Local News Articles

Elderly Liberty Woman Seriously Injured In Crash

November 25, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 90 year old Liberty woman was seriously injured in a two vehicle traffic accident at 11:52 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Highways 70 and 53.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Mary Anderson was northbound on State Highway 53 in a 1993 Caprice Classic and was turning west onto Highway 70 when she pulled into the path of an eastbound 1997 Chevy Blazer, driven by 44 year old David Carter of Lavergne.

Trooper Raymond says Anderson was partially ejected upon impact and was trapped between the two vehicles. Bystanders at the scene pushed the Chevy Blazer back enough to remove her from the wreckage.

Anderson was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb West School where she was airlifted by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Carter was not believed to have been seriously injured.

Others on the scene rendering assistance included members of the Liberty Fire Department, County Deputies, Constables, and Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Kentucky Man Charged In Local Thefts

November 27, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has apparently solved three recent burglaries and thefts with the arrest of a 27 year old Kentucky man, who was in this area doing some contract construction work

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Scottie Baird of Pine Knot, Kentucky is charged with theft of property under $500, two counts of burglary, and two counts of theft of property over $1,000.

Sheriff Ray says on October 17th, the Sheriff's Department received a report of a theft at a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road in which some plywood and landscaping bricks had been stolen.

Another theft was reported on October 10th. Someone had broken into a barn on Four Seasons Road and stolen sheets of OSB board, sheets of flooring lumber, pressure treated wood, and a refrigerator and a stove.

Sheriff Ray says authorities believe the same person went back to the barn on October 13th and stole several pieces of expensive virgin beechboard wood.

Baird was identified as a suspect through the investigation and he was subsequently arrested and charged in the case.

He is currently under a $55,000 bond.

Baxter Man Arrested For Making Threats By Phone Against Officers At The DeKalb County Jail

November 27, 2006
Dwayne Page

A Baxter man, formerly of Smithville, was arrested Monday after calling the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and making threatening remarks to a correctional officer.

Brian Roberts of Hamer's Street, Baxter is charged with retaliation of a past action, which is a Class E felony, for making threats against law enforcement officers.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says at around 1:50 a.m. Monday (today) one of the correctional officers at the jail received a call from someone wanting to know the officer's name. Sheriff Ray says the caller threatened the officer, saying he was a \"dead man\". The caller also made threats against other members of the department, saying he would be \"waiting to kill them when they get off from work.\"

After making the threats the caller hung up.

Sheriff Ray says members of the department immediately contacted him and he began an investigation. Sheriff Ray says \" We traced the call through the phone company and found out where the call came from.\"

The call originated from a residence on the Old Bildad Road in DeKalb County, but Roberts, who had made the call, had left by the time officers arrived.

Roberts was later arrested by Putnam and DeKalb County authorities at his Baxter home and charged in the case. He is currently under a $50,000 bond.

Sheriff Ray says Roberts, who formerly lived on Midway Road in DeKalb County, has been in trouble with the law before on various charges and is currently listed on the state's sex offender registry.

Four Arrested On Drug Charges By The Sheriff's Department

November 29, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested four people on drug charges late Tuesday night after a routine traffic stop on South Mountain Street in Smithville turned up crack cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and a loaded weapon.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Chris Martin of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with possession of a weapon with intent to go armed and possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell and deliver. His bond is set at $52,500.

18 year old Brandon Gurley of Foster Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver. His bond is $50,000.

20 year old Danielle Staggs of Will Road, Woodbury is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver. Her bond is $50,000. She is also wanted on a failure to appear charge in Wilson County for underage consumption.

22 year old Amy Estes of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) with intent to sell or deliver, possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine), possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her total bond is $62,000.

Estes' vehicle, a 1997 Thunderbird was also seized, some cash was recovered, and the Tennessee Department of Revenue will be contacted for collection of the drug tax on the items found.

Sheriff Ray says after deputies made the traffic stop, they suspected there might be drugs in the car so they contacted the Smithville Police Department and requested that their drug dog be brought to the scene. The dog alerted on the vehicle and upon a search of the car, officers found in excess of six grams of crack cocaine and a loaded 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun.

