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One Injured in Rear End Collision

September 21, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
1998 Chevy Silverado driven by Jerry Holley
1982 GMC Sierra driven by 16 year old

Two people were involved in a rear end collision Tuesday afternoon on Highway 56 south near Webb's Chapel Church.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 62 year old Jerry Holley of Rock Island was traveling south in a 1998 Chevy Silverado when he rear ended a southbound 1982 GMC Sierra, driven by a 16 year old, who had stopped to make a left turn into a private driveway. The teen was taken by DeKalb EMS to the hospital. Holley was not injured.

According to Trooper Johnson, Holley was cited for failure to exercise due care.

Members of the DeKalb EMS, Sheriff's Department, and County Fire Department were also on the scene.

Goff Sentenced in Drug Case

September 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jerry Goff
Amanda F. Mooneyham
Neil Bernard Keenan

A Smithville man was sentenced Monday, September 12 in DeKalb County Criminal Court after entering a plea to one count of attempting to sell a schedule II drug.

38 year old Jerry "Bugg" Goff received a two year sentence to serve to run consecutive to an eight year term he is currently serving. Although he doesn’t have to pay a fine, Goff must forfeit his vehicle and $800 in cash. He was given jail credit from July 27, 2015 to September 12, 2016.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Friday July 17, 2015 a Sheriff's department detective and deputy went to Eastside Inn and spoke with Goff, who was sitting in a white Durango. The detective conducted a probation search of Goff and found in his left cargo pocket a gold metal container which held 48 pills believed to be Dilaudid. In his right cargo pocket was a silver metal container with 19 pills thought to be Oxycodone. Goff did not have a prescription for the drugs and he was placed under arrest. Goff's Durango was also seized because it is believed to have been used to transport illegal narcotics for resale.

30 year old Amanda F. Mooneyham entered a plea by criminal information to sale of a schedule VI drug and received a two year sentence, all suspended to TDOC supervised probation. She was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run consecutive to a Warren County sentence against her. According to court documents, Mooneyham, on or about January 10, did knowingly sell a schedule VI drug (marijuana), not less than 0.5 ounces (14.175 grams) in violation of state law. At the time of her arrest by Smithville Police, Mooneyham was five months pregnant and was charged with endangering a viable fetus as a victim, possession of a schedule VI drug for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal impersonation.

According to Chief Mark Collins, while police were attempting to serve a warrant on Christopher Eugene Layne , they found Mooneyham and Brandon Michael Dearth were also at the residence. Upon a search of their persons and vehicles Dearth was found to have a small bag which he claimed contained methamphetamine. Mooneyham had in her possession several baggies of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana along with scales and several other drug paraphernalia items. When asked Mooneyham admitted to officers that she had smoked pot and did meth earlier in the day. The cases against Layne and Dearth apparently remain pending in court.

59 year old Neil Bernard Keenan entered a plea to simple possession of a schedule IV drug and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. He was fined $750. He will be on supervised probation. Smithville Police received a call on Friday, November 20, 2015 of a possible drunk driver that had crashed into a pole in the parking lot of Food Lion. The officer spoke with Keenan in a checkout line inside the store. Keenan was unsteady on his feet. His speech was slurred and he had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person. Incident to arrest, a silver pill container with a Schedule IV substance was found in his front pants pocket. Keenan was placed under arrest.

Johnson Airlifted After Late Night Crash

September 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kenneth Johnson Airlifted After Late Night Crash (Bobby Johnson Photo)

A 61 year old man was airlifted after a one car crash late Monday night on Poss Road.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 61 year old Kenneth Johnson was traveling southbound on Poss Road near his home in a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria at around 11:05 p.m.

According to the Trooper, Johnson lost control of his car while negotiating a curve causing his vehicle to rotate and run off the left side of the roadway striking a large tree and fence. Johnson was the lone occupant. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was found lying in the back seat unresponsive. Johnson was airlifted to Skyline Medical Center. Alcohol was a factor in the crash and charges are pending against Johnson.

