Header

Archive for Haywood County

Sheriff Issues Safety Warning After Assault

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a safety alert and requesting information regarding an assault that occurred at Lake Junaluska Saturday afternoon.

Haywood County Communications received a 911 call Saturday from a female jogger who reported she was running on the lake grounds shortly after 2 p.m. when she was pursued and then grabbed by a stranger. She said the man fled when she screamed and turned to confront him.

The man is described as a white male in his twenties, standing approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds with a stocky build, and having a square face with large, wide-set eyes. The man was wearing a white shirt with a gray hoodie, a gray or black hat, dark black jeans and flat VAN-style shoes.

The man is believed to have fled the scene in a green early- to mid-2000s model Ford pickup truck with a silver band and chrome-colored toolbox in the bed.

Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher said law enforcement presence has been intensified at the lake grounds and the incident is being actively investigated.

The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with Lake Junaluska officials to attempt to identify and locate the suspect. Anyone with any information about the incident or suspect is asked to contact Haywood County Communications at (828) 452-6666.

To help ensure the safety of citizens and visitors in any part of Haywood County, Sheriff Christopher advises members of the public should:

– Run or walk with a trusted friend rather than alone,
– Not use earbuds, or at least have the volume turned down so hearing is not impaired,
– Let friends or family know where you are going and when you plan to return,
– Carry a mobile telephone or other method of quick communication, and,
– Be aware of your surroundings.

Reducing Rockslide Risk on I-40: Haywood County Lane Closures Start After Memorial Day

A construction project on Interstate 40 in Haywood County will help cut the risk of rockslides. Crews will be removing loose rock and further stabilizing the area in the Pigeon River Gorge.

To prepare for the work, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will be shifting traffic and reducing travel to one lane each direction near the Tennessee border, from mile marker 6 to 8, starting May 26. The lane closures could last up to three weeks, with all lanes expected to re-open by June 15.

“We’ll be shifting both directions of travel toward the river side of the existing median wall,” said Aaron Powell, NCDOT resident engineer. “We’ve widened the shoulder on the eastbound side, and will be installing a temporary concrete barrier wall to separate the directions of travel.”

The speed limit through the construction zone is lowered to 45, and travelers should expect delays from increased congestion. The westbound on-ramp at Exit 7, Harmon Den, has also been closed. Drivers on Cold Springs Creek Road wanting to access I-40 West into Tennessee can travel east to Exit 15, Fine’s Creek. The North Carolina Welcome Center on I-40 East, just beyond the work zone, will remain open.

“We appreciate drivers’ patience during the project, which when finished, will make this a safer stretch of highway,” said Powell.

Missing Georgia Man Found

A Georgia man who had been missing since Monday was found dead from what authorities believe to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Crabtree community of northern Haywood County Saturday afternoon.

The body of 46-year-old Douglas Michael Shockley was found by search and rescue personnel at 1:42 p.m. approximately three-fourths of a mile from where his pickup truck was found Thursday. An autopsy will be performed to verify cause of death.

“This is a sad and tragic situation that has changed a family’s dynamics forever,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher. “Our prayers are with the family.”

More than fifty search and rescue personnel from numerous area law enforcement, fire, rescue squad, emergency services and canine handlers had been combing the woods and rocky terrain of the Crabtree/Fines Creek area daily since Thursday in an attempt to locate Mr. Shockley.

Mr. Shockley was reported missing from the Bridgemill area in Cherokee County, Georgia, around 9 a.m. Monday, May 11. On Thursday, May 14, Haywood County Sheriff’s deputies received a call reporting an unoccupied vehicle on the side of a road in the Crabtree/Fines Creek area. Deputies checked the white 2015 Nissan Frontier pickup truck and found it was registered to Shockley.

“This was a total team effort that included many agencies I am thankful to have as partners,” Sheriff Christopher said. “I appreciate every agency and individual who has assisted us these last three days.”