Sheriff Ray says upon a field interview, Estes was found to have concealed some methamphetamine and marijuana in her body cavity.

City To Enforce Euthanasia Policy At Animal Shelter

November 29, 2006
Dwayne Page

Some pet lovers and city workers at the Smithville Animal Shelter are up in arms over a city policy requiring homeless animals to be euthanized if no one claims them after ten days, a policy that has not always been followed.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson visited the shelter Monday and found that the number of cats and dogs being kept there exceeded the capacity of the facility.

Hendrixson reportedly told the workers there that the city would have to adhere to the policy in the interest of the welfare and safety of the public.

In a prepared news release, Mayor Hendrixson writes that \" The City of Smithville would like the citizens and quests of our area to know that our City provides Animal Control Services so as to preserve the safety and security of all. It is inherent in our nature as responsible people to both love and cherish all animals and treat them with both respect and compassion. With this ideal in mind, it is incumbent upon us to respect the laws and ordinances that govern our society when it comes to abandonment, over-breeding, left to stray or lack of supervision of our animals. As most would agree, these unfortunate occurrences which left uncontrolled create safety issues for our children and cause needless suffering to the abandoned animals.\"

\" The City, in cooperation with interested parties, has set up a facility to temporarily house these discarded animals. This facility was created to temporarily refuge wayward animals for a period of 10 days in a humane condition so that owners could readily find their cherished assets when lost. The shelter also serves as a temporary holding facility for animals that have been picked up for displaying vicious tendencies.\"

\" Although most communities our size can not offer this type of service due to budget and manpower constraints, the City of Smithville strives to afford our citizens the very best in guidance and leadership.\"

\" Unfortunately, the City cannot support a long-term self- sustaining commitment to house these animals any longer than 10 days with the ever-increasing population of stray animals far exceeding our potential to adequately and humanely support this initiative. Our Animal Control personnel contact outside sources to help place these unwanted animals with loving homes, but accumulation far exceeds the demand for adoption. As a result, it is with deep sadness that some of these animals may have to be humanely euthanized.\"

\"It is the City's position to work within the established chartered guidelines of 10 days and aggressively seek adoption with any agency to help these animals and avoid the alternative.\"

Some of the animals have been adopted since Tuesday.

If you would like to adopt an animal from the shelter call 597-1363. The Shelter is located behind the county highway garage just off Smith Road.

Man Wanted By Sheriff's Department Arrested After Ground And Aerial Search

November 30, 2006
Dwayne Page

A ground and aerial search was conducted Wednesday afternoon for a man wanted by the Sheriff's Department after he abandoned the van he was driving and disappeared into a thicket just north of town.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 37 year old Michael Vance, who alluded authorities for several hours, is now in custody. He was picked up Wednesday night on Adams Street not far from where he had broken into a residence.

Vance was wanted by the Sheriff's Department for aggravated burglary and violation of probation. He now faces additional charges of driving on a revoked license (2nd offense), and felony evading arrest. His bond on all the charges totals $22,000 but he is being held without bond on the violation of probation warrant.

According to Sheriff Ray, the incident began Wednesday afternoon after a deputy spotted Vance driving a van. The officer got behind the van, which turned from Church Street in Smithville, onto Holmes Creek Road, and then onto a side dirt road. Vance got out of the van and fled on foot. Two other people were with Vance in the van but they did not flee and are not in trouble with the law.

Sheriff Ray says county deputies and officers of the Smithville Police Department joined in a ground search and members of the Warren County Sheriff's Department conducted an aerial search by helicopter, but Vance could not be found. Ray says officers even checked out a shed in the area where Vance was known to stay, but no one was there.

Sheriff Ray says since the search was being conducted in the area of Northside Elementary School, officials of the DeKalb County School System were contacted and the school was placed under lock down for a period of time. However, neither students or teachers had to stay longer than the regular school hours.

Vance has a criminal history having been charged in the past with burglary and theft, drug offenses, and carrying a prohibited weapon.

