Local residents are dealing with the effects of the winter storm that brought a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice to the Greater Hickory Metro area. There were numerous traffic accidents reported across the region on Monday, and roads had to be closed at times due to conditions.
A jack-knifed tractor trailer caused the closure of a portion of U.S. 321 in Caldwell County Monday evening, and there are reports out of Burke County of trees down and power outages. Forecasters expected temperatures to warm up overnight and also called for rain, however it remained close to freezing for most of the overnight hours and there was still freezing rain falling in Hickory after 2 a.m.
Roads are potentially treacherous across the region, and school systems operated on a delay this morning.
52-year-old Curtis Wayne Elliot was arrested last Wednesday (February 10) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. He's charged with two counts of assault by strangulation and one count of felony probation violation.
According to a news release from the Morganton Department of Public Safety, last Wednesday, Morganton Public Safety Officers responded to 205 North Street in reference to a domestic assault. While officers were on the way to the scene dispatch informed officers that the alleged offender, Curtis Elliott, was actively assaulting the victim, Gretchen Patterson. When officers arrived on the scene Elliott ceased his assault and Patterson ran towards officers begging for help. Elliott was detained and officers began their investigation.
The officers interviewed both Elliott and a witness. The witness stated that Elliott and Patterson were involved in a verbal dispute that turned physical. Officers were told that Elliott assaulted Patterson by pushing her to the ground and placing his hands around her neck. The witness attempted to intervene but Elliott retrieved a shovel and chased the witness from the property. After the witness left the property Elliott returned to Patterson and continued to choke her while she was lying on the ground. Patterson stated that she was in fear for her life and Elliott threatened to kill her. Patterson stated that she lost consciousness at one time during the attack and had visible injuries to her neck but refused medical treatment.
Elliott remained in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility where he was being held under no bond on one of the assault charges and $25,000 secured bond on the other count. A District Court date is set for February 29.
32-year-old James Willard Thacker of 34th Street Drive NE in Hickory was arrested Monday (February 15) by Hickory Police Officers. He's currently charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury.
On Monday at approximately 10:40 a.m. Hickory Police received a report of a shooting at 1265 11th Street NW. While in route to the scene, the suspect’s description and direction of travel was relayed to officers. James William Thacker was located and detained by officers. Upon arrival to the address officers located a woman, identified as Tammy Cloninger, suffering from an apparent gunshot wound. Ms. Cloninger was transported by Catawba County EMS to Frye Regional Medical Center. WHKY learned this morning that Cloninger passed away Monday as a result of her injuries.
The Hickory Police Department investigation determined that Ms. Cloninger and the suspect were involved in a domestic dispute at the time of the shooting. Thacker was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under no bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Tuesday, February 16). The Hickory Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is continuing the investigation at this time.
Weather Related Announcements for Tuesday, February 16th
Alexander County Schools- Three Hour Delay
Caldwell County Schools- Three Hour Delay
Burke County Schools- Two Hour Delay
Catawba County Schools- Two Hour Delay
Hickory City Schools- Two Hour Delay
Newton-Conover City Schools- Two Hour Delay
Morganton Day School- Two Hour Delay
CVCC will open at 10 a.m.
55-year-old John Edward Heelan of Orchid Drive in Greenville, S.C. has been arrested by Boone Police on one felony count of soliciting a child by computer and appearing at the meeting place and one felony count of indecent liberties with a minor.
On Friday (February 12), Boone Police and Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation closed another online child predator investigation. The investigation was a proactive attempt by Boone Police to catch individuals who seek to victimize children online. The investigation was a cooperative effort between Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces from both North and South Carolina. In addition to Boone Police and the S.B.I., the Greenville County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Office was also involved.
Events leading to Heelan’s arrest began when Investigators saw a suspicious ad with what they described as a vulgar title on a popular website. They suspected the ad might have been placed by a predator looking for children online. A Boone Police Detective posed as a 14-year-old girl in Boone and responded to the ad.
The poster interacted with the undercover Investigator. Despite being led to believe that he was interacting with a 14-year-old girl, the suspect arranged a meeting in Boone for sexual purposes. When Officers saw the suspect travel to the meeting location on the arranged date and time, they approached him and conducted an interview. The interview led to the suspect’s arrest. A search of the suspect’s vehicle led to the seizure of evidence that further indicated the suspect was there for sexual purposes.