Search and rescue personnel from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Medical Services, 911 and Rescue Squad were joined by others from Waynesville and Canton police departments, as well as Henderson, Jackson and Buncombe County rescue squads, N.C. State Highway Patrol, fire departments from Fines Creek, Crabtree, Cruso and Asheville, the State Bureau of Investigation, NC Search and Rescue Dog teams and the Independent Search & Rescue Canine Handlers in the three-day attempt to locate Mr. Shockley

Missing GA Man Vehicle Found in Haywood County

On May 14, Haywood County Sheriff’s deputies received a call in reference to a suspicious unoccupied vehicle on the side of a road in the Fines Creek area. Deputies checked the vehicle and found it was registered to a man listed as missing from Cherokee County, Georgia.

Search and rescue personnel were dispatched and continue to search the area for the missing man, Douglas Michael Shockley. He was last seen at 9 a.m. leaving the Bridgemill area in Georgia wearing blue jeans and a blue-green shirt. He left driving a white 2015 Nissan Frontier pickup.

Shockley is described as a Caucasian male, 46 years of age, approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, 235 pounds with a muscular build, blue eyes and reddish-blond hair.

Anyone who has any information as to his whereabouts is asked to contact either the Haywood County Communications center at 452-6666 or the Cherokee County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office at (678) 493-4080.

If you have any information please call 678-493-4080.

Anyone with any information as to his whereabouts is asked to call the Haywood Communications Center at (828) 452-6666.

School lock down in Haywood County

Waynesville Middle School has implemented a minimum lockdown for precautionary purposes on Wednesday.
A vague and non-specific written threat was discovered on campus. After conferring with local law enforcement, school administrators implemented a minimum lockdown to follow up on investigative leads in a secure setting.

There was no apparent danger to students, staff or property. Additional information will follow as the investigation proceeds.

Haywood County Car Chase Ends in Arrests

A car chase that ended in a single-vehicle wreck in a pond on the Junaluska Golf Course this morning led to several felony charges for the vehicle’s occupants.

Haywood County Communications received a call shortly after 5:30 a.m. reporting two Duke Energy trucks had been stolen from the plant at the Waterville Dam in northern Haywood County. One truck had been abandoned in the nearby construction zone on Interstate 40, but the other was still missing.

A Haywood County deputy spotted a Duke Energy truck matching the stolen truck’s description near Lake Junaluska around 7:30 a.m. and attempted to stop the vehicle. Instead of stopping, the Quad-cab F250 increased speed and drove at high rates of speed on U.S. 19/23/74, Jones Cove Road and Interstate 40, driving the wrong way into on-coming traffic on at least two occasions.

Due to the recklessness and endangerment to which the driver had subjected the public, a deputy used his shotgun in an attempt to disable the vehicle near the Clyde exit. The truck sustained damage to the left rear tire and exited the interstate. The damaged truck continued down U.S. 19/23/74 and proceeded toward Lake Junaluska. The truck then drove out onto the Junaluska Golf Course and into a pond.

There were no injuries.

Deputies arrested 30-year-old Matthew Neal McCullough and 25-year-old Tiffany Marie Brainard; both of Travelers Rest, SC. Each was charged with two counts of felony breaking and entering a motor vehicle, felony breaking and entering, felony larceny of a motor vehicle, felony possession of a motor vehicle, and felony flee to elude arrest. Each was jailed in lieu of $15,000 secured bond.

Their court date has been set for May 28. The case remains under investigation.

Couple Sought In Stolen Equipment Case

Deputies are asking for the public’s help in locating two people they believe are stealing and trading heavy equipment in Haywood County and in surrounding states.

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office has drawn warrants against 44-year-old Robert Eugene Woodward, of Gastonia, and 19-year-old Madison Brooke Hall, of Anderson County, South Carolina on charges of feloniously obtaining property by false pretense and felonious larceny and possession of a motor vehicle.

