Local News Articles

Five Teens Involved In Sunday Crash

September 5, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Five teenagers were involved in a one car crash Sunday at Big Woods Road.

Trooper Johnny Farley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 15 year old Stephen D. Grantham was traveling east in a 1995 Dodge Intrepid when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the right shoulder of the road, continued for 79 feet, and hit a tree head on.

Grantham says he had to swerve to avoid hitting another vehicle.

Trooper Farley says others with Grantham included, 14 year old Brandon Puckett, 15 year old Charles Bates, 15 year old Chip Robinson, and 16 year old Jeffery R. Puckett.

Robinson was seriously injured and airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga

Grantham, Puckett, and Bates were transported to DeKalb Community Hospital with minor injuries. Puckett was not injured.

Trooper Farley says all five boys were wearing their seatbelts.

Grantham was charged with driving on a learners permit and failure to exercise due care.

Collins Named Alexandria Police Chief

August 25, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Alexandria has a new Police Chief.

Alderman Charles Griffith says Mark Collins, former DARE Officer and Captain of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has been named Acting Chief, pending action by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

Collins, succeeds Jim Baker who officially stepped down as Chief Thursday evening.

The positions of Sergeant Tim Hearn and Officer Josh King have not yet been filled. Griffith says Collins will have input on who get those jobs.

Baker, Hearn and King resigned after city officials decided to eliminate the day shift because of budget woes and focus more on providing law enforcement at night.

Sells Seeks Injunction To Prevent Patterson From Being Sworn Into Office

August 27, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A hearing is set for Tuesday morning in Putnam County Chancery Court to determine whether an injunction should be ordered to keep David Patterson from taking office as Criminal Court Judge this week.

A swearing-in ceremony is set for Wednesday for the new Chancellor as well as the Circuit and Criminal Court Judges in the 13th Judicial District

However Judge Lillie Ann Sells is seeking an injunction and a restraining order to prevent Patterson from taking the oath of office, until her election contest in Chancery Court has been adjudicated.

A hearing on her motions is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in Chancery Court in Cookeville before Judge Ben H. Cantrell, a retired Nashville judge who has been appointed to hear the Sells election contest lawsuit.

Attorney Craig Fickling of Cookeville, attorney John Knowles of Sparta and attorney Amy Hollars of Livingston represent Patterson in the lawsuit Sells has filed against him and the election commissions in seven counties.

Sells contends in her lawsuit that various voting irregularities in the August 3rd election cast doubt on whether Patterson is actually the winner.

McMinnville Man Injured In Friday Morning Crash

August 28, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 23 year old man was seriously injured in a traffic accident around 3:50 a.m. Friday morning on Highway 56 south near Sink Creek.

Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Jose M. Castillo of McMinnville was driving north in a 1998 Dodge Dakota pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve after cresting a hill, went off the right side of the road, traveled 317 feet down a ditch line, struck the end of a guard rail, and continued another 163 feet. The truck overturned several times before it finally came to rest on it's right side at a drainage ditch.

Sergeant Prater says three other motorists on Highway 56 struck a portion of the guardrail that protruded out in the road after the crash, but none of them was injured.

Prater says Castillo was airlifted from near the scene and flown to either Vanderbilt or Erlanger Hospital.

In addition to DeKalb EMS, members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff's Department assisted at the scene.

Sheriff Ray Busy During His First Days In Office

September 4, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Sheriff Patrick Ray's first days on the job have been busy.

In a meeting with the local news media Friday, Sheriff Ray says he has already begun some investigations and is in the process of making his administration more accessible to the public. \"We've got a drug problem here and we're going to work on the drugs. That's one of the first things we're going to do. We're also going to work on the burglaries and thefts here. We've been getting in a few theft reports today and we'll be working on those. As a matter of fact, I've already got some people working on them now.\"

\"One of my campaign promises was to have an open door policy to the public. I want everybody to know they are welcome to come in and talk to me or call on the phone if they need to get in touch with me. We're here for the people. We answer all calls and are ready to help everybody the best that we can do.\"

\"We started early this morning (Friday) doing the cleanup behind the jail. We're doing an inventory of the jail today and an inventory of the seized vehicles out back. We'll be having a sale here pretty quick to get rid of some of these vehicles. I'm working with County Mayor Mike Foster in trying to find a place to tow our seized vehicles. We'll be keeping the area behind the jail mowed and cleaned up.\"

\"Here in front of the jail, we've taken down a temporary partition that was up. We want the public to feel like they're invited to come in and talk to the staff or to me.\"

Sheriff Ray says he plans to have inmates working under supervision picking up roadside litter and they will possibly work some at schools when children aren't present or maybe at the landfill, but don't expect them to work on patrol cars. \"I don't agree with the philosophy of letting inmates work on vehicles. If I put somebody in jail for something, I would not want them putting brakes on my patrol car or any of my guy's patrol cars. We'll be using local businesses to do most of the work.\"

Ray says he plans to start a Senior Safe program soon. \" One of the first programs that I want to start is my Senior program. As I was going around the county (during the campaign), I talked with a lot of seniors who live by themselves or have some kind of physical disability. We'll be starting that program pretty quick. What we will need is their names, addresses, and phone numbers. We'll also need to know if they have any kind of disability. One of my employees will make daily checks on them to make sure they're okay.\"

Don Adamson will be Ray's Chief Deputy. \"Don has law enforcement experience in his background. When I went and talked to him about taking the position of Chief Deputy here, he was a School Resource Officer in Wilson County. He agreed to come on board and I'm proud to have him. Don will be accessible to the public and if anybody wants to talk to him, they will be able to call or come and see him.\"

\"I've made out a schedule for my deputies. A 12 hour shift schedule, rotating weekends. We have two people on days, two on nights, and a swing shift person. All these people will work together in the department. In the jail, the previous administration had two jailers on but we have four on. We're full capacity on correctional officers and we also have a good staff of qualified deputies.\"

Sheriff Ray again stresses that his office door will always be open and if you have any questions or concerns, drug tips, or information, you may call 597-4935 or come by and see him at the DeKalb County Jail.

