Local News Articles

Judge Grants Probation for Man Involved in September Crash

February 25, 2017
Dwayne Page
2004 Dodge pickup driven by 21 year old Brandon Winne
2003 Volkswagen Jetta driven by 66 year old Julian Smart of Smithville

A man believed to be responsible for a traffic accident involving nine people in September was in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday.

21 year old Brandon Dale Winne entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and received a two year sentence suspended to TDOC supervised probation. He is expected to be on judicial diversion.

The crash occurred on Friday night, September 16 on Highway 146 near the Cannon County line.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Winne was traveling north in a 2004 Dodge pickup truck when he crossed the center line into the southbound lane and sideswiped an oncoming 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by 66 year old Julian Smart of Smithville. After impact the truck went off the left side of the highway, into a ditch and through a fence. The truck overturned but came to rest upright off the road.

Passengers of Winne’s truck were 19 year old Eli Porterfield of Dowelltown and two juveniles. Riding with Smart were 48 year old Brenda Smart of Smithville, 31 year old Trisha Peachey of Liberty, and two juveniles.

All were taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital except for Porterfield who was not injured.

Trooper Cobble was assisted in the crash investigation by Trooper Tommy Cooper. Others on the scene were members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department.

Gohs Gets Three Years Probation for Statutory Rape

February 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Nathan Joseph Gohs

A 21 year old Dowelltown man appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday and entered a plea to two counts of statutory rape.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Nathan Joseph Gohs of Dale Ridge Road received a two year sentence in one case and one year in the other to run consecutively for a total of three years. He will be on TDOC probation. The term is also to run consecutive to other probation he is currently serving.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said from June 1 to July 31, 2016 Gohs allegedly had sex with a 16 year old girl three times at a residence on Students Home Road.

In each of the three counts, the grand jury indictment alleged that on or about the date range of June 1, 2016 to July 31, 2016, Gohs did unlawfully and intentionally or knowingly sexually penetrate a minor child, a person 16 years of age. Gohs being at least four years older than the minor child.

Alexandria Honors "Living Treasure"

February 24, 2017
Dwayne Page
Carrie Smith

“A Living Treasure”

That’s how Alexandria Mayor Bennett Armstrong describes Carrie Smith.

At 102 years young, Ms Carrie is believed to be Alexandria’s oldest resident and she is being recognized as part of February’s Black History Month observance. Ms Carrie is a resident of 112 Shady Lane.

As a child, Ms. Carrie remembers being raised in a Christian home and her baptism. She also recalled times “when we played in the back yard until mama would call us in” and when her parents would say to her “you’d better hop to it or you’ll get a switching”.

Ms. Carrie mentioned some of the innovations that have come about in her lifetime and commented about the nation’s first African-American President, Barack Obama, saying “He used God’s wisdom”.

When asked her secret for the long life she has lived, Ms Carrie responded “God’s love in Jesus Christ”.

Man Allegedly Helps Minor Run Away from Home

February 24, 2017
Dwayne Page

A man who allegedly helped a minor run away from home has been charged by Smithville Police.

20 year old Isaiah Curtis Sutherland was arrested on Thursday, February 23 for contributing to the delinquency of a child. Sutherland allegedly picked up the victim at her residence without the permission of her mother and helped her run away from her home on Wednesday, February 22. Sutherland took the victim back to her house early on Thursday, February 23. His bond is $3,500 and his court date is March 9.

31 year old Justin Lynn Murphy was arrested on Saturday, February 11 for violation of bond conditions. Police responded to an argument call and spoke with Murphy. A computer check with Central Dispatch revealed that Murphy was in violation of bond conditions for a domestic assault arrest that had occurred the day before. The victim of the assault was also at the residence. Murphy was taken into custody without incident. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is March 2.

58 year old Ricky Lee Dowell was arrested on Monday, February 13 for driving while his license were suspended. Police initiated a routine traffic stop and upon a check with Central Dispatch, discovered that Dowell's license were suspended for failure to pay fines or costs in DeKalb County. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is March 9.

32 year old Stephanie Summers was picked up Wednesday, February 15 on warrants for fraudulent use of a credit card. Summers allegedly used a forged credit card in the victim's name several times at different locations maxing the card out in the amount of $3000. Her bond is $20,000 and her court date is March 9.

