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21-year-old Steffan Aleksander Robinson 21st Avenue Place N.E. in Hickory made his first appearance in Catawba County District Court today (August 5). He appeared before the Honorable Amy Sigmon Walker, District Court Judge from Catawba County. Adam Millsaps as his attorney. Robinson also was given a probable cause hearing date of August 26 in Catawba County District Court.

Robinson was arrested Monday (August 3) on charges of felony death by motor vehicle, D.W.I. and driving left of center. He is accused of hitting 29-year-old Tyler Finley Sims of Granite Falls head-on as Sims was biking along Highway 127. The accident occurred at about 8 a.m. Monday. Mr. Sims was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory where he was pronounced dead.

According to Hickory Police reports, Sims was following traffic laws for bicyclists and wearing a helmet when Robinson’s vehicle swerved across multiple lanes and struck the cyclist. Robinson’s vehicle, a 2007 Saturn Aura, also hit an unoccupied Clark Tire van before crashing into a power pole and coming to a stop in the Clark Tire parking lot of Clark Tire on North Center Street.

Robinson remains in the Catawba County Detention Center under a $136,700 secured bond.

A memorial in Mr. Sims’ honor has been created at the scene of the accident. Fellow riders have placed a white bike on the pole, along with flowers.

Hickory Police report a break-in that occurred early Wednesday morning (August 5) at Bark Mobile on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory.

Officers responded to an alarm call at 3:56 a.m. Wednesday and found the front glass door shattered by a slab of asphalt. Inside the store, the door to a storeroom where phones and other equipment are kept had been kicked in.

The suspects put several items in a trash bag and exited through a rear door. 41 cell phones were taken with a total value of $10,095.31.

Surveillance footage indicated that the subjects are two black males; not two white males as previously reported. Authorities are currently reviewing that footage.

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

41-year-old Marya Hudson Kirby of Jeff Price Lane in Taylorsville was arrested at about 7:20 last night (August 4) on one felony count of habitual larceny (shoplifting).

She was charged in connection to an incident in September of last year. Police responded to the Wal-Mart store on Highway 70 S.E. where a Loss Prevention Officer saw Kirby as she allegedly took clothing and an assortment of general merchandise and left the store without paying. She was confronted and detained at that time.

The habitual larceny charge comes as the result of previous convictions in April 2003, September 2009 and May 2011.

Kirby was taken into custody without incident last night by Long View Police. She was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $5,000 secured bond. She will appear in District Court on August 7 in Newton.

At 8:48 last night (August 4), Hickory Police responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence on Cloninger Mill Road N.E. Responding Officers found 50-year-old Tony William Johnson inside the residence with a stab wound to the neck. Mr. Johnson was transported by Catawba County E.M.S. to Frye Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.  

Mr. Johnson’s stepson, 33-year-old Derek Lane McAdams, was detained by Officers and subsequently released. H.P.D. Investigators interviewed multiple individuals who were at the residence at the time of the incident.

Hickory Police have been in contact with the District Attorney’s office, which will review all evidence upon completion of the investigation.

The Hickory Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is conducting an ongoing investigation. There are no charges pending at this time.

A website called bestcolleges.com recently ranked Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory as the eighth-best two-year college in North Carolina. Schools in Spruce Pine, Roxboro, Clyde, Bolivia, Henderson, Asheboro and Smithfield finished with a higher ranking.

The rankings are based on a series of performance metrics and reports provided by the schools to the National Center for Education Statistics. Among the factors considered are graduation rates, admission criteria, tuition and student loan default percentages.

No other Unifour-area schools were listed among the top-25 two-year schools.

The N.C. State Highway Patrol responded to two incidents on Interstate 40 in Burke County this afternoon. Both occurred at about 12:50 p.m.

A tractor-trailer fire near the Connelly Springs exit (exit 116) shut down both westbound lanes for about 40 minutes. As of 2:20 p.m., one lane westbound remained closed.

A single-vehicle accident near Rutherford College (exit 113) resulted in the closure of one eastbound lane for a short period of time. By 2:20 p.m., the accident had been moved off the road and both eastbound lanes were open. Traffic was still flowing slowly as the result of onlookers.

A Highway Patrol spokesperson was unable to say if anyone was injured in either accident, but he did that both incidents were reported as property damage accidents.

46-year-old Jeffery Darren Southers of Herman Sipe Road in Conover and 28-year-old Jamie Marie Reich of U.S. Highway 70 East in Catawba have both been arrested by Catawba Co. Sheriff’s Officers on a variety of drug charges. Both were charged with possession of heroin. Southers was also charged with trafficking in opium or heroin, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver heroin, simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and an open container violation. Reich faces additional charges for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance on prison or jail premises, the sale of methamphetamine, sale & delivery of meth, possession with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver meth, possession of meth, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place for a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana up to half an ounce.

Both suspects were jailed yesterday (August 3) in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility with bond for each set at $50,000, secured. They’re both scheduled to appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.

40-year-old Richard Allen Long Branch of Trailwinds Street in Newton was arrested by Hickory Police early this morning (August 4) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Events leading to his arrest began at about 20 minutes past midnight today when Police saw a black Ford Mustang in the parking lot at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Highway 70 S.W. in Hickory. The N.C. license plate on the vehicle came back to a 2002 Isuzu Trooper.

Officers watched the vehicle as it pulled onto the highway and conducted a traffic stop on the 300 block of Highway 70 S.W. A subsequent search turned up 0.6 grams of methamphetamine on Richard Branch’s person. Drug paraphernalia was also found in the vehicle.

The driver, Elizabeth Branch, was cited for a fictitious tag, failure to register the vehicle and no insurance.

Richard Branch was taken into custody without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $6,000 secured bond. He will appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.

28-year-old Timothy Alan Buchanan and 26-year-old Amanda Jo Johnston, both of Burma Road West in Marion, have been arrested by McDowell County Detective Paul Alkire and charged with one count of felony intentional child abuse inflicting severe physical injury and two counts of misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

Buchanan and Johnston are the parents of a three-month-old daughter. There are also two other girls – ages seven and eight – in the home. Det. Alkire said the baby was admitted to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville on Saturday, July 25 with MRSA, a displaced leg bone and healing breaks in both arms.

Further investigation revealed that the couple had been leaving all the children at home by themselves for lengthy periods of time with little or no food. Det. Alkire said the baby was underdeveloped for her age and she tested positive for multiple narcotics at birth.

Buchanan and Johnston were scheduled to appear in District Court yesterday (August 3).

Tuesday, 04 August 2015 10:30

Hickory Man Charged with Statutory Rape

28-year-old Jason Craig Parker of 29th Avenue N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police shortly before noon yesterday (August 3) on two felony counts of statutory rape or sex offense with a 13, 14 or 15-year-old victim when the defendant is six or more years older than the victim.

The incident involved a female victim. It took place at Parker’s residence at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday (August 1) and was reported less than three hours later.

Parker was arrested without incident at Hickory Police headquarters. He was jailed in the Catawba Co. Detention Faclity with bond set at $250,000, secured. Parker will appear in District Court tomorrow in Newton.