodbury
Richard Bogle, operator of 2010 GMC Terrain, charged with driving under the influence

A 25 year old Woodbury man, who apparently tried to outrun the law in a pursuit, wrecked his automobile Saturday morning on Highway 56 near the intersection with College Street.

Central dispatch received a call about the crash at around 4:30 a.m.

Richard Bogle has been charged by the Tennessee Highway Patrol with driving under the influence and cited for failure to exercise due care, violation of the financial responsibility law, and violation of the registration law.

Trooper Adam Cothorn of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Bogle was traveling north on Highway 56 in a 2010 GMC Terrain when he went off the right side of the road, and rolled several times, knocking over a 45 miles per hour speed zone sign. The vehicle came to rest upright off the highway.

Warren County authorities were reportedly in pursuit of Bogle prior to the crash but had terminated the chase at the county line.

According to Trooper Cothorn, speed was a factor in the wreck. Though not seriously injured, Bogle was treated at the scene by DeKalb EMS. He was placed in custody and taken to the jail for booking. He did submit to a blood/alcohol test.

Warrants against Bogle are reportedly pending in Warren County.

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the DeKalb County Fire Department were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS and the THP.

Students have until November 2 to apply for Tennessee Promise

October 17, 2015

Governor Bill Haslam is asking all high school seniors to take the time to apply for the state’s one-of-a-kind scholarship program.

Students have until November 2 to apply.

Tennessee Promise is a state sponsored scholarship and mentorship program that provides two years of community and technical college free of tuition and fees.

15,830 students from the 2015 graduating class are taking advantage of this year’s first implementation of Tennessee Promise benefits this fall, according to the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC).

Also, community colleges across state are reporting substantial growth, with the number of students enrolling full time in community college directly after high school increasing by 14% since last fall.

“My message to high school seniors is: this is your Tennessee Promise. This is an opportunity for you to fulfill your potential, and you have an opportunity to change the future for yourself and for our state,” Haslam said.

Proposed by Haslam and passed by the General Assembly in 2014, Tennessee Promise is a key part of Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential to 55% by the year 2025.

Since the implementation of Tennessee Promise, the state says it leads the nation in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion – comprising 40% of the nation’s growth in FAFSA filings in 2015.

In addition to applying for Tennessee Promise, students are required to file a FAFSA, attend two mandatory meetings and complete eight hours of community service.

The state is also looking for adult mentors to help students complete their training.

“We know that access to college is important, but even more important is success. Not only do we need to get those students into school, they need to finish. That’s why the mentor piece of the Tennessee Promise is so important,” Haslam said. “The process of applying and attending college can seem daunting, especially for first generation college students, and having a caring adult to help guide you can make a big difference.”

The student and mentor applications are available at http://tnpromise.gov

Relics Belonging to Colonel Savage Return to Smithville

October 16, 2015
W. Michael Corley
Swords belonging to Col. John H. Savage returned to Smithville on October 8, 2015

Swords belonging to Col. John H. Savage returned to Smithville on October 8, 2015. McMinnville attorney and Savage family member, Frank Farrar, displayed and described the relics to the members of the Savage-Goodner Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Col. Savage was the first commanding officer of the 16th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He commanded the regiment during battles at Perryville, Kentucky, and Murfreesboro. The men of the regiment came from the Upper Cumberland and many hailed from DeKalb and Warren Counties.
Col. Savage practiced law in DeKalb County prior to the outbreak of the war. He also represented the area in the U.S. Congress.

The relics included swords he carried in both the Mexican War and the War Between the States. Mr. Farrar also displayed a portrait of the Colonel which had not been seen in public in several decades.

The Savage-Goodner Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans meets on the second Thursday of each month at the DeKalb County Complex Motlow Section at 7:00 p.m. The Camp is comprised of male descendants of Confederate soldiers. A program concerning General Patrick Cleburne will be presented during the November 12, 2015 meeting. The public is welcome to attend.

"Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Set for October 30

October 15, 2015
Dwayne Page
"Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Set for October 30

Parents, children, and local businesses are invited to join the City of Smithville and the Police Department's "Trick or Treat Halloween Downtown" Friday, October 30 from noon until 5:00 p.m.

