County's $105 million budget anticipates no property tax hike
County Commissioners will vote June 29 on a recommended $105 million budget that includes no anticipated property tax increase.
A public hearing and workshop session on the budget will occur June 19.
Commission's budget committee came within $375,000 of balancing spending with revenue. The committee recommends using hospital lease funds to balance the budget- but only temporarily, since roll-over from the current year is expected to cover the gap.
The budget provides three new corrections officer positions, a new E911 dispatch position, and 1.4 percent cost-of-living raises for employees. It includes funds for two new ambulances, as well as a long-requested boost in spending on fire departments. However, a dozen positions were cut from the school budget- nine of them directly related to the classroom. Local funding for schools actually increased, but state funding changes led to the cuts.
The budget committee whittled its way down from an original budget proposal about $1.4 million in the red.
Their ax fell hardest on the request submitted by Circuit/Sessions Court Clerk Penny Murphy. She had asked for an additional $191,000, mostly to expand a staff that is struggling to keep up with an ever-growing caseload, but the committee voted to keep funding the same as this year (except for the cost-of-living raise and associated costs).
The committee cut about $90,000 from the requested $221,000 increase for the Emergency Medical Service. The budet still includes enough for two new ambulances, though Director Brad Phillips asked for three.
Sheriff Bud McCoig had asked for four new corrections officers and a new nurse position for the jail. The committee is recommending two officers and the nurse. They also okayed a $38,000 request that would equalize deputy holiday pay with that of other county employees.
Jails in the state average one corrections officer per five inmates, the sheriff said. The local jail has one per 26 inmates.
E911 Director Justin Crowther had asked for two new dispatchers, and the committee is recommending one. One position was added last year.
School Board struggled with state changes to the revenue stream, most notably in the way dollars are funneled for at-risk students.
A dozen positions were cut from the school budget- nine of them directly related to the classroom. The $62 million proposed school budget actually grew by $250,000 in local revenue (from an increas in the amount each penny on the property tax nets), but a change in the way state funding is allotted outpaced that growth by three quarters of a million dollars. School Board decided to cut the positions, including nine personalized learning facilitators from the elementary and middle schools, instead of submitting an unbalanced budget.
The proposed budget also includes the proposed settlement of an issue that has been smoldering for years- inadequate funding for local fire departments.
Budget committee ended up recommending a reduction for the smallest volunteer fire department in order to shore up funding in three larger ones and possibly avert a showdown with two cities.
The committee settled on a four precent incrase in the total amount that will go to the 10 departments (including the rescue squad). Two cities, White Pine and Dandridge, who both said they'd keep their fire trucks at home unless the county paid more of its share for fire protection, didn't get the full amounts they requested, but the recommendation is a significant increase (55 percent for Dandridge and 27 percent for White Pine). The big loser, however, would be tiny Parrott's Chanel Community Fire Department, which only has three trucks. The committee's plan cuts its donation by 55 percent. The recommendation also adds a 13 percent increase for New Market Volunteer Fire Department.
The recommendation allots a total of $600,000 to the 10 departments. New Market would receive the largest donation at $900,000- boosted by the department's $25,000 allotment for the only county-approved substation as well as a $10,000 increase recommended last week. Dandridge would receive $85,000, an increase of $30,000 over this year but still $15,000 less than requested. White Pine would get $70,000, up $15,000 from this year but $5,000 less than requested.
Parrott's Chapel would fall in at only $25,000, a cut of $30,000 as compared to this year. The department might have been lucky to get anything, however. The committee had ealier whacked it to zero when its request didn't make the state deadline.
The rest of the departments would receive $55,000, the same as last year, under the commitee's plan. The approved motions stipulate that departments must agree to cover their designated areas if they accept their allotted donation.
In a special session last Monday, Commissioners Voted to override Mayor Alan Palmieri's veto of thier resolution asking the Industrial Development Board to hold public meetings to receive input on future development projects. The vote to override was 17-4, with Commissioners Donnie Tabor, Tim Seals, Rob Blevins, and Gene Eslinger voting against.
