Local News Articles

Sheriff's Department Finds Meth Lab While Investigating Domestic Assault

September 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
Brandon Gurley
Jamie Lee Hodges

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested a man and his girlfriend for manufacturing methamphetamine on Monday, August 30th after going to the woman's residence on Old Bildad Road to investigate a domestic complaint and finding a meth lab.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 27 year old Brandon Gurley of 648 Foster Road is charged with manufacture of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine) and domestic assault. His bond totals $27,500 and he will be in court on September 30th.

Gurley's girlfriend, 22 year old Jamie Lee Hodges of Old Bildad Road, Smithville is also charged with manufacture of a schedule II controlled substance. Her bond is $25,000 and she will be in court on September 30th.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies responded to a domestic call at Hodges' residence on the Old Bildad Road. A witness had reported seeing Gurley assaulting Hodges. By the time officers arrived, Gurley had left. During the investigation, deputies discovered a meth lab at the residence. Hodges was placed under arrest and Gurley was later picked up and charged.

Sheriff Ray says both Gurley and Hodges admitted to buying the components to make meth, had knowledge that meth was being manufactured there, and they shared in the proceeds.

Gurley was also charged with assaulting Hodges by grabbing her by the neck and pushing her head against a car door leaving red marks on her neck.

Residency Status may Force Goose Creek Family to Transfer their Children from DeKalb West to Watertown Schools

September 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Kiersten Vickers
Kolten Vickers

An Alexandria area family, whose two children attend DeKalb West School, may be forced to transfer them to schools in Watertown after a whistleblower informed school officials here that the family actually lives in Wilson County.

Bobby and Kimberly Vickers own property that straddles the DeKalb/Wilson County line and they pay property taxes in both counties. But their home is actually just across the county line in Wilson County at Goose Creek and under current School Board policy, parents who do not reside in DeKalb County cannot send their children to school in DeKalb County.

Mrs Vickers, who spoke with WJLE Monday night, said this is unfair to them and the children because they have lived at this same address for the last five or six years and school administrators here have known it, yet the children have been allowed to attend and are still attending DeKalb West School. She says the question of their residency only became an issue recently when someone "turned them in." "They are telling us that they (children) have got to move to Wilson County because our house and about an acre (of our land) is in Wilson County while the rest of our land is in DeKalb County. Even though we pay property taxes in both counties, they're trying to kick them (children) out. They're saying since we live in Wilson County and that's where we lay our heads, that's where our children must go to school."

According to Mrs. Vickers, when her daughter, Kiersten was enrolled in Kindergarten at DeKalb West School in 2002, the family lived on Highway 53 at Liberty. The next year, the Vickers moved to Statesville and the child was enrolled in school at Watertown. Then during the 2004-05 school year when the family left Statesville and moved to where they live now, Kiersten was enrolled as a second grader at DeKalb West school and has remained in school there since. She is now thirteen years old and in the eighth grade.

Meanwhile the Vickers' younger child, Kolten who was enrolled at DeKalb West as a pre-school student four years ago, is now eight years old and in the third grade at DeKalb West School.

The Vickers children are transported to and from school by the family.

Mrs. Vickers says she and her husband got a call from Attendance Supervisor Clay Farler last month informing them that there was a problem. "The first day of school they (the children) went (to school). Then I came home about 11:30 a.m. or twelve o'clock and I got a phone call from Clay (Farler) who said that we had to move our children because we are in Wilson County. He said somebody had turned us in.."

Mrs. Vickers says it's ridiculous to uproot these children from the school and friends they've known for so long. "Here these kids have gone to school here this whole entire time and now they're trying to kick them out because supposedly they got a phone call from somebody saying we are in Wilson County. They (school officials) have known this since the beginning of the school year. Supposedly they had talked about it before school started, but they let our kids start school and then they call the first day and tell us that we've got to move them. That's just ridiculous."

The Vickers have requested to speak at the Board of Education meeting Thursday night and their request is on the agenda. Mrs. Vickers says she is hoping the board will hear their appeal and allow these children to remain in school at DeKalb West. "I'm hoping they're going to be able to stay at the West school where all their friends are. "Kiersten is in the eighth grade and if she has to move she's going to miss out on all her eighth grade year and all her trips."

Smithville Man Airlifted after Motorcycle Crash

September 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Smithville Man Injured in Motorcycle Crash (Photo by Trooper Dewaine Jennings)

A 25 year old Smithville man was injured in a motorcycle accident on State Highway 96 (Dale Ridge Road) Monday afternoon.