Participating businesses will have candy and special treats for the children. Look for the stores and offices with a picture of an orange pumpkin on their windows. Maps will be available at the police department and Justin Potter Library to show parents which businesses will be taking part in the event.

WJLE has the map posted at the link below.

Map_2015.pdf (38.78 KB)

For more information call Beth Adcock at the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210 extension 1 or check out the police department's face book page at https://www.facebook.com/SmithvillePoliceDepartment.

Judge Holds Hearing in Caplinger Case; Ruling Expected within Weeks

October 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
Judge Amy Hollars

Following a 90 minute hearing Wednesday morning in DeKalb County Circuit Court Judge Amy Hollars said she would render an opinion soon in the case of former Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger versus the City of Smithville.

Attorneys for both sides presented oral arguments before Judge Hollars in the lawsuit in which Caplinger is seeking a declaratory judgment. No witnesses were called to testify.

Caplinger's attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox filed the lawsuit on Thursday, June 4.

At the heart of the case is how many aldermen votes are required to fire the police chief. In May, the council voted by a 3-2 simple majority to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Chief Caplinger.

Cripps and Cox insist that the city charter calls for a super majority (four votes) for such action.

The mayor placed Chief Caplinger on suspension without pay pending termination on Friday, March 13. After Caplinger refused to resign or accept a severance package, the mayor fired Caplinger on March 19 and cited eight reasons for the termination.

Cripps and Cox then requested a due process hearing.

The attorneys for Caplinger said their client was not an "at will" employee as city officials claimed; that he could only be terminated for "just cause"; and that he could only be removed by the mayor with the approval of at least two thirds (not less than four members) majority vote of the council present and voting upon the removal according to the Smithville City Charter.

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, May 8 the Aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

Again, Cripps and Cox insisted that Section 3.01 of the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination.

But during the May 8 hearing City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter.

In the lawsuit, Cripps and Cox are asking the court to preserve both sections of the charter but to find that Section 3.01 (requiring a 2/3 super majority vote) controls because it is more specific than Section 3.08.

Cripps and Cox also contend that the aldermen violated section 3.08 of the charter in that they failed to convene for a vote to ratify the mayor's unilateral suspension of Caplinger prior to the May 8 due process hearing. This, they claim renders the suspension of Chief Caplinger null and invalid.

They are further asking that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause

City Attorney Parsley and Nashville lawyer Mark E. McGrady of Farrar & Bates, LLP claim that Caplinger was validly suspended and terminated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under terms of the charter and that he is not entitled to back pay from the City.

Judge Hollars said her written ruling is expected soon, possibly after she hears a separate medical malpractice case scheduled for the next two weeks.

DMS Cross Country Competes in Mid State Regionals

October 14, 2015
Carly Vance, Mya Ruch, and Courtney Loundon
On the boys side 4 out of 7 qualified for the state meet. These are Bill Miller, Jasper Kleparek, Levi Driver and Jake Ramsey. Also competing that day was Hayden Burton,Trevonte Alexander, and Conner Adcock.

The DeKalb Middle School Cross Country competed this week in the mid state regional's which was the qualifier for the state meet. All 3 girls qualified for the state meet in Knoxville which will be held on October 24. Mya Ruch finished first, Carly Vance finished 5th, and Courtney London finished 27th.

On the boys side 4 out of 7 qualified for the state meet including Bill Miller, Jasper Kleparek, Levi Driver and Jake Ramsey. Also competing that day was Hayden Burton, Trevonte Alexander, and Conner Adcock.

Smithville Beer Board Postpones Action Against Illegal Beer Sales

October 14, 2015
Dwayne Page
Beer Board members: Seated- Annette Greek, Steve Hays, and Farron Hendrix; Standing, Danny Washer and Lloyd Black

The Smithville Beer Board has delayed action on possible punishment against two local stores accused of selling alcohol to a minor after managers at both businesses claim the clerks who made the transactions mistakenly entered the wrong date of birth into their computers when making the sales.