They also voted to approve the personnel committee's recomendation to hire Curtis B. Hudson, Sr., as the new veterans' service officer.
A Vietnam veteran, Hudson is currently serving as state VFW commander, and has been active in the local VFW Post for years. He was to begin work immediately.
Escaped Hamblen inmate found in Strawberry Plains
Officers located an escape Hamblen County inmate at a Strawberry Plains residence late Monday and also arrested two more people for helping him avoid capture.
Dakota Cheyenne Truslow, 22, was hiding between a bed and the wall at the 2713 Lisa Circle apartment when officers with Smoky Mountain Fugitive Recovery Team entered shortly after 5 p.m. and arrested him without incident, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported. Organized by the United States Marshals Service, the team includes members from the Jefferson and Hamblen county sheriff's departments and other local law enforcement agencies.
Officers had traced Truslow to a Knox County residence, where they recovered four stolen vehicles, and then received information that he might be traveling in a brown/gold SUV to the Lisa Circle residence, the home of Brittany Brown, 26, the sheriff reported.
Contacted by Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor, who was at the Knox County residence, McCoig and Detective Sgts. Perry Moyers and Richard Collins went to Lisa Circle, where they spotted the vehicle and ascertained that Truslow was inside with two other people. The fugitive recovery team responded, entering the apartment at 5:05 p.m.
Brown and Kevin Michael Black, 22, of 1255 Heatherbrook Way, Newport, were both taken into custody at the residence and charged with being accessories after the fact of felony escape. Truslow was returned to Hamblen County custody.
The arrest of Brown and Black brought the number of persons accused of assisting the escapee, who fled the Hamblen County Jail late Saturday night, to four.
Whitney Turner, 21, of 1363 Kingswood Road, Talbott, is charged with waiting for Truslow and fellow escapee Michael Dewayne, 30, of 293 Bob Hollow Road, Sevierville, in a car parked near the jail Saturday night.
After a chase and Knox County crash involving Turner's 2006 Ford Fusion, authorities believe Truslow was picked up by Tara Scarlett Edens, 24, of Morristown, and returned to Hamblen County. She is also charged. Turner and Teal were arrested at the scene of the wreck on John Sevier Highway.
Neither Truslow nor others at the apartment were armed when they were arrested Monday, McCoig reported. Warrants have been issued in Jefferson County charging Truslow with felony evading arrest and reckless endangerment stemming from his 110 miles per hour flight from officers Saturday night. Taylor has also sworn warrants charging him with a recent car theft, the sheriff said.
He will face felony escape, assault on an officer, and other charges in Hamblen County.
Emergency exercise at high school tests readiness
Two Dandridge Police Officers entered an eerily quiet Jefferson County High School.
The commons area reeked of gunpowder, and Officers Doug Atkins and Robbie McMahan encountered the first injured victim against a back wall.
Multiple 911 calls were being fielded at the dispatch center. Dozens of officers - including two special operations teams - paramedics and firefighters were en route. Working their way around corners with assault rifles, the two officers found several more victims calling for help and made it to an outside door, where they spotted smoke pouring from the school's greenhouse. In the area near vocational building, Deputy Jim Potts had exchanged gunfire with two attackers who had taken cover in a stairwell.
It might have only been make-believe, but yesterday's full scale emergency exercise provided vital information to emergency planners.
"We hope we never ever have to deal with something like this," said Jefferson City Fire Chief Lee Turner, who helped organize the mass shooting exercise. "But we want to be as prepared as we can be in case we ever do."
In a nearby church parking lot, the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency activated its mobile command post, a converted camping trailer fitted with radios and live video feed of the school's surveillance system. Sheriff Bud McCoig, Dandridge Police Chief Carson Williams, Jefferson City Police Chief Andy Dossett, E911 Director Justin Crowther, Emergency Medical Service Director Brad Phillips, Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Mike Higgs, school officials, and others directed the response from inside.
Special operations teams from the Jefferson City Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department cleared the building room-by-room. Paramedics with the Jefferson County Emergency Medical Service set up a triage center in the school gym, and Dandridge, Jefferson City, and New Market firefighters attacked the "fire" set by three shooters in the school greenhouse.
