Local News Articles

Eight People Involved In Three Vehicle Wreck Near Hurricane Bridge

May 27, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Eight people were involved in a three vehicle wreck Monday night around 7:40 p.m. on Highway 56 north near Hurricane Bridge, including an off duty Smithville Police Officer, who was in his personal vehicle.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 39 year old Julie Ann Rogers of Murfreesboro was driving south in a 2005 Jeep Liberty when she failed to negotiate a curve, slid across the road, and struck a northbound 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix head-on, driven by 26 year old Travis K. Bryant of Algood, an off duty Smithville Police Officer. Meanwhile, after the initial crash, a 2000 Chevy Tracker, driven by 19 year old Jacob Kyle Walker of Cookeville, rear-ended Bryant's car.

Rogers and her son and daughter, 9 year old Phillip Hall and 13 month old Alana Hall were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. The baby, who was in a child safety seat, was not hurt. The boy suffered burns to his face when the air bag in front of him deployed. Mrs. Rogers was also injured. They were treated and released from the hospital.

Bryant and a passenger of his car, 21 year old Darla Emberton of Smithville were taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Hospital.

Walker and passengers of his truck, 21 year old Joshua Benton Ragland and 20 year old Grant Matheny Cooper all of Cookeville were not injured.

Trooper Jennings says Rogers was charged with failure to maintain the proper lane of travel and violation of the financial responsibility law.

Walker was charged with violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, a drivers license violation, and consumption of alcohol under age 21.

Cooper was also charged with consumption of alcohol under age 21.

SUV Goes Over Embankment on Big Rock Road

May 27, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Click image to enlarge.

Four people were injured Monday afternoon around 4:45 p.m. when the 1997 Ford Explorer they were in went off Big Rock Road and over a steep embankment.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 43 year old David Spencer Vaughn of 714 South College Street was driving north in the Ford Explorer, going too fast, and failed to properly negotiate a curve. The SUV went off the road to the left, but Vaughn overcorrected, causing the vehicle to go back across the road and overturn. The SUV went off the right side of the road and rolled approximately 150 to 200 feet down an embankment, before coming to rest upright on it's wheels in the hollow below.

42 year old Michelle Paiva-Nunez, her 14 year old son, Keith Clifford Lafreniere II, and 43 year old Ellis Dywane Mullins, all of 715 Long Street, were passengers of the Ford Explorer.

According to Trooper Jennings, Vaughn, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected as the SUV began to overturn. The passengers were restrained.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Extrication Team and DeKalb County Rescue Squad were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS.

Firefighters had to pry open one of the doors to the vehicle to get to Paiva-Nunez, who was trapped.

Because of the steep climb back up the hill to the road, a basket and rope were used to carry Paiva-Nunez. The other two, Mullins and Lafreniere, apparently made it back up under their own power.

All except Vaughn were transported from the scene by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Vaughn initially refused treatment and was taken to the DeKalb County Jail, where he was charged with driving under the influence, felony reckless endangerment, violation of the implied consent law, not wearing a seatbelt, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $12,500. Vaughn was later released and taken to a Nashville hospital for treatment, after complaining of pains.

The crash was investigated by Troopers Dewaine Jennings and Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Meanwhile, a 24 year old man was injured in another wreck Monday night around 9:45 p.m. at a different location on Big Rock Road.

Trooper Todd Logan of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Brandon Taylor of Smithville was driving a 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup truck south when he went off the road.

According to Trooper Logan, Taylor claims he was blinded by the bright lights from an oncoming vehicle as he came around a curve, causing him to go off the road and some 20 feet off an embankment.

Taylor was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

Memorial Day Program Features Remarks by WW II P.O.W.

May 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The American Legion Post # 122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7623 hosted a Memorial Day Celebration Monday at the courthouse.

Joe Goodwin, the guest speaker, gave an emotional account of his horrifying experiences as a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II. Goodwin, a native of White County, has been a resident of Smithville since 1958 and is believed to be the only surviving DeKalb County World War II Prisoner of War.

Louise Brown read an inspiring poem she had written about the "Grand Ole Flag" and patriotic and inspirational music was performed by Susan Hinton and the gospel group, "For the Lord".

At the conclusion of the program a wreath was placed at the veterans memorial monument on the south side of the courthouse as Colton Rhody played taps on his trumpet.

County Firefighters Contain Kitchen Fire at Webb Lane Trailer Home

May 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire Sunday night at the trailer home of Mark Brock at 711 Webb Lane.

Firefighters say they were called to the scene at 6:51 p.m. The Brock family rents the trailer from the owner, Jim and Lois Davis.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, Belk, and Blue Springs stations and Tanker truck #1 quickly arrived and were able to contain the fire to the stove and hood area of the kitchen without any other structural damage to the residence.