Smithville Electric System May Proceed to Build New Substation

September 20, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Smithville Mayor and Aldermen
Supporters and Opponents of Proposed SES Substation at City Council Meeting
Opponents and Supporters of Proposed SES Substation at City Council Meeting

Smithville Electric System now has the blessing of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to proceed with plans to build a new substation on South College Street.

During a special meeting Monday evening, the Aldermen voted 3-1 to overturn a decision by the Smithville Planning Commission to disapprove of SES’s plans for the substation at the proposed location.

Aldermen Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer voted in favor. Alderman Gayla Hendrix voted "no" saying she needed more time to study the issue. Alderman Jason Murphy was absent.

“I’m not voting “no” because I don’t believe it’s the correct place to put the substation. I am voting no because I have not had time to investigate it,” said Alderman Hendrix.

“I’m voting “yes” because we put the (SES) board in there and I respect their decision to move forward with this,” said Alderman Washer.

Smithville Electric System made this appeal before the Mayor and Aldermen after a ruling by Chancellor Ronald Thurman last Wednesday. In his decision, Chancellor Thurman found that when the Smithville Planning Commission disapproved the substation project during a meeting on June 14, SES did not have the authority to overrule the planning commission but should have filed an appeal with the Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen asking for a simple majority vote to overturn the planning commission’s decision. SES had 30 days to make the appeal.

Local developer Joe Rice, through his attorneys Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox, brought the action against Smithville Electric System and the City of Smithville on September 2 in Chancery Court asking for a declaratory judgment and an injunction to keep SES from building the substation near his subdivision. While not a party to the lawsuit, other residents in the neighborhood are also opposed to the substation there.

After Mayor Jimmy Poss opened the special meeting Monday evening, Alderman Hendrix made a motion that the vote be delayed to give the council more time to study the issue especially since the Chancellor had not yet signed an order on last Wednesday’s ruling. Her motion died for the lack of a second.

“This is a complicated issue. I’ve had several people in the community approach me about it. I sat in on the hearing last Wednesday but I missed the ruling and I asked for a copy of the ruling before tonight. I got Ms. Cripps’ order that she drafted but I understand the attorneys for the city and Smithville Electric have submitted a competing order. When there are competing orders we don’t know which one the Chancellor is going to sign. Based upon that and the fact that I would like to read the transcript of the court file from Wednesday’s hearing, I personally feel that I don’t have adequate information to go forward with a vote tonight. I need more time to study this. I make a motion that we move this to see which order the Chancellor is going to sign and then look at that order and specifically what it tells us to do and then do the research we need as far as our charter, the Smithville Electric System by-laws, and I’d like to see a site plan of this substation. I’d like to see the zoning ordinances. We need to thoroughly investigate it,” said Alderman Hendrix.

City attorney Vester Parsley said whichever order the Chancellor signs will be the same on the key issue of requiring the Smithville Electric System to come before the Mayor and Aldermen to seek an appeal to overturn the decision of the planning commission. “ Both of those orders specify that Smithville Electric is to come before the board. There isn’t any difference in that provision of the judge’s order,” said Parsley.

“What bothers me greatly is that we have a board in place (planning commission) to review this type of thing. We appoint those folks to do that. When they said “no” this is not an adequate location and don’t put it here, the Smithville Electric Board went forward anyway. That concerns me. Why do we have these boards in place? Because there are checks and balances in government,” Alderman Hendrix continued.

During last week’s hearing, Rice’s attorneys Cripps and Cox asserted that the planning commission disapproved SES’s plans based on the grounds that the proposed location by SES is inconsistent with the city’s Land Use and Transportation Plan.

Alderman Jacobs, a member of the Planning Commission, said the reason he voted “no” at the June meeting was because there had been no time to study the proposal. “As a member of the planning commission, I know several members including myself voted “no” that night because we didn’t have enough information. We didn’t know it was coming our way at the time. It was plopped down in front of us. We had no where the information we should have had to be able to make a decision and that’s why I voted no. I know some other members said the same thing. We have had more information since then,” said Alderman Jacobs.