During a hearing Tuesday evening at city hall, managers of both Mapco Express on East Broad Street and the Discount Tobacco Store on West Broad Street (across from Dairy Queen) say they can produce receipts and video evidence of the transactions to back up their claims.

The beer board voted to reschedule the hearing for Tuesday, November 3 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

The two store clerks, 32 year old Jennifer Sims of McMinnville, an employee of the Discount Tobacco Store, and 56 year old Allison Ferguson of Smithville, a store clerk at Mapco Express were cited last month for the illegal sale of alcohol to a minor under 21 years of age as part of an undercover operation conducted jointly by the Smithville and Alexandria Police Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Two other stores, one in the county and the other in Alexandria are also accused of making an illegal beer sale. All four defendants are to appear in General Sessions Court on October 29.

In each case, the same operative, a 20 year old man, was sent into the stores and bought beer.

During Tuesday evening's hearing, Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes informed the beer board that the undercover operation was conducted based on general public complaints of illegal beer sales in the city. The two stores were not targeted based on any specific complaints. "After receiving several complaints periodically about illegal sales to minors within the city limits, we conducted an undercover investigation using a 20 year old (operative). We encompassed all licensees in the city that sell alcoholic beverages. We visited each one individually," said Detective Holmes.

But while all other store clerks in the city carded and refused to sell beer to the underage operative, Detective Holmes said sales were made to him at both the Discount Tobacco Store and at Mapco Express. In both cases, he bought a six pack of Bud Lite. The first buy was made from Sims at the Discount Tobacco Store at 12:44 p.m. on September 23. The second purchase was made thirty six minutes later at 1:20 p.m. from Ferguson at Mapco Express .

Local and district managers from the two stores appeared before the beer board Tuesday night to give an explanation. While they admit that beer sales were made to the young man from their establishments, they claim it was unintentional in that both clerks simply misread the birth date on the identification he presented and they entered the very same incorrect information into their computers to verify whether he was of legal age to buy beer. Instead of his actual birth date of December 22, 1994, both clerks entered into their systems the date of December 22, 1984.

Could it be merely a coincidence that both clerks made the exact same mistake?

The store managers don't think so.

"We have an electronic system where we enter the data. We have found out that the two violators on this entered the exact same date. There are two people (Sims and Ferguson), blocks apart that don't know each other who entered the exact same date for this young man. Instead of entering his birth date as December 22, 1994 they entered December 22, 1984 at both locations," said the Manager of Mapco Express.

"They both checked the ID but neither one saw it right," said the district manager of the Discount Tobacco Store.

"On our Point of Sale (POS) system, they (clerks) actually have to type in the birth date of this person (customer) to allow the sale and it will compute whether they are old enough. She (Ferguson) was trying to type this in and it wouldn't accept it. She tried multiple attempts and she finally got it to go in. I don't know what she saw, but she told me later what she thought she saw was the year 1984 (on the young man's ID)," said the manager of Mapco.

"When you scan the beer, the birthday (data request) will pop up. You basically do (enter) the month, day, and the year and if they (customers) are under 21 it will say under legal age and will become unable to process," added the district manager of the Discount Tobacco Store.

Although Ferguson has apparently lost her job at Mapco due to this allegation, the Mapco manager said she had worked there since the 1990's and had never been accused of this before. "She had done a wonderful job controlling second party sales for this city. The kind of sales that really hurt us. The person coming in who is 20 years old trying to buy beer is not the problem. The real problem is that person who has a friend who is 21 years old. Allison has done probably the best of anybody I have ever seen at controlling all sales," said the Mapco manager.

Beer Board member Steve Hays asked City Attorney Vester Parsley whether a decision by the board could be delayed until after the outcome of the criminal citations against Sims and Ferguson in court.

Parsley said the beer board could do whatever it wishes but added that a final court decision may not come on October 29th. He said there may also be delays in court that could drag on for weeks or months.

The city attorney also reminded the beer board that it's job is not to act as judge and jury on the guilt or innocence of the clerks who are alleged to have made the beer sales, but only to find whether illegal sales were actually made from the stores in violation of the city's beer ordinance.

If found in violation, the city's ordinance calls for a first offense 90 day suspension of the stores' beer licenses.