During it all, students stayed on lock-down in their classrooms - except for a group of about 30 who played the role of victim in the attack.
"Coordination and command went well," said Turner. "Communications between all the different departments was a problem at times. We knew that was something we have to work on."
Evaluators from several agencies watched and offered feedback during a meeting after the event. The evaluators included representatives from Washington County Schools, Knoxville Emergency Management, Rural Metro, Carson-Newman University Safety and Security, Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, Jefferson County Amateur Radio Service, and Walters State Community College.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol served as perimeter security, and TBI agents entered as the area turned from emergency scene to crime scene.
Hamblem escapee sought after chase, crash
An escaped Hamblem County inmate will be charged in Jefferson County after allegedly fleeing
from officers at over 100 miles per hour earlt Sunday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig said.
Dakota Cheyenne Truslow, 22, of 4520 Enka Highway, Morristown, eventually crashed his girlfriend's car in
Knoxville and ran as the vehicle caught fire. A fellow escaped inamte and Truslow's girlfriend, who allegedly
picked him up moments after the 10:30 p.m. Saturday escape, were arrested following the wreck.
Truslow should be considered armed and dangerous, according to Sheriff McCoig. The escapee is six feet three inches
tall, weighs 220 pounds, and has brown hair. Anyone with information about his his whereabouts should call the
Jefferson County Sheriff's Department at (865) 3970-9411.
Sgt. David Taliaferro reported that he spotted the 2006 Ford Fusion on Highway 11E at 12:21 a.m. Just under
two hours earlier, Truslow and Michael Dewayne Teal, 30, of 293 Bob Hollow Road, Sevierville, had
broken out of the Hamblem County Jail through its sally port, according to reports from Hamblem County
Sheriff Esco Jarnigan.
The inmates took advantage of overcrowded conditions and a disturbance in the women's block at the jail to assault a
corrections officer and escape by pushing a button to raise the sally port door. Hamblem County investigators believe
Whitney Turner, 21, of 1363 Kingswood Road, Talbott, was waiting for them in the black Fusion nearby.
Taliaferro reported that the driver sped away as soon as he spotted the patrol car and headed west on Highway 11E,
reaching 110 miles per hour. At Old Dandridge Pike he made a sudden left turn and managed to elude the officer.
Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol were waiting on the other end of Old Dandridge Pike, however, McCoid said.
The chase continued into Knox County to the John Sevier Highway area, where the car ran off the road, crashed,
and caught fire. Turner, who is pregnant, was taken to a Knoxville medical center to be checked before being
booked on a Hamblem County charge of being an accessory to escape.
Teal was also arrested soon afterward. McCoig said warrants have been issued in Jefferson County charging
Truslow with felony evading arrest and reckless endangerment. Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor has also sworn warrants
charging him with a recent car theft.
Authorities believe Truslow was picked up after the crash by a Morristown woman and possible taken back to Hamblem County.
Tara Scarlett Edens, 24, is also charged with being an accessory to escape, Hamblem County investigators say.
Truslow is a suspect in the theft of two handguns and a 2014 Dodge Challenger from a car lot on South
Cumberland Street in Morristown Sunday morning.
Bean Station Police spotted the Challenger, but terminated persuit after it sped up to over 100 miles per hour.
Stolen trailer flies off during chase
A stolen utility trailer broke loose and crashed into traffic yesterday morning as a father and son
led deputies on a chase through White Pine.
The 23-year-old son was apprehended, but his 46-year-old father escaped on foot after their truck smashed
through two locked farm gates and wedged against a dirt bank next to a chicken house,
Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Jeffrey Allen Morgan, 46, of Cub Circle, Morristown.
Ryan Christopher Morgan, 23, of Talbott, is in custody at the Jefferson County Jail. The charges include
felony theft, reckless endangerment, felony fleeing arrest, resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession
of burglary tools, drug paraphernalia possession, and possession of marijuana.
"The VIN and tags didn't match on the truck they were driving, so the investigation is continuing," McCoig said.