25 year old Devin Duffield was arrested on Friday, February 17 for disorderly conduct. Duffield allegedly caused a disturbance at local automobile dealership and refused to leave the property when asked by employees. Duffield got into a Ford Mustang owned by the dealership and sat in the driver's seat refusing to get out even after police arrived and ordered him to exit the car. Police subsequently used a soft hand technique to get Duffield out of the vehicle and handcuffed him. He was placed under arrest with further incident. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is March 23.

22 year old Christopher Ray Woodard was arrested on Saturday, February 18 for domestic assault. Woodard allegedly assaulted his victim by twisting her left arm, punching her in the ribs and mouth, and busting her lip leaving physical evidence of an assault. His bond is $2,000.
41 year old Frankie Dewayne Bryant was arrested Sunday, February 19 for violation of an order of protection. Bryant was the respondent on an active order of protection and allegedly violated the order multiple times. His bond is $2,500.

38 year old Gregory Brian West was arrested on Sunday, February 19 for a second offense of driving under the influence. Police were called to check on a man who was possibly passed out at the wheel of a vehicle. The driver, identified as West, had slurred speech and he was unsteady on his feet. West was asked to perform standardized field sobriety tasks. He did so but performed poorly. His bond is $3,000 and his court date is March 2.

53 year old Anthony Maurice Charley was arrested on Wednesday, February 22 for possession of a Schedule VI drug for sale or delivery. While executing a search warrant at the residence of Charley, police found approximately two ounces of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana inside a black case in his bedroom. The substance was in four individually packaged baggies believed to be for the purpose of sale or delivery. Charley’s bond is $4,500.

36 year old Misty Nissa Bauer was arrested on Friday, February 24 for public intoxication and she was cited for two counts of simple possession. Police responded to a welfare call to check on a woman who appeared to be intoxicated. Upon arrival the officer found Bauer who showed signs of intoxication including slurred speech and being unsteady on her feet. An eye gaze nystagmus test was administered to Bauer and it showed signs that she was intoxicated. For her own safety Bauer was placed in custody and taken to the Police Department for processing. A search of her backpack revealed three loose pills believed to be acetaminophen and hydrocodone bitortrate, a schedule II drug and 18 pills in an unlabeled bottle believed to be carisoprodol which is a schedule IV drug.

Beer Can Now be Sold on Sundays in DeKalb County

February 23, 2017
Dwayne Page
County Attorney Hilton Conger

The liquor referendum that passed in Smithville a few months ago has impacted beer sale times in the county, thanks to a state law.

Stores and restaurants in DeKalb County that have an ON or OFF premises beer permit may now sell or serve alcohol on Sundays and extended hours during the week.

The authorization for these businesses to extend their hours to sell or serve beer came when voters in the City of Smithville adopted a referendum permitting liquor by the drink in November.

“Since the city has passed by referendum liquor by the drink then the hours for county beer sales now conform to the hours for sale of alcoholic beverages set by the state which are 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. (the following morning) and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.(the following morning),” County Attorney Hilton Conger told WJLE Thursday.

Previously, these county business establishments were prohibited from selling beer all day on Sundays and from midnight until 6:00 a.m. all other days of the week.

In response to questions from County Attorney Conger, Joshua Stepp, Commission Counsel for the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission said that based on his reading of state attorney general’s opinions, extended beer sales are now permitted in DeKalb County.

“One (AG opinion) basically says that when a county hasn’t passed an LBD (Liquor by the Drink) referendum, but a city in the county has, then the state LBD hours apply to the county with regards to beer. It then says that the county can extend those hours if they want, but they can only extend them, they can’t be more prohibitive then what the state hours are. The state hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. except the Sunday hours are 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m. except where the local jurisdiction passes an ordinance opting out of the 10:00 a.m. start time, in which case it would be noon,” said Stepp.

“Another (AG opinion) basically says that since the county beer hours of sale are tied to the state hours of sale for LBD and since the Sunday start time is typically 10:00 a.m. unless the city opts out making it noon, then the county has to follow whatever the city does, so if the city opts out, then the start time is noon, but if they don’t then it’s 10:00 a.m.,” Stepp said.