At the beginning of the meeting Monday evening, Mayor Poss cautioned that no questions or comments would be allowed by the public and that the purpose of the meeting was for the aldermen to either vote to uphold or overturn the planning commission’s decision on this issue. And when attorney Brandon Cox approached the mayor and aldermen with a petition signed by 124 residents in the neighborhood and elsewhere in the city opposing this project, he was warned that if he kept talking he would be escorted out of the meeting room by police.

After the meeting Attorney Sarah Cripps told WJLE she was concerned that the mayor and members of the board of aldermen stifled any public discussion of this issue.

“I was astounded that the males on this board (aldermen) sought to mute all discussion from people who opposed what they (aldermen) had already decided what they wanted to do. The only reason you suppress the right of the people to voice an opinion to those who are elected to represent them is when you know you are going to do whatever you want regardless of the popular will. And for this board to say we don’t care and we don’t want to educate ourselves is an abrogation of their duty,” said Cripps

“Think of what the power board itself did. The arrogance of a body to say we don’t have to go before the planning commission. That we are a law unto ourselves. It is absolutely appalling,” Cripps continued.

“Electric substations are unsightly. They are required to remain lighted at all times. They generate visual and auditory pollution. Half of the acreage that this body (SES) purchased in its arrogance is in a protected wetlands area. They admitted that they disturbed that area because we the electric board did not think we had to investigate that.”

“It concerns me that two members of the electric power board who claim to be attorneys and know the law determined that a state statute did not apply to them and determined and took action to subject the city to inverse condemnation lawsuits by all of the surrounding property owners".

“I’m just ashamed of my government and I think it’s let me down,” she said.

Cripps went on to say that the SES is not representative of the city at large because there are no women or minorities on the board.

Cookeville Woman Airlifted After Sunday Motorcycle Wreck

September 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Cookeville Woman Airlifted After Sunday Motorcycle Wreck

A Cookeville couple was involved in a motorcycle crash Sunday afternoon on Dale Ridge Road (Highway 96).

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 65 year old Gary Buettner was traveling south on a 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle. 66 year old Patricia Buettner was a passenger.

According to Trooper Johnson, Buettner failed to negotiate a curve and went off the right side of the highway and wrecked.

Ms. Buettner was transported by DeKalb EMS from the scene to Highway 70 at the top of Snow Hill where a helicopter landing zone was set up by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. She was then airlifted.

Although injured Mr. Buettner refused transport by EMS to the hospital.

He was charged with failure to exercise due care. According to Trooper Johnson, alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Couple Charged in Theft at Houseboat

September 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Ricky Lane Evans
Sherry May Evans
Jackie Mark Mullican
Bradley Don Crook
Taren Renee Pilley
Daniel Ray Wilson

A local couple has been arrested in connection with the recent theft of guns, coins, jewelry and other items stolen from a houseboat at Pates Ford Marina

46 year old Ricky Lane Evans and 37 year old Sherry May Evans both of Gene Vaughn Road, Smithville are each charged with theft of property over $10,000. Bond for each is $10,000 and they will make a court appearance October 6. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, September 17 both Ricky and Sherry Evans allegedly took items from a houseboat at Pates Ford Marina including several silver coins, a Kel-Tec 9 millimeter rifle, a Smith & Wesson 380 handgun, a Winchester 410 shotgun, clothing, jewelry, a spotlight, candles and other items. The owner of the houseboat discovered the theft and reported it. The case was investigated by a detective and deputies of the Sheriff’s Department and as a result some of the stolen weapons and other items have been recovered. Sheriff Ray said that some of the silver coins and jewelry were recovered in a purse belonging to Sherry Evans.

54 year old Jackie Mark Mullican of Miller Road, Smithville is charged with carrying or possession of a weapon by a felon. His bond is $7,500 and his court date is September 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, September 12 while conducting a probation search on Mullican, a Sheriff’s Department Detective found in his right pants pocket a silver Jennings 380 caliber handgun with an altered serial number. A computer check revealed that the gun had been stolen and entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) by the Smithville Police Department. A criminal history was also conducted which showed that Mullican is a DeKalb County convicted felon charged in a 2008 schedule II drug offense.