The Hurst utility trailer, which they had allegedly stolen in Talbott, came loose and struck a vehicle on Roy
Messer Highway as the two fled deputies, McCoig reported.
No one was injured in the accident, but the trailer and a vehicle were damaged.
The chase started at 5:51 a.m. on Rocktown Road when the trailer owner was headed to work and saw two men
hitching his trailer to their truck. He chased the gray 2004 Chevrolet Silverado in his own vehicle and called 911.
Deputies Chris Edmonds and Dylan Bowen took up the chase, which went into Hamblen County and then back into
White Pine, where the trailer came loose. The tailgate of the trailer also flew off on Highway 25E
in Morristown, the sheriff said.
The driver, believed to have been Jeffrey Morgan, turned onto a farm lane off Chestnut Grove Road and
crashed through two locked gates before striking an earthen bank.
Both occupants of the truck baled out and ran, but Edmonds was able to apprehend Ryan Morgan quickly.
Jeffrey Morgan escaped. Edmonds and Bowen were assisted at the scene by Deputy Michael Bingle and McCoig.
McCoig said both father and son are convicted felons. He added that Hamblen County Sheriff's
Department is assisting with the investigation.
Two charged with stealing meth
Two people are charged with meth-peddling following an undercover investigation, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.
Both individuals were arrested following sealed presentments before the Grand Jury.
Tiffany Nicole Coffey, 22, of Southerland Avenue, Knoxville, is charged with two counts sale and delivery
of methamphetamine. Robert Lynn Rines, 29, of 5224 Buell Chapel, Morristown, is charged with sale and
delivery of methamphetamine.
The undercover operation was conducted by the sheriff's department and the Fourth Judicial District Drug Task Force.
Restaurant manager charged with theft at Taste of Dandridge
A restaurant manager is charged with stealing cash from the business, sheriff's reports say.
Ashley Nicole Lovell, 29, of 1010 Burchfield Road, Dandridge, is charged with three counts of theft
over $500 and seven counts of theft under $500, Detective Sgt. Pam Taylor reported.
Lovell is accused of stealing between $5,000 and $6,000 from Taste of Dandridge restaurant (540 Patriot Drive,
Dandridge) by using a tip scheme, according to Taylor's report.
Lovell allegedly rang up false transactions for meals and used pre-paid cards to pay $20 towards each purchase.
She then added tips to the transactions for $100 to $600 each and took the money from the restaurant's funds,
Rose indicted for attack on officers
A Jefferson City man has been indicted on charges that he attacked two officers before one of them shot
him last December.
James Thomas Rose, 56, of 613 Moulden Street, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault stemming
from the December 23 incident.
Meanwhile, a TBI probe of the shooting resulted in no charges or allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the
deputies, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported Tuesday.
Rose was treated for a single gunshot wound after an officer fired one shot as Rose attempted to attack him
and another deputy with a knife and a machete, reports indicate.
The incident occurred at a Cora Drive residence during an ongoing domestic dispute. When officers
arrived, they saw a man come outside with a knife and then re-enter the residence, reports at the time state.
When the officers went inside, they found a grandmother and two young children there - and Rose allegedly
attacked deputies with a knife and a machete. An officer fired one shot, which struck Rose, McCoig reported.
The next day, officers made contact with a 46-year-old Jefferson City man who had allegedly been cut on the face
by Rose before officers arrived. The man, Kenneth E. Brown, of the same address, had left the residence
and eventually made his way to Jefferson Memorial Hospital because the bleeding would not stop. He
was released after receiving stitches for the cut, according to deputies' reports.
Brown told officers he and Rose had a disagreement Friday, and Rose "swung at" him. Brown said he thought
at first that Rose had struck him with his fist, but was told his face was bleeding. Brown said he then saw a knife
in Rose's hand, and Rose went to his bedroom and picked up a second weapon, a machete. Brown said he
"started to get" his own knife and told the attacker that he would "kill him" if he came after him again.
Brown, however, left the residence with another person and went to Dandridge, where he eventually
found a ride most of the way home, deputies were told. After arriving at home, he was unable to stop
the bleedng and went to the hospital. Brown told officers that when he got home from the hospital, others there
told him law enforcement had just left.