Smithville Police Make More Burglary And Drug Arrests

December 1, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made more burglary and drug arrests this week and also nabbed a man wanted in Oklahoma.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \" On Monday, November 27th, Smithville Police arrested 30 year old Jennifer McKissack of 740 Walker Drive for her participation in a burglary at the apartments where she resided. Smithville Police Detectives had arrested her husband and step-brother earlier in the week for burglarizing numerous apartments in their building.\"

\"The investigation revealed that McKissack had tried to conceal further involvement by discarding some of the stolen items that had been hidden in her residence. Detectives had seen the items in the house earlier but were unaware that the items had been recently stolen.\"

\"An array of items had been stolen from neighbors that ranged from children's school candy to jewelry, kitchen utensils, shoes, games, and prescription drugs.\"

McKissack was booked into the DeKalb County Jail for Criminal Intent for her participation in the burglaries. Her bond was set at $1,000.

Meanwhile, Chief Stufano says \"On Wednesday, November 29th, Smithville Police Officers responded to a local business located in the area of Highway 70 and North Mountain Street in answer to a reported suspicious incident complaint. A concerned citizen notified police that a possible drug action was taking place between occupants of two parked vehicles.\"

\"Upon arrival, officers contacted the occupants of the vehicles and discovered that one of the parties, 28 year old Aron Ponder of 7851 Old Mill Road, Dowelltown, was in possession of illegal narcotics and assorted drug paraphernalia. Ponder was also suspected of being under the influence while in physical control of a motor vehicle.\"

Ponder was arrested for driving under the influence (2nd offense), possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of illegal narcotics and booked into the DeKalb County Jail with a bond set at $5,500. His vehicle was impounded and seized under the State's Forfeiture Act.

Chief Stufano says 29 year old Darryl Cantrell of 3659 Allen Bend Road, Smithville was also arrested in the same incident. Officers discovered that Cantrell was trying to hide a syringe in the grille of a police car as he exited Ponder's vehicle. When asked to keep his hands in plain sight, Cantrell refused to show the officers his hands as he backed up to the front of the cruiser. Once the syringe was left in the grille, Cantrell then showed his hands to the officer. He was immediately arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and booked into the DeKalb County Jail with a bond of $2,500.

Also on Wednesday, November 29th, Smithville Police responded to a residence in the 400 block of West Main Street to a reported animal complaint. Upon arrival, officers contacted a male, now known as 22 year old James Christopher Moore of Garland Drive, Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Upon initial investigation of the animal complaint, Smithville Police Officers were able to determine that Moore was currently using an ID of another Tennessee resident, whom he did not know. His true identity was eventually determined but a warrants check through the National Crime Computer was unavailable due to a system maintenance. An alert 911 dispatcher working the Operations Center was able to obtain the information needed and immediately notified Smithville Police that Moore was wanted by Oklahoma authorities on a No-Bond Felony warrant. This action enabled police to immediately arrest Moore and book him into the DeKalb County Jail. Oklahoma law enforcement have advised that they will extradite Moore back to Oklahoma.

Chief Stufano says the growing support of the community in helping police identify suspicious activity within the city has resulted in significant arrests of subjects involved in illegal activity. Crime Watch and prevention works and the citizens efforts are greatly appreciated.

Smithville and Liberty Parades Help Kick Off Holiday Season

December 2, 2006
Dwayne Page

Hundreds turned out Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the Smithville and Liberty Christmas Parades.

As always, the parades featured floats, older automobiles, motorcycles, local kings and queens, local and state public officials, scouts, horseback riders, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parades was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route.

The Grand Marshals of the Smithville parade were the Styck Man and Stewart James of the Country Giant. Channel 4's Snow Bird was the Grand Marshal of the Liberty Parade.

At the Smithville Parade, \"Where is He Born King of the Jews\" by the Temple Baptist Church won first place in the float competition.

Snow Hill Baptist Church took second place for their float called \"Star of Bethlehem\" and the Bethlehem Community Church received third place for their float called \"God Placed His Gift on the Tree Not Under It.\"

In Liberty, Randy Campbell and family won first place in the float competition while Johnson's Heating and Air and the Salem Baptist Church Children tied for second place.

