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News (835)

37-year-old Jeremiah Lane Hightower was arrested Thursday (May 7) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He was charged with felony breaking and entering. Hightower is also facing counts of probation violation, habitual felon, and resist, delay, or obstruct an officer. He’s being held in jail in Morganton under a total bond of $126,050. A Superior Court date is set for May 18.

19-year-old Caroline Gabriela Tatum of Bagwell Lane in Denver was arrested Thursday (May 7) by Catawba County Sheriff’s Officers. She’s charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and simple possession of schedule IV controlled substance. Following the arrest, Tatum was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (May 8).

Burke County Commissioners will need to develop another plan for a proposed new jail following Morganton City Council’s decision to not close a section of street where the facility would be built. The County’s plans for a new jail called for closing the section of Bouchelle Street that runs behind the courthouse because a portion of the jail would encroach on the road. Morganton City Council voted unanimously at this week’s meeting to not close the street, and urged the county commissioners to develop a different plan for the jail.

In a published report, Board of Commissioners Chairman Johnnie Carswell says the decision from the council opens up a number of avenues for commissioners to explore. Some of those avenues include a new design for the jail or a different location. The county owns 43 acres at 100 Government Drive, where the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility is located. In addition, the property includes a structure that houses the county public works department, as well as an abandoned house, according to the published report.

The report also says commissioners learned last week the county could save more than $1 million if it builds a jail in another location other than behind the county courthouse. Carswell also says in the report that the jail project is not a dead project.

Carswell said the board of commissioners will have to sit down together with the county manager and finance director to consider their options. The proposed new jail would hold 256 beds. Though Steen tentatively estimated Burke County confines 50 people in the downtown jail and 100 people in Burke-Catawba jail, he stressed that the new jail will need to suffice for at least 50 years, saying crime rates could fluctuate in that time.

When council members asked about including more levels on the jail instead of expanding it into Bouchelle Street, county officials argued that course of action wouldn’t allow enough daylight into the jail to meet legal standards.

Council decided closing a portion of Bouchelle Street would be too large a burden on city residents, hindering people going about their daily business. The published report says that city documents show that city officials ran the county’s proposal by the city council’s streets committee, utilities committee and finance committee, none of which approved it. Officials said Bouchelle Street is also a vital access route to many downtown events.

52-year-old Terry Dean Kee of Toll Bridge Road in Kings Mountain entered a guilty plea this week in a Lincoln County sex offense case and received prison time.

On the early morning hours of January 1, 2014, the Lincolnton Police Department responded to a call for a child molestation at an address in the Boger City area of Lincolnton. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victim’s mother who advised that a suspect known to the family had molested her young daughter. The suspect was confronted by the mother prior to police arrival and had left on foot. The suspect was identified as Terry Dean Kee. Officers located Kee walking on foot not far from the residence. Kee was taken into custody.

Sgt. Dennis Harris was called in to assist in the investigation. Sgt. Harris subsequently charged Kee with Indecent Liberties with a Child and Kee was placed into the Lincoln County Jail under a $150,000 bond.

The Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center also assisted in this case by conducting a forensic interview with the child. In cases such as this, the Child Advocacy Center assists the victim and their family in dealing with a traumatic situation such as physical or sexual abuse involving a child. Additionally, the Child Advocacy Center has professionals on staff that are certified to assist the victim, their family, and law enforcement in such cases. Additionally, the staff has interaction with other agencies that the victim and their family can be referred to for additional support.

On Tuesday (May 5), Kee pled guilty in Lincoln County Superior Court and was sentenced to 9 to 20 months active sentence in the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Kee has prior convictions for violation of a domestic violence protection order, false imprisonment, PWIMSD Cocaine, Maintain a Vehicle / Dwelling for Controlled Substance, Felony Breaking and Entering, Domestic Criminal Trespass, Defrauding an Innkeeper, Second Degree Trespass, Resisting a Public Officer, Intoxicated and Disruptive, and several traffic related charges.

Sgt. Dennis Harris was the investigating and charging officer in this case. Officers Tony Potts, Jimmy Barlowe, and Dylan Beard assisted in the case and the apprehension of Kee.

Assistant District Attorneys Lydia Hoza and Micah Sanderson of the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office were assigned the case for prosecution.

A Claremont teenager was indicted by the Catawba County Grand Jury this week in connection with the deaths of two Bunker Hill High School students from a motor vehicle crash. 19-year-old Jacob Dalton Turner was indicted on two counts of involuntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and assault with a deadly weapon. The charges stem from an Oct. 3, 2014, single-vehicle crash that led to the deaths of Justin Turner and Alec Sigmon, both 15-year-old sophomores at Bunker Hill.