Arrests follow 100 mile-per-hour chase
Two people face drug and other charges after a 100 mph chase that included a stretch of wrong-way
driving early Thursday morning, Sheriff Bud McCoig reported.
The ride ended on Highway 92 in Dandridge at 4 a.m. after the driver struck a patrol car and fishtailed
out of control, ending up on the side of the roadway where he and a passender were taken into custody,
according to a report by Deputy Brandon Bullins.
Driver Christopher Allen Lee Harmon, 25, of 635 Curley Lane, Seymour, is charged with aggravated assault,
possession of Schedule II controlled substance for resale, reckless endangerment, reckless driving,
evading arrest, drug paraphernalia possession, possession of legend drug without prescription,
and vehicle financial responsibility violation. He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail
with bail set at $30,000.
Passenger Zeynep Elizabeth Sherman, 31, of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, is charged with possession of Schedule II
controlled substance for resale, possession of legend drug without prescription, and drug paraphernalia possession.
She was released from jail after posting bond pending a preliminary Sessions Court hearing.
A third occupant of the vehicle, Brianne J. Wentworth, 18, also of 103 Tacoma Road, Oak Ridge, was cited
for drug paraphernalia possession, the deputy reported. She told officers that the driver refused to stop and
let her out.
Jefferson County patrol units picked up the chase as it moved into their district from Sevier County
on Interstate 40. The driver of the 1994 Nissan Quest was being sought for allegedly assaulting an officer,
Moving at speeds as high as 100 miles per hour, Harmon led patrol units to Exit 417, where he entered
Highway 92 toward Dandridge, turning onto Highway 25/70 headed west before turning again onto Price Road,
which connected him back to Highway 92. The van at first headed toward Dandridge, but then made
a u-turn and came back toward Jefferson City in the wrong lane of traffic. The van made contact with Bullins'
patrol car before careening out of control.
Moore faces attempted murder charge for shooting into girlfriend's home
A Strawberry Plains man was indicted on a charge of attempted first degree murder last week for
allegedly firing a gun into his ex-girlfriend's home last year.
Charles Edward Moore, 39, of 631 South Carter Road, is also charged with five counts of violating an order
of protection, possession of a firearm during commission of a dangerous felony, reckless endangerment,
vandalism under $500, criminal trespass, aggravated assault, and two counts harassment.
He is being held at the Jefferson County Jail. Arraignment on the charges is set for tomorrow.
The indictments allege that Moore had a pattern of harassing the 30-year-old ex-girlfriend, culminating
in indictments last April in which small caliber bullets were fired into the residence where she lived with
Last April 15, Deputy Cynthia Breton responded to the residence, where the woman's parents said someone had
driven by their home just before dawn the past two mornings firing a gun.
Sheriff Bud McCoig said further investigation by Detective Pam Taylor and Deputy Curtis French allegedly
revealed several bullet holes in the house. The investigators were able to retrieve at least one
slug lodged in the wall, he added. The sheriff said the gun investigators believe was used to fire the bullets
was later found at Moore's home.
Earlier, the victim had obtained an order of protection preventing Moore from having any contact with
her. However, according to police reports and the indictments handed up by the grand jury last Monday,
he allegedly tried to contact her via Facebook and by cell phone text. In June, while he was in jail,
Moore allegedly enlisted a fellow inmate to hand copy a letter he had written the victim and mail it to her.
Last February, prior to the shooting incident, the victim's car was vandalized. On one occasion, two tires
were flat, and on a second sugar had been poured into the car's gas tank.
Michigan man sentenced to 12 years for statutory rape
A Michigan man was sentenced to 12 years last week for aggravated statutory rape and other crimes
that occured after he contacted a 14-year-old girl on the internet and brought her to his former residence
John David Duford, 56, of 289 Van Buren Circle, Davison, entered guilty pleas to solicitation of a
minor, soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor, aggravated statutory rape, sexual exploitation of a minor,
false report, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Circuit Judge Duane Slone ordered Duford to serve four years of the 12-year sentence with release eligibility after
serving 30 percent. He was placed on supervised probation for another eight years.
