A person involved in a Sunday (March 18) accident in Burke County was airlifted to the hospital. According to the George Hildebran Fire & Rescue Department, the accident happened at the intersection of Johnson Bridge Road and Paige Street in eastern Burke County. One male occupant of a vehicle involved in the crash was airlifted to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville. The injured person was in the front passenger seat. His condition was unknown.
Responding to the accident were George Hildebran Fire & Rescue, Icard Township Fire & Rescue, Burke County React, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, Burke County EMS, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, and Mountain Air Medical Ambulance.
According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, a correctional officer at Foothills Correctional Institution in Morganton was assaulted by an inmate. According to reports, the officer was stabbed by the inmate with a homemade weapon. The incident occurred at approximately 9:33 p.m. Saturday and the victim was transported to an outside medical facility for treatment. The CO suffered multiple wounds and was reported to be in stable condition. No names have been released, reports say the inmate will be charged in the assault.
60-year-old Christo George Helton of 5th Street N.E. in Hickory was arrested by Hickory Police at agbout 4:30 yesterday afternoon (March 15) on one felony count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance. The warrant for his arrest was issued by the Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Office. Helton is accused of possessing crack cocaine.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident on the 100 block of 1st Street S.E. He was processed at the Hickory Police Department and then released under a $5,000 unsecured bond. An appearance in Superior Court was set for April 30 in Lenoir.
23-year-old Dustin Lee Fortenberry of Mt. Harmony Road in Connelly Springs was arrested Thursday (March 15) by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture sell and deliver methamphetamine, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, maintain a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance, and probation violation out of county. He's also charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of stolen property, possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Thursday, shortly before 5 p.m., officers with the Hickory Police Department responded to McDonald's, on Highway 70 SE, in reference to a stolen motor vehicle. The vehicle displayed a stolen registration plate and the 2008 Kia Spectra was reported stolen out of Granite Falls. The driver was identified as being Dustin Fortenberry, who had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation. The HPD arrest report says Fortenberry was in possession of 2.6 grams of meth, 8.5 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, stolen goods and a fictitious tag.
Fortenberry was arrested and transported to HPD. He was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $150,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (March 16) in Newton.
35-year-old Seneca Ashley Caldwell was arrested Thursday (March 16) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession of a weapon by a felon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Caldwell was arrested at 10:19 p.m. Thursday at an address on South Sterling Street in Morganton. He was placed in jail under $20,000 secured bond. A court date is scheduled for April 16.
23-year-old Donna Lee Vess of Grover, 21-year-old Sierra Miranda Gomez of Lincolnton, 40-year-old Michael Lee Etters of Dallas, and 42-year-old Bobby Eugene Morton of Lowell all face charges from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office. Vess and Gomez have been arrested, Etters and Lowell were still at large. Vess is charged with felony possession of schedule I controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Gomez, Etters, and Morton are charged with one felony count each of robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, larceny, and possession of stolen property. In addition, Morton is charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.
According to a news release from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, the charges were filed after a drug deal went bad and the victim was robbed of cash. Deputies responded to the 1700 block of Molly Acres Lane around 5:30 p.m. Thursday (March 15) after the Lincoln County Communications Center received a report that a man had been robbed and pistol whipped and the two suspects had fled the scene in a white van.
During the investigation Detective Frank Runyon learned that a neighbor, Sierra Miranda Gomez, had arranged for Matthew Trammell and Donna Vess to deliver a small amount of heroin to her. When they arrived Gomez, Michael Lee Etters and Bobby Eugene Morton approached the vehicle and Morton pulled a handgun on Trammell demanding his money. Morton then hit the victim in the head with the handgun taking $1,600 in cash. Morton and Etters then fled the scene. The news release says that Gomez admitted to setting up the robbery.
While processing the scene, Vess, who was one of the victims, was found to have a syringe loaded with black tar heroin, unused needles and a set of digital scales. Lincoln County EMS transported Trammell to the hospital in Gastonia for treatment of a head wound. Bond for Vess was set at $10,000 secured. Gomez was jailed under a $50,000 secured bond.
Morton and Etters remain at large and are considered armed and dangerous. They are known to frequent drug areas in Gaston County. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Morton and Etters are asked to contact the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 704-732-9050 or the Lincoln County Communications Center at 704-735-8202.
50-year-old Maria Conway Clark was arrested Thursday (March 15) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. She's charged with felony possession of controlled substance in prison or jail, along with misdemeanor counts of possession of schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving during revocation. Clark was arrested at 1:46 a.m. Thursday in the area of Michaels street and Rink Street in Morganton. She was not listed as an inmate in Burke County as of today (March 16). A District Court date was scheduled today.
