Local News Articles

Newly Elected Officials Sworn into Office

August 29, 2008
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks Takes Oath
Bruce Parsley and Dub Evins Take Oath
Constables After Taking Oath

Their terms won't officially begin until Monday, September 1st but the Assessor of Property, two school board members, and six constables, elected on August 7th, were sworn into office Friday morning at the courthouse.

County Mayor Mike Foster administered the oath of office to Assessor of Property Timothy Fud Banks, Fifth District School Board member W.J. (Dub) Evins III, Sixth District School Board member Bruce Parsley, Second District Constable Reed Edge, Third District Constable Wayne Vanderpool, Fourth District Constable Paul Cantrell, Fifth District Constable Mark Milam, Sixth District Constable Cantrell Jones, and Seventh District Constable Johnny King.

Banks' deputy assessor's, Pamela Hale, Kenneth Pinegar, and Jared Dodd also took their oath of office.

The terms of the Assessor of Property, Constables, and the two School Board members will expire on August 31st, 2012.

(Click on pictures to see larger images)

Community Rallies Support for Allison Rogers

August 28, 2008
Dwayne Page
Allison Rogers
Aaron and Thea Tippin Perform at Rogers Benefit

Thousands of dollars were raised Thursday night during a benefit at Northside Elementary School for nine year old Allison Rogers, who has battled Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, since the age of six.

A meal and silent auction were held to raise money for the Rogers family followed by a performance by Country Music Entertainers Aaron and Thea Tippin and the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church Praise and Worship Team.

After several rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to replace a portion of her left femur with a donor bone, it appeared that Allison was on her way to recovery. However after two years, Allison again experienced pain in her left leg and on February 11th, doctor's discovered that the cancer had returned.

Allison had another surgery in May to replace the left femur from just above her knee up to her hip. In June she faced stronger chemotherapy, and a stem cell infusion. She is now facing radiation.

Allison's father, Wes Rogers, says Allison is recovering well. "She's doing really, really well. We're just blessed at how well she is doing. She's recovering well. She's been through a whole lot of chemotherapy, surgery, and now radiation. The stem cell transplant was really the worst of it. The chemo that they gave her for that caused her to have a great deal of pain, mouth sores, skin problems, and nausea. We were in the hospital for just over three weeks. The doctors thought we might be in there longer than that but once she started recovering, she really bounced back well. That really went better than we expected. We were able to come home from the hospital the fourth weekend after we went in and they said the average was about six weeks before anyone could come home. Right now we're staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Nashville during the weeks and coming home on the weekends and we're glad we're able to do that. She's able to be around people. She's not supposed to get hugs and things like that, but sometimes they happen before you can stop them."

Rogers also described the surgery to replace Allison's left femur. "They replaced it with what they call a mega prosthesis. It goes from the ball of the hip joint all the way down to just above her knee and it's metal. It's expandable and adjustable so that when the hip socket grows they'll be able to change out the ball and put in a bigger one and they'll be able to make it longer with one relatively minor surgery."

"The radiation she now faces is intended to make sure that the cancer never comes back. Before they would ever begin a stem cell transplant they wanted to make sure there was no evidence of disease. She already had six different week long periods of chemotherapy before they were able to say there was no evidence of disease and then there was the surgery where the doctor went in there and cut out where he knew the tumor had been in the bone, because the tumor that was inside the bone was still partially alive."

The Rogers family would like to thank everyone for their donations and expressions of love and support for them and Allison.

Man Charged with Raping 16 Year old Girl at Knifepoint

August 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
Carmelino Sanchez Rodriguez

Smithville Police have charged a 24 year old man with the aggravated rape of a 16 year old girl at knife point Saturday.

Chief Richard Jennings and Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. say Carmelino "Carlos" Sanchez Rodriguez of Short Mountain Street will be in General Sessions Court on September 4th on charges of aggravated rape and especially aggravated burglary.

Bond is set at $150,000.

The police report states that on Saturday, August 23rd, at 756 South Mountain Street, Rodriguez forced his way into the home of the victim and then took her into the bedroom where he raped her. Holding a knife, Rodriguez allegedly threatened to kill her if she told anyone or called the police.

Chief Jennings and Detective Sergeant Hutchins responded to the scene and were able to collect. several pieces of evidence which have been sent to the TBI crime lab for forensic testing.

In another case, Smithville Police charged two women following a one auto accident Sunday on South College Street at Greenbrook Park.

22 year old Nichole M. Reynolds of Switchboard Road, Brush Creek was charged with simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia

Bond for Reynolds is $2,000 and she will appear in General Sessions Court on October 2nd.