Duford was ordered to have to contact with the victim and comply with terms of the state's sex offender registry.
The investigation began in July 2015 when officers recieved an anonymous call, Sheriff Bud McCoig
reported at the time. The investigation resulted in Duford's arrest, and the youth was returned to her
parents in Springfield, about four hours from Dandridge.
Officers reported that Duford allegedly denied that the girl was present at the residence. He would
not let officers inside the house to check, however.
Later, the officers went by the residence and allegedly spotted the youth on the front porch. Duford
was arrested on the contributing and false report charges and made bail. Department of Children's Services
workers interviewed the victim and were told that she had allegedly had sexual contact with Duford,
who was re-arrested several days later on the statutory rape charge, McCoig reported.
The sheriff said investigators believe Duford made initial contact with the girl on the internet
before going to her hometown on his motorcycle and bringing her back here about three days befroe his arrest.
Jefferson Grand Jury returns indictments
A Jefferson County grand Jury met this week and returned a number of indictments.
Charles Edward Moore, 39, Carter School Road, Strawberry Plains, faces charges involving Lauren Rimmer
on a number of occasions in 2016.
On April 15, he allegedly used a firearm in a premeditated attempt to kill Rimmer by firing the weapon into
a residence. He is charged with additional offenses which allegedly occured in February, April and June of
Moore faces charges of attempted first degree murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a
felony, reckless endangerment, criminal prespass, aggravated assault, two counts of harassment and five
counts violation of an order of protection.
Two men face charges stemming from the alleged sale of drugs in a school zone.
Charles Lethan Hall, 25, Bayberry Way, Newport, is charged with five counts of the sale of Suboxone
in a drug free zone.
Jefferson County Sheriff G.W. "Bud" McCoig said Hall was working for a temporary service agency assigned
to work at the Jefferson County High School at the time of the alleged offenses in August and September 2016.
The sheriff said the Suboxone was sold to work release jail inmates who also were working at the school.
Christopher Lynn Kiker, 41, Waterfront Drive, Dandridge, is charged with the sale and delivery of Clonazepam
and Hydrocodone in a drug free zone in August 2016.
Rodney James Ross, 25, Mishawaka, Indiana, is charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a
dangerous felony, as well as felony possession of Oxycodone, Percocet, Methadone, Adderall, Alprazolam
and marijuana. He also is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of an order of protection,
the registration law and the seat belt law.
Two persons are indicted in the burglary of storage units in September and October of last year.
Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, Sevierville, and Brittany Lashae Fife, 29, Knoxville, are charged with 22 counts
of burglary, three counts theft over $1,000 and two counts of theft. The couple also is charged with
similar offenses in Sevier County.
Brandon Todd Beckler, 24, Old Stage Road, Dandridge, faces two counts aggravated sexual battery involving a
victim under the age of 13. The incidents allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2016.
21-count federal indictment unsealed
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Christian Lampe returned to a federal grand jury long enough Tuesday to further
harm accused Hamblen County crystal-meth dealer Luke Trent and create space in the case file for six alleged
associates, according to court documents.
The 21-count superseding federal indictment was unsealed Thursday.
Trent, 29, wasn't at his Pleasant Grove Road home when the FBI and Hamblen County Sheriff's Department narcotics
investigators executed a search warrant and confiscated more than two pounds of crystal-meth, firearms and
prescription drugs, authorities say.
Trent was with Tara Michelle Carmon, his co-defendant and girlfriend, when HSCD investigators took him into
custody in North Carolina. Carmon was indicted for selling meth and harboring a fugitive.
The 12 firearms are problems for Trent because he's a convicted felon and can't legally possess guns
or ammunition. The grand jury also indicted Trent for this and allegedly possessing a firearm during a
The grand jury indicted three others, Willie Shane Jarnigan, Alexander Paul Kelly and April Danielle Kennedy,
for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of crystal meth and possession of a firearm during a
Jarnigan lived on Stagecoach Road in Hamblen County. Kelly liived in White Pine and Kennedy was an alleged
transient drug dealer who drifted between Hamblen, Jefferson and Grainger counties, authorities say.
