Circuit Court activity in March breaks record for number of new cases filed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 13:11



Did it seem as if county newspapers were full to bursting in March with stories about new arrests being made by local law enforcement agencies?

Both The Giveaway and The Scott County Journal/The Chronicle carried a lot of those types of stories. There’s a reason for that, a very good one.

Officers with the two city departments and Sheriff’s Department as well as those with the Sellersburg post of the Indiana State Police made a remarkable number of arrests during March.

In fact, the numbers are so remarkable that this past March set a record for the number of defendants visiting Scott Circuit Court on a wide array of charges.

The State of Indiana adopted a new way of categorizing felony charges in mid-2015. Level 1 felonies are the highest, carrying a sentence of from 20 to 40 years, with an average or advisory sentence of 30 years. A felony which is a Level 6 carries the lowest penalty, six months to 2½ years with an advisory sentence of one year in jail.

Murder is a separate category and carries a range of sentence from 45 to 65 years with an advisory sentence of 55 years.

In March, only one Level 1 felony case was filed, that against Jedidiah Smith, 33, Scottsburg. Smith is charged with several counts of child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor. His trial date is June 20.

A total of six Level 2 felonies were entered in the court’s docket, two Level 3 felonies, two Level 4 felonies and 15 Level 5 felonies. A total of 62 Level 6 felonies were filed, most of which involve drugs, battery or thefts. Misdemeanor cases filed totaled 49, which means for March alone, the Scott Circuit Court staff recorded 137 criminal cases as well as its other work.

In January and February, the Court added 187 new criminal cases, so for the whole first quarter of 2017, a total of 324 new criminal cases were processed through that courtroom. The Court continues to address some old civil cases as well until all civil matters are transitioned over to Superior Court later this year.

In Superior Court, which as of January 1 is handling all the new civil matters and new juvenile cases, the total of cases filed has reached 298 in the first quarter. That number includes 77 civil collections, 114 small claims, seven civil torts, 24 civil plenaries, 34 dissolutions and 42 juvenile matters.

“Our local law enforcement agencies are working hard to take out the criminals in our county. The Austin Police Department, Scottsburg City Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and State Police are all actively pursuing drug dealers and other criminals in our community. Agencies are utilizing undercover officers and confidential informants to make controlled buys of narcotics, which are leading to search warrants and arrests of drug dealers,” stated Chris Owens, Scott County Prosecutor.

Prosecutor Owens continued, “I have said this before and now the numbers are showing it: If you are selling illegal drugs in Scott County, we are coming after you. We are going to find you, and we are going to get you. It’s only a matter of time.”

Thanks to the efforts of police officers and the Prosecutor’s Office, two individuals recently pleaded guilty to felony drug dealing.

Robert Estep, 53, and his wife, Judy, 61, were selling her prescription pain reliever. Each received a nine-year sentence.

Noted Prosecutor Owens, “By also sending Mrs. Estep to prison for nine years, we have secured a lengthy time in which this pair cannot sell drugs in our community.”

Four injured in four local traffic crashes occurring since start of new month PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 13:09



Four people suffered injuries in traffic accidents occurring since the start of April, local departments’ records indicated.

On Monday, April 3, just after 10 p.m., motorists on State Road 56 East were startled to see a 2003 Chevy Malibu shoot across the highway from Slab Road. The car went off the road and landed in a drainage ditch south of the T intersection.

One of the witnesses said he was traveling eastward when he noticed the car on Slab Rd., which he said he thought was going too fast to stop at the intersection. Another witness said he was behind the Malibu and saw the accident take place.

The driver, Kallie N. White, 20, Dupont, told Deputy James Shelton that she didn’t see the stop sign to halt the side road traffic and so didn’t stop. Deputy Shelton noted on his report that speed and weather conditions were factors in the mishap.

White had three passengers with her. Only one reported injuries. Kaylie A. Mullins, 18, Austin, had abdominal/pelvic pain. She had been seated in the driver’s side passenger seat in the rear of the Malibu. She was assisted out of the car and transported to Scott Memorial Hospital by Scott County EMS ambulance.

The car was towed from the scene. Deputy Shelton estimated property damage at up to $25,000.

The following day, April 4, an accident happened on S.R. 56 West in Scottsburg just after 12:30 p.m.

Dwayne R. Thomas, 54, Scottsburg, was driving his 2006 Isuzu pickup truck when he began signaling to turn left off of the highway and into the Scottsburg Post Office parking lot. Loretta D. Kendall, 40, Austin, may have thought his signal meant that Thomas planned to turn left onto North Meridian Street.

She pulled out from South Meridian Street onto S.R. 56 in front of Thomas and was struck in the front driver’s side panel.

Thomas experienced head pain after the mishap and was transported by Scott County EMS to Scott Memorial for evaluation. Scottsburg Patrolman Trevis Burr was unable to obtain a statement from Kendall about the accident. Thomas was unhurt.

Ptl. Burr estimated property damage at up to $5,000. Capt. David Hardin assisted him at the scene.

On April 7, Sgt. Rodney Watts was dispatched to a Scottsburg accident in which a driver was injured.

The accident happened at 5:17 p.m. close to the Interstate 65 A off-ramp on S.R. 56 in Scottsburg. Drivers were identified as Linda L. Harkrider, 31, Cassville, Mo., and Rhonda M. Canada, 37, Scottsburg.

Harkrider was driving a 2011 Chevy Impala east on S.R. 56 and said she didn’t see Canada’s 2009 Dodge Charger stopped in traffic. She struck the back of the Charger.

Canada had neck pain following the mishap and was transported to Scott Memorial by ambulance.

Sgt. Watts estimated property damage at up to $10,000.

Just after 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, a Scottsburg teenager was injured in a one-car accident in Finley Firehouse Road in Finley Township.

Rachel N. Gillespie, 17, was driving her family’s 2005 Honda Civic north on the county road when she said she decided to adjust the radio channel. As she took her eyes off the road, the car veered off the right side into a large ditch and struck a tree. The accident happened about 1,500 feet north of West Lake Road.

Gillespie said she got out of the car and called her parents, who came to the scene and took her to Scott Memorial Hospital before Deputy J.R. Ward could get there.

Deputy Ward made sure the vehicle was removed from the ditch and towed safely away before going to the hospital to talk to the girl, who had a possible head injury.

The car had suffered significant damage. The deputy estimated property loss at up to $10,000.




Scottsburg resident and former businessman among recent arrests in Salem PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 07:26

A  Scottsburg resident and a former Scott County businessman were among recent arrests reported by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

Austin High School searching for new boys' basketball head coach PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 07:24

A 5-0 vote to renew one coaching contract but post the boys’ basketball coach position ended a very brief special meeting of the board of trustees of Scott School District 1.

Pennington pleads not guilty to sexual misconduct with 15-year-old girl PDF Print E-mail
Written by George Browning   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 07:22

A preliminary plea of not guilty has been entered for a 29-year-old man charged with three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.

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