Catawba County’s Riverbend Park will reopen Thursday (June 13) following its usual operating schedule. Some park amenities, including the lower riverfront parking lot, lower section of the dog park and portions of the river trail, will remain closed until all flood damage can be repaired. Park visitors are advised to use caution and be mindful of storm-related cleanup throughout the park.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol reports a fatal crash in Lincoln County. Shortly after 2:00 this morning (June 12), Highway Patrol responded to a fatal collision on NC 73 between Club Drive and Killian Farm Road.
A 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle was traveling west and collided with a tree that had fallen across the roadway. The driver, 24-year-old Jacob Wayne Chase, of Lincolnton, was ejected from the motorcycle and pronounced dead at the scene.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation responded to clear the tree from the roadway and set up a detour. Duke Energy responded to repair power lines that were pulled down by the fallen tree. The roadway remained closed for several hours as traffic was rerouted during the investigation and repair process.
At about 12:06 a.m. today (June 12), Newton Police responded to 408 East 26th Street to assist the Newton Fire Department with a structure fire. Upon arrival, fire department personnel told Officers that the fire was suspicious in nature. A Police Investigator arrived to assist the fire department with the investigation.
According to a press release issued by the Police Department, the fire started in a back bedroom. All services, including electric, had previously been disconnected from the house. The house was not occupied at the time of the fire and has been declared a total loss.
The case has been ruled an arson. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the fire should contact Newton Police Lt. Nikki Lineberger at 828-465-7430 or Fire Investigator Scott Mecimore at 828-695-4284.
23-year-old Gabrielle Nicole Bolick of Waterfalls Road in Lenoir was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (June 12) on two felony counts of credit card fraud and one misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Bolick was taken into custody without incident at about 2:20 a.m. today at a retail store on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. She was released on a written promise to appear. A first appearance in District Court was set for tomorrow in Newton.
Lenoir Optimist Park will install more upgrades this year with the help of a state grant and $100,000 in matching funds from the city. Plans include a new parking lot, restrooms, a playground, two picnic shelters, permanent cornhole boards, walking paths, and new lights on the rear ball field.
A few years ago, the Lenoir Optimist Club donated the park (with an assessed value of $227,000) to the city. In 2016, the city received a $327,000 grant from the North Carolina Parks & Recreation Trust Fund to make improvements to the park and to the Mulberry Recreation Center. The work at the rec center is complete.
Last week, contractors installed new lights for the rear ball field at Lenoir Optimist Park. City workers have also started grading for the playground and parking lot. Once the new parking lot is open, staff will close the original entrance.
The improvements to Lenoir Optimist Park should be complete by the end of the year.
21-year-old Shane Tyrell Stenson of 2nd Place S.E., 18-year-old Christopher Chauncion Clark of 5th Avenue S.W., and 19-year-old Quavius Shamond Izard of 3rd Avenue N.W., all from Hickory, were arrested by Hickory Police shortly before 8 a.m. yesterday (June 11). All three suspects were charged with eight felony counts each of breaking & entering a motor vehicle and one felony count of larceny, plus three misdemeanor counts each of larceny and single misdemeanor counts of injury to personal property and second-degree trespass. In addition, Stenson was charged with one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon and single misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon and resisting, delaying, or obstructing a public officer. According to H.P.D.'s arrest report, Stenson was armed with a handgun at the time of his arrest.
They were arrested after Officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle whose occupants were suspected of a break-in at an apartment complex on 7th Avenue N.E., near Lenoir-Rhyne University. One of the suspects, Shane Tyrell Stenson, was taken into custody at a residence on Main Avenue N.E. following a brief foot chase. Clark and Izard were both taken into custody without incident at a business on Main Avenue N.E.
All three suspects were jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility. Bond for Stenson was set at $71,500, secured. Clark and Izard were each given a $7,500 secured bond. They were all scheduled to make first appearances in District Court today in Newton. Stenson and Izard also have appearances coming up on June 24.
45-year-old Charles Steven Setzer, Jr. of Norville Hill Road in Morganton was arrested by Hickory Police shortly after nine o'clock Monday morning (June 10) on one felony count of robbery with firearms or other dangerous weapons.