Three suspects have been charged in connection to drug investigations in Lincoln County. One of the suspects was taken into custody, the other two remained at large.
63-year-old Robert Michael Burton of Car Farm Road in Lincolnton, was arrested and charged with three felony counts each of sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance.
39-year-old Fredrick Davon Beam of Gaston Street and 43-year-old Scotty Michael Crouse of Stanley Drive, both from Lincolnton, are each facing two felony counts each of sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance and possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II controlled substance. Beam and Crouse had not been located and served with the outstanding warrants.
The charges were filed Thursday following the conclusion of separate investigations into the sale, transport, and distribution of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, and methamphetamine. Various amounts of drugs were purchased from each individual on multiple occasions. Detectives say the investigations began after receiving complaints about drug activity in the Buffalo Shoals and High Shoals areas of Lincoln County. All three subjects charged have a prior history of drug related charges.
Burton received a $25,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled today (March 16). Anyone with information concerning drug related activity is urged to call the Drug Tip line at 704-736-8606 or Lincolnton/Lincoln County Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. All tips are investigated and callers can remain anonymous.
27-year-old Daniel Van Rowell of East 8th Street in Charlotte was arrested by Hickory Police Officers. He's charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver heroin, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a vehicle, dwelling or place to keep controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of schedule II and IV controlled substances, and misdemeanor larceny. Rowell was arrested at an address on 16th Street NE in Hickory at 10:16 p.m. Thursday (March 15). He was placed in the Catawba County Detention Facility this morning (March 16) under $40,500 bond. District Court dates were scheduled today and April 9.
46-year-old Wanda Rena Sheppard of Daphine Street in Garner was arrested Thursday (March 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony attempt to obtain controlled substance by forgery or fraud. Sheppard was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $3,000 secured bond. A District Court date is set for next Tuesday (March 20).
20-year-old Grayson Phillip Spann of Green Valley Place in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (March 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle. Spann was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $15,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to appear in District Court Thursday.
54-year-old Zoua Lee of 18th Street Place NW in Hickory, 57-year-old Richard Xiong of Tracy, Minnesota, and 39-year-old Jennifer Ann Heater of Largo, Florida, were all arrested Thursday by Iredell County Sheriff's Officers. Lee and Xiong are charged with felony counts of trafficking of schedule VI controlled substance by transport and possession, and possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with intent to sell and deliver. Lee was also wanted on an outstanding warrant from Hickory. Heater is charged with felony possession of schedule VI controlled substance.
On Thursday, deputies with the Iredell County and Rowan County Sheriff’s Offices were observing traffic on Interstate 77 in Iredell County operating under Operation "Tar Heel Gauntlet." This operation in an ongoing effort to stop or slow illegal drug traffic and deter other types of crimes on the interstates in North Carolina working in conjunction with the Homeland Security Service.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. an Iredell County Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the Interstate Criminal Enforcement (ICE) Team stopped a Chevrolet Caviler with Ohio tags for a moving violation near the 50 Mile Marker on Interstate 77 North. After speaking with the driver, Jennifer Ann Heater, a canine was utilized to sniff the car. The canine detected illegal drugs in the vehicle. A search of the car resulted in the discovery of 44 packages containing hash oil and two vaporizers under a blanket and jacket in the back seat. The street value of the hash oil was $18,000.
At approximately 9:00 a.m. an Audi SUV was noticed by an deputy assigned to the ICE Team, the SUV was following another vehicle too closely near the 61 Mile Marker on Interstate 77 Southbound. A traffic stop was conducted and after approaching the vehicle to speak with the driver, Richard Xiong, the deputy noticed the driver was acting suspiciously and appeared to be nervous. When asked about his travel plans, Xiong’s story did not make sense and he had trouble re-telling the plans. When asked about narcotics in the vehicle, Xiong said he had 20 pounds of marijuana in the rear cargo area of the vehicle.
The female occupant, Zoua Lee, was removed from the SUV. A canine detected the presence of illegal drugs. A hand search of the vehicle was conducted by the deputy and resulted in the discovery of three large duffle bags in the rear of the vehicle. Inside each duffle bag were several vacuumed sealed bags of marijuana. In all 40 bundles of hydroponic marijuana were seized, weighing 45.7 pounds. The street value of the marijuana is $348,000.
Lee's bond was set at $51,000 secured, Xiong was given a $50,000 secured. Heater's bond was set at $10,000 secured. All three suspects were scheduled to appear in District Court today (March 16).
