Local News Articles

City Officials Frustrated with Bridge Repair Delays

April 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen
State Representative Mark Pody

Local officials are not happy that it’s taking so long to fix the Veterans Memorial Bridge on College Street over Broad Street.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation let bids for the project Friday, February 10 and Mid-State Construction Company, Inc. had the apparent lowest bid at $238,600.58.

The bid was initially expected to be awarded by mid-March with construction to follow. The completion time on the project was to have been on or before September 30. But TDOT rejected the bid.

“The project was rejected in the February letting because the bid prices came in too high. We are looking at ways to lower them and once we decide on how to do this we will re-let the project and see what we get. We understand that it is an inconvenience, but we must be good stewards of the public’s money and look for fair and equitable prices,” Jennifer Flynn, TDOT Community Relations Officer told WJLE

During Monday night’s meeting of the city council, Mayor Jimmy Poss and Aldermen said they wanted state lawmakers to intervene with TDOT in an effort to expedite the project.

In a LIVE radio interview with WJLE Tuesday morning, State Representative Mark Pody said he planned to meet with TDOT officials this week to discuss the project. “I am meeting with TDOT to see what we can do to speed up this project. I can’t tell TDOT who to get their bids from because they have to go through that process but because it has been delayed I can ask what we can do to start moving this thing along much faster,” said Pody.

The bridge was damaged in June, 2016 when a DeKalb County Landfill truck, driven by 54 year old Roger Chapman, hit the underside of the bridge as it was traveling east on Broad Street. Although the truck carried no dumpster at the time, the lift was up. The bridge has been closed since the accident.

Five Involved in Tuesday Night Crash

April 5, 2017
Dwayne Page
 2007 Ford Escape
Oldsmobile Alero

Five people were involved in a crash Tuesday night on Highway 70 near DeKalb Market.

Trooper Tommy Cooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 18 year old Daniel Patterson of Smithville was driving a 2007 Ford Escape and was attempting to cross the highway toward DeKalb Market when he pulled into the path of a westbound Oldsmobile Alero, driven by 30 year old Savannah Wilkerson. Patterson had two juveniles in the car with him. They went to the hospital by private vehicle. A child passenger was with Wilkerson. They were transported to the hospital by DeKalb EMS.

According to Trooper Cooper, Patterson was cited for failure to exercise due care, no license, failure to yield to traffic, and violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance). Wilkerson was cited for expired drivers license and no insurance.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department were also on the scene.

Billings Charged with Trying to Stab His Wife to Death

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Andrew Lafate Billings

A DeKalb County man has been charged with trying to kill his wife after she was found by the side of the road in the Ragland Bottom area cut and bleeding from a stabbing.

29 year old Andrew Lafate Billings of Antioch Road,Smithville is charged with the attempted first degree murder of his wife 19 year old Adriana Billings. He is under a one million dollar bond and will make a court appearance on April 20.

Adriana is at an undisclosed hospital being treated for stab wounds.

The warrant against Billings states that "on the 4th of April, 2017, Andrew Lafate Billings did intentionally and knowingly stab his wife, Adriana Nichole Billings numerous times about the upper body. Billings did commit this act with premeditation with the intent to kill Adriana Billings. Adriana was taken by helicopter with life threatening injuries. This offense did occur in DeKalb County".

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that the victim was found Tuesday morning on Allen Ferry Road off Backbone Ridge Road in DeKalb County.

“At 9:06 a.m. a call came in to dispatch from someone who found a woman on the side of the road bleeding from the throat and said she appeared to have been stabbed.”

“Officers arrived ten minutes later and found the woman lying in a ditch with knife wounds to the neck, face, and hands. The victim was seen by EMS and then airlifted by helicopter. She suffered life threatening injuries,” said Sheriff Ray.

“While doing inventory at the scene, detectives developed Andrew Billings as a suspect and were able to obtain a vehicle description. A BOLO (Be on the lookout) was sent to surrounding counties.”

“The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and District Attorney General’s Office were summoned to the scene by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.”

“White County authorities later received a domestic call in their county and learned that Andrew Billings had gotten into an argument with a family member. A White County detective spotted the vehicle Billings was driving and did a traffic stop at 11:19 a.m.”