Detectives believe the pair rented a small excavator from an equipment rental business in Columbia, South Carolina, and then instead of returning it, traded it for a motorhome in Haywood County. The 2005 Trail Light motorhome is still missing.

The couple is wanted elsewhere in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia in reference to similar crimes.

Equipment rental companies in the area are advised to be vigilant and watchful concerning rentals at this time.

Anyone with any information regarding Woodward or Hall SHOULD NOT APPROACH them, but instead consider them potentially dangerous and contact Haywood County Communications at (828) 452-6666 or their local law enforcement agency immediately.

Haywood County Man Killed in Lawn Mower Accident

At approximately 9 p.m. Sunday, Haywood Communications Center received a 911 call in reference to an accident with injuries on Pot Leg Road in the Jonathan Creek community. First Responders, Emergency Medical Services and Haywood County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded.
Upon arrival, responders attended 64-year-old Ronald Ray Brown, who sustained injuries when the lawn mower on which he had been riding slid off a bank and rolled over on him. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other persons were involved.

Man Arrested For Holding Teen at Knifepoint

t600-mugA man accused of holding a teen at knifepoint, in her car in Waynesville, has been arrested.

Bradley Scott Reece is charged with 2nd degree kidnapping and breaking & entering into a vehicle.

Reece allegedly followed the 18-year-old to a parking lot, got into her backseat and demanded she drive him to a location a mile away.

According to the Haywood County Detention Center, Reece is being held under a $35,000 bond.

His next court date is scheduled for June 10th at 8:30am.

4 Arrested in Haywood County Stabbing

Four women have been arrested and another is being sought in the stabbing of a Haywood County woman Sunday.
Haywood County investigators are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Jamie Marie Long Sutton, 36, of Bryson City in connection with the assault. Sutton is described as American Indian, between 5 ‘3” and 5’6” tall, weighing about 180 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Haywood County deputies were dispatched emergency to 61 Fisher Lane in the Balsam community shortly after 2 p.m. in response to a 911 call reporting a woman had been stabbed. Officers arriving on the scene discovered a female victim who had sustained injury consistent with wounds from a bladed weapon. The victim was taken to Haywood Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Investigation later led to the arrest of four suspects:
Brooke Lynn Bushyhead, 34, of Clyde;
Ashley Jean Godbee, 22, of Waynesville;
Justice Rochelle Godbee, 20, of Waynesville; and,
Christina Setzer, 34, of Waynesville.
The women were each charged with felonious assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Each was jailed in lieu of $30,000 secured bond. They are scheduled to appear in court May 13.
The investigation is continuing.
Anyone with any information regarding the whereabouts of Jamie Sutton should not approach her, but instead immediately contact Haywood County Communications at (828) 452-6666 or their local law enforcement and speak with an officer.

Burglary Ends In Deadly Shooting

Two men have been arrested and another was fatally shot in a reported burglary in Haywood County late Friday night.
Haywood County deputies were dispatched emergency to 1126 Sonoma Road in the Bethel community around 11 p.m. in response to a burglary in progress. A woman in the home called 911 reporting a man was in the house trying to rob her and her husband.

Officers arriving on the scene found one of the suspects injured, having sustained a gunshot wound. A second suspect had fled the scene on foot. Emergency medical personnel arrived and attended to the wounded man. William “Bill” Worley, 49, of Canton succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers searched for the second suspect and located Charles Henson, 47, of Canton. Henson was arrested and charged with felonious 1st degree burglary.

Detectives took a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol from the scene into evidence. During the course of the investigation, detectives discovered marijuana plants growing on the homeowners’ property and evidence of drug sales.

Homeowner Michael Hurst, 58, was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing marijuana, as well as misdemeanor possession of marijuana and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Hurst and Henson were each jailed in lieu of $100,000 secured bond. Both are scheduled to appear in court April 22.
The investigation is continuing.

Arrests Made in Haywood County Breaking and Entering

Two Haywood County residents have been arrested in connection with a breaking, entering and larceny from a home in the Little East Fork Community.