The Smithville Beer Board is made up of members Annette Greek, Steve Hays, Farron Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Lloyd Black. All were present Tuesday night except Black.

Jackie Smith Appointed to DeKalb Election Commission

October 13, 2015
Dwayne Page
Jackie Smith and Jordan Wilkins

A new member has been named to the DeKalb County Election Commission by the Tennessee Election Commission.

Jackie Smith, a resident of Smithville and a local State Farm Insurance Agent, is replacing Harry Lasser as one of the two democratic members of the local commission. She will serve out Lasser's term, which expires in April, 2017. Lasser served for four and a half years. He was first appointed in April , 2011.

"I really am excited. I worked elections for several years. It's a duty that I take very seriously. When I got the call and was asked, I was just thrilled. I am really happy to serve in this capacity. I am looking forward to another venture in my life," Smith told WJLE.

Since the state legislature is made up of a majority of GOP lawmakers, Republicans have the right to hold majority memberships on the Tennessee Election Commission as well as all county election commissions in Tennessee. The appointments to local commissions are made by the state election commission.

"Democrats and Republicans in the Tennessee General Assembly appoint who serves on the Tennessee Election Commission. Those state people from each party have a representative from middle, east, and west Tennessee and they typically consult with the county chairs for each county on who they want on their county election commissions," said Jordan Wilkins, DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman.

"Mr. Harry Lasser was one of our Democratic commissioners on the election commission and he called me about two months ago telling me he needed to resign. I want to say I will miss Harry. He was a great commissioner for us. He was always good about representing us on the commission and keeping us updated on what was going on. I thought long and hard about the name of the people I wanted to submit to the state. That name is Jackie Smith. She has been a lifelong member of this party. She has always been very supportive of us. She is very progressive and I am very excited about her representing us," said Wilkins.

Hearon Puckett is the other democrat on the commission.

The other three members of the DeKalb County Election Commission are Walteen Parker, Barbara Vanatta, and Jim Dean. All three are Republicans. Parker is Chairman.

The term of each member is for two years.

D.A.'s Office Drops Drug Cases Against 20 Defendants

October 13, 2015
Dwayne Page

Two months after a not guilty verdict was returned against a man charged in an undercover drug operation by the sheriff’s department, charges against 20 other defendants have been dropped by the District Attorney General’s office.

The cases were dismissed after 63-year old Charles Ronnie Evans took his case to trial and won on one of the charges against him after defense attorneys called into question the credibility of the undercover informant and the audio and video recordings of the alleged transactions proved to be of poor quality. A mistrial was declared on a second count against Evans.

While he said he respects the D.A.’s decision to drop the remaining cases, Sheriff Patrick Ray said he “does not agree it was a practical decision to judge all cases involved on a previous ruling that questioned the integrity of a confidential informant,” adding that “many of the individuals charged in this operation had already pled guilty to buying drugs from the same confidential informant.”

The story began in January 2014 when numerous persons were indicted by the local grand jury following a three-month long drug investigation by the sheriff’s department.

In August, Evans took his case to trial and a jury returned a not guilty verdict on a charge of sale and delivery of a Schedule II drug (Roxycodone). On another charge of sale and delivery of Dilaudid, the jury’s vote was 10 in favor of acquittal and 2 members opting for a lesser included offense. As a result, Judge David Patterson declared a mistrial on the Dilaudid case.

The same informant was used in both cases and in the cases against the other defendants. Because of the informant’s criminal background, his credibility was questioned during the Evans' trial. In addition, video and audio recordings of the alleged drug transactions proved to be of poor quality.

As a result, the D.A.’s office filed court documents late last month to dismiss the charges against 20 other defendants. Judge Patterson then signed the documents the following day and later it was also announced the prosecution was dismissing the Dilaudid charge against Evans.

Sheriff Ray said he respects the D.A.’s decision in light of the recent court ruling, but does not agree it was practical to judge all cases on a previous ruling that questioned the integrity of a confidential informant.

“The use of confidential informants in undercover drug operations is, and has been, a very common practice used by all law enforcement agencies,” Ray said in a prepared statement to WJLE.