“A search warrant was later obtained and executed on the vehicle Billings was driving and officers found blood and a bloody knife with hair on it inside the automobile. Billings was found to have cuts to his hands,” Sheriff Ray continued.

Billings was taken into custody. He was booked in DeKalb County on the attempted first degree murder charge but is being held in White County on a failure to appear in court charge there. DeKalb County has a hold on him after he faces his White County offense.

Sheriff Ray wishes to thank the TBI and DA’s office and the White County Sheriff’s Department for their help in the investigation. No motive has been released for the stabbing.

Andrew and Adriana Billings first made news last November when they fled to Michigan with their 8 month old child prompting an Endangered Child Alert. They are still facing aggravated child abuse and initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine charges from that incident.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Makes Donation to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

April 4, 2017
Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital Makes Donation to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital has donated $12,000 to the DeKalb Prevention Coalition / Healthy DeKalb Program to fund a ‘DeKalb Community Health Adventure’ for 2017. Healthy DeKalb is a part of Healthier Tennessee from the Governor’s Foundation. The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco. The Foundation is funded through a combination of public and private-sector sources and is guided by a board of directors. A staff of eight professionals has been assembled to direct the Foundation and implement the Healthier Tennessee initiative. Healthy DeKalb is comprised of a group of concerned citizens dedicated to promote health and improved wellness for their community. Saint Thomas Health is a part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.

“This contribution is in direct line with the mission of Saint Thomas Health, which is to provide spiritually centered, holistic care that sustains and improves the health of the communities we serve,” said Andy Wachtel, CEO, Saint Thomas DeKalb, Stones River, and Highlands hospitals. “Helping to promote a healthy community is a key part of our overall commitment to health and healing.”

“The DeKalb Community Health Adventure kicked off on Healthier Tennessee Week – March 27th through 31st- by offering free art, exercise and wellness classes including: gentle yoga, power yoga, senior chair volleyball, walking club, adult art classes, and Tai Chi Tuesdays beginning March 28th,” said one Coalition member, “This is something that has never been available to our community before. It is our hope that these free classes will allow anyone to try healthy opportunities to build good habits and a renewed care of their personal health for years to come. Upcoming summer activities will include swimming classes, water aerobics, personal trainer sessions, personal health coach sessions, and nutrition classes. All classes will be available on a first come/first serve basis, so we want everyone to sign-up early.”

For more information, or to sign up for available classes free of charge for adults and children, Call DeKalb Prevention Coalition at 615-580-9290 or Justin Potter Library at 615-597-4359.

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital is a 71-bed full-service hospital located in Smithville, TN and serving the people of Middle Tennessee. Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital provides a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care. We are a forward thinking, innovative hospital where trust, teamwork and technology come together to make a positive difference in the health of our community and region.

Man Allegedly Found with Child Porn on his Laptop Computer Indicted by Grand Jury

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
Louis Simon Lopez, III
Walter Kenneth Tubbs
Jeffery Mark Hatfield
Robin Clark Green

A 44 year old Smithville man recently charged with sexual exploitation of a minor after photos and videos of child porn were allegedly found on his laptop computer has been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

Louis Simon Lopez, III was indicted Monday for the crime and will be arraigned Monday, April 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

According to Chief Mark Collins, Smithville Police were informed on Saturday, January 7 that Lopez was the owner of a laptop that had several pictures and videos of what appeared to be children under the age of 18 naked and engaging in sex acts. Upon investigation, a warrant was obtained and Lopez was taken into custody without incident.

Lopez reportedly has a criminal record for similar offenses in the past while a member of the U.S. Army and received a dishonorable discharge. He is listed on the sex offender registry in another state.

64 year old Walter Kenneth Tubbs of Murfreesboro and formerly of Smithville was indicted for rape. He will be arraigned Monday. Tubbs is accused of raping a woman at her residence on Smith Road Tuesday, July 26, 2016. According to the warrant, Tubbs allegedly rubbed the woman's breast and then took his hand and put it down her pants. The woman told him to stop immediately. Tubbs then allegedly used force to remove the woman’s pants and underwear and he had sex with her against her will. The whole time the woman told Tubbs to stop what he was doing or she would scream. After the incident Tubbs apologized and pleaded for the woman not to press charges. He also called family members and apologized to them for what he had done, according to the warrant.