The two others indicted solely for allegedly selling meth were Cassandra Dorene Dapson and Lora Beth Seaton.
The two women lived in White Pine. Seaton has been in the Hamblen County Jail for several months.
The crystal-meth offense normally carries a 10-year minimum-mandatory sentence. Those convicted of firearms
offenses will serve five years on top of whatever they get for selling meth.
Couple indicted for 22 thefts of storage units
Grand jurors indicted a couple on Monday that investigators say is responsible for 22 storage unit burglaries
in the Dandridge area. Joshua Cody Fortenberry, 33, of 1064 Sunset Circle, Newport, and Brittany Lashae Fife,
29, 626 Sugarloaf Road, Seymour, are both charged with 22 counts burglary, three counts theft over $1,000,
and two counts theft under $500.
The two were caught after wrecking a car during a chase with Sevier County officers last October. In January,
they were transferred to Jefferson County to be charged here before being returned to Sevier, where they also
face multiple theft charges.
Detective Sgt. Randy Poe investigated the Jefferson County case, which involved thefts in September at storage units
at Aaron Self Storage, 2595 East Highway 25/70 in Dandridge. Surveillance video showed a car the two were travveling
Investigators have recovered thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods taken in the burglaries. Storage units
were also burglarized in Cocke, Hamblen, Knox, and Sevier Counties, as well as cabins in Sevier.
Investigators are searching for a Talbott
teen as they try to sort out details of a
fight in which a Morristown man was slashed
with a knife Sunday afternoon.
3-29-2010 - Three in Custody After Home Invasion
Robbery Deputies were called to a Talbott
residence to investigated a home robbery. Deputy
Rob Smith reports that subjects entered the home
with their heads covered with masks, were armed
with knifes and a ball bat. Upon entering the
home one of the victims was struck with a bat
and the other was held at knife point. The
suspects were demanding medication and money.
After further investigation Detective Curtis
Owens has arrested and charged Ronnie Wilson, of
Morristown, William Simerly, of Talbott, and
Preston Proffit, of Morristown with Aggravated
1-22-2010 – Sheriff’s Office Warns of Craig’s
List Scam - A concerned citizen reported to
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department about a
potential scam on Craig’s list. The complainant
reported that they had checked an ad stating
that a soldier about to be deployed to Iraq
wanted to liquidate his assets. This transaction
was being conducted through a third party that
the complainant called a middle man, ebay
financial department. He also reported fine print at the
bottom of the ad “you be protected”. This, raising his
suspicions caused him to contact Craig’s list for them
to investigate. As a result of the investigation, the
complainant was able to get his money returned.
1-20-2010 – Suspect in Custody after Home Invasion
– Deputies were called to a residence on Valley Home
Road after a subject busted through the front door. The
home owner scared the suspect away at which time he got
his vehicle stuck in the yard and took off running on
foot. Deputies used a K-9 to attempt to locate the
suspect and were able to locate shoes and clothing which
matched the description of the suspect which was given
by the victim. A short time later, deputies received a
call from Christopher Rolen, of Dandridge, who reported
that he had been robbed and his vehicle had been stolen.
He was missing his shoes and shirt when officers made
contact. Upon further investigation Rolen did admit to
breaking into the residence. He was charged with
Aggravated Burglary and has an appearance date set in
General Sessions Court.
10-11-2009 - Three in
Custody after Local Business Robbed at Gun Point - Deputies and Detectives had three suspects in custody
shortly after they entered Taylor's Market, in the
Swannsylvania community, pointing a shotgun at
the owner and demanded money. Charged with aggravated
robbery are Anthony Dewyane Hollifield of Dandridge,
Michael Albert Davis and William Harris both from
Newport. Chief Detective McCoig reports that Harris was
in the store acting as if he were a customer when Davis
entered the store and allegedly pointed the gun at
Rathbone demanding money. Davis then fled with cash in a
pillow case. Hollifield was reported as the driver of
the get away vehicle, which Harris reported to the
police as being stolen by the thieves. All three
suspected of the robbery appeared in General Sessions
Court and are being held under $50,000 bond.