Kevin Bandy's 1925 Ford truck took first place and John and Judy Alsup's 1957 Chevy stationwagon received second place in the vintage car and truck category.

Jack Bryson of Auburntown won first place and Joe Vickers of Liberty took second place in the tractor competition.

And Alex Meadows was awarded first place and Roger Cook received second place in the miscellaneous category.

The Smithville Parade is sponsored each year by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. The Liberty Parade is put on by the Town of Liberty and Liberty State Bank.

Bain Sentenced To 22 Years For Attempted Murder

December 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

28 year old Tina Rose Bain appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday and entered a \"No Contest\" plea to a charge of attempted murder in a January shooting in which a White County man was killed and a DeKalb County woman was seriously wounded.

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced Bain to 22 years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections as a range one offender, which means she may be eligible for parole after serving thirty percent of the sentence.

Bain, who was scheduled to stand trial this week, instead entered the \"No Contest\" plea under a negotiated settlement with state prosecutors. All other charges against her were dropped including charges of first degree murder, felony murder, theft, and two traffic offenses, driving on a suspended license and violation of the financial responsibility law.

A co-defendant in the case, 33 year old Michael E. Johnson of Sparta received a life prison sentence in August after he pleaded guilty to first degree murder in the case.

Johnson and Bain were charged in the shooting death of 21 year old David Anthony Welch of Sparta and the wounding of 23 year old Heather Trapp of Smithville. Both Welch and Trapp were shot at Trapp's home during the pre-dawn hours of January 6th on Webb Lane.

TBI Special Agent Bob Krofssik testified Monday that the proof in the case would show that Johnson fired the shots that killed Welch and that Trapp was shot by Bain.

After the shooting, Johnson and Bain left the scene in their car but were arrested later that day in White County. They were brought to the DeKalb County Jail and after several hours of questioning, were charged in the shooting.

Johnna West, a friend of Trapp, who had spent the night at Trapp's home and was a witness to events before, during, and after the shooting testified in the case during a preliminary hearing earlier this year in DeKalb County General Sessions Court.

West says she was awakened by an argument between Trapp and Bain. \"I heard yelling from Heather who was apparently in the laundry room. I don't know if they were in the laundry room or on the back porch but I could hear Tina screaming very loud at Heather and Heather yelling and then I heard something that sounded like firecrackers. I didn't think anything about it being gunshots at that time. Within a few seconds, I heard the same thing coming from the bedroom. It sounded like fireworks or firecrackers popping. It was like two pops. I raised up and looked and saw Johnson walking out from the bedroom and out through the laundry room. That's when I saw Heather lying face down in the laundry room in a puddle of blood. I knew then that she had been shot\".

West continued, \" I was in shock. I was scared. I didn't know if I was going to be next. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew I had to get to the phone. I ran back and checked on (Trapp's daughter) first and then I grabbed the phone and called 911. I went and looked in the bedroom and saw David (Welch) laying on the bed but he wasn't making any noise or sounds. I went and sat by Heather. I asked her who shot her and she said ?Tina'. I talked to her until the police and ambulance arrived.\"

TBI Agent Krofssik testified that three different statements were taken from Bain in the days after the shooting and that Bain gave a different version of the story each time. In the first statement, Krofissk said Bain \" denied being over there and being involved in the shooting in any way\". In the second statement, \"she admitted being there but blamed the shooting on a third party, another woman\". In the third statement, Kroffssik said Bain blamed the shooting on Johnson.

Putnam County Man Files Lawsuit Against County- Claims He Was Denied Proper Medical Care Last November

December 5, 2006
Dwayne Page

A Putnam County man, seriously injured in a traffic accident over a year ago, has filed a federal court lawsuit against DeKalb County and the previous Sheriff's administration claiming he was detained more than 15 hours as a prisoner at the jail without receiving proper medical care.

Daniel Lloyd Billings has named as defendants, DeKalb County; former Sheriff Lloyd Emmons, individually and officially; Adam West, individually and officially; Samantha Young, individually and officially; Thomas Southworth, individually and officially; and John Does # 1 to #3, individually and officially.

