A local man was arrested early Tuesday morning on felony drug charges. Columbus Police say that an officer observed 24-year-old Trey A. Smith, of Columbus, speeding in an alley near the 1500 block of 19th Street. Police say that Smith exited the car and appeared to throw something to the ground near the vehicle. Officers confirmed that Smith had a suspended drivers license and he was taken into custody. A search of Smith’s car allegedly uncovered over 1/8th of a pound of methamphetamine, a digital scale with drug residue and several plastic bags. Smith is being held on a 48-hour hold. He’s facing preliminary charges of: – Dealing in Methamphetamine (Level 2 Felony) – Possession of Methamphetamine (Level 3 Felony) – Driving While Suspended (Class A Misdemeanor)
Columbus’ next Chief of Police has been named. Michael Richardson, who currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Police, has been selected by Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop. Richardson will assume the role of Police Chief on January 1st. The mayor made the decision after Rohde announced his intention to step down at the end of this year to run for Superior Court II Judge next year. Richardson is a life-long resident of Columbus and Bartholomew County and has served with the Columbus Police Department for nearly 25 years. During his time at CPD, Richardson has served in numerous positions including Patrol Officer, Field Training Officer, Bike Patrol Officer, Bomb Technician, Uniform Sergeant, Uniform Lieutenant, Uniform Captain, and Deputy Chief. Richardson is a graduate of Vincennes University with an Associates of Arts Degree in Law Enforcement and a graduate of Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership Academy. I am humbled at this incredible opportunity to serve the Columbus community, the women and men of the Columbus Police Department as well as our police support staff,” said Richardson. He added, “I truly appreciate the confidence placed in me by Mayor Lienhoop and I look forward to continuing the hard work and progress that has made the Columbus Police Department one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the state.
A Columbus man is facing gun and drug charges after a weekend incident on 17th Street. Columbus Police officers arrested 43-year-old Joseph Q. Ford suspect after he reportedly pointed a stolen gun at another person during an argument. Authorities say that at approximately 2:35 a.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 1700 block of 17th Street in regards to a disturbance. It was later determined that prior to the officers arrival, an argument occurred and Ford is alleged to have pointed a gun in the face of another person. A short time later, another officer found the vehicle involved in the incident in the 900 block of Third Street where a felony traffic stop was conducted. Officers located a stolen gun inside of the vehicle and arrested Ford. During a search, officers reportedly located a small bag of cocaine in Ford’s clothing. Ford is facing preliminary felony charges of: – Possession of Handgun by a Serious Violent Felon – Possession of a Stolen Handgun – Carrying a Handgun without a License – Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon – Pointing a Loaded Firearm – Possession of Cocaine
Complaints about the problems caused by the homeless in Columbus have moved from the east side to downtown. Police Chief Jon Rohde says his staff will be meeting later this week with officials from the Bartholomew County Public Library to begin to address the shift. Last year at meetings between city officials and residents and business owners on and around State Street, neighbors expressed many concerns about the homeless people congregating around the Brighter Days homeless shelter. While numbers of certain types of police calls had spiked in that area at that time, Rohde said that has largely moved downtown. Said the homeless in the community seem to be congregating at the Bartholomew County Public Library. He said that the police department will be meeting with the library officials on Thursday. Rohde said that the homeless population are individuals, each with different problems and situations. Rohde spoke at a followup meeting last night with State Street residents. Fred Barnett, the code enforcement officer for the city, said that during warmer months the homeless move from camps under bridges and into the woods around the city. Since he started, he has broken up more than 30 of those camps and collected 52 tons of trash left behind on public property. On private property, the city has fewer options, Barnett said. In several areas, private property owners have banded together to address homeless camps and remove the trash themselves. In extreme cases, the city has the option of citing property owners who allow these camps to continue, because there are no legal places for campgrounds under city zoning ordinances.
Hope will be celebrating Independence Day on Friday and organizers are looking for participants for several contests. There will be the annual Decorated Bike/Trike/Stroller and Wagon Parade for children younger than 12 , the crowning of Little Miss Sparkler and Mr. Firecracker, a cake walk and an apple pie baking contest. To enter any of those events you may pick up registration forms at the Yellow Trail Museum, Willow Leaves of Hope, or the Hope branch of the Bartholomew County Public Library. The Old-Fashioned Independence Day celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday on the Hope Town Square. The evening is capped off by a performance by the Bannister Family Band at about 7:15 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark.
The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an exchange of gunfire early Tuesday morning. At approximately 1:12 a.m., deputies were dispatched to an address on County Road 1000 West in Spencer Township in reference to shots being fired and a suspicious vehicle. When deputies arrived on scene they determined a vehicle that was parked in front of the address had been reported stolen from Medora. Deputies learned the homeowner came home and discovered the stolen vehicle in the middle of the roadway. He checked his house and property and eventually found a man hiding in his yard. Police say the man opened fire on the homeowner with a small caliber gun. The property owner returned fire and the suspect fled. Deputies do not believe anyone was injured. Police are still looking for the suspect. The investigation is ongoing.
The Bartholomew County Highway Department says that Carr Hill Road, between Terrace Lake Road and Morgan Willow, is closed until further notice. Crews are extending the sidewalk in that area. If you are looking for more traffic information, download the WAZE app for your smartphone and join the WCSI Traffic team. You can find updated traffic information on our website, on-air and on the app.
The Johnson County Sheriffs Office is searching for a missing girl. Authorities say that 13-year-old Valentina Lacava, of Greenwood, was reported missing about 1 a.m. Friday. Investigators believe she may have runaway. Lacava is a slender, white female. She is 5-feet 1-inch tall, and weighs about 110 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was wearing dark jeans and a zip-up sweatshirt, possibly a hoodie, and black sneakers. A few hours earlier, at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, a Greenwood man reported seeing a young girl matching this description get into an old, dirty, two-door Honda Civic with damage to its front bumper at the intersection of Watson Road and Possum Hollow Road, the same neighborhood the girl was reported missing. Anyone with any information about the whereabouts of Valentina Lacava should contact the Johnson County Dispatch Center at (317) 346-6336.
The campgrounds, cabins and Abe Martin Lodge closures at Brown County State Park have been extended another day through at least Wednesday, June 26nd. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says that the park will continue with day use activities and services only through Wednesday. This includes such activities as sight-seeing, fishing and picnicking. Officials says that gates will be staffed, but no admission will be charged. Abe Martin Lodge remains closed, as are the pools and drinking fountains. Modern restrooms are closed, but vault toilets are available. Guests who visit for permitted activities must bring their own drinking water. Bottled water and packaged snacks are now available at the parks Country Store near the campground. Possible closure of overnight facilities beyond Wednesday night will be determined.
Next week’s scheduled power outage in and around Hope has been cancelled. Duke Energy officials had planned two overnight outages for the area in order to rebuild a transmission line. The first outage began on the evening of June 11th and lasted approximately seven hours as crews de-energized the power line. The second outage was set for the evening of July 2nd. Duke officials say they’ve evaluated the work already done and determined their crews can safely complete construction without de-energizing the line again.