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Archive for law enforcement

Blue Ridge School Break-In

crime-sceneIn the early morning hours of April 7, 2014, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office was requested by the Cashiers Fire Department to come to Blue Ridge School.  The Fire Department was already on scene for a fire alarm activation.  Suspects had forced entry into the school and thousands of dollars of damage to the interior of the building was done.  Damages included spray painting and flooding.  The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the incident and is asking for anyone with any information to contact Detective Rick Buchanan.  The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $500 reward for anyone with any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of an offender in this case.  Please contact Detective Rick Buchanan at (828) 269-5698, email him at rlbuchanan@jacksonnc.org or contact Crime Stoppers,at (828) 631-1125 or crimestoppers@jacksonnc.org

WCU Student Killed in Car Accident In Greensboro

A 22-year-old Western Carolina University student was killed in an automobile accident Thursday night in Greensboro. According My Fox 8 TV News In Greensboro the student was killed when her car was hit head on by a driver driving west on the eastbound lanes of I-40 near the Wendover Avenue exit around ten fifteen last night. The student has been identified as 22-year-old Reagan Hartley who was scheduled to graduate next month from Western Carolina University with her degree in elementary education. Hartley was from the town of Willow Springs NC and a 2010 graduate from West Johnston High School. She was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.
The driver of the S U V has been identified as 46-year-old Ronnie Fichera. Police said Fichera entered Greensboro on I-40, exited the interstate at the High Point Road exit leading officers around Four Seasons Mall and reentered the interstate again driving west in the eastbound lanes. He struck the convertible about a mile down the highway. Greensboro police were not involved in the pursuit but are investigating the crash. Units were called to assist when Randleman Police initiated the pursuit. “It’s a tragedy, there’s no way around that,” Lt. C.M. Shultheis said. “I don’t know what goes through a drivers mind when they are trying to elude police. I don’t know what the level of impairment was, the driver may not have realized he was going the wrong way.”
540 A-M WRGC Radio shares the grief with the entire University family with the death of this aspiring teacher who is described by her student teaching supervisor “as having all the qualities for being a really great elementary school teacher.”

Haywood Co. Man Pleads Guilty

James Daniel Sawyer

James Daniel Sawyer

A Canton man faces nearly 30 years behind bars after pleading guilty to sexual assaults that left a 3-year-old boy with a sexually transmitted disease. James Daniel Sawyer, 33, was arrested in October of last year after Sgt. Shawn Gaddis with the Canton Police Department received a report from the Haywood County Department of Social Services involving the little boy. The boy and his then 7-year-old sister were examined and interviewed at Mission Hospital. Though the girl did not have any physical illness, she did speak of Sawyer’s sexual behavior. Authorities believe the crimes occurred on and off between January 2012 and September 2013, based on statements by the mother, children and Sawyer himself. Sawyer has never even had so much as a traffic ticket, comes from a well-respected family, is a lifelong local resident and has a stable employment history.  Sawyer’s father and pastor were present in the courtroom as well. His father teared up as he stood to speak. Judge William Coward did not recognize any mitigating factors and sentenced him to 240 months to 348 months in prison and fined him $10,000 to go to the state. He also granted the defense’s request to allow Sawyer work release so he can help support his 5-year-old daughter, despite adamant disagreement from prosecutors. Upon his release, Sawyer will be a registered sex offender and required to wear satellite based monitoring for life.

Ledbetter Road Incident

crime-sceneA student ended up in the emergency room early Friday Morning, March 28th after allegedly being hit by a vehicle on Ledbetter Road in Cullowhee. The incident happened around 12:30 a.m. Joshua Thomas, 21, of Cullowhee, had been drinking before he was struck by a vehicle, according to N.C. Highway Patrol. Thomas left Tuck’s Tap & Grille on foot and claims he was hit by a car on Ledbetter Road.  There was no evidence of a vehicle and a very vague description of a suspect vehicle from the victim. He had some damage to his left ankle. The N.C. SHP was notified by the hospital’s emergency room around 2:30 a.m. Anyone with information about the incident, is asked to contact the N.C. SHP at 828-627-2851 and ask for Bowers.

NCHP Information Sessions Planned

Troop GThe North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troop G  Invites you to their open house at Reynolds Fire Department for informational sessions regarding employment with the Highway Patrol.  These sessions will be held at Reynolds Fire Department on April 26th and May 3rd from 9 am until 12 noon.  Troopers will discuss everything from basic qualifications of an applicant to retirement from the organization.  If being a North Carolina State Trooper has ever crossed your mind, or if it is something you have always wanted to do, come by and see us at one of these two sessions.  If you would like to speak to a recruiter, call Trooper Metcalf at (828) 234-5603.

Booze It & Lose It

NC Highway Patrol

NC Highway Patrol

The North Carolina Highway Patrol along with other local and state agencies have released numbers for their 2014 St. Patricks Day “Booze It & Lose It” Campaign. Jackson County had a total of 18 checkpoints and patrols with a total of 130 traffic stops with some nature of violation. Haywood County had 162 and Macon County with 108 citations.