Central Dispatch received the call at 3:02 p.m.,

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Christopher Edward Williams of 722 Sparta Highway, Smithville was traveling north on a 2005 Suzuki GSX when he failed to properly negotiate a curve to the left, exited the roadway to the right, entered a ditchline and struck a tree.

Williams, who was wearing a helmet and a protective jacket, was thrown from the motorcycle.

Trooper Jennings says Williams was riding behind two other guys on motorcycles who initially were unaware of the accident. After discovering that Williams was no longer riding behind them, the two motorcycle riders turned back and found where Williams had crashed. By then other motorists had also stopped at the scene.

Williams was transported by DeKalb EMS to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital where he was later airlifted by Life Flight helicopter ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Trooper Jennings has issued citations against Williams for having no motorcycle license, failure to maintain lane of travel, and violation of the financial responsibility law.

Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County Dedicates New Home

September 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Kim McCowan and Grandchildren Carrie, Katelyn, and Haley
Kim McCowan cuts ribbon to her new home

A dedication ceremony was held Sunday afternoon by members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to commemorate the recent completion of the third partner family home at 110 Hayes Street in Smithville.

Kimberly McCowan and her grandchildren, 11 year old Carrie Carroll, 14 year old Katelyn Walz, and 9 year old Haley Carroll are expected to move into the home on Tuesday. Ms McCowan says the family loves their new home and are thankful to everyone who helped them. "I have many, many folks to thank. I want to thank everyone who has volunteered on the house, everyone who fixed food and brought it over to us, and everyone who has donated to us. God bless all of them and everyone in DeKalb County. Thank you all very much."

Sharon Evans, Vice President of the Habitat Board said Sunday was an exciting day for the McCowan family and for members of the Habitat committee and volunteers who helped build this new home. "We're thrilled to see Kim McCowan and her granddaughters move into their home. They have worked very hard and we've had so many wonderful people here and even from other places come and help make this happen so we're thrilled. You know we started our family selection process last August and here we are dedicating the home in September so we're down to a year. We'd like to continue building once a year. That's our goal."

"This home is located on Hayes Street here in Smithville between College and Short Mountain Streets. It is a three bedroom, one and a half bath home and it's about 1,050 square feet. It has a crawl space and front and back porches, and it's going to have a yard. We'll have some finishing touches, yard work in the fall when the weather cools so if anyone is interested in helping with that we still need some landscape and yard work done", said Evans

The dedication ceremony featured opening remarks by Habitat Board Vice President Sharon Evans and scripture reading and prayer by Larry Steffee, pastor of the Center Hill Brethren in Christ Church. Nancy Lewis, Board Secretary, also read scripture and Mark Estes, a native of Smithville and former executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Mozambique and Vietnam also spoke briefly. Glenda Davis, Board Treasurer led the Responsive Reading: Litany of Life, as all Habitat members and guests laid hands on the home:

"As a symbol of cooperative goodwill, work, and sharing"

"We dedicate this home"

For family living, a place of love and respect between all members of this family"

"We dedicate this home"

"As a place where this family may grow, play, and learn"

"We dedicate this home"

"That this house may serve as a place for rest, shelter and laughter"

"We dedicate this home"

"In thanks to you, Lord, for guidance and wisdom in this project and in our lives"

"We dedicate this home"

Larry Green, Board member and pastor of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, presented McCowan a Bible and Gary Johnson, Construction Committee Chairperson, formally presented McCowan with the keys to the home and she then cut the ribbon.

The program ended with the group reciting in unison the Lord's Prayer.

The Habitat board would like to thank the host of professionals, churches, businesses and individuals who contributed in so many ways to the completion of the home. May God bless you!

The 2010 Board of Directors include President Tom Janney, Vice President Sharon Evans, Secretary Nancy Lewis, Treasurers Glenda Davis and Kim Wheeler, and members Michael Antoniak, Michael Carpenter, Robin Driver, Lisa Garrison, Larry Green, Gayla Hendrix, Adela McGeehin, Hearon Puckett, Pam Restrepo, and Laura Stone.

Temperance Hall Man Airlifted after ATV Accident

September 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
DeKalb EMS Preparing Nathaniel Kyle to be Airlifted (Photo by Trooper Jennings)

A 35 year old man from the Temperance Hall community was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital Friday evening after being involved in an ATV accident.

Central dispatch received the call at 6:16 p.m.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Nathaniel Josiah Kyle was operating a four wheeler on Jackson Hollow Road when he failed to negotiate a curve to the right. The ATV went off the left side of the roadway and into a ravine. Kyle was thrown from the four wheeler. But after the accident he got back on the ATV and returned to his home about four miles away.