Heelan was arrested and placed in the Watauga Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond. A court date was set for March 3.
35-year-old Franklin Luther Beam, IV of Hill Gates Trail in Cherryville has been arrested by Lincoln Co. Sheriff’s Officers on one felony count each of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, kidnapping and assault by strangulation. He is also charged with misdemeanor counts of resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer and assault on a female.
At about 6:30 in the evening on Valentine’s Day, Deputies were dispatched to the Carolinas HealthCare System-Lincoln Emergency Room following an assault that occurred at Beam’s residence.
The victim told Officers she had been assaulted by her boyfriend, Franklin Beam. She said the assault began around 11 a.m. and continued for several hours after Beam accused her of being unfaithful.
During that time she was assaulted with a metal broomstick, the suspect’s fists and open hand, and choked until she lost consciousness. She tried to get away several times, but was grabbed by the suspect and detained. The victim eventually escaped and ran to a neighbor’s house where she called Beam’s parents, who took her to the hospital. The victim sustained bruises on her arms, face, legs and body. She also had a fractured collarbone, a broken nose and a broken finger. She was treated for her injuries and released from the hospital.
When Officers arrived at the residence to take Beam into custody, the suspect opened the door slightly, but slammed it shut when he saw the Officers. Deputies kicked in the door and arrested Beam following a brief struggle.
Beam was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center, initially without bond. Today, a judge set bond at $750,000, secured. No court date is currently listed.
The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are kicking off a 13 week household travel survey that will provide information necessary to set transportation priorities for the next 20 years. The survey, Catawba Valley Connection, will be conducted by Westat, a nationally recognized research firm.
Transportation agencies will use the data to better understand changes in household travel and project citizens' future travel needs. The survey is intended to provide WPCOG and its transportation partners with up-to-date information to identify where to invest limited transportation resources.
Beginning this week and continuing throughout the next 13 weeks, randomly selected households will receive a letter inviting household members to participate in the study by providing some demographic information and filling out a travel diary. Information provided will be converted to statistical data and used only for study purposes. All information will remain confidential.
For more information about the survey, call 855-631-2701 or visit travelcatawbavalley.com.
39-year-old Jamie Edward Lewis of 7th Avenue S.W. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at about 2:40 Saturday afternoon (February 13) on one felony count of possession of cocaine and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was arrested in connection to an incident on July 2 of last year when Police stopped a vehicle on the 100 block of 17th Street S.W. Officers suspected the vehicle’s operator, Jamie Lewis, was driving while license revoked. As Officers approached the vehicle, they smelled marijuana. A subsequent search turned up a bag containing 2.1 grams of powder cocaine.
Lewis was taken into custody without incident Saturday at his residence and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond set at $4,500, secured. He has since been released. Lewis was scheduled to appear in Superior Court today (February 15) in Newton.
52-year-old Roger Lee Mitzell of Society Road in Harmony was arrested by Hickory Police at about 10:20 Saturday night (February 13) on one misdemeanor counts of assault on a female and resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer. He was also charged on warrants from Statesville with one count of felonious restraint and assault on a female. Those warrants were dated January 31.
He was arrested when Officers responded to a domestic assault at the Fresh Air Galaxy grocery store on Springs Road. Police found the victim at the store, suffering from an injury to her hand. The suspect, Roger Mitzell, ran on foot into a nearby wooded area where he was quickly apprehended. All parties refused medical treatment.
Following his arrest, Mitzell was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility without bond. He will appear in court on the charges from Statesville on February 17, with a court date on the charges from Saturday’s incident on March 16.
The Granite Falls Police Department is investigating a larceny that occurred at Walmart in Granite Falls. Last Wednesday, (February 10) a male and female suspect entered the store, removed an electronic anti-theft device from a large television, and left the store without paying for the television.
The suspect’s vehicle appears to be a gold or champagne Honda Civic. Anyone with information that can identify this vehicle, or the suspects should contact Detective Clint Ferguson of the Granite Falls Police Department at (828) 396-3358, or Lenoir/Caldwell County Crimestoppers (828) 758-8300.