Meanwhile, 22 year old Ashley D. Golden of Pea Ridge Road was charged with driving under the influence. Her bond was set at $1,000 and her court date is October 2nd.

The police report states that on Sunday, August 24th, Officer Travis Bryant responded to Greenbrook Park on South College Street, in regard to a motor vehicle accident with injury. Upon arrival, Officer Bryant made contact with Reynolds who advised him that she was laying down in the back seat when the accident occurred. As Officer Bryant inventoried the vehicle, he noticed a small black container laying on the back seat in plain view, containing one and a half blue round pills believed to be oxycontin and one and a half white pills believed to be xanax. The officer also found a pill crushing plate with a white powdery residue on it in.

Reynolds allegedly admitted to taking pills prior to the accident.

In addition to the drug charges, Reynolds was cited for failure to use a seatbelt.

In the case against Golden, Police say she was operating the motor vehicle that was involved in the accident. Golden had slurred speech and was unable to perform field sobriety tasks because of her injuries. She did take a blood test. She allegedly admitted to taking prescription drugs prior to the accident.

The case was investigated by Officer Travis Bryant.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Victor L. Lewis of Miller Road was charged with assault after allegedly attacking another man, Jerry McCormack in the lobby of the Smithville Post Office on Monday morning.

Police say McCormack entered the lobby and the man who followed him in, Lewis, uttered the word "Hey". When McCormack turned around, Lewis allegedly began punching him in the face and about the body with his fists. After the assault, Lewis left the building, got in a silver Pontiac, driven by a female, and rode away. McCormack later told police that Lewis used to date his daughter.

Lewis is under a $1,000 bond.

The case was investigated by Officer Matt Holmes.

Sheriff Says Hickson No Longer in DeKalb County- May be Enroute to Missouri

August 26, 2008
Dwayne Page
Nicklas Hickson

Residents of the Temperance Hall Community can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Not only is Kirk Douglas Fincher back behind bars but it appears Nicklas Hickson has left the area and may now be in or on his way to Kansas City Missouri.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has learned that Hickson caught a ride to Nashville Sunday morning and used someone's cell phone to call his mother in Kansas City, Missouri.

The TBI has also learned that Hickson got someone to check him into the Knight's Inn on Spring Street in Nashville using a ficticious name Sunday evening where he spent the night.

He was last seen at a Greyhound bus terminal in Nashville Monday night. His picture was captured at 6:01 p.m. Monday on a video tape from a surveillance camera at the bus station.

Sheriff Ray is asking anyone who may have given Hickson a ride or let him use their cell phone to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to provide more information. Phone 597-4935.

Two Arrested on DUI Charges

August 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men on drunk driving charges last week.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies responded to a call on Bethel Road in the Blue Springs area on Thursday concerning a man who had passed out in a vehicle in the middle of the road.

Officers found 23 year old Jeronimo Miguel Soto of Short Mountain Road, Smithville to be under the steering wheel of the vehicle. Soto was so impaired and unbalanced, he was unable to perform sobriety tasks. Soto had no driver's license and he refused to take a blood test. Soto was placed under arrest for a second offense of driving under the influence, no driver's license, and he was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $4,500 and he will appear in court on September 4th.

While making this arrest, Sheriff Ray says another man pulled up in a car and the deputies smelled an odor of alcohol on his person. They arrested 26 year old Jose Gerardo Carrillo of Short Mountain Highway for a first offense of driving under the influence. Carrillo was unsteady on his feet and he failed field sobriety tasks. Carrillo also refused to take a blood alcohol test. Carrillo was taken into custody for DUI and violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on September 11th.

THP Terminates Manhunt for Hickson

August 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has terminated the search for Nicklas Hickson.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the manhunt ended at 7:30 a.m. this morning (Monday) because there have been no new developments.

Sheriff Ray says his officers will continue to patrol in the area.

If you should spot Hickson, contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

Fincher Captured- Hickson Remains at Large

August 24, 2008
Dwayne Page
Kirk Douglas Fincher-Captured
Nicklas Hickson- Still at large

39 year old Kirk Douglas Fincher has been captured thanks to some heroic efforts of a private citizen.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Fincher showed up at the residence of a woman on Woodard Road, off Old Lancaster Road, in the Temperance Hall area Sunday afternoon in DeKalb County. But as he was standing on the front porch, the woman's son and daughter-in-law arrived. Fincher was held at gunpoint by the son until law enforcement officers got there. Authorities received the call at 2:19 p.m.

The other man being sought, Nicklas Hickson, remains at large.

