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Tuesday Wrecks Keep First Reponders Busy

May 15, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

Two Tuesday afternoon wrecks kept law enforcement and first responders busy but no one was injured.

The first one occurred on Coconut Ridge Road.

According to THP Sergeant Tracy White, a 17 year old Smithville boy was driving a 2007 Chevy Silverado when he ran off the left side of the road and plunged over the side of the hill. According to the boy an oncoming vehicle was in his lane as he rounded a curve forcing him off the road.

Meanwhile two vehicles were involved in a crash on North Congress Boulevard.

Trooper C.J. Withers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that 31 year old Christopher Ogletree of Smithville, traveling south in a 2003 Chevy S-10, crossed into an oncoming lane to pass other vehicles in front of him when he lost control and ran off the left side of the highway into the grass. The truck then came back across the highway and struck a southbound Hyundai Elantra, driven by 55 year old Alena Meraz of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her husband Francisco was a passenger. Upon impact both vehicles went off the right side of the highway. The Hyundai came to a stop in a corn field.

According to Trooper Withers, Ogletree faces DUI and other charges.

Smithville Electric System Turns 50

May 15, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

Smithville Electric System is celebrating its golden anniversary!

Founded in 1969, SES has been serving the City of Smithville for 50 years.

“In 1969 the City of Smithville purchased what became SES from the McMinnville Electric System. The original board members were John Robert Nixon, Clarence Braswell, John Bill Evins, Dr. W.E. Vanatta, and Bill Maffett. The original board started with a bond issue of $450,000 to begin operation. They retired these bonds and today the system is debt free,” said SES Board Chairman Walter Burton

In fact it was on this date (May 15, 1969) that the original board held its first meeting to organize. The minutes from that meeting are as follows:

“The first meeting of the Smithville Electric Power Board heretofor created by resolution of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville met at the City Hall in Smithville pursuant to the call of the Mayor at 1 p.m. on May 15, 1969 for the purpose of organization and the transaction of any business required, at which time the Mayor, Othel Smith, administered the oath of office required by law to each of the members named by the Mayor, and approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, by resolution, and after being duly sworn, and qualified for the office, the following members of the Board assembled for organization and the transaction of business, namely: C.E. Braswell, W.C. Maffett, Dr. W.E. Vanatta, John R, Nixon, and J.B. Evins. The Smithville Electric Power Board is created for the purpose of exercising efficient and non-political supervision, management, and control of the operation of the electric system”.

In an interview with WJLE shortly before his death, Nixon reflected on the history of Smithville Electric System. “We started in May 1969. The City of Smithville issued utility service bonds to purchase the electric system for $450,000 from McMinnville Electric, which had been operating the system for 25 years. McMinnville Electric had bought it from Tennessee Electric in 1944. After Smithville Electric System was formed, the city appointed a board to make all the decisions for the electric utility,” he said.

The original SES office was at city hall but later relocated to a new complex constructed on East Broad Street where it still operates today.

In October 2017, SES completed a new substation located on South College Street and named it in honor of Mr. Nixon, who at that time was the longest serving board member and chairman. With the new John Robert Nixon Substation, the City of Smithville now has two electrical power sources. The second substation located on West Main Street continues to be shared by SES, TVA, and Caney Fork Electric Cooperative.

“The City of Smithville now has two sources of electricity. What this means for the city and our industrial customers is no more planned outages. By being able to offer a dual feed hopefully that will help attract new industry and help us keep the industry we have,” said Burton during the October 2017 dedication of the substation.

Today, Smithville Electric System has more than 2,500 metered customers.

The current board of directors are Chairman Walter Burton and members Mayor Josh Miller, Hilton Conger, Sandra Wall, and Jason Murphy.

Prisoners Quickly Captured After Jail Escape

May 14, 2019
By: Dwayne Page

Two prisoners are back in custody after escaping from the recreation yard behind the DeKalb County Jail this afternoon (Tuesday).

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, 23 year old Thomas Nix and 28 year old Anthony Williams broke out at 5:10 p.m. when the inmates in the annex were being taken outside for their recreation time. One of the correctional officers witnessed Nix scale the security fence behind the jail and make his getaway. As the officers were trying to get all the inmates back into the jail, Williams ran toward the fence and climbed over making his escape. Both inmates were wearing orange and white striped clothing.

Eleven minutes later officers spotted Nix and Williams behind a house near the College Street Bridge and placed them in custody. Both had shed their stripes and were wearing white T-shirts and orange shorts. They had also suffered cuts as they climbed out from the 2 strains of razor wire that covers the pen. Their orange striped clothing was found in various places behind the jail.

Both Nix and Williams will be charged with escape.

Sheriff Ray wants to thank the Smithville Police Department, Constables, and the public for their help.

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