The North Carolina State Highway Patrol will be increasing their presence on the roadways during the holiday weekend. According to the American Automobile Association, it is estimated that 43 million people will travel during the Independence Day holiday period; the highest Fourth of July travel on record. The holiday period is defined as Thursday, June 30 through Monday, July 4.
As a friendly reminder, the Highway Patrol is advising motorists to be careful as they enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Motorists who slow down and travel at posted speeds will not only increase their chances of arriving at their destination safely but will also conserve fuel.
Last year, the Highway Patrol investigated 12 fatal collisions and 288 injury collisions during the July 4th holiday period. This included 4 fatal collisions and 38 injury collisions due to impaired driving.
Speed is the leading cause of traffic collisions and fatalities in the state. Troopers will be cracking down on speeders during the holiday and will be using speed timing devices to assist them in enforcing the speed laws. There will be an increased presence of troopers on the interstates, major four lane highways and rural paved roads across North Carolina.
With many celebrations across the state, drivers should make sure they are designating a sober driver. The Patrol would also like to remind motorists to wear their seatbelts and use the correctly fitted child safety seats, as they are the best defense should you be involved in a crash.
In addition to focusing on impaired drivers, troopers will also target aggressive drivers who tend to cause the most crashes. The aggressive driver has been identified as those drivers who flagrantly violate the motor vehicle laws, including but not limited to: excessive speeding, following too closely, erratic lane changes, safe movement violations, texting while driving and other forms of reckless endangerment.
Citizens may report crashes, drunk drivers, stranded motorists or other highway situations to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) on their cellular phones. This is a toll free call that connects the caller with the nearest Highway Patrol communications center.
53-year-old James Thomas Peek of Hartland Trail in Morganton was arrested Thursday (June 30) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession of schedule II controlled substance. Peek was locked up in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $3,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make a District Court appearance Thursday.
32-year-old Randall Chad Perkins of 16th Street NE in Hickory was arrested Thursday (June 30) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged on bills of indictment with possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce. Perkins was initially arrested on December 15, 2015. On that date, officers saw a suspicious vehicle on 16th Street NE near a storage building. The officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana and received consent to search the vehicle.
During the search, officers found a stainless steel container containing one gram each of methamphetamine and marijuana. Following yesterday's arrest, Perkins was incarcerated in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $15,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today (Friday, July 1).
27-year-old Britney Morgan Lingerfelt of Houser Farm Road in Vale was arrested by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with one felony count apiece of breaking and entering a building, larceny after breaking and entering, and possession of stolen goods. She's also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Lingerfelt is charged with breaking into her mother’s home and stealing several items. A Lincoln County Sheriff's Deputy responded to the 7400 block of Houser Farm Road in Vale on Wednesday (June 29) to investigate the reported theft of items from the property. The victim told the deputy that she learned about the stolen items after a weed eater that had been stolen was returned to her.
The victim allowed her daughter to live in a home that she owns and the victim along with the deputy went to that location to see if they could locate the additional property. The daughter was not at home but the victim could see a pair of tree pruners when she looked through a window from the outside.
Officers returned to the residence later that day. Inside the residence officers found multiple stolen items in various parts of the house along with items of drug paraphernalia. All of the recovered stolen items which included tools, electric power equipment, yard work equipment and other parts were returned to the owner. The drug paraphernalia, which included scales, a glass pipe, and needles were turned over to narcotics investigators.
Lingerfeld was placed in jail under $13,000 secured bond. A first appearance was scheduled for Lincoln County District Court today (Friday, July 1).
32-year-old Kelly Peterson of East NC Highway 150 in Lincolnton was arrested Thursday (June 30) by Lincoln County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with one felony count apiece of breaking and entering a building, larceny, and possession of stolen goods.
Peterson is charged with breaking into her elderly neighbor’s home in the 3400 block of Highway 150 East. On June 20, deputies were dispatched to meet with the victim’s daughter when she discovered a window had been broken out of the residence and a television and money from a change jar had been stolen. The break-in occurred sometime between June 12 and June 20.
During the investigation Detective Richard Calhoun developed information that led him to Kelly Peterson. On June 12 the victim allowed Peterson and her boyfriend to come into her house to charge their cell phones and wash clothes.
According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, during an interview on June 29, Peterson confessed to breaking into the victim’s home and stealing items from inside the residence. Following the arrest, Peterson was placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $10,000 secured bond. She was scheduled to have a first appearance in Lincoln County District Court today (Friday, July 1).
The television stolen in the break-in was recovered and will be returned to the owner. Investigation into the incident is continuing.
Unemployment rates decreased across the Greater Hickory Metro and across most of the state of North Carolina, according to the latest report. Statistics for the month of May were released this week by the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division.
The unemployment rate for Catawba County dropped to 4.5 percent from 4.7 in the April report. Alexander County's jobless rate fell to 4.1 percent from 4.3 percent. Burke County's rate also tumbled two-tenths of a percent, from 4.9 to 4.7. Caldwell County saw it's unemployment rate land at 5 percent even in May, falling from 5.3 percent in April.