Two others with Kyle, who were also riding four wheelers, joined Kyle at his home and called 911 to report the accident and request an ambulance. DeKalb EMS picked up Kyle at his home and took him to the fire hall at Temperance Hall, where a landing zone was set up for a Life Force helicopter ambulance which was summoned to the scene.

According to Trooper Jennings, Kyle was not wearing any kind of safety equipment and he had been drinking. He and both of his friends will be cited for operating an off road vehicle on a public roadway. Other charges are also pending against Kyle.

Parole Hearing Set for Man Serving Life Sentence in 1981 DeKalb Murder Case

September 4, 2010
Dwayne Page
Gerald (J.B.) Bounds (Photo provide to WJLE courtesy of Smithville Review

63 year Gerald Wayne (J.B.) Bounds of McMinnville, who has spent nearly 30 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a DeKalb County man in 1981, is scheduled to have another parole hearing October 21st at the Southeast Regional Correctional Facility in Pikeville where he is incarcerated.

Bounds is serving a life sentence for the first degree premeditated killing of 27 year old Sherman Wright, who was shot once in the face just outside the Odyssey Arcade on West Broad Street, across from the Dairy Queen. The incident occurred on the afternoon of February 2nd, 1981. The game room no longer exists. The building now serves as the location for the Discount Tobacco Outlet.

Bounds has been before members of the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Parole at least twice in recent years trying to gain an early release, but so far to no avail. Members of the Wright family and state prosecutors have always opposed it.

During an October 2002 parole hearing at Pikeville, Bounds claimed he came to Smithville that day (February 2nd, 1981) to pay $100 on a gambling debt he owed a friend when he spotted the vehicle of another acquaintance at the game room. While in the game room, he happened upon Wright, who allegedly owed Bounds money on a gambling debt for betting on football games.

Bounds told members of the parole board that he and Wright got into an argument. "I swung at him. He (Wright) stuck his hands into his pocket. I pulled my gun." Bounds later admitted that Wright did not have a weapon when he pulled his hands from his pocket.

According to Bounds, the fatal shot that struck Wright below one of his eyes, wasn't intentional. Bounds said "I didn't mean to do it."

Witnesses during the trial testified that once Bounds and Wright stepped outside the building, they (witnesses) heard the shot fire before the front door closed behind them. After the shooting, Bounds got in his car and returned to McMinnville, where he later reportedly turned himself in.

During the parole hearing eight years ago, Bounds said at that time, he was a teacher's aide in the wood plant at the Pikeville facility and had completed training in heat and air conditioning repair. Bounds said if released, he would return to McMinnville where he had a job lined up.

In making his unsuccessful appeal for release eight years ago, Bounds said "It's something that can't be taken back. I know (Wright family) they have suffered as well as my family. I've always thought I was a pretty decent person. I've done wrong."

One parole board member, at that hearing eight years ago, said he had a problem letting anyone convicted of first degree premeditated murder be released with less than thirty years of time served.

Woman Found Passed out in her Vehicle Faces Drug Charges

September 3, 2010
Dwayne Page

A woman found passed out in her vehicle Thursday was arrested on drug charges after Smithville Police found drug paraphernalia in the automobile and pills in her purse.

48 year old Darcie E Cantrell of West Main Street is charged with two counts of possession of a schedule II drug, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Lieutenant Steven Leffew was dispatched to Regions Bank on the public square to check out a complaint about a woman who was passed out in a vehicle in front of the bank. Lieutenant Leffew knocked on the window and awoke Cantrell. She told the officer that she had been to the bank to withdraw money to pay her bills. Ms. Cantrell was asked if she had taken any medication. She replied "yes" and gave the officer consent to search her vehicle and purse. Found in the vehicle were a square plate and a glass pipe. A total of thirteen various types of pills were found in her purse and she had no prescription for them. Bond for Cantrell is $4,000 and her court date is September 16th.

Meanwhile, 27 year old Courtney Anne Paris of West Broad Street was arrested by Detective Matt Holmes on Friday, September 3rd for three counts of possession of a schedule II drug for resale, two counts of possession of a schedule III drug for resale, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule III drug, and possession of drug paraphernalia. On Thursday, August 26th, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow arrested Paris for possession of drug paraphernalia. The Smithville Police Department was assisting probation officers on a home visit at a local motel where Ms. Paris gave them consent to search. In a bathroom drawer, police recovered two used hypodermic needles and four cut straws containing residue. Warrants were taken Friday, September 3rd against Paris for the drugs found in the room. Upon serving the warrants, Detective Matt Holmes, Corporal Travis Bryant and Officer David Phillips searched Ms. Paris' apartment and recovered drug paraphernalia and a schedule III drug. Bond for Paris is $154,000 and her court date is September 16th.