Governor?s Highway Safety Office Awards Law Enforcement Grants To Smithville and Alexandria

August 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Governor?s Highway Safety Office (GHSO)has announced that the state will fund High Visibility Law Enforcement Grants to 317 agencies across Tennessee including the Alexandria and Smithville Police Departments. These campaigns will focus on seat belt safety and alcohol countermeasure programs.

A statewide request for applications was issued to all law enforcement agencies throughout Tennessee to conduct High Visibility Law Enforcement Campaigns during the period of October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007. Each agency that applied is receiving a grant up to $5,000 for a total of $1.5 million in funding. These campaigns will be federally funded through the Tennessee GHSO.

?Impaired driving is the most frequently committed violent crime in the state,? said Governor Bredesen, when approving the grants earlier this month. ?Someone dies in an alcohol related crash every 28 hours. I am proud that we are able to fund these enforcement campaigns to save lives on Tennessee roadways.?

?The population in our great state continues to grow by leaps and bounds,? said Chairman Phillip Pinion, House Transportation Committee. ?We must be diligent in our duties to keep Tennesseans safe on our roadways that are becoming more and more crowded.?

?I?m happy the state is able to support our local communities and law enforcement agencies through this special grant program,? reported House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

?This program will make a difference, I believe, for many people because it will touch so many communities across the state,? said Lieutenant Governor John Wilder.

?These high visibility grants will translate into lives saved,? stated Commissioner Gerald Nicely, Tennessee Department of Transportation. ?These grants will make a difference in the day to day safety of Tennesseans.?

?High visibility law enforcement grants will achieve measurable results because law enforcement agencies must make a concerted effort to conduct and participate in sobriety checkpoints, will partner with law enforcement liaison networks, and be involved in other activities that promote highway safety,? added GHSO Director Kendell Poole. Poole explained that each agency will submit data including number of hours officers participate, number of citations and arrests for DUI, seatbelts, speed and misdemeanor and felony charges. The data collected will be transferred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Governor?s Highway Safety Office will continue to search for innovative ways to drive the fatality rates down.

Bredesen Requests Agricultural Disaster Declaration for Eight Additional Tennessee Counties Including DeKalb

August 29, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Governor Phil Bredesen has requested a federal designation of agricultural disaster for eight more counties in East and Middle Tennessee to help farmers who have suffered drought-related damages. The designation would allow farmers to apply for low-interest emergency loans to help them manage crop and livestock losses due to extreme heat and dry conditions.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Bredesen requested the designation for Bledsoe, Cannon, DeKalb, Hamilton, Overton, Pickett, Rhea and Warren counties.

?Again, I have asked the Secretary of Agriculture to give special consideration to designating these counties as an agricultural disaster,? said Bredesen. ?Farming is a tough business made tougher by unpredictable weather conditions. It?s important that we provide assistance to those who need it because these farms are small businesses that are important to our rural economy.?

Earlier this month Bredesen requested assistance for Fentress, Franklin, McMinn, Meigs, Morgan and Scott counties. USDA is still considering Bredesen?s earlier request and is expected to make a determination within the next few days. Bredesen also promised to continue to work with Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens to make additional requests for other counties as needed.

Farmers in the affected areas have reported an average loss of 30 to 65 percent for major crops including corn, soybeans, hay, tobacco, nursery stock and vegetables. Many livestock farmers have been forced to supplement pastures with stored feed and hay, and others have had to find alternate watering sources as ponds and creeks have dried up in some cases.

According to the Tennessee Field Office of USDA?s National Agricultural Statistics Service, recent rainfall across the state has helped crop conditions to remain in mostly good condition. However, some dry areas still remain, especially in East Tennessee, where crop conditions range from very poor to fair. The agency?s weather and crop report for the week ending Aug. 28 listed topsoil moisture levels as very short to short in over half the state and 38 percent of pastures in very poor to poor condition.

USDA is expected to make a determination on Bredesen?s most recent request in three to four weeks as the federal agency reviews damages. Once approved, eligible farmers can apply for assistance through their local USDA Farm Service Agency office.

Four People Sentenced In Criminal Court

May 22, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Four people were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday after entering pleas to charges against them in negotiated settlements.

44 year old Kenny Ray Herman pleaded guilty to two charges of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and three charges of sale of a schedule III controlled substance.

Judge Lillie Ann Sells sentenced him to a total of six years. He will serve one year in the county jail and then be on probation for the remainder of the term in community corrections. The sentence is to run consecutively to another case against him.

Herman was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $585 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department/TBI.

He was given credit for 150 days of jail time served.

25 year old Misty Dawn Barnes Hesson pleaded guilty to three counts of casual exchange and received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively with each other and consecutive to a General Sessions Court case against her. Hesson was fined a total of $750 and must make restitution of $295.

50 year old Jeana Annette Hesson pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence, all suspended to probation. She was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $300 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Hesson must also undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and perform 100 hours of community service.

Billie Green Sullivan, charged with two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion for a period of two years. She must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and perform 100 hours of community service.

Monday was also arraignment day for those indicted by the Grand Jury earlier this month.

Most of those defendants will be back in court on June 2nd .

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