The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area or MSA has an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, that's down from 4.8 percent in the last report. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton has the seventh lowest unemployment rate among 15 MSAs in the state. Asheville has the lowest MSA unemployment rate at 3.7 percent and Rocky Mount has the highest at 6.9 percent.
Unemployment rates decreased in 98 of North Carolina's 100 counties. The lowest unemployment rate is in Buncombe County at 3.5 percent and Scotland County has the highest jobless rate at 8.6 percent. The statewide unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, down from 5 percent in April.
Outgoing Hickory Police Chief Tom Adkins was honored Thursday afternoon (June 30) during a retirement celebration at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. Speakers honored the retiring chief during the ceremony, which was attended by representatives of various agencies from Hickory and surrounding communities.
Adkins was appointed by City Manager Mick Berry as City of Hickory's Chief of Police on August 1, 2007 after 20 years of experience with the Hickory Police Department (HPD). He began his career with HPD in September of 1987 as a patrol officer. He was promoted through the ranks to Deputy Chief of Police, Acting Chief of Police, and finally, Chief of Police in 2007.
Thurman Whisnant officially takes over as the new City of Hickory Chief of Police today (Friday, July 1).
A human trafficking charge has been filed against a man arrested in Burke County. 23-year-old Pasqual Mendez is charged with human trafficking of a child victim and transporting a child out of state in violation of a custody order. According to records posted on the Morganton Department of Public Safety website, Mendez was arrested Tuesday (June 28) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He was placed in jail in Morganton under one-million dollars secured bond on the trafficking charge, and $5,000 secured bond on the transporting charge. According to records online at the Public Safety website, Mendez was scheduled to make a court appearance today (Thursday, June 30).
Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers are asking for the public’s assistance in locating 54-year-old Robin Renea Schell of Buffalo Shoals Road.
Schell is wanted in connection to an incident in January of this year when a man from Pear Tree Road in Troutman reported a firearm stolen from his residence. The victim said there did not appear to be any forced entry into his residence; however, he was unable to find his 9mm handgun. The stolen firearm was entered into a national database.
In March, the stolen gun was found in the possession of a known illegal narcotics user and dealer in the county. The gun was seized as Narcotics Detectives continued their investigation into the illegal sales of drugs. On June 2, Detectives made an arrest in the narcotics case. During an interview with the defendant, Detectives learned that the suspect had traded less than a gram of heroin for the stolen 9mm handgun. The other party involved in that trade was Robin Renea Schell.
In the course of the investigation, Detectives learned that Schell had recently been in the Pear Tree Road residence. They also found that Schell was a convicted felon, with convictions dating back to 1980 in Texas on a robbery charge.
Warrants for Schell’s arrest were issued on one count each of larceny of a firearm and possession of firearm by a convicted felon. Authorities believe Schell may be in Texas. Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts should call the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office at 704-878-3180 or Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.
59-year-old William Keith Sanders of Corner Place in Lenoir was arrested Wednesday (June 29) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with possession of methamphetamine, auto larceny, and possession of a stolen vehicle. Sanders was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, June 30).
Detectives with Iredell County’s Criminal Investigations Unit are working to identify the suspect in a recent break-in at a garage on Sullivan Farm Road in Statesville. The incident occurred at about 1 a.m. on June 11. The suspect stole a bicycle and rode it away from the home.
Anyone with information regarding the break-in should call Sheriff’s Detective J.T. Carroll at 704-924-4063 or call Crime Stoppers at 704-662-1340.
53-year-old Valerie Rena Huffin of Mattingly Drive in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (June 30) on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense.
Events leading to her arrest began on June 14 when the victim reported fraudulent activity on his wife’s credit card. Purchases were made at Best Buy and a withdrawal was made at an A.T.M. Officers responded to Best Buy, where they obtained information that led to Huffin’s arrest.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident at about 1:50 a.m. today at an address on 2nd Street S.E. in Hickory. Huffin was placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $7,500 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton.
60-year-old Charles Alfred Vandresser of Vandresser Point in Hickory was arrested Wednesday (June 29) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on a grand jury indictment with solicit first degree sex offense. Vandresser was locked up in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $150,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today (Thursday, June 30).
25-year-old Donovan Lee Everhart of Statesville was arrested Wednesday (June 29) by Statesville Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
A shooting into an occupied dwelling took place on Sunday (June 26) at approximately 3:30 a.m. at a home in the 1300 block of 5th Street. On Tuesday (June 28), Investigator Steve Cantara obtained felony warrants on Everhart in connection with the shooting incident.
Everhart turned himself in at the Statesville Police Department Wednesday afternoon. Following his arrest, Everhart was detained in the Iredell County Detention center under $150,000 secured bond. A District court appearance was scheduled for today. (Thursday, June 30).