“How I read the opinions is that as soon as the referendum passed, the county became bound by the state hours, so that the hours for beer in the county are now 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. except on Sunday, it starts at 10:00 a.m. On Sunday, since the city hasn’t opted out of the 10:00 a.m. start time to make it noon, then the 10:00 a.m. start time applies (both in the city and the county) until such time as the city may so opt out,” said Stepp.

In December 2012, the City of Smithville authorized stores in the city with off premises permits to sell packaged beer twenty four hours a day, seven days a week including Sundays and to allow eligible restaurants to obtain an on-premises permit to serve beer with meals in their establishments..

Candidate Petitions for Liberty Election Now Available

February 23, 2017

Candidate petitions for the August 3 Liberty City Election are now available, according to the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

A Mayor and two Aldermen are scheduled to be elected, and Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections, said petitions can be picked up now.

“The qualifying deadline for those offices is Noon May 18, and petitions can be picked up now, or up until the qualifying deadline” Stanley said. “The candidates just need to remember the petitions must be returned before the deadline in order to be processed.”

The Mayor’s post is currently held by Dwight Mathis. Alderman up for office are the positions currently held by Howard Reynolds, Jr. and J.D. Bratten.

Bratten was just elected last year to fill the remainder of an unexpired term. That slot and the others on this year’s ballot will be for a four-year term.

Sheriff's Department Participating in Car Safety Event

February 23, 2017
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children 1 to 13 years old. Many deaths and injuries can be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters and seat belts. Getting safety information and car seat instructions to parents and caregivers is crucial to saving young lives.

Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department are committed to ensuring the safety of your children. Car seats are essential to your child's safety in the event of an automobile accident. Unfortunately, close to 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly and many children travel unrestrained.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office in conducting a car seat safety check event. Trained car seat technicians will be on hand March 22 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Smithville Walmart, located at 515 West Broad Street, Smithville to check car seats and to make sure they are properly installed in your vehicle.

Sheriff Ray says "Every child deserves the chance to grow up and become an amazing adult; make sure your child has the chance. Please plan to visit us at this event."

Liberty Woman Busted Twice on Drug Charges in Smith County

February 23, 2017
Kari Leigh Carter (Photo Courtesy of Smith County Insider)
Mark Green (Photo Courtesy of Smith County Insider)
Steven Willhite (Photo Courtesy of Smith County Insider)

A Liberty woman arrested in Smith County last month on drug charges found herself back behind bars along with two other individuals following a traffic stop for speeding that led to the discovery of more drugs Tuesday, February 7.

(The following is the report on the story and pictures from the Smith County Insider)

29 year old Kari Carter was given a drug screen by DCS on January 28, which showed positive for several types of narcotics. A search of her vehicle revealed a black bag containing a syringe, a spoon with residue, a pill bottle containing a baggie of two tamadol tablets, a baggie containing .2 mg of methamphetamine, and two empty pill bottles filled on January 25. One pill bottle was prescribed alprazolam and the other was prescribed buprenorphine — both of which were empty.

Carter was charged with simple possession of schedule IV, prescription drug fraud, possession of methamphetamine, and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

On February 7, Trooper Brandon Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol stopped a vehicle on I-40 westbound near mile marker 262 for speeding (90 mph in a 70 mph zone).

Upon contact, the driver, Kari Carter, appeared to be very nervous, according to the arrest warrant.

Two passengers were with Carter: Mark Green (36, Carthage) and Steven Willhite (27, Carthage).

The K-9 unit was called to the scene and indicated drugs in the vehicle.

A search of the vehicle revealed .5 grams of a crystal-like substance appearing to be methamphetamine in the front passenger seat where Willhite was sitting and a spoon with burn marks on the bottom of it in a McDonald’s cup located in the center console cup holder between Willhite and Carter.

During a pat down, a lump was felt in Green’s crotch area which was found to be a black case containing two needles, a case of pH test strips and two baggies of a crystal-like substance appearing to be methamphetamine, which later weighed in at 1.2 grams.

All three were arrested and transported to the Smith County Jail Facility for booking.

After arriving at the jail facility, Carter was asked if she had any drugs, paraphernalia or weapons on her person and was informed it would be an additional charge. A needle was then located in Carter’s bra containing a dark purple liquid later identified as methamphetamine, weighing less than .5 grams.

Carter is charged with possession of controlled substances, felony possession of drug paraphernalia, introduction of contraband into the jail and violation of probation.