36 year old Bradley Don Crook of Tubb Street, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and his court date is October 6. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, September 16 a deputy responded to a residence on Tubb Street due to a domestic assault in progress. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Crook and a female. According to the woman, while she and Crook were arguing he stood up and smacked her on the left side of the face. Crook was very uncooperative with the deputy and was determined to have been the primary aggressor. He was placed under arrest.

34 year old Taren Renee Pilley of Davis Street, Smithville is charged with being a fugitive from justice. Her bond is $75,000 and her court date is September 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 17 a deputy responded to a residence on Yulanda Hills after receiving a 911 call of someone possibly being held hostage there. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Pilley. A computer check revealed that she had an active warrant against her from Butler County, Ohio. She was placed under arrest. Ohio authorities have agreed to extradite her.

32 year old Daniel Ray Wilson of Yulanda Hills Road is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and his court date is September 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, September 14 Wilson allegedly assaulted a woman by pulling her hair, striking her in the face with his fist, and trying to strangle her. Due to the assault, the woman suffered injuries to her face and red marks on her throat.

Nine Involved in Friday Night Crash

September 19, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
2004 Dodge pickup driven by 21 year old Brandon Winne of McMinnville
 2003 Volkswagen Jetta driven by 66 year old Julian Smart of Smithville

Nine people were involved in a two vehicle crash Friday night on Highway 146 near the Cannon County line.

Trooper Jason Cobble of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 21 year old Brandon Winne of McMinnville 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.

Winne was charged with driving under the influence. Other charges against him are pending.

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.

Alexandria Man Enters Plea to Third Offense of DUI

September 17, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Albert Dayton West

An Alexandria man who allegedly tried to outrun the law while drunk and then had a wreck last summer was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, September 12.

47 year old Albert Dayton West entered a plea to a third offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation except for 120 days to serve. He was fined $1,100.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the incident occurred on June 19, 2015 as a deputy was checking out a report of a domestic dispute. The officer apparently spotted a suspect in the case riding with West. The deputy got behind the vehicle and activated his blue lights but West refused to stop. As the officer activated his siren, West picked up speed traveling on West Main Street in Dowelltown. West then turned left onto Smith Fork Road and continued to evade for approximately one and a half miles before he wrecked. The officer had already terminated the pursuit prior to the accident. West and his passenger then got out of their automobile and fled. Two hours later, an officer found West on Main Street in Dowelltown. West admitted to being the driver and said he had been hurt in the wreck. West also confessed to picking up the man involved in the domestic dispute to keep him out of trouble. A witness identified West as the driver of the vehicle. West was determined to have been the driver of the vehicle and was placed under arrest.

38 year old Jose Alfredo Contreras entered a plea by information to reckless driving. He received a six month sentence on supervised probation. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 15 a deputy was on routine patrol when he spotted a Chevy Tahoe leaving its lane of travel. The officer made a traffic stop of the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Contreras. He had an odor of alcohol on his person and his eyes were bloodshot. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Contreras was placed under arrest.

49 year old Gary Jason Britt, originally charged with DUI and reckless endangerment, entered a plea to a first offense of driving under the influence. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on CPS probation. He was fined $360. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, March 8, 2015 a deputy spotted a Ford pickup truck failing to maintain his lane of travel on Highway 288, crossing the yellow line several times. The officer made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Britt who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Britt performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he submitted to a blood alcohol test. Britt's 13 year old daughter was in the truck with him at the time he was driving impaired, placing her in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.