20-year-old Isaiah Monty Simmons of Central Drive in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (March 15) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, misdemeanor false imprisonment, driving while license revoked, simple possession of schedule VI controlled substance, and simple possession of schedule II controlled substance.
A spokesperson with the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said that Simmons is the suspect in the armed robbery of Pappy’s Market on Dudley Shoals Road. The robbery occurred shortly after the business opened at 7 a.m. Thursday. The clerk told Investigators that the suspect came into the store carrying a long rifle. The man took property before forcing the clerk into a back room. The clerk was not injured.
Simmons was placed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $102,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance is scheduled for next Monday (March 19).
An armed robbery at a Hickory business is under investigation. According to a news release issued today (March 14), last Thursday, March 8, at approximately 11:40 p.m., Hickory Police responded to Quality Mart at 1350 Lenoir-Rhyne Blvd. SE reference an armed robbery.
During the robbery, the suspects entered the store, displayed handguns and demanded money. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of money the suspects fled on foot from the store running east toward LR Blvd. The suspects are believed to be two young black males.
Anyone with information regarding this on-going investigation is encouraged to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-5551 or contact Inv. C. De Los Santos directly at 828-261-2621 or email@example.com.
Hickory City Council has filled the Ward 2 council seat. During a special meeting Wednesday (March 14), City Council appointed Charlotte Williams to represent Ward 2. The seat became vacant when Vernon Tarlton passed away in January.
Professor Williams is originally from the Chicago area. She holds a Bachelors degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago.
Professor Williams and her family moved to Hickory in the mid-’90s. She is an Associate Dean of Engaged & Global Learning and the Program Coordinator for the Human & Community Services major at Lenoir-Rhyne University.
Professor Williams was elected to serve on the Hickory City School Board in 2008 and again in 2012, serving a total of eight years. She has also served in leadership roles for numerous community boards and organizations.
Professor Williams has four grown sons.
Convenience Store Robbery Under Investigation in Caldwell County (Updated With Suspect Photo, 1 p.m. 3/15)Written by Ralph Mangum
Caldwell County Sheriff’s Investigators are looking for a man who robbed a convenience store this morning (March 15). The robbery occurred at Pappy’s Market on Dudley Shoals Road shortly after the business opened at 7 a.m. today.
The clerk told Investigators that a man came into the store carrying a long rifle. The man took property before forcing the clerk into a back room. The clerk was not injured. The suspect fled the scene in a white sedan. The car was traveling toward the Five Points Intersection, near the town of Granite Falls.
The suspect was described as a clean-shaven white male with brown hair. He was wearing a green polo shirt under a reversible work-type jacket with a camo pattern on the inside and lime green on the outside. He had a gray hoodie over his head, partially covering his face.
Anyone with information regarding the robbery should call the Caldwell Co. Sheriff’s Office at 828-758-2324 or call Crime Stoppers at 828-758-8300.
26-year-old Nikki Dee Worley of Peach Street in Newton was arrested Wednesday (March 14) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. She faces charges filed in Burke County and by Probation and Parole. Worley is charged in Burke County with possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Probation and Parole charged Worley with misdemeanor probation violation. She was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $5,000 bond. District and Superior Court appearances are scheduled for next Monday (March 19).
The Town of Rhodhiss has announced that Chris Wagoner will serve as the next town manager. Rhodhiss Town Council voted unanimously to appoint Wagoner as Manager at their meeting on Tuesday (March 13). His first day as Town Manager will be Monday, March 26th. Wagoner was selected from a list of 17 applicants from across the region, state and country. Applicants from as far as Washington, Nevada and Florida applied for the position. According to a news release, Wagoner was chosen due to a combination of his education, experience and personal characteristics.
Wagoner previously served as a Public Administration Intern, Open Air Market Manager and Assistant to the Town Manager with the Town of Wilkesboro and a Budget and Management Analyst with the City of Kannapolis. Wagoner is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Master of Public Administration degree. He is a native of Wilkes County. The Town of Rhodhiss is located in southern Caldwell County and eastern Burke County.
35-year-old Matthew Oliver Maddy of Laneska Lane in Catawba was arrested Wednesday (March 14) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony possession of methamphetamine along with a count of failure to appear. Maddy was jailed in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $11,000 secured bond. District Court dates were scheduled today (March 15) and April 16.
28-year-old Logan Nathaniel Brown of Holly Drive in Granite Falls was arrested Wednesday (March 14) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with failure to appear on felony counts of probation violation, uttering a forged instrument, obtaining property by false pretense, larceny, and possession of stolen goods. Brown was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $115,000 secured bond. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for April 30.