Green and Willhite are charged with simple possession of narcotics and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

Solid Waste Transfer Station Up and Running

February 23, 2017
Dwayne Page
Solid Waste Transfer Station Up and Running

The county’s solid waste transfer station is now up and running.

Southern Central Waste Services, LLC of McMinnville began operating the new transfer station last Wednesday, February 15.

Although the county’s landfill remains open it is close to capacity and except for commercial solid waste all other county garbage is now coming to the transfer station. The facility is currently accepting waste from the county’s convenience sites, schools, and City of Smithville, etc and will begin taking waste next month from commercial services like Waste Management which picks up garbage from local businesses and factories and pays tipping fees to the county. The county wanted to give prior notice to those services because there will be a change in the rates they pay for dumping garbage at the transfer station versus the landfill.

“The transfer station is running right now through the end of February for county trash. That’s trash which is picked up at the convenience sites, City of Smithville, schools, etc. March 1 we will begin with commercial tipping. That’s for those who pay such as Waste Management. We wanted to send them a letter ahead of time. The commercial accounts are still being dumped at the landfill until March 1. They will then go to the transfer station,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling.

The county commission last month voted to enter into a three year contract with Southern Central Waste Services to operate the transfer station which is located behind Tenneco Automotive.

Under terms of the agreement, SCWS will provide operation of the transfer station, hauling, and disposal of DeKalb County’s household garbage at the Rhea County Landfill in Dayton, Tennessee, which is operated by Santec Environmental Inc.

“The bid was for SCWS to operate the transfer station; to provide two employees; a scale operator; an equipment operator; to furnish the equipment to load the trucks; to pay all utilities at the transfer station; and to do the transfer station billing. The county will receive all proceeds from tipping fees of other vendors who use the transfer station," said County Mayor Stribling.

“The only thing DeKalb County does is we dump it and they operate the machinery, scoop it, load it into a truck, and its hauled to a different landfill. All trucks are weighed when they come in and they are weighed when they go out so we know what tons are dumped. They are taking it to Rhea County. They are supplying two people, a scale operator and equipment operator,” County Mayor Stribling continued.

The county is paying the following rates to SCWS based on incoming weights:

*Up to 1,000 tons per month: $55 per ton

*1001 to 1250 tons per month: $54 per ton

*1251 to 1500 tons per month: $53 per ton

*1501 or more tons per month: $51 per ton.

Original plans were for the county to operate the transfer station itself and to ship the garbage to Smith County for disposal at $29 per ton but County Mayor Stribling said he and others found that it was cheaper to contract the service to a private company.

Until the landfill is filled to capacity, County Mayor Stribling said it will remain open for dumping of construction debris and other Class III waste.

“The engineer says we need to fill it (landfill) up a little more. This cell is pretty much at its maximum, but we need to fill it up and what we will be doing is taking construction debris and that type material to the landfill,” Stribling concluded.

"Classroom Champion" Award Goes to Aiden Whitman

February 22, 2017
Dwayne Page
Aiden Whitman of DMS Receives "Classroom Champion" Award
Attorney Jim Judkins, Joy Whitman, Classroom Champion Aiden Whitman, DMS Principal Randy Jennings, and Dwayne Page of WJLE

Aiden Whitman is the recipient of this week’s “Classroom Champion” award presented by Smithville Attorney Jim Judkins and WJLE.

Whitman, son of Joy and Trent Whitman of Smithville, is a 7th grader at DeKalb Middle School. Aiden recently received the honor and a special gift card from Judkins.

He is a member of the DeKalb Middle School Junior BETA Club and is a manager for the Saints basketball team. Whitman is also a member of the Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church.

“Aiden is one of the most polite students I have ever had. He is always willing to do anything asked of him without hesitation,” said Nancy Cowan, Aiden’s 7th grade teacher.

In an effort to recognize achievements of students in the DeKalb County School System, WJLE has partnered with attorney Judkins in featuring a “Classroom Champion” each week for the next several months.

The name of the student selected each week will be announced on WJLE and will be featured on the WJLE website. Each student winning will receive a plaque and a gift certificate.

“This is our way of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the future citizens and leaders of the community. It can benefit their learning and overall school atmosphere and climate. The students' selection is based on academic performance, responsibility and work ethic, leadership abilities, and citizenship


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