Setzer was arrested after Officers responded to a robbery in progress at the Speedway convenience store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. The suspect reportedly displayed a knife and stole a lighter before exiting the store. The suspect, Charles Steven Setzer, Jr., was found at a nearby retail business where he was taken into custody.
According to H.P.D.'s arrest report, Setzer was in possession of a knife at the time of his arrest. Setzer spit at Officers during the arrest and was placed in a spit hood. He was uncooperative and was not photographed at the Hickory Police Department. Setzer was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $7,500 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a first appearance in District Court yesterday (June 11) in Newton. Setzer's next court date is coming up on Friday (June 14).
36-year-old Melea Dawn Gibbs of 8th Street Place SE in Hickory was arrested Monday (June 10) on charges filed by the Catawba County Sheriff's Office and Probation & Parole. She's charged with criminal contempt, and felony and misdemeanor counts of probation violation. Gibbs was detained in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $12,500 bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for June 24.
44-year-old Tammy Gail Houck of NW Wilson Street in Lenoir was arrested Tuesday (June 11) by Lenoir Police Officers. She's charged with felony breaking and entering to an automobile. Houck was brought to the Caldwell County Detention Center where bond was set at $3,000 secured. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (June 12).
31-year-old Leevon Monroe Ussery of Magnolia Way in Rhodhiss was arrested Tuesday (June 11) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine and domestic violence protection order violation. Ussery was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under no bond. District Court dates were scheduled today (June 12) and July 15.
A gas line leak resulted in an explosion that destroyed a home in Caldwell County. According to North Catawba Fire & Rescue, the incident occurred Tuesday morning (June 12) at a home on Baton Church Road.
The explosion happened shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday. There was no fire. According to reports, Fire investigators believe a line from a propane tank outside the home was responsible for a leak inside the home.
It was not known what caused the leak. Investigators think a static spark from the refrigerator or some other appliance could have ignited the explosion. The home was vacant, reports say the previous owner passed away and nobody had been living in the house for more than a year.
The home was lifted off it's foundation, two walls were destroyed. Officials say the home is damaged too extensively to be repaired.
29-year-old Joshua Chas Bumgarner of West 15th Street in Newton was arrested Tuesday (June 11) by Newton Police Officers. He's charged with two counts of possession of methamphetamine and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Bumgarner was confined in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $10,000 bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (June 12).
51-year-old Jeffrey Dwayne Hoppes of Maiden will spend the next 18 to 22 years in prison following his conviction for second-degree murder during Catawba County Superior Court.
The Honorable Nathaniel J. Poovey, Superior Court Judge from Catawba County, imposed the active prison term for Hoppes after he entered a guilty plea on Tuesday (June 11). The defendant will serve his period of incarceration in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Hoppes pleaded guilty to the March 7, 2017, death of 45-year-old Angela Smith Tramble, also of Maiden. The defendant and victim were involved in a troubled relationship that she sought to bring to an end on the date of the murder. When they arrived home after work, an altercation ensued that led to Hoppes murdering Tramble.
A 911 call from the defendant’s mother indicated that he had contacted her and said he killed Tramble and was going to kill himself. Additional 911 calls reported shots fired at the residence in Maiden, and that the defendant, who was missing his jaw, had run to the neighbor’s house.
When deputies arrived at the scene, they found Tramble deceased in the living room with a 7-millimeter rifle on her body and a belt wrapped around her neck. Deputies followed a trail of blood from the home to a neighbor’s residence where Hoppes was located and apprehended. He apparently had attempted to take his life with a gunshot but severely injured his jaw instead.
Brandon Styers led the investigation for the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant District Attorney Jamie Adams prosecuted the matter for the State.
The heavy rainfall that fell in the area over the weekend caused a sewer spill in the City of Morganton Saturday night (June 8). The spill started at approximately 9:30 p.m. at a sewer junction box on Vine Arden Road near the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The overflow stopped at 6 a.m. Sunday (June 9). Approximately 50,000 gallons spilled into Hunting Creek.
Ronnie Suttles, City of Morganton Water Resources Distribution and Collection Superintendent, said the overflow was mostly rainwater that infiltrated into the sewer system during the storms. For more information, call the Water Resources Department at 828-438-5276.