Brock suffered a second degree burn on his hand as he removed a skillet from the stove. He was treated on the scene by DeKalb EMS.

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Arrests in Burglary and Theft at Sligo Marina

May 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men Saturday after responding to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina on Highway 70 east.

51 year old Roy Lyndell Layne of Henley Circle, Altamont is charged with burglary, aggravated burglary, theft under $500, attempted theft over $5,000, possession of burglary tools (screwdrivers, wire pliers, police scanner), resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a hand gun with the intent to go armed, and possession of a schedule IV drug (Soma). Total bond was set at $69,000.

The other man, 25 year old Tristan Layne of Layne Circle, Palmer, Tennessee is charged with burglary, theft of property under $500, and attempted theft of property over $5,000. Total bond is $20,000.

Both men will appear in court on the charges June 12th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday deputies responded to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina. The complainant was able to give a description of the vehicle and a description of the suspects. Upon arrival, officers saw one of the suspects, Tristan Layne, in the described vehicle and another man Roy Layne, who was behind another vehicle, take off running. The deputy chased Roy Layne to a guardrail, which was in the parking lot, and Layne raised a screwdriver that he was holding in an attempt to stab the deputy. The officer then struck Layne with his hand and was able to subdue him. Layne also had a pill in his pocket believed to be Soma.

Tristan Layne was taken into custody without incident.

After searching the suspect's vehicle, deputies found other items from another vehicle burglary at Sligo including a canvas bag containing a Freon gauge and hose kit. A loaded 40 caliber Keltec and a police scanner were also found in the vehicle.

Alexandria Police Arrest Man and Wife in Burglary Investigation

May 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has arrested a man and his wife in a recent burglary investigation.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says that on Sunday, May 25th , Sergeant Chris Russell arrested 34 year old John Charles Deck Jr. and his wife 31 year old Crystal Deck for Burglary and Theft of property over $10,000 after an investigation revealed the two had allegedly broken into a storage unit at Big Rock Storage on Nashville Highway in Alexandria.

Sergeant Russell responded to a complaint that the two were trying to sell the stolen goods to a family member of the owner of the property who recognized the items and called police. The two were found to have some of the stolen items in their possession in the trunk of a car.

The investigation revealed that the two had broken into the storage unit on two different occasions on May 24th and May 25th and carried the items to several locations and sold or attempted to sell them. Their court date is June 19th and total bond for each is $75,000. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected. Offficer Rejena Parker assisted in the case.

V.F.W. Post #7623 Observes Memorial Day

May 25, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The V.F.W. Post #7623 hosted a Memorial Day weekend observance and breakfast Sunday morning.

Norene Anderson, a Gold Star mother, was also honored.

Anderson's son, Ronnie Reeder, entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and died in Vietnam on January 29th, 1967.

Mrs. Anderson says Reeder sent her many letters while he was in the service and she usually reads them again on Memorial Day. " This day means a time set aside to remember all who gave their lives and those who served our country. It means a great, great deal. I still have my son's letters that he wrote to me in service and I take this day, sometime during the day to read those letters. It's my way of dealing with it. To me it is a great thing for the VFW and other people to remember our veterans."

Mrs. Anderson says she also had two brothers, Wilson Summers and Noel Summers, who served during World War II. They are now deceased.

Harold Martin, guest speaker, said all Americans should recognize the significance of this occasion. "Memorial Day is that special day when we should all reflect on what the men and women as veterans have contributed to this great country of ours. From the American Revolution to the current times, more than 43 million men and women have served in one of the military services. From the beginning until now, 1,194,000 men and women have sacrificed their lives for the defense and the freedoms of our country. Of that number, more than half, which would be 651,000 died on the battle field. The other deaths were something other than directly in battle. In addition to the great number of lives lost, approximately one and a half million veterans including soldiers, sailors, and marines, were wounded. Some so severely, that it affected significantly the rest of their lives, such as paraplegics and those with brain and head injuries. So the folks that secured our freedom, given us the America that we love, the greatest country on earth, we will always owe a debt of gratitude to these people that can never be repaid. America has produced many fine statesmen, Presidents, congressmen, senators, and governors, that have led our nation down the path to make us the great nation that we are. However, the men and women who have served this country as soldiers, sailors, marines coast guard, and merchant marines, they have been and always will be the cornerstone of this country. Without their sacrifices, their willingness, their service, there might not be an America. Every veteran here and all across America should feel enormous pride in the fact that you've served your country to the best of your ability."

Two Men Allegedly Caught Committing a Theft

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two men were arrested last week after allegedly being caught committing a theft.