The indictment was handed down Monday (May 4), which was the same day the Grand Jury declined to indict David Arthur Engelmann, a 17-year-old Hickory High School student, on a charge of felony death by vehicle in connection with an Aug. 31, 2014, crash that killed his fellow 17-year-old classmate Jay Brian Robertson II. Engelmann allegedly was impaired when the Subaru Forester he allegedly was operating crashed in the Viewmont community, ejecting Robertson through the vehicle’s sunroof.

According to the investigation by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Turner allegedly was operating a Mercedes Benz C-240 at a high rate of speed on River Bend Road in northeast Catawba County when he lost control of the vehicle. It went off the roadway, struck a ditch and went airborne, traveling out of control before slamming into several trees.

Justin Turner and Alex Sigmon both were ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene as a result of their injuries. Jacob Turner and two other passengers all were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered in the crash.

Caldwell County Sheriff Alan Jones has announced that an investigation into a suspected drug dealer ended in his arrest after a vehicle chase through Lenoir. According to a news release issued Thursday (May 7), last Sunday, May 3, 27-year-old Jeremy Donovan Dula of Dulatown Heights Road in Lenoir was arrested and charged with several counts of trafficking in cocaine. Dula has been the focus of an active drug investigation for an extended period of time by the Ice Unit. Narcotic Agents with the Lenoir Police Department also assisted during this investigation. During this time, Agents gained valuable information that Dula had drugs and was able to act upon it when he was spotted driving a 2008 Ford Expedition.

An Ice Unit Agent attempted to pull him over on Fairview Drive and a chase began through Lenoir. He was eventually caught at 201 Sharon Avenue and his vehicle was seized. Agents located 41.7 grams of cocaine that Dula had thrown from the vehicle during the chase. Agents also seized an additional 274 grams of cocaine after learning Dula made arrangements to have the cocaine transported to another location. A second suspect was apprehended and charges are likely in the future. Agents also seized a 2000 Lexus transporting the cocaine. As a result, Agents seized a total of approximately 11 ounces of cocaine and $19,180 in cash. The cocaine has a street value of approximately $63,140 according to North Carolina State Guidelines.

The charges against Dula are, Two Counts of Trafficking in Cocaine by Possession, One Count of Trafficking in Cocaine by Transportation, One Count of Maintain a Vehicle to Keep/Store a Controlled Substance, and One Count Maintain a Dwelling to Keep/Store a Controlled Substance. Court records also show that Dula is charged with felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.

Dula was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under a $100,000 secured bond on the drug charges. He made his first appearance in District Court in Lenoir Tuesday, his next appearance will be in District Court May 21 on the flee to elude arrest charge.

There was a single-vehicle accident today near the intersection of 9th Avenue Place N.E. and 9th Street N.E. The driver died as the result of injuries sustained in the crash.

Just after 1 p.m., a small, four-door sedan car traveling west on 9th Avenue N.E. went off side of the roadway and up an embankment. The vehicle went airborne, crossed 9th Street, went through a fence and came to rest against a private residence. The fence apparently prevented the vehicle from entering the house.

The male driver had to be extricated from the vehicle. According to a Hickory Fire Department spokesperson, a chopper was initially called to the scene, but the chopper was canceled when the victim coded as he was removed from the wreckage. The victim was said to be breathing, but not responsive at that time.

According to a Hickory Police spokesperson, the victim was transported to Frye Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

No one else was in the vehicle and no other vehicles were involved in the crash. The victim’s identity has not been released.

Hickory Police are investigating an incident involving indecent exposure on the Lenoir-Rhyne University campus.

At about 6:45 a.m. on May 2, a female was loading her vehicle at Isenhour Hall when a male subject exited his vehicle and approached the woman. He was reportedly masturbating while naked from the waist down.

The victim then left the scene in her car and called authorities.

The suspect is a white male in his 40s or 50s. He has brown, short, curly hair and a normal build with a slight belly.

The suspect’s vehicle was described as a faded red, older model single cab truck. It had a silver front bumper and regular sized wheels and tires. The truck may have been a Chevrolet, but the victim was not certain.

Anyone with information regarding the incident should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551.

40-year-old Amy Jo Colley of Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 3:20 this morning (May 7) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. Colley was wanted in Boone County, Kentucky for possession of heroin.

She was taken into custody without incident at her residence and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $35,000 secured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Newton.

More details have been released in the arrest of 48-year-old Timothy Carl Maynor 27th Street N.E. in Conover. He was arrested by Hickory Police early yesterday morning (May 6) on one felony count of possession of methamphetamine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was arrested when Officers responded to a reported assault late Tuesday night (May 5) on the 900 block of 27th Street N.E. Maynor was the assault victim’s boyfriend. Police searched Maynor’s vehicle and found 37.1 grams of meth in one location and .18 grams of meth in two other locations. They also found a disassembled 9mm Standard Arms handgun, a pipe, a digital scale and a spoon.

At this time, no charges have been filed in connection to the handgun or the alleged assault.

Maynor remains in custody in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $15,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.