According to a family member of the woman, Fincher showed up on her front door step, just as her son and daughter-in-law were coming up the long driveway to the house for a Sunday afternoon family meal and visit. When the woman saw her son and daughter-in-law driving up in their pickup truck, she went to unlock the front door. The only other person in the house with her at the time was her 16 year old grandson. As she opened the door, she saw the man (Fincher) standing on the front porch.

Fincher asked her if he could get something to eat and drink.

She answered no and then shut the door.

The daughter-in-law told WJLE that when she and her husband pulled up toward the side of the house, she got out of the truck and noticed movement on the front porch, and then saw a man coming down the front steps. She knew someone was there who wasn't supposed to be because there were no other cars around.

Her husband then reached behind the seat of the truck for a rifle that he had brought so his son could do some target practice. As he got out of the truck with the rifle, the man (Fincher) began walking toward the truck. He held the gun where Fincher could see it and told him to stop right where he was and to put his hands in the air. Fincher was unarmed and did not try to get away. He told Fincher to sit down on the ground while his wife called the law. As she was calling on her cell phone, the woman inside the house was also making a call to police.

Members of the family fixed Fincher a plate so he could have something to eat while they were waiting on law enforcement officers to arrive. Patrol cars showed up minutes later, and several officers got out and took Fincher into custody before he could finish his meal. Among the officers who converged on the scene to make the arrest were members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the agency's SWAT Team, the White and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, TWRA, and TBI.

Fincher had a lot of cuts and scratches from the briars he had run into while trying to hide in the woods and thickets.

Sheriff Ray says Fincher refused to say anything to officers after he was back in custody, except that he and Hickson had split up and apparently had gone in different directions after a THP pursuit Saturday morning that ended near the Walker Creek bridge, where they abandoned the stolen car they were in and set out on foot.

The family who helped authorities capture Fincher asked not to be identified.

Search Continues Saturday Night for Fincher & Hickson

August 24, 2008
Dwayne Page
THP Officers Survey the Scene Near Abandoned Stolen Car
Sheriff Patrick Ray Sets up Command Post

The search continued into the night Saturday for two men wanted by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Saturday night that a THP helicopter with a heat seeking device was used in the search and some officers on the ground had hand held heat seekers. Roads in the area were monitored closely by law enforcement and officers checked many vehicles as they passed through, looking for the two men. Officers were concerned that the men, under cover of darkness, might emerge from hiding and try to steal a car to make a getaway. At last report, law enforcement had no reports of any car thefts in the area.

Throughout the day Saturday, officers often went door to door, checking with residents in the search zone to see if they had seen or heard anything of the two men. THP helicopters conducted aerial searches. Central Dispatch employed reverse 911 calling upon request of the THP and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to alert residents in the area. Tracking dogs were brought in from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Mount Juliet and Cookeville City Police Departments K-9 units, as well as the Bledsoe County Correctional Institution.

Among the departments involved in the search are the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who have used two dozen state troopers including K-9 teams and members of Special Operations, the THP Criminal Investigation Division, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, which has set up a command post on site, the White, Warren, and Smith County Sheriff's Departments, the Alexandria Police Department, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Sheriff Ray says the search will continue Sunday. It's being conducted generally in the areas of Temperance Hall, Dale Ridge, Lower Helton, Walker Creek, Hayes Ridge, Lancaster, Brush Creek, and Alexandria.

The two suspects were involved in a pursuit Saturday morning and fled on foot after crashing the stolen vehicle they were riding in. These are believed to be the same suspects who were involved in a separate pursuit Thursday in White County.

Kirk Douglas Fincher and Nicklas Hickson allegedly stole a gold 1997 Toyota Avalon Thursday from a home in White County. A Tennessee State Trooper spotted the vehicle as it was traveling westbound on Interstate 40 near mile marker 268 at approximately 8:15 a.m. Saturday morning.

After back-up arrived, Troopers attempted to stop the vehicle. Officers pursued the Avalon from I-40 to Highway 53 South and then to Highway 264 where the suspects wrecked the vehicle near mile marker 4, only a few yards from the Walker Creek Bridge.

The two men, believed to be Fincher and Hickson, fled on foot. Officers found a loaded 9 millimeter pistol in the stolen car.

On Thursday, Fincher, a convicted felon from Kansas City, Missouri, was one of three occupants in a 2002 Black Ford pick-up truck who lost control and crashed during a pursuit on Old Kentucky Road in White County. At approximately 8:00 a.m., Thursday morning, Trooper Michael Loftis observed the Ford pick-up on Interstate 40 at mile marker 287 in Putnam County. Trooper Loftis attempted to stop the truck for following another vehicle too closely, and that is when the pursuit began.