On March 26, detectives with the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Charles Bradford Arrington, of Waynesville, and 37-year-old Amanda Faith Fortner, of Canton, in connection with the March 3 breaking and entering of a home on Panther Branch.

Arrington had outstanding warrants for a separate incident. When detectives located Arrington riding in a car with Fortner, they conducted a traffic stop and saw in the vehicle a television believed to be from the Panther Branch theft. A search of the vehicle led to the further discovery of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Arrington was arrested and charged with felony breaking entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods, as well as felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also served with the outstanding warrants for felony obtaining money by false pretense, in addition to misdemeanor larceny and possession of stolen goods.

Fortner was charged with felony breaking entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods, as well as felony possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Arrington jailed in lieu of $35,000 secured bond. Fortner was jailed in lieu of $20,000 secured bond. The court date for each has been set for April 8.

Expect traffic delays on I-40

Safety improvements are coming to a stretch of Interstate 40 in Haywood County prone to rockslides.

Beginning Monday, March 16, traffic along mile marker 7 on Interstate 40 in the Pigeon River Gorge will be stopped for up to 30 minutes at a time between 30 minutes after sunrise and 10 a.m. The closure will help crews safely remove timber from the rock slope. The work is part of a $6.4 million project that will remove potential rockfall hazards and help prevent future slides from happening.

During the road closure, the contractor will be performing rolling road blocks in both directions with assistance from law enforcement between the North Carolina/Tennessee state line and Exit 15. Due to the limited time frame in which the contractor has to work, the removal of the timber will take several days to complete.

Motorists are encouraged to adjust their travel plans to avoid this area during the time frames mentioned above if possible. An alternative route would be to take I-240 in Asheville to I-26 West toward Johnson City and then I-81 South back to I-40. However, this route adds a considerable amount of travel time for anyone traveling from the Asheville area to Knoxville, Tenn.

Mile marker 7 has seen several rockfall events in recent years. The area was closed briefly in early June 2014 while crews scaled the rock wall and removed potential rockfall hazards. In 2009, a major rockslide closed I-40 westbound at mile marker 3. During cleanup and repair from that rockslide, another rockfall event occuured at mile marker 7 that would have closed I-40 westbound had it not already been closed.

Due to its location in a sharp downhill turn, mile marker 7 on I-40 is seen as the most beneficial location for a slope stabilization project. The new engineered slope will have state-of-the-art design and construction and bring it up to the safety standards of new interstate slopes, similar to those on I-26 in northern Madison County.

For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter. You can also access NCDOT Mobile, a version of the NCDOT website especially for mobile devices. Visit m.ncdot.gov from your mobile browser.

Child Injury Under Investigation in Haywood County

Haywood County emergency responders were called to 11 Wildwood Way in the Jonathan Creek area of the county at approximately 6:15 p.m. Thursday evening in reference to a traumatic injury, possibly from a gunshot.

According to a law enforcement report at the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrived on scene to find EMS workers treating a three-year-old girl for an injury to her right index finger. The child was transported to Mission Hospital for further treatment.

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident.

Legal Help Available to Clear Records

Attorneys will be on hand next week in Canton to help those with a criminal record find out if they’re eligible for a court order that clears their record.
Attorneys from Legal Aid of North Carolina will be in Canton on Monday, March 9 and Tuesday, March 10 to help people find out if they’re eligible for expunction.
Expunction is a court order that clears past offenses from a criminal record that may get in the way of potential jobs, renting an apartment or getting a loan.
Past mistakes prevent individuals from being able to rent a suitable place or get a job or loan. Under certain circumstances, the criminal record can be cleared.