Haywood County Murder

Crystal Brook Howell

Crystal Brook Howell

A 17-year-old MaggieValley teen has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder in the shooting death of her father. Crystal Brooke Howell was arrested Sunday in Richmond County, Georgia, on a HaywoodCounty warrant initially charging her with concealing the death of her father, 50-year-old Micheal Joseph Howell. Mr. Howell’s body was discovered by potential renters of his property at 497 Pless Underwood Road in the SheepbackMountain community near MaggieValley.  Local law enforcement received information about the incident Saturday afternoon. According to this morning’s preliminary autopsy findings, Howell died from a single shotgun wound to the head.  A murder warrant for Crystal Howell was issued a short time later. “This tragic event appears to have been an isolated incident,” said Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher.  “There is no evidence to suggest any risk to other HaywoodCounty citizens.” The investigation unfolded quickly as Haywood County officers worked together on the case with Waynesville Police Department, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, District Attorney’s office and Maggie Valley Fire Department, as well as sheriff’s offices in Richmond and Columbia counties, Georgia. “Hard work and cooperative effort brought this matter to a rapid conclusion,” said Sheriff Christopher.  Ms. Howell is being held in jail in Georgia while awaiting extradition proceedings.

Stolen Puppy Recovered

Fish & More Pet Store

Fish & More Pet Store

Police have recovered a puppy that was stolen from a Sylva pet store safe and sound. They also picked up two juveniles in the case. The owner says they are still considering whether they will file charges in the case. Surveillance video at Fish and More Pet Store shows one of the juveniles putting the all black pomeranian/chihuahua puppy in her purse and then walking out of the store. One of the co-owners says the theft happened at the close of business Monday. The puppy would have cost $250. Sylva Police are investigating.

State Troopers Contract Lawsuit

NC Highway Patrol

NC Highway Patrol

Some attorneys say North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers are facing severe financial hardships because the state has broken a promise to give them pay raises. A breach of contract lawsuit was filed Monday in Cherokee County, with nearly 40 state troopers as plaintiffs. Attorney David Wijewickrama says troopers were promised graduated or step pay raises when they completed training at the academy. But he says that hasn’t happened in years. He says that has created financial hardship for some troopers who are having trouble making ends meet. A beginning trooper makes about 35,000 a year.

Sylva Officer Terminated

sylva-police-3_15312A former Sylva police officer wants to see on paper why he was fired last week. Curtis Lambert lost his job as a patrol officer last Monday. The next day, he wrote the town manager requesting to see all documents involved in his termination. Town leaders say North Carolina is an “at-will” state and anyone can be fired without providing information. They say only general information can be released under state law without Lambert’s written consent. Lambert said he intends to go through his due process rights. Lambert is running for Jackson County Sheriff and speculates this might have been a reason for his termination. Sylva town leaders flatly deny politics had anything to do with his termination.

Franklin Stabbing

21 Kirkland Road, Franklin, NC 28734

21 Kirkland Road, Franklin, NC 28734

31-year-old Adam Lee Hensley of Franklin has been charged with first degree murder. Macon County Sheriff’s deputies responded Sunday afternoon to a 911 call and found victim Larry Nelson Wilt laying face down on a porch with multiple stab wounds. Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland said emergency responders tried to revive Wilt, but he was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. Sheriff Holland said the suspect was covered in blood and had his hands raised above his head when deputies arrived and took him from the scene. Both men have past records with Macon County Sheriff’s Department. We’ll bring you more details as they become available.

Haywood County Inmate Escape

Jeffery Wayne Medley

Jeffery Wayne Medley

An inmate from Haywood County Detention is in custody after having jumped and run from a transport van early Wednesday evening. Jeffery Wayne Medley, 18, had been at the Justice Center for a court appearance and was being transported back to detention shortly after 5 p.m. when he escaped from the van. After a quick foot chase, he was apprehended by law enforcement a few blocks away. Mr. Medley had been in court on an Order for Arrest for a misdemeanor probation violation. Mr. Medley is facing additional charges of misdemeanor escape and property damage in excess of $200 for damage to the van.

Investigation Into Forest Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Cherokee Reservation Fire

Investigators are looking into who started a forest fire in Cherokee Tuesday morning that burned 120 acres on Mt. Noble. The fire also burned some land in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Bureau of Indian Affairs said Wednesday most of the fire is out, but not all of it. It is under control, but a few hot spots remain. Crews are on hand to make sure wind doesn’t re-start it. Bureau of Indian Affairs Supervisor Darlene Whitetree says they know it is an arson fire since it was started in four places. No arrests have been made and Whitetree says there are no leads.