Trooper Loftis followed the vehicle on Highway 111 South to Old Kentucky Road before the suspects crashed near the airport area. Authorities believe Fincher later broke into a White County home and stole the Toyota Avalon.

A 17-year-old occupant of the vehicle is in custody. He was spotted near a church by local residents and arrested at approximately 4:20 p.m., Thursday, by a White County Sheriff's deputy and Trooper Loftis.

Fincher was released from a Missouri prison in January 2008, after serving a 17-year sentence for homicide of a police officer. There is no description of Hickson at this time.

Man Hunt Underway for Convicted Felon in Temperance Hall Area

August 23, 2008
Dwayne Page
Kirk Douglas Fincher
Stolen Car Abandoned Near Temperance Hall

The Tennessee Highway Patrol and law enforcement authorities in DeKalb, Warren, and Smith County are searching for two people at this hour, one of whom they believe is the Missouri felon they've been looking for since Thursday. The ground and helicopter aerial search is being conducted in the Temperance Hall community after the men abandoned their vehicle following a THP pursuit around 8:30 a.m. this morning (Saturday). Tracking dogs are also being used to assist officers in the manhunt.

Officials say if one of the men they are looking for is Kirk Douglas Fincher of Kansas City, Missouri, he is considered dangerous. He and the other person, believed to be Nicklas Hickson, were in a gold 1997 Toyota Avalon, the same one they allegedly stole in White County Thursday.

Fincher is a 39 year old white male. He has brown eyes and weighs approximately 215 pounds.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the THP got in pursuit of the Avalon this morning from Interstate 40 through Smith County and into DeKalb County. The Avalon went out of control on the Temperance Hall Road near the Walker Creek Bridge and spun out. The men abandoned the vehicle and took off on foot. Officers found a loaded 9 millimeter pistol in the car. The men were last seen heading toward Smith County on the Old Lancaster Road. One of the men has black hair and was wearing a black shirt and black shorts. The other man was wearing a light colored vest.

Authorities are asking residents in the Lower Helton, Walker Creek, and Temperance Hall areas to stay inside their homes, keep your doors locked, and make sure all doors to your vehicles are locked.

Fincher was one of three occupants in a 2002 Black Ford pick-up truck who lost control and
crashed Thursday during a pursuit on Old Kentucky Road in White County. At approximately 8:00 a.m., Thursday morning, Trooper Michael Loftis observed the Ford pick-up on Interstate 40 at mile marker 287 in Putnam County. Trooper Loftis attempted to stop the truck for following
another vehicle too closely, and that is when the pursuit began. Trooper Loftis followed the vehicle on Highway 111 South to Old Kentucky Road before the suspects crashed near the airport area.

Fincher was released from a Missouri prison in January 2008, after serving a 17-year sentence for homicide of a police officer. Authorities found ammunition for various weapons in the wrecked Ford pick-up, but no guns were recovered. Later in the day, Fincher allegedly broke into a White County home and stole a 1997 Toyota Avalon. The Toyota Avalon has a moon-roof and non-factory tinted windows with a chrome ring around the license plate.

A 17-year-old occupant of the vehicle is in custody. He was spotted near a church by local residents and arrested at approximately 4:20 p.m., Thursday, by a White County Sheriff's deputy and Trooper Loftis. The third suspect, Nicklas Hickson, at last report was still at-large.

Deputies from the White, Putnam and Cumberland County Sheriff's departments, along with the Cookeville and Monterey Police Departments assisted in the initial manhunt. Authorities thought at the time that Fincher may be heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Anyone with information regarding Fincher's whereabouts is urged to call the Tennessee Highway Patrol or the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Two Arrested by Sheriff's Department in Drug Bust

August 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Saturday morning executed a search
warrant at the home of 41 year old Melisa Jean Petty and 39 year old Jeanna Tarron
Bain at 1588 Banks Pisgah Road Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says officers found hypodermic needles in Petty's bedroom. Petty was found to have on her person 41 ½ dilaudid pills in a small plastic bag. Officers also found a small metal vile containing 9 ½ dilaudid pills under a foam mattress where Bain was sleeping. In addition, officers seized $3,014 believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

Petty was charged with possession of schedule II drug (dilaudid) for
resale and drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $42,500.

Bain was charged with possession of schedule II drug (dilaudid) for resale and bond was set at $40,000. Both will appear in court on September 4th. More arrests are forthcoming.

If you have any information about any illegal activity you are urged to call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Crime Tip Line at 464-6400. All calls are kept confidential.


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