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Archive for Haywood County Sheriff’s Office

Haywood County Sheriff offers tips for a safe Fourth of July weekend

With the July Fourth weekend approaching, Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher asks all citizens to join him in making this Fourth of July holiday happy, enjoyable and safe for everyone.

Citizens should remember that fireworks, as enjoyable as they are to watch, can be dangerous and should only be handled by professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission, there are nearly 9,000 emergency room-treated injuries associated with fireworks each year. You can enjoy a safe Fourth of July by following these safety tips:

Never give fireworks to small children, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Keep a supply of water close-by as a precaution.
Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.
Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.
Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.
Sheriff Christopher also wants citizens to use caution when swimming at a lake, river or pool.

Sheriff Christopher said, “Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety.”

The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. The Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To find out where lessons are offered, or to enroll in a CPR/AED or first aid course, contact your local Red Cross chapter.

At a swimming pool, take the following precautions:

If no lifeguard is on duty, do not let children swim unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who knows lifesaving techniques and first aid.
Post CPR instructions and directions to call 911 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
Look around the pool area to be certain lifesaving devices are readily available for emergency use.
Be sure covers are installed on all drains of a swimming pool or in a wading pool. The suction created by the pool’s circulating pumps can be very dangerous unless it is reduced by covers.
Take frequent breaks (about once an hour) where everyone gets out of the water, drinks water, reapplies sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and rests.
If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.
To reduce the risk of eye, ear, nose or throat infection from contaminated water, swim only in pools in which water quality is properly maintained. The water should appear crystal clear, be continuously circulated and be maintained at a level that allows free overflow into the gutter or skimmer. There should not be a strong odor of ammonia or chlorine.
At the lake or river, take the following precautions:

Swim in a supervised area and swim with others. Never swim alone. Life vests are always recommended.
If you are caught in a strong current, swim parallel to the riverbank until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward land. If you can’t swim to the bank, float or tread water until you are free of the current and then head toward land.
Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.
Look for movement in the water; it helps keep the water clean. Do not swim in stagnant or still water.
Do not swim right after a heavy rain. Runoff following a heavy rain may result in strong currents and a high bacteria level.
Do not dive into lakes or rivers.
Avoid getting lake or river water in your mouth or nose.
Sheriff Christopher said, “Following these precautions will help the children and citizens of Haywood County stay safe and healthy this holiday weekend and throughout the summer.”

Traditionally during the July Fourth holiday, highways experience one of the highest traffic flows of the year. The Sheriff reminds all Haywood County residents to follow these safety tips:

Always shift your attention every few seconds, constantly scanning the road ahead and behind you. Never blankly stare ahead nor fix your gaze on one point on the road.
When passing an automobile, always glance at the ground beside the front wheel of the car you intend to pass. You will know instantly if the car is about to veer – giving you an extra few seconds to respond.
You should pull out into the opposite lane of traffic when passing while you are still well behind the car in front. This should give you some time and space to build up speed and will enable you to pull back into your own lane should the need arise. Never cut abruptly out of your lane into the opposite lane when passing.
Always signal your intentions with your brake lights, turn signals, horn and/or headlights so that other drivers will see you well before you change course.
Drivers should always “aim high” in steering. That is, you should glance frequently at points well ahead of you. Not only will this help your steering, but it will also help you check the position of vehicles in front of you as well as on-coming ones.
Never follow too close. Remember that, as your speed increases, it takes you substantially longer to stop. Also remember that it’s good to have an extra cushion of space in front of you if you’re being tail-gated, on a slippery road or in low visibility conditions.
“Lastly, I would remind all motorists to practice the Golden rule when driving. Be courteous and tolerant of other drivers. Please don’t get angry with bad drivers or reckless ones – just get out of their way,” Sheriff Christopher said in closing. “Let’s make this summer a safe one on the roads in Haywood County.”

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.

Arrests Made in Car Chase in Haywood County

A car chase that ended in a single-car wreck on the Old Asheville Highway Friday afternoon led to several felony charges for the vehicle’s occupants.

Detectives with the multi-agency Unified Narcotics Investigative Team, or UNIT, were observing a location near Jones Cove Road after receiving information that a suspect they were seeking was in the area.

As the subject got into a vehicle to leave, detectives attempted to affect a traffic stop. Instead of stopping, investigators say the 1999 primer black Honda Civic instead increased speed and drove at high rates of speed on Carolina Boulevard in Clyde, through Main Street in Canton, and continuing down the Old Asheville Highway until crashing down an embankment. The car was listed as stolen from Buncombe County.

One occupant in the vehicle was transported to Mission Hospital for treatment after the wreck. Officers on-scene discovered and took into evidence a loaded pistol located between the driver’s and front passenger’s seats.

Officers arrested Roger Martin “Marty” Capps Jr., 31, of Canton, charged him with felonious possession of a stolen vehicle. He was also charged with felonious possession of methamphetamine and misdemeanor resist/obstruct/delay stemming from incidents earlier this week. He was also served with outstanding warrants for two felony probation violations, a parole violation, and a criminal summons for assault on a female.

Capps was jailed on no bond for the parole violations and $240,000 on the remaining charges. His court date for the latest charges is set for January 28, while the probation violations are scheduled to be heard in Superior Court February 2

Also arrested in Friday’s incident was Gregory Dee Devane, age 25, of Mars Hill, charged with felonious possession of a stolen vehicle and felony fleeing to elude arrest. He was jailed at Haywood County detention in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Warrants were also drawn on Shannon Michelle White, 25, also of Mars Hill, for felonious possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The case remains under investigation.

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.

Haywood County Video Gambling Busts

Video Gambling Machine's

Video Gambling Machine’s

Haywood County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Waynesville Police Department, served two search warrants on business establishments believed to have been housing electronic video gaming machines in violation of state laws. The searches were conducted at 1190 Asheville Highway outside Canton and at 1659 South Main Street in Waynesville.  A total of 34 machines were seized from the locations, as well as U.S. currency and related business records. The investigation was prompted by numerous complaints to law enforcement from citizens throughout the county concerned about illegal video gaming and the negative impact it has had on the community. There have been no arrests made at this time, but individual cases are being forwarded to the grand jury.  The investigation is ongoing.

Wanted: Sex Offender for failing to register

Craig Michael Hawkins

Craig Michael Hawkins

Attached please find an incident report and mug shot regarding a Craig Michael Hawkins, who has failed to register as a sex offender. Deputies from the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office were verifying sex offender addresses and looked for Mr. Hawkins at his last known and registered address, only to find he was no longer living at that location. A felony warrant for failing to register has been issued. In addition, Mr. Hawkins has outstanding warrants for assault on a female and failure to pay back child support in the amount of $300.

As always, anyone having any information as to Mr. Hawkins’ whereabouts is asked to contact the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 452-6666 or the Haywood County CrimeStoppers line at 1-877-92CRIME. (Deputy Heidi Warren, Public Information Officer, Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)