Proposed Changes For Sylva Police

Sylva Police Department

Sylva Police Department

Sylva Police Cheif Davis Woodard along with town leaders are looking into the possibility of their police officers having the ability to take home their patrol vehicles. The ability to do so would possibly help attract and retain officers to the department. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office provides individual cars to their deputies and so does the town of Franklin. Officers would pay $15 per month to help cover the cost of gas for the take home cars. Take Home cars are calculated to add between $5,000 and $7,000 per year annually to an employees paycheck. Some local governments provide certain employees a monthly vehicle allowence for gas and other expenses. Officers would however be required to live within Jackson County to participate in the take home car program. Woodard says “It’s one of the first questions people ask when we interview them for a job.” Currently the town of Sylva has 11 cars and 15 officers. The proposed idea is part of the 2014-2015 budget work session.

Breaking And Entering Arrest

Jack Milton Kern III

Jack Milton Kern III

On February 20, 2014 deputies with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a possible residential breaking entering in progress on Owen Mountain in the Glenville Community of Jackson County.  Shortly after arriving on Owen Mountain, deputies located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle near the reported break in location.  A traffic stop was conducted and multiple items of stolen property were located in the pickup truck.  The two occupants were placed under arrest.  A subsequent search warrant was applied for and received for the home of the suspects.  Numerous items of stolen property were located in the home linking the suspects to multiple breaking and enterings and larcenies in the Glenville and Cashiers Communities.  The investigation into these property crimes is continuing and further charges are expected.  The arrested persons are husband and wife. Jack Milton Kern III of 174 Lakeside Circle in Glenville is charged with two counts of breaking and entering, felony larceny, possession of stolen goods along with other charges. Leann Kinsey Kern is also charged with the same in the case.

 

 

 

Leann Kinsey Kern

Leann Kinsey Kern

Swain County Shooting

crime-sceneInvestigators are looking into a shooting that left a Swain County woman dead. It happened early Wednesday morning at the home of Alex Crisp and his girlfriend Summer Johnson, just outside Bryson City. Crisp’s father, Mike, lives in the house next door. He says his son Alex, Summer, and their 8-month-old baby girl lived in the mobile home on Gibby Road. Neighbors are shocked at the news. Summer graduated from Swain County High School just three years ago. The medical examiner is conducting an autopsy on Summer Johnson. The results will determine if charges will be filed. We’ll bring you the latest as details of this story become avalible.

Swain County Sex Charges

David Peterson

David Peterson

A Swain County school resource officer and former teacher is accused of having sex with a high school student. David Peterson is charged with felony statutory rape in Macon County. That’s where the arrest warrant says he had sex with the 15-year-old victim. Peterson had taught science at Swain County High School and had only been with the sheriff’s office in Swain County for three weeks. Peterson was an SRO for East Elementary and was terminated after his arrest. The SBI is handling the investigation. Peterson was released on a written promise to appear in court. His next court date is set for March 6th.

South Carolina Men Behind Bars

crime-sceneTwo South Carolina men remain behind bars after a car chase around 7:30 p.m. Thursday February 13th that involved three law enforcement agencies. The incident began when Sylva Police received a report of a suspicious vehicle coming toward Sylva from the Cullowhee area. Authorities located the car on N.C. 107 near Cook-Out restaurant and checked the tag, which came back as belonging to a stolen vehicle. The chase started when the vehicle turned onto Skyland Drive and ended when it ran off the road near North Fork. According to N.C. Highway Patrol Dustin Mathis Jones, 23, of Summerville, S.C., was driving. Kenneth Charles Elmore III, 32, also of Summerville was the passenger of the vehicle. After the crash, both men fled on foot. Elmore was caught within minutes and Jones shortly thereafter.
Elmore remained in jail under $125,000 bond and faces charges of possess stolen motor vehicle; possess/distribute methamphetamine’s and three counts of resisting arrest; and trespassing on railroad right of way. Jones also remained jailed Tuesday under a $150,000 bond. He is charged in the case.

Ledbetter Road Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

Tuckaseigee River Accident

A driver ends up in the Tuckaseigee River Monday morning. It happened around 8:30am on Ledbetter Road in Jackson County. The driver of the SUV told troopers a car traveling in the opposite direction, came into her lane. That’s when she over-corrected and went into the river. The driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Troopers say it isn’t the first time an accident has happened on this road. A deadly accident has previously occurred in this same spot. The winter weather also played a part in seavral accidents off Ledbetter Road last week.

Gun Locks

Gun Locks

Gun Locks

THE JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS RECEIVED A LIMITED SUPPLY OF GUN SAFETY LOCKS TO ENCOURAGE FAMILIES TO SAFELY SECURE THEIR FIREARMS.  THESE LOCKS ARE AVAILABLE FOR FREE, UPON REQUEST AT THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE MAIN LOBBY.  THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS ALREADY BEGUN DISTRIBUTING THESE GUN LOCKS WITH EACH GUN PURCHASE PERMIT. THE JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE ENCOURAGES GUN OWNERS TO TAKE TIME AND TALK WITH THEIR LOVED ONES AND CHILDREN ABOUT FIREARM SAFETY.  FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE AT (828) 586-4355