Those eligible for an expunction include:
• A first-time, nonviolent offense committed more than 15 years ago;
• A first-time offense committed under the age of 18
• A first-time drug offense committed under the age of 22
• A charge that was dismissed or you were found “not guilty” of
Colwell encouraged individuals to call Legal Aid so their records can be researched to determine eligibility. For more information or to schedule a free meeting with a Legal Aid attorney, call (828) 586-8931 and press number 2 and then number 6. The line is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Two Arrested in Waynesville Meth Bust

An investigation into drug activity at a house in Waynesville led to charges against two people living at 222 Lewis Drive.
Brian S. Shuler, 32, and Shana Nicole Dills, 30, were charged with possession of immediate precursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine.

According to a press release, the Unified Narcotics Investigative Team executed a search warrant at their home on Lewis Drive on Feb. 11 where investigators found several chemicals used in the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine.
The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office stated these chemicals individually are not illegal to possess, but as a totality of circumstances and combined make them illegal to possess.

The drug task force team had been investigating the house after reports of alleged drug activity.

The Unified Narcotics Investigation Team, or U.N.I.T., is a multi-agency task force consisting of investigators from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, Waynesville Police Department, Canton Police Department and Maggie Valley Police Department.

Shuler remains in Haywood County Detention Center on $20,000 secure bond. Dills posted her $20,000 bond and has been released.

Both Shuler and Dills are expected to appear in Haywood County District Court on Feb. 25.

Tuscola Mourns Loss of a Classmate

celesteperezTuscola High School students are mourning the loss of a classmate who was killed in a fatal crash Sunday night in Candler. Troopers say it happened around 7PM Sunday evening on Dogwood Road near the I-40 overpass.

They say the driver lost control on a curve and hit a tree. Celeste Perez, 17, formerly of Waynesville was riding in the front passenger seat and died in the wreck.

According to North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Kelly Rhodes, Perez was a passenger in a car driven by 16-year-old Lori Messer, of Clyde.
Perez was taken to Mission Health, along with Messer and male passenger Eddie Mathis, 16, of Canton, where she was later pronounced dead. All three were not wearing their seat belts, Rhodes said.

They are continuing to investigate. No charges have been filed.

Haywood County Commissioners seek public input on Emergency Management ordinance

The Haywood County Board of Commissioners is reviewing its Emergency Management Ordinance to consider public input, and to ensure that it conforms to contemporary local, state and federal laws.

In advance of a future public hearing, citizens are encouraged to make written comments on the ordinance, either by mail, email to the Haywood County Manager’s Office, 215 N. Main St., Waynesville, NC 28786; or email Comment@haywoodnc.net. Written comments may also be delivered in person to the County Manager’s Office, which is located on the third floor of the Haywood County Courthouse, directly behind the Historic Courtroom.

In calling for a review of the Emergency Management Ordinance, Chairman Mark Swanger stated during the Jan. 20 board meeting that he believed all provisions of the ordinance are carried out under existing local, state and federal law, but that some sections may benefit from simpler language or sentence structure.

“In order to have more meaningful public input, I would recommend comments not be limited to the public hearing, but that written comments be accepted as part of the process,” Swanger said.

The deadline to submit written comments is 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27. Copies of the Emergency Management ordinance are available online under Ordinances in the Main Menu of the Haywood County website, www.haywoodnc.net, or from the County Manager’s Office.

For questions or more information, call the Haywood County Manager’s Office at 452-6620.

Waynesville Police: Man pulls knife, pepper sprays security at store

An Old Fort man is facing several charges after police allege he stole merchandise from K-Mart in Waynesville then pulled a knife on security, pepper sprayed one of them and was later found with drugs.

Jackson C. Whisnant, 37, of 122 Parker Padgett Road, Old Fort, was charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and possession of methamphetamine after an incident at the store on Dec. 20.

According to Waynesville police reports, Whisnant stole several items from the K-Mart on Russ Avenue and after being confronted by the store’s security, Whisnant pulled a knife.

According to statements made by the security team, Whisnant pulled a knife from his pocket after he was seen putting several items into his pockets and being asked to come back inside.