“Confidential informants are not our community’s most upstanding citizens,” he continued. “We can’t get teachers, preachers, or any other ethical citizens to act as confidential informants to make drug buys in these operations. Even if they would agree, how many drug dealers would actually sell drugs to someone who obviously does not fit the role of a drug user/dealer?”

Ray said he wanted to make it clear his department conducted the investigation “to determine if there was probable cause to charge the named defendants with crimes” and that his “detectives precisely followed the legal obligation to find probable cause. Probable cause is the standard required to effect a constitutional arrest or to issue a valid search warrant.”

In contrast, he continued, “it is the role of the court (judge and jury) to find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Just because a judge or jury does not find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt does not indicate that probable cause to make the arrest did not exist. My department’s job is to investigate and arrest criminals when we find probable cause. It is not our job to determine final guilt or innocence.”

He pointed out that many of the individuals charged in the undercover operation “had already pled guilty to buying drugs from the same confidential informant that was used in the first case in which the court declared a mistrial.”

But the local case may force the sheriff’s office to look at other ways to investigate illegal drug activity.

“It has become obvious that our undercover tactic of using confidential informants is no longer a credible means to get convictions for illegal drug activities,” the sheriff said. “However, we will move forward and continue to explore new ways to effectively investigate and prosecute criminals engaging in illegal drug activities.”

Meanwhile, the following charges against these individuals have been dropped:

36 year old John Miller Alsup: sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeinone) (2 counts)

34 year old Kenny Bain, Jr.: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

61 year old Kenneth Bain, Sr.: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts) and TennCare Fraud

30 year old Brandy Batey: violation of drug free school zone (4 counts)

31 year old Amanda M. Certain: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, and sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeinone)

29 year old Nikita Clark: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

58 year old George Divine: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (3 counts)

36 year old Russell Shannon Estes: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance, and sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance

33 year old Jimmy Joel Farris: sale and delivery of a counterfeit controlled substance

37 year old Anthony Glen Johnson: sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeinone) and violation of drug free school zone (2 counts)

36 year old Steven R. Keen: violation of drug free school zone (4 counts)

44 year old Chad Everett Knowles: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance

46 year old Bradley Luna: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance

33 year old Terrance L. Martin: violation of drug free school zone (2 counts)

33 year old David Charles Stewart: sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeinone), sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance, sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance

54 year old Sammy Gene Taylor: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

21 year old Bianca Lynn Tollison: sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Dihydrocodeinone)

55 year old James Harvey Walters: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

34 year old Mark Young: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

48 year old Lawrence Scott Young: sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (2 counts)

“Even though we do not agree with the outcomes of these cases, it should be noted it is not our goal to fill up the jail. That doesn’t benefit anyone,” Sheriff Ray said. “My department’s focus, when it comes to drug investigations, is to deter the use and sale of illegal narcotics and encourage individuals to choose a more productive way of life. Even though these cases have been dismissed, it is our hope that this experience has done something to help individuals and their families realize the consequences of illegal drug activities.”

The District Attorney General’s office did not comment

Misty Green Named EMT of Year in Upper Cumberland Region

October 13, 2015
Misty Green and Interim DeKalb EMS Director Hoyte Hale

An employee of the DeKalb County Ambulance Service has been named the Upper Cumberland Region's EMT of the Year.

Misty Green received the award during the Upper Cumberland EMS Directors Association's Annual Education Symposium held in Cookeville Thursday and Friday, October 8 & 9.

During this conference, the association awarded EMTs and Paramedics from within the Upper Cumberland Region, who have excelled in their patient care and overall performance in service to the counties in which they serve. The nominations for these awards are carefully reviewed and considered by the members of the Director’s Association.

Misty has dedicated more than 20 years to the citizens of DeKalb County and the progression in EMS in the county. She is married to Donny Green, Chief of the DeKalb County Fire Department and they have two children, Kayley and Luke.

The award was presented by Chip Cook, Regional EMS Consultant, and Hoyte Hale, DeKalb County EMS Interim Director. The employees of DeKalb County EMS take pride in their profession and congratulate Misty in achieving this award.


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