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A fatal crash in Catawba County that claimed the life of a Burke County woman is under investigation. According to a news release issued Friday (April 19) by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, on Thursday (April 18) at approximately 1:40 p.m., troopers responded to and investigated a collision in Catawba County on NC 127 at Medical Park Drive.

A 2011 Ford Focus was traveling south on NC 127 and attempted to turn left onto Medical Park Drive. A 2004 Nissan Titan pickup truck was traveling north on NC 127 while towing an enclosed trailer. The driver of the Ford failed to yield the right of way while making the left turn and collided with the Nissan on NC 127.

The driver of the Ford was 86-year-old Katherine Glover Fulton of Connelly Springs. Ms. Fulton was transported by EMS to Frye Regional Medical Center but was pronounced dead a short time later. The driver of the Nissan was 27-year-old Steven Tyler Baird of Hickory. Mr. Baird was not injured. The initial investigation revealed no factors of speed, alcohol, or distracted driving; both drivers were wearing seatbelts.

Sunday, 21 April 2019 06:22

Catawba Man Sentenced For Sex Crime

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50-year-old Antonio Hernandez Aparicio of Catawba, was given an active prison sentence of five to 11 years following his conviction for a sex crime involving a female relative during Catawba County Superior Court last Tuesday (April 16).

The Honorable George C. Bell, Superior Court Judge from Mecklenburg County, imposed the prison term for Aparicio after he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree forcible sex offense. The defendant will serve his sentence in custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections, be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years, and is subject to deportation.

The crime occurred at the end of last year at the defendant’s residence, and involved the defendant’s non-biological granddaughter. Aparicio’s wife discovered the defendant on top of the victim in a bedroom on December 22, 2018, and immediately called 911. The defendant hastily gathered his belongings and fled the residence before police arrived.

Aparicio was apprehended hours after the incident in Little Rock, Arkansas. The victim revealed in an interview that the defendant had performed oral sex on her without her consent. DNA evidence submitted to the State Crime Lab helped secure the conviction against the defendant. Due to the age of the victim, no statutory sex offenses were implicated by the defendant’s conduct.

Investigator Mike Crisp, Jr., handled the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Children’s Advocacy and Protection Center of Catawba County. Assistant District Attorney Scott Lippert prosecuted the matter for the State.

An armed robbery is under investigation in Hickory. On Thursday (April 18) , at approximately 12:13 a.m., Hickory Police responded to Walgreens at 2915 North Center Street in reference to an armed robbery.  During the robbery, the suspect entered the store, displayed a handgun and obtained money.  After receiving an undisclosed amount of money, the suspect fled the property on foot.

The suspect is described as being a tall, thin, black male, wearing a black hoodie, black shoes and a red bandana. Anyone with information regarding this on-going investigation is encouraged to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or contact Inv. J. Truesdell directly at 828-261-2636 or jtruesdell@hickorync.gov.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has selected the build alternative for a project to improve 8.5 miles of N.C. 73 between N.C. 16 in Lincoln County and Northcross Drive in Mecklenburg County. The purpose of the project is to improve the traffic-carrying capacity and safety of the N.C. 73 corridor in the project area.

The preferred alternative will minimize impacts to the greatest extent possible. It combines widening on both sides of the roadway and to one side of the road and requires less right of way. It will also cost less to build than the other alternatives considered.

Two public meetings were held in February 2018 in Huntersville and Denver to gather public input on the project study area and project corridors. Input from those meetings helped develop design alternatives. Additional public hearings were held in October 2018, where three project alternatives were presented, including the choice selected.

After the second round of public meetings, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a public notice period from early November to early December 2018 to gather input from property owners and local government officials where streams and wetlands could be impacted.

​NCDOT also met with an interagency resource team in late November 2018 to review the project alternatives and measures that would incorporated in the final design to minimize impacts. Last month, the merger team selected the preferred alternative, or Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA).