50 year old Rhonda Lyndale Adams of Nashville was arrested on Saturday, August 28th for driving on a suspended license. Adams was operating a motor vehicle and was stopped for speeding by Officer David Phillips. A computer check revealed her license was suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Davidson County. Bond for Adams is
$1,000 and her court date is September 29th.

30 year old Nieka Daniell Barrett of Fisher Avenue was cited for theft of merchandise on Sunday, August 29th. Officer David Phillips was dispatched to Rite Aid Pharmacy where he spoke with Ms. Barrett. She allegedly admitted to taking four packs of razor blades and putting them in her purse. Her court date is October 7th.

38 year old Robbie Lee Newlin of Luttrell Avenue was arrested on Saturday, August 28th for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and vandalism. Officer Matt Farmer was dispatched to 817 Luttrell Avenue to investigate a complaint of a man and woman who were fighting. Upon arrival Officer Farmer saw Newlin walking toward him. According to Officer Farmer, Newlin had a "busted mouth" and several marks on his torso. Newlin said that the woman had struck him in the mouth and had hit him several other times. The woman claims that Newlin had assaulted her. By this time, Lieutenant Steven Leffew and Officer David Phillips had arrived on the scene to assist. While Officer Farmer was speaking with Newlin, he allegedly became very belligerent and began cursing the officer. Newlin then moved toward Officer Farmer. He was told to step back but replied that he was not going to move. After being told several times to step back, Newlin allegedly continued to refuse and he became more belligerent. The three officers attempted to restrain him but he aggressively resisted being cuffed and had to be taken to the ground. As Newlin continued resisting, Lieutenant Leffew sprayed him with his OC (chemical) spray. Newlin was then cuffed and placed into Officer Farmer's patrol car. Newlin allegedly continued to threaten the officers and he began kicking the right rear window of the patrol car, knocking it off track. Officer Phillips was able to fix the window but while being transported to the police department, Newlin kicked out the same window again causing it to shatter. Bond for Newlin is $5,000 and his court date is September 16th.

23 year old Robert Grady Cox of Miller Road was arrested for criminal impersonation on Thursday, September 2nd. Officer James Cornelius was called to City Walk Apartments to check out a complaint about a drunk driver when a vehicle matching the description he was given pulled into the parking lot. When Officer Cornelius asked for identification, Cox stated he did not have one and gave a fake name. Other personal information he gave was also false. Bond for Cox is $1,500 and his court date is October 7th.

26 year old Gregory Mark Guidry of Puckett Point Road was arrested on Thursday, September 2nd for driving on a suspended license. Guidry was operating a motor vehicle and was stopped by Officer James Cornelius for a light violation. A computer check of his license revealed them to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation. Bond for Guidry is $1,000 and his court date is October 7th.

27 year old Ashley Leann Lich of Kendra Drive was cited for theft on Friday, September 3rd. Lich was in the Dollar Store where she allegedly put some hair products and nail polish in her purse. She was checking out when Officer David Phillips arrived. After checking out, she went back in the store apparently in an attempt to dispose of the items in her purse. Her court date is October 14th.

Anyone having any information on any criminal offense is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police Department solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

City, County, and School System to Consider Proposal to Share Cost of Directing Traffic at Northside Elementary

September 2, 2010
Dwayne Page
Alderman Steve White, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, County Mayor Mike Foster
Police Chief Randy Caplinger, Alderman Aaron Meeks

Parents and others who want someone to direct traffic in the busy school zone at Northside Elementary School may get their wish.

A plan is being proposed for the County, the City of Smithville, and the Board of Education to share in the cost of funding the position of one crossing guard or officer to direct traffic in the mornings and afternoons for a total of approximately four hours a day, Monday through Friday, in the school zone at Northside Elementary School. County Mayor Mike Foster says the cost is estimated to be eight to nine thousand dollars per year, which could be split equally between the county, city, and school system. In addition, Foster says the school board will be asked to employ the person to do the job, preferably someone who is trained and already knows how to direct traffic.

City and county officials met Thursday evening at the courthouse to discuss the issue, including County Mayor Mike Foster, Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson, Smithville Alderman Steve White, Smithville Alderman/Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, and Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Others attending were Sheriff Patrick Ray, County Commissioner/School Bus Driver Jimmy Poss, and School Transportation Manager Peggy Pursell.

Neither of the school board members nor Director of Schools Mark Willoughby were present because they were already scheduled to attend another meeting.