Two security personnel grabbed the suspect in an attempt to unarm him. Whisnant allegedly yelled “I will kill you, I will kill you” to the two men trying to take the knife.

After a short scuffle, in which Whisnant allegedly assaulted one of the men, Whisnant also sprayed pepper spray into one of the security guard’s eyes.

Police arrived to find Whisnant fleeing from his truck in the parking lot. Police said Whisnant was shirtless, due to the scuffle and wearing two pairs of pants, one of which was stolen from the store.

After being taken into custody, police found pepper spray in Whisnant’s pocket. Whisnant said the guys assaulted him causing him to retaliate with the pepper spray.

Police then found several plastic baggies containing a “clear/white in color crystal substance” stashed in the hood of Whisnant’s truck, where police believe he was trying to hide it upon their arrival.

The substance tested positive for methamphetamine, the police report said.

Whisnant was taken to Haywood County Detention Center where he remains on $50,000 secure bond.

EPA to discuss Benfield cleanup plan Tuesday

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public meeting about plans to clean up residual soil contamination at the Benfield Industries, Inc. Superfund Site in Waynesville, N.C. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Haywood Vocational Opportunities Building located at 172 Riverbend Street in Waynesville.

Residual soil contamination associated with the Benfield Site has continued to adversely impact groundwater since the original site cleanup activities were completed in 2001. The contaminants that have continued to be detected in the groundwater are associated with creosote, and their concentrations are above EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Levels for drinking water. EPA has determined that these pose an unacceptable risk to the community due to the potential future use of the groundwater under the site as a potable source. No adverse impact on the ecosystem was identified.

EPA is proposing a two-step plan to clean up this residual contamination. First, hydrogen peroxide will be introduced into the groundwater to oxidize the contaminants into less harmful chemicals. Next, EPA will use microorganisms characteristic of the area to metabolize contaminants found in the soil, converting them into harmless end products. EPA estimates it will take three months to complete construction at a cost of $968,000. It is anticipated that the cleanup goal will be achieved within one to two years following construction.

EPA is soliciting public comments on the plan for 30 days beginning Jan. 13. A copy of the proposed cleanup plan and associated documents will be available as of Jan. 13 in the Administrative Record, housed at Town of Waynesville City Hall at 16 South Main Street.

Written comments should be submitted by Feb.12, 2015, to bornholm.jon@epa.gov or:

Jon Bornholm, EPA Remedial Project Manager

US EPA Region 4, Superfund Division

61 Forsyth Street SW

Atlanta, Ga. 30303

Community members interested in obtaining additional information about the Site are encouraged to contact Kerisa Coleman, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, toll-free at 1-877-718-3752 or directly at 404-562-8831 or coleman.kerisa@epa.gov.

The Benfield site occupies approximately 3.5 acres of a six-acre parcel along Riverbend Street, and was used for industrial purposes from 1904 until a fire destroyed they facility in 1982. Benfield Industries, Inc. began mixing and packaging bulk chemicals for resale at the property in 1976. Ten above-ground storage tanks of varying capacity (1,000 to 10,000 gallons) were located on the property, including two 10,000-gallon capacity creosote storage tanks and an 8,000-gallon methanol storage tank. Spills were reported to have occurred in the vicinity of these tanks. Other chemicals reported to have been stored on-site include: lacquer, paint thinner, de-natured alcohol, acetone, xylenes, toluene, and unused oil.

The Benfield site was proposed for the National Priorities List (NPL) in June 1988 and was finalized in October 1989. Site cleanup activities began in 1997 with the on-site treatment of approximately 23,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. Following the soil cleanup effort, a groundwater extraction system was installed. All construction activities at the site were completed in 2001. Between 2001-2007, the extraction system pumped out over 22 million gallons of groundwater which was treated through the town’s sewer system.

More information about the Benfield Industries Superfund Site: http://www.epa.gov/region4/superfund/sites/npl/northcarolina/benflnc.html