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DeKalb County native and her friend charged in Jackson County toddler’s death

By: Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County native and former resident here and her friend have been charged in the Jackson County death of her toddler daughter.

Tessa Thomas, 26, was indicted Monday, August 17 by the Jackson County grand jury on a charge of aggravated child neglect, while Zach Dale, 33, was indicted on charges of felony murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

Fourteen-month-old Reeves Thomas died days after being taken from her Jackson County home to a Nashville hospital in December 2019 with multiple injuries. An investigation determined Dale and Thomas were responsible, the bureau’s statement said.

Bond for Thomas is $100,000 while Dale was being held without bond.

Hilton Conger to Retire as City Judge

August 25, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

Wednesday is the deadline for attorneys interested in being appointed Municipal Judge for the City of Smithville to submit resumes but one name will not be among them.

Incumbent Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger, a veteran of the bench for almost 30 years, has decided not to seek re-appointment to another term.

In a prepared announcement, Judge Conger told WJLE “ I was first elected in 1991 and have had the privilege of serving as judge for almost 30 years under 4 mayors and many different aldermen. I have had the unwavering support of all of them for which I will be forever grateful. I previously made the decision to retire from the practice of law after 48 years and now it is time for me to retire from the position of City Judge. I want to give special thanks to Angela Banks and Dana Poss who have served as my city court clerks and without whom I could not have done the job as city judge”.

Mayor Josh Miller said he wishes Judge Conger well in his retirement and is grateful to him for his honorable service to the City of Smithville.

Conger served two terms as an elected judge and seven terms by appointment of the mayor and aldermen.

The Smithville Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court’s jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes only once per month.

The charter change also provided that the City Judge no longer be elected by city voters to an eight year term, but that he or she must serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Mayor Miller recently announced that resumes would be sought for the position through the close of business at city hall on Wednesday, August 26. The mayor and aldermen will review the city judge resumes during a special meeting on Thursday, August 27 at 6 p.m. at city hall. A successor to Conger may be named at the September 4th special meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen

Lineman Electrocuted

August 25, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

A 55 year old Shelbyville man working in a bucket truck died Monday afternoon in Smithville when a conductive rope he was using touched a hot electric line and electrocuted him

Joseph Charles McAdams died at the scene.

McAdams was among three linemen reportedly working for a company contracted by Comcast when the incident occurred at a job site at 750 South Congress Boulevard.

Smithville Police were summoned to the scene after being notified of an unresponsive man slumped over in a bucket truck. Upon arrival officers were informed by EMS paramedics already on the scene that the man was deceased. The two men who had been working with McAdams told police that they were pulling fiber when McAdams tried to toss them a rope from his bucket truck to their truck. But instead of grabbing a nylon rope normally used by the linemen, McAdams threw over a conductive rope containing copper wire which crossed over and touched a hot wire. The co-workers said McAdams collapsed in the bucket of the truck. EMS was then contacted. Smithville Electric System was also summoned to turn off the power and to remove the rope from the electric wires. After the Medical Examiner was called McAdams’ body was taken to the hospital and his family was notified.

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