Mayor Hendrixson said he would place this issue on the agenda for discussion during Tuesday night's special meeting of the city council. Mayor Hendrixson and Aldermen White and Meeks seemed to indicate that they could support this proposal.

County Mayor Foster said he also thinks it's a good idea and he will present it to the county commission to get their blessing. "I think it's what we should do. I think we should join together and solve the problem that is a dangerous situation. We've got factories out there where vehicles are coming and going about the same time as the kids are. You've got a lot of traffic on that road. The other schools primarily are on five lanes of traffic and vehicles can get in and out easier. This one (Northside) is the one we get the most complaints about as the most dangerous so I think it's a good situation for everybody involved to have somebody there who can direct traffic and get them in and out quicker and more safely."

Police Chief Caplinger admits that while traffic concerns are perhaps greater at Northside Elementary than the other schools, the department has chosen to have officers run stationary radar there instead of directing traffic. " When you see a (patrol) car setting down there (Northside), the officer is running stationary radar. They are catching speeders coming into the zone and cars going out of the zone. It depends on where we're at, if we're at the high school, we sometimes do moving radar trying to slow the traffic down prior to the school zone. If the traffic is going slow when it comes into the zone, it's not as much of a problem. A lot of cars (motorists) wait until they get right at the zone until they let up and then the traffic starts backing up and some of them don't let up."

Caplinger adds that another problem the department faces is that if city police officers were assigned to direct traffic, there would most likely be times when they would be summoned to answer an emergency call or work a wreck, leaving the school zone unattended.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, when contacted by WJLE late Thursday night seemed less than enthusiastic about the funding proposal as it relates to the school system, and said he'd rather not make a comment at this time, but that he would make a statement later.

The sheriff's department monitors traffic in the school zone at DeKalb West School and Sheriff Ray says that will continue."We take care of the West School with the school traffic in the mornings and we try to do it most every afternoon. Until the school board or the county decides to hire a school crossing guard down there, then we'll continue to offer that service to them."

There are currently no plans to fund a crossing guard at DeKalb West.

School Board Members Sworn Into Office

September 2, 2010
Dwayne Page
New School Board Member Billy Miller

Five members of the school board were sworn into office to begin their new terms Wednesday afternoon at the Board of Education building.

Judge Bratten Cook, II administered the oath of office to first district member John David Foutch, second district member Charles Robinson, third district member Kenny Rhody, fourth district member Billy Miller, and seventh district member Johnny Lattimore.

Miller is the new kid on the block, succeeding Joan Draper who did not seek re-election. The other four board members were re-elected.

Each term is for four years, effective September 1st.

The other two school board members, W.J. (Dub) Evins from the fifth district and Bruce Parsley from the sixth district, are in mid-term. Their terms of office expire in two years.

The next meeting of the school board is Thursday, September 9th at 7:00 p.m. at the board of education building.

Voters to Decide Constitutional Amendment on Right to Hunt and Fish in November Election

September 1, 2010
Dwayne Page

A constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to hunt and fish in Tennessee will go before voters in November's general election.

Voters will see the Constitutional Amendment question on the ballot right after the Governor candidates.

You will be asked to vote either "yes" or "no" to the following question: "Shall Article XI, Section 13 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentences at the end of the section:"

"The citizens of this state shall have the personal right to hunt and fish, subject to reasonable regulations and restrictions prescribed by law. The recognition of this right does not abrogate any private or public property rights, nor does it limit the state's power to regulate commercial activity. Traditional manners and means may be used to take non-threatened species."

Voters will also be electing a new governor, a new representative for the U.S. House of Representatives from the sixth district. Voters in the 40th legislative district will be choosing a state representative and in the 17th senatorial district, voters will elect a state senator.

The election will be Tuesday, November 2nd. Early voting is set for October 13th-28th.

Candidates for Governor are:

Republican Bill Haslam
Democrat Mike McWherter

Bayron Binkley
Brandon Dodds
Samuel David Duck
David Gatchell
June Griffin
Toni K. Hall
Mike Knois
Boyce T. McCall
Donald Ray McFolin
Linda Kay Perry
James Reesor
Thomas Smith, II
Howard M. Switzer
Carl Twofeathers Whitaker

Candidates for the U.S House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are:

Republican Diane Black
Democrat Brett Carter
Jim Boyd
Brandon E. Gore
Tommy N. Hay
David Purcell
Stephen R. Sprague

Candidates for the Tennessee Senate 17th Senatorial District are:

Republican Mae Beavers
Democrat George McDonald

Candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives 40th Representative District are:

Republican Terri Lynn Weaver
Democrat James C. Hale
Independent Pleas Ford


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