West, Young, and Southworth were all employees of the Sheriff's Department at the time of the incident and the John Doe defendants are other unidentified Sheriff's Department and or DeKalb County employees who were working at the county jail facility during Billings' detention.

The defendants have not yet had a chance to file an answer to the complaint.

The lawsuit states that \"On or about November 13th, 2005, while Billings was driving his car, the vehicle left the road and hit a tree on Backbone Road in DeKalb County.\"

\"Billings' car sustained extensive front end damage, the steering wheel was broken by the impact of Billings' chest, and he was pinned in the car for some period of time.\"

\"DeKalb County Sheriff's deputies, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer, and a DeKalb County ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident.\"

\"Although it was apparent that Billings had been injured in the accident, the ambulance left the scene without rendering treatment.\"

\"Billings was arrested by the highway patrol officer at the scene under suspicion of DUI and he was taken to the DeKalb County Jail. Billings was turned over to the exclusive custody and control of the Sheriff's Department and it's employees and officials at or around 9:00 p.m. on November 13th, 2005.\"

The lawsuit alleges that \"the jail intake officer, Samantha Young, was aware, from Billings' physical condition and statements he made during his initial intake, that he had suffered serious injuries in the accident and was in need of immediate medical attention. Despite being given actual notice by Billings of his need for immediate medical treatment and her own observations of his physical condition, Young failed to seek prompt or proper medical attention to Billings' serious medical needs and instead placed him in a jail cell with another detainee in an exhibition of deliberate indifference to his plight.\"

\"Billings was physically sick, vomiting blood and was unable to rise up off the floor, and it was readily apparent to his cell mate that Billings was seriously hurt and was in need of immediate medical attention.\"

\"Billings' cell mate immediately informed jail officials, including Adam West, of Billings' condition and his need for assistance but was told that Billings had refused treatment at the scene of the accident.\"

\"After continuing to observe Billings' vomiting blood and his other physical difficulties, Billings' cell mate repeatedly banged on his cell door, yelled out that someone needed to get Billings medical help, and talked with West 3 to 4 times about Billings' need to go to the hospital. Despite his own observations and being placed on actual notice of the need for immediate medical treatment, West exhibited deliberate indifference to Billings' plight. Finally, some two hours later, West responded that he was waiting for the Tennessee Highway Patrol officer to come back to the jail, and to read his warrants.\"

\"During this time, Billings again personally complained to jail officials about his injuries and need for medical help, but to no avail.\"

\"After more than 12 hours of incarceration in the DeKalb County Jail, Billings was finally removed from his cell, but his release was delayed an additional two hours or more in the release bond process, so that he was not freed from the exclusive custody or control of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department until approximately noon on November 14th, some 15 hours after his arrest.\"

The lawsuit states that \"the defendants, and each of them, were aware of the physical condition of Billings and that he was at serious risk of substantial harm from his medical condition, yet disregarded this risk and took no prompt or reasonable measures to abate the risk of harm from his injuries.\"

\"Upon his release from the jail, Billings was immediately taken to the DeKalb County hospital, by family members rather than jail officials. He was in respiratory distress, and his condition was so serious that he was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center by ambulance. A physical examination of Billings disclosed that he had multiple rib fractures, chest wall contusions, pulmonary collapse, a pseudo aneurysm, a C2 laminar fracture of his neck, free blood within the pelvis, and a lacerated spleen with active bleeding. All these injuries were suffered in the car accident occurring some 15 hours before.\"

\"As a direct and proximate result of the delay in receiving medical treatment, Billings' serious medical injuries were exacerbated, his wound became infected, and necrosis set in requiring extended hospitalization and multiple surgeries which are continuing to this day.\"

\"Billings has suffered serious personal injury from which he has not fully recovered. Billings has incurred and continues to incur medical bills and expenses believed to be in excess of $500,0000 and has lost wages, income and potential for income that he would have otherwise earned had his medical situation been promptly addressed. In addition, Billings seeks to recover for his pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, past and future medical and related expenses, lost earning capacity, permanent physical impairment and all other damages permitted by law including, in the appropriate case and under the appropriate theory, the recovery of such punitive damages as a jury may allow.\"

Billings wants the case tried before a 12 member jury panel.


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