9-25-2009 - Sheriff's
Office Receives Grant Money from Department of Justice -
The Sheriff's Office has been awarded two grants from
the US Department of Justice totaling 55,000 dollars.
One grant will upgrade eleven patrol vehicles with
digital video cameras to better assist officers record
incidents. Portable Radios will be purchased with money
from the second grant. This will allow the department to
purchase P25 capable portable radios which will allow
for better communications with other types of radio
Dandridge Man Killed in Farming Accident – David
Howard, 71, of Grove Road Dandridge, was found by family
members in a field near his residence after he did not
come home from working outside. Corporal Crowther
reports that a set of tools were found near the body and
it appeared that he was working on a farming tractor
when it began moving forward. There were signs that
Howard was struck by the tractor. Howard, who died at
the scene, was transported to Jefferson Memorial
– Skeletal Remains of a Dandridge Man Found on
Interstate 40 – A Tennessee
Department of Transportation employee found a decomposed
body in the area of Interstate 40 near exit 417. The
body was found 50 feet from travel lanes. The body is
identified as James Brooks of 213 Tristan Road,
Dandridge. Brooks lived less than a mile away and had
last been seen over a year ago. The cause of death has
not been determined. Forensics anthropologist from the
University of Tennessee is assisting with the
Deputy Solves Home Burglary and a Arrest is Made –
Deputy Todd Coleman was called to investigate a home
burglary at 2844 Black Oak Road. Upon completing the
investigation he learned of possible suspect
information, and completed a follow up investigation
with the suspects. While speaking with suspects and
witnesses he learned that Brenda Watkins took property
from the Black Oak Road residence without permission
from the owners. This property had been sold since the
incident, however Deputy Coleman was able to track the
property down and it was returned to the owner. Watkins
is charged with felony theft and has a hearing date set
in General Sessions Court.
11-14-2008 - Deputies Receive in-car Computers –
Deputies are now able to use in car computers to
complete reports. This is a great benefit because it
allows the officer to stay in the community on patrol
where in the past the officer would have to dedicate a
large amount of time to the office completing reports.
In addition to completion of reports deputies can obtain
driver’s license and registration information, as well
as Tennessee Department of Corrections information and
history. The computers were purchased using a grant
which the Sheriff’s Department was awarded.
11-3-2008 - Animal Control Assigned to Sheriff’s
– Animal Control officers have been reassigned and are
the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department. This
change takes affect Monday November 3rd. This will allow
for better response and accountability of animal
complaints and violations. Citizens having animal
complaints should contact the emergency communications
center at 475-3482 and report the issue. The call taker
will prioritize the complaint following general order
established by the Sheriff’s Department and assign an
animal control office
10-18-2008 – Deputy Seriously Injured During VehiclePursuit – Deputy Michael Ramsey lost control of
his patrol vehicle while responding to a vehicle
pursuit. The vehicle which Ramsey was driving slammed
into a concrete pillar along a bridge on West Highway
25/70 near Brooks Road. He was able to crawl out of the
vehicle before it burst into flames. Ramsey was
airlifted to UT Medical Center with serious head and
neck injuries. The vehicle which was being pursued was
later stopped on Broadway in Knoxville. The driver is
facing several charges after assaulting an officer on a
earlier traffic stop.
Meth Lab Investigation After Drug Overdose Report - Investigators found meth making materials at a residence
on Birdsong Lane after a subject was transported to the
hospital suffering from a meth overdose. Chief Deputy
Bud McCoig reports complaints prior to this incident.
When investigators arrived at the residence several
attempted to run out the backdoor, however deputies were
there waiting on them. After gaining consent to search
the residence, items commonly used to make meth, as well
as finished meth product was found. The owner of the
residence, Anita Hutsell, and visitors Michael Dewayne
White, of White Oak Church Road, and Shawn Ray Banks, of
Mansfield Gap Road were arrested and charged with
manufacturing methamphetamine, and possession of meth