28 year old Christopher Pearson Myers and 25 year old Michael Ray Reeder
both of Pine Orchard Road ,Smithville were charged Monday with Burglary, Aggravated
Burglary, and Theft of Property over $500.00.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the two were caught by a land owner on Cookeville Highway stealing items out of a house and outbuilding. The two allegedly took items such as 2 gas heaters, 2 plows, chest freezer, cookstove, several hand operated tools, and other items valued at over
$500. Bond for both was set at $22,500 and their court date is set for June 5th.

Meanwhile on Thursday, 50 year old Katrina J. Laliberte of Circle Drive, Dowelltown was
charged with a first offense of driving under the influence after she was involved in an accident in Dowelltown.

Sheriff Ray says Laliberte was operating an ATV on Sims Street in Dowelltown when she wrecked. After deputies arrived, they smelled a strong odor of alcohol on her person. She also had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. She was given field sobriety tasks which she failed. Laliberte was then placed under arrest. Her bond was set at $1,500 and her court date is June 12th.

DeKalb Teachers to Attend NASA Workshop, Shuttle Launch

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Four teachers from DeKalb and Cannon County will participate in NASA workshops and watch a space shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center as guests of U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

Anita Arnold of Short Mountain Elementary, Lisa Cripps and Karen Pelham of DeKalb Middle School, and Genrose Davis of DeKalb West Elementary School will attend workshops and watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which is scheduled for early evening Saturday, May 31st.

"I'm hoping it will increase their interest in math and science, particularly science," Arnold said of the eight graders she teaches. "I try to stress that science is something that affects us every day."

Both Cripps and Pelham teach eighth graders, Cripps teaches science, and Pelham teaches math and science. Davis, a librarian for 32 years, says she is excited about the trip.

"This will open up the space and rocket sections of my books. We have several, but I'm sure I'll be looking for more," Davis said. "I have been to Cape Canaveral and toured inside about 35 years ago. Lots of things have changed in 35 years, especially in space."

Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, worked with NASA officials to develop an itinerary the teachers can take back to their classrooms to build enthusiasm about math and science among their students. Strengthening math and science education is a cornerstone of Gordon's America COMPETES ACT, which became law last year in an effort to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace.

"When you ask astronauts, engineers and other scientists what inspired them to enter their fields, most of them will tell you they were inspired by a teacher," said Gordon. "I hope this experience will give these teachers another way to inspire their students.

This group will be the second group of teachers from Gordon's congressional district to attend a space shuttle launch as guests of the congressman. A group of 10 teachers met with Gordon and attended a rare night launch of the space shuttle Endeavor on March 10th.

"Many of those teachers told me that experience will greatly enhance their lessons on math and science," said Gordon.

Fourteen teachers from DeKalb, Rutherford, Wilson, and Trousdale counties have been selected to watch the space shuttle Discovery launch.

The teachers will begin their experience on Friday afternoon, May 30th, with a tour of the launch pad, vehicle assembly building and shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On Saturday, May 31st, the group will attend professional development workshops with NASA personnel to help the educators develop lessons on rocketry and technology used by astronauts. The teachers will then have VIP access to view the shuttle launch, scheduled to occur at 5:02 p.m.

State House Acts to Expand Scholarships to Nearly 12,000 Tennessee Students

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

On Wednesday, The State House of Representatives passed legislation to provide for college scholarships for approximately 12,000 Tennesseans.

"This bill helps nearly 12,000 Tennesseans achieve the American dream of earning a college degree," said Representative Frank Buck. "By helping more students retain the HOPE Scholarship, we're going to improve Tennessee's graduation rates and erase college debt for thousands of local students."

The new legislation places $359.5 million of lottery reserve funds into an endowment that is expected to produce recurring revenues of over $27.5 million. These revenues will fund the expansion of Tennessee's HOPE Scholarship, reducing the retention GPA from 3.0 to 2.75 for the first three years of college, followed by a per semester minimum of 3.0 for every semester after a student's junior year. The funds will also allow students to extend the amount of time they may maintain the HOPE Scholarship to 5 years.

"So many things can happen during a student's college experience, and to allow one bad semester to ruin a child's long term future is against everything that the HOPE Scholarship stands for," Buck said. "With these recurring dollars, we can help nearly 4,000 students a year retain their scholarship and continue their education. Many Tennesseans have to work to get through college and we're going to help these folks."

In addition to the expansion of the HOPE Scholarship, the bill also funds up to 5,000 need-based TSAC grants designed to help students who currently qualify for financial assistance. The new legislation will also fund the "Helping Heroes Act of 2008," a grant service that will assist returning Tennessee soldiers from Irag and Afghanistan with college and cover the shortfall that is currently created by the federal GI bill.

"Our brave men and women returning home from war deserve a fully-funded college education and thanks to the Helping Heroes Act, Tennessee soldiers will," Buck said.

Upon signature by Governor Phil Bredesen, the new legislation is slated to go into effect on July 1st, 2008.

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