26 year old Jeffery Mark Hatfield was indicted for two counts of child abuse. He will be arraigned Monday. He is accused of leaving two youngsters home alone, including one who wandered out into the road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that a detective was patrolling Adcock Cemetery Road just before dark on Thursday, January 12 when he came upon a three year old girl standing in the center of the road. After almost hitting the child, he stopped and tended to the youngster while contacting the Department of Children Services. After searching for more than an hour, authorities finally located the child’s home. Upon arrival, they found a two year old boy who was home alone. According to Sheriff Ray, Hatfield left the children in an unsafe situation placing them in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

41 year old Robin Clark Green was indicted for violation of the sex offender registry. He will be arraigned Monday. Green is accused of not giving timely notice after relocating from Cannon to DeKalb County. According to Sheriff Ray, Green moved from Cannon to DeKalb County without giving notice within 24 hours of the move in violation of the sex offender registration law. "On Wednesday, January 13 a Sheriff's Department Detective went to 267 Ragland Bottom Road to tell Green that his address needed to be changed on the sex offender registry. Green was told that he had twenty four hours from the time he moved to change the address. On January 19, the detective spoke with Cannon County officials who said that Green had not changed his address and was still registered in Cannon County," said Sheriff Ray. Green was subsequently placed under arrest

Thirty Eight Indicted by Grand Jury

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page

Thirty eight people were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday including two named in sealed indictments.

Arraignment for the defendants is set for Monday, April 10 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

The names of those indicted and the offenses are as follows:

William Andrew Cantrell-auto burglary, theft under $1,000 (2 counts), and resisting arrest

Billy Eugene Cook, Jr.-burglary, aggravated burglary, and resisting arrest (3 counts)

Marina Gae Cornett-simple possession of a schedule IV drug and possession of drug paraphernalia

Allen Dean Dolberry and Dana Marie Dolberry-theft over $1,000

Miriam Juanice Ellis-driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Scott Tyler Faulkner-introduction into a penal facility

Shauna Melissa Fleetwood-burglary and theft under $1,000

Donnie Dewane Frazier-possession of a schedule VI drug for sale or delivery and possession of a weapon by a felon

Eric Dewayne Frazier-aggravated assault

Charles Robert Fults, Jr.-attempted aggravated robbery

Robin Clark Green-violation of the sex offender registry

Patricia Ann Harris-driving under the influence

Jeffery M. Hatfield-child abuse (2 counts)

Charlotte Marie Hill-leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a suspended license (3rd offense), and criminal impersonation

Elizabeth Nell Hodge-aggravated burglary, theft under $1,000, and vandalism

Brian Clinton Howell-burglary, theft under $1,000, possession of burglary tools, and vandalism under $1,000

Joshua Michael Jordan-possession of a schedule II drug (meth) over 0.5 grams with intent to sell or deliver

Elsie Mae Judkins-possession of a schedule IV drug with intent to sell or deliver

Michael Duane Kingsbury-possession of a schedule VI drug with intent to sell or deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia

Chad Everette Knowles-possession of a schedule II drug (meth) with intent to sell or deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, evading arrest in a motor vehicle, and violation of the habitual motor vehicle offender

Scotty Wayne Knowles-driving on a suspended license

Brenda Dean Lattimore-theft over $2,500

Kennith Wayne Lattimore-theft over $2,500

Louis Simon Lopez, III-sexual exploitation of a minor

Stephanie Michelle Maloney-burglary and theft under $1,000

Logan Tyler Martin-attempted aggravated robbery

Howard Lee Pyles-theft under $1,000

Veronica Lucille St. Hilaire-driving under the influence (2nd offense) and driving on a suspended license

James Walter Stone-driving under the influence

Randall Joe Swindle-aggravated burglary, theft under $1,000, vandalism, and possession of a weapon by a felon

Walter Kenneth Tubbs-rape

Richard B. Turner-domestic assault

Kristen Waggoner-fraudulent use of a credit card

Trinity K. Wildbur-fraudulent use of a credit card (2 counts)

Daniel Ray Wilson-aggravated assault and domestic assault

New Automated Side Loader Garbage Truck Expected to Arrive Soon

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
City to Receive by June New Automated Side Loader Garbage Truck Similar but Smaller to the one shown here

The City of Smithville will be getting a new garbage truck for the sanitation department by June 1. The 2500 curbside trash containers to be distributed to households and businesses throughout the city have already arrived.