27 year old Christopher Allen Summers entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and violation of the implied consent law. He received a six month sentence all suspended to supervised probation and he will lose his driver license for one year. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, June 29 a deputy was called to a private property hit and run accident on Lower Helton Road involving a white Chevrolet Impala. While enroute, the officer spotted the car traveling south on Dale Ridge Road. The deputy turned around and caught up with the car which had he found setting on Dale Ridge Road. The car's amber parking lights were on and Summers was sitting in the driver side seat. According to the officer, Summers’ eyes were bloodshot. He was unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Summers also was very belligerent and he refused to submit to field sobriety tasks.

DeKalb County High School FBLA Organization Attends Leadership Camp, Wins Awards

September 17, 2016
DeKalb County High School FBLA Organization Attends Leadership Camp, Wins Awards

The DeKalb County High School, Future Business Leaders of America attended Leadership Development Camp at Camp Clements in Doyle, Tennessee this past weekend. Members attended workshops on topics of Leadership, Community Service, Teamwork, Networking, and Competition.

Members were assigned to officer-specific training. Chapter members that attended were: Kris Barret, Dosson Medlin, Luke Green, Eli Cantrell, Elliott Cook, Karen Johnson, Shelby Clayborn, Brooklynn Wilson, Susan Webb, Sahara LaFever, Rilee Winfree, and Destiny Franklin . The club adviser that attended camp with the students was Marilyn Roberts who participated in the adviser’s training. Two members Shelby Clayborn and Destiny Franklin participated in the Talent Show.

In addition to workshops and officer training campers participated in recreation activities and were divided by color groups. Recreation activities included relay races and other team building activities. This was a wonderful experience for the students. They gained leadership, social, public speaking, and networking skills by participating in Camp Clements Leadership Development Camp.

This group received several awards. Brooklyn Wilson was chosen by her group members as the Silver Group most spirited member. Destiny Franklin finished in the top three in the talent show. Eli Cantrell received one of the sports awards for basketball. Luke Green and Rilee Winfree won the color group competition as members on the white team. Finally, Marilyn Roberts was chosen by all FBLA members and advisers present at camp as the FBLA Most Spirited Adviser.

Pictured: front: left to right: Brooklynn Wilson, Rilee Winfree, Destiny Franklin, Susan Webb, Shelby Clayborn, Karen Johnson, Sahara LaFever
Back row: Eli Cantrell, Dosson Medlin, Elliott Cook, Luke Green and Kris Barrett

Man Involved in High Speed Crash Gets Probation

September 16, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Phillip John Carroll

The man believed to be responsible for a high speed crash in February on Cookeville Highway near the Smithville City Limits was sentenced Monday, September 12 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

44 year old Phillip John Carroll of Possum Hollow Road, Dowelltown entered a plea by criminal information to leaving the scene of an accident and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation, including six months supervised and six months unsupervised. He will get to keep his drivers license

Trooper Tommy Cooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE at the time that the driver of a 1998 Dodge 1500 pickup (Carroll) was north on Highway 56 when he struck a southbound 2012 Chevy Sonic, driven by 44 year old Danny Niles of Smithville. After hitting the car, the truck kept going until it went off the highway, struck a Smithville Electric System utility pole, and then plunged down an embankment. After the wreck the driver (Carroll) abandoned the truck and fled the scene.

The warrant for Leaving the Scene stated that "On February 8 Carroll was driving northbound on State Route 56 when he struck a vehicle, ran off the left side of the roadway and hit a utility pole. Carroll's vehicle came to a final rest down an embankment. Carroll failed to notify law enforcement and left the scene of the crash. On Wednesday, February 10 I (Trooper Cooper) made contact with (Carroll) at (his home). Carroll said he had not notified law enforcement about the crash".

Another warrant stated that "Carroll failed to give notice or render aid after being involved in the crash. Carroll left the crash scene".

While the truck driver was traveling at a high rate of speed he was apparently not being pursued by law enforcement at the time. Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that a deputy was stopped in the southbound lane at the red light on Highway 56 and East Main Street near the Post Office when he saw the truck run the stop light speeding north. No officer was in pursuit. By the time the deputy turned around, he lost sight of the truck and did not engage in a pursuit. The wreck happened moments later.

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