NCDOT will continue coordination efforts with stakeholders in the project corridor prior to and during the project’s final design phase to address concerns to the greatest possible extent. Final design is scheduled to start this summer. More project information is available at the project website.​

33-year-old Kyle Blackburn Brown of US 70 West in Morganton was arrested by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession of heroin and possession of methamphetamine along with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia. A second suspect was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to a news release issued today (April 18), on April 5, 2019, Probation and Parole officers conducted an investigation in the 3000 block of Smawley Street in Morganton. Officers spotted Kyle Brown’s vehicle just a short distance from his residence. They approached the vehicle and made contact with Brown, who was in the drivers’ seat. There was woman in the passenger seat.

Brown is currently on probation in Burke County. During a search of the vehicle, drugs were located. Burke County narcotics detectives responded to the scene to assist in the investigation.

Brown received a $25,000 secured bond, he remained in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility as of earlier today. The other suspect received a $1,000 secured bond. Brown's District Court date is scheduled for April 29.

22-year-old Amber Nicole Keever of East Maiden Road in Maiden has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on one felony count each of exploitation of an elder and obtaining property by false pretense. She's accused of taking money from an elderly Lincoln County man’s bank account.

On March 13 of this year, Fraud Investigator Richard Calhoun received a request from Bank of America to check on one of their clients. They suspected the man might be a victim of exploitation.

The 88-year-old victim told Detective Calhoun that fraudulent A.T.M. withdrawals had been made from his account. The victim said his caregiver, Amber Nicole Keever, was the only person with access to his debit card.

On April 17, Keever was contacted and said she made all the transactions in question with the victim's permission. Keever came to the Sheriff’s Office today (April 18) for an interview. Keever again said she had permission to make the transactions, but later admitted to making three fraudulent transactions using the victim’s A.T.M. card. The transactions occurred between January 23 and January 30 of this year and totaled $840.

Keever was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under an $8,000 secured bond. No court date is currently listed.

40-year-old Jason Craig Connolly of Trinity Road in Statesville and 31-year-old Ashley Dawn Jenkins of Phifer Road in Cleveland, N.C. were arrested Sunday (April 14) by Officers with the Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team. They’re each charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, felony possession of counterfeit currency, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Connolly was also charged with two felony probation violations.

Events leading to their arrests began when Officers conducted a traffic stop on a Ford Explorer and spoke with Connolly about a traffic violation. During the incident, Officers found a glass pipe used to smoke meth on the vehicle's center console. Officers checked Connolly's driver’s license status and found that he had two outstanding felony probation warrants.

Connolly was taken into custody. Officers searched his vehicle and found meth, drug paraphernalia, and 83 counterfeit $100 bills. Officers also searched Jenkins, who was a passenger in the vehicle, and found meth, drug paraphernalia, and 14 counterfeit $100 bills.

Connolly and Jenkins were taken to the Iredell Co. Detention Center with bond set at $30,000, secured, for Connolly, while Jenkins was given a $7,500 secured bond. Both suspects were scheduled to appear in District Court on May 6.

Thursday, 18 April 2019 11:32

Hickory Man Jailed on Felony Fugitive Warrant

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43-year-old Larry Russell Hatchell of 3rd Avenue Place S.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at 12:02 a.m. yesterday (April 17) on a felony warrant as a fugitive awaiting extradition to another state. No further details are available.

Hatchell was taken into custody without incident at a residence on 10th Street S.W. in Hickory. He was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility where he is being held without bond. An appearance in District Court was scheduled yesterday in Newton.

Thursday, 18 April 2019 04:24

Felony Charges Lodged Against Granite Falls Man

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59-year-old Thomas Scott Bailey of Old Petra Mill Road in Granite Falls was arrested yesterday (April 17) by Caldwell County Sheriff’s Officers on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense. Bailey was taken to the Caldwell County Detention Center and has since been released under a $3,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for June 13.

31-year-old Christopher Scott Harris was arrested Wednesday (April 17) by authorities in Burke County. He's charged with two counts of felony speeding to elude arrest. Harris was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday and placed in jail in Morganton under $10,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is set for May 8.

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