During Monday night’s monthly meeting, the Smithville Aldermen voted to transfer a $400,000 certificate of deposit from the bank to the city’s general fund to pay for the truck and cans. The total cost to the city for the new garbage truck and the 2500 trash containers is $313,064.

Unlike the city's current garbage trucks, this new one will be manned only by the driver and equipped with an automated side loader for picking up curbside residential household garbage.

During the December meeting, the aldermen voted to purchase the garbage truck, a 24 cubic yard tandem axle Peterbilt 348, from Municipal Equipment, Inc. of Knoxville. Although the bid was highest of the six submitted at $192,564, City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson suggested it would be the best buy for the city.

The aldermen also voted to purchase 2500 curbside trash containers from Municipal Equipment, Inc. for $120,500 which was the lowest of the five bids submitted.

During Monday night’s meeting, Hendrixson recommended making the purchase from the CD saying it was earning less than 1% in the bank. Before the city starts the new garbage pickup system, an ordinance will be adopted by the aldermen and residents will be sent instructions on where to place their new garbage cans by the streets in order for the new truck to easily be able to access them.

Each home or business will be assigned one garbage can and it must be used but residents and businesses may purchase more cans if they wish.

DCHS Winterguard TN State Champs

April 4, 2017
DCHS Winterguard TN State Champs

The DeKalb County High School Winterguard Traveled to Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Apr. 1.

The Winterguard performed and was named Tennessee State Grand Champions and was also awarded the Bronze Medal in their class.

They competed against schools from Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Their instructors are Jessica Higgins, Cori Sexton and Katie Merriman and the Director of Bands at DCHS is Tracy M. Luna.

Three Involved in Crash Near Walmart

April 4, 2017
Dwayne Page
2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by 76 year old Doris Clinton Melton of Woodbury
2004 Chevy Impala driven by 36 year old Billie Desirhea Johnson of Smithville.

Three people were involved in a two vehicle crash last Thursday on Broad Street at the entrance to Walmart.

Smithville Police told WJLE that 76 year old Doris Clinton Melton of Woodbury was west on Broad Street in a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee and turning into the Walmart parking lot when she crossed the path of an eastbound 2004 Chevy Impala driven by 36 year old Billie Desirhea Johnson of Smithville.

71 year old Shirley Melton of Woodbury was a passenger of the Jeep. Both Shirley Melton and Johnson were taken to Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

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

Local girls receive Highest Award in Girl Scouting

April 4, 2017
Rachel Fuson
Callie Cripps

Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee congratulates Rachel Fuson and Callie Cripps for earning the Girl Scout Gold Award – the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

The youth at Rachel’s church did not have their own room for devotionals and classes, so she worked with church elders to build a youth group room. The church’s cleaning staff and quarterly youth group workdays will maintain the room. Rachel also created a book showing "before" and "after" pictures as well as a how-to guide for similar projects.

Callie created a sign for her town cemetery with grant funds she secured from the Smithville Cemetery Association. Callie was involved in all aspects of the project, including design, enlisting the help of her school shop teacher to build the frame, setting it in the ground, building a stone wall around the base and planting flowers. Girl Scout Troop 750 will sustain the project, and additional troops will volunteer at the annual Smithville Town Cemetery Day. Callie received the Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award for her project. She also prepared a booklet about the cemetery that dates back to 1838, with suggestions on how to conduct research for similar projects. This booklet was placed in the local genealogy room.

By earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, Rachel and Callie have become community leaders. Their accomplishments reflect leadership and citizenship skills that set them apart.

“Earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is truly a remarkable achievement, and these young women exemplify leadership in all its forms,” said Shelia Majors, director of training, volunteer relations and outreach at Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. “They saw a need in their communities and around the world and took action. Their extraordinary dedication, perseverance and leadership is making the world a better place.”

Rachel and Callie will receive their awards at the 2017 Salute to Outstanding Leadership Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 30 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena.

Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee serves more than 14,000 girls and 7,000 adult volunteers in 39 counties. It is a part of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), the world’s preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 2.6 million girls and adults nationwide. GSUSA continues to strive to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how you can be involved in Girl Scouts visit www.gsmidtn.org.


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