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Monthly Archives for September 2011

Jury unable to determine verdict in vehicular homicide case

After listening to testimony last week jurors were unable to determine a verdict in a case involving the traffic-related death of a Leoma man.

Members of a Lawrence County Grand Jury issued an indictment in March, charging Michelle Glass Lyles, 28, of Loretto, with vehicular homicide in the death of Glynn Reavis Sandlin, age 77.

The crash occurred October 28, 2009 on U.S. Highway 43 South. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that Sandlin was southbound in the far right lane on a farm tractor, taking it for servicing.

Lyles, who was southbound in a car reportedly struck the right rear tire of the tractor, resulting in a crash.

Officials reported that Sandlin sustained numerous broken bones as well as other serious injuries. He was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Sandlin succumbed to his injuries on Sunday, November 8, 2009.

After conducting deliberations, the panel tasked with hearing the case returned to the courtroom to announce they were unable to come to a consensus. Prosecutors will now confer with family members, then determine whether a second trial will be held.

News From LawrenceburgNow.com

Hay stolen, set afire in roadway

Pranksters may be to blame for a vandalism incident during the weekend that resulted in loss of $550 worth of hay for a Leoma resident.

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched Saturday to 228 Rosson Road, Leoma. The resident reported someone had taken two large round rolls of hay from his property sometime during the previous night.

The instigators rolled the hay off the property and into the middle of Revilo Road, where it was set afire.

Investigation into the matter is continuing at the current time.

News From LawrenceburgNow.com

Traffic stop generates stolen vehicle investigation

A routine traffic stop Thursday night in the City of Lawrenceburg resulted in the initiation of a stolen vehicle investigation.

Officers with the Lawrenceburg Police Department show that the stop was made after an officer on patrol requested a license plate check be made on a gray Chevrolet, four wheel drive truck.

Dispatchers reported the license plate was registered to a Ford Ranger truck and the officer initiated a traffic stop along North Locust Avenue.

When the officer asked driver Michael Gene Bailey, 43, about the wrongfully-displayed license plate, Bailey stated that he had been in possession of the truck for a single day and was trying to decide whether he wished to purchase it.

Noticing that Bailey had a large amount of personal property inside the vehicle, the officer continued to question him. He reports Bailey admitted he had actually the truck for quite some time.

The officer reports he opted to run a check on the truck’s VIN number, but discovered two different numbers displayed. One, he reports, was not even entered in the system. The other had been reported stolen out of Elkton, Alabama.

During the stop officers report they also located several pills for which Bailey had not prescription.

Bailey was issued citations on charges of registration violation and illegal possession of narcotics. He is slated to answer the charges in Lawrence County General Sessions Court on November 4, 2011.

Detectives with the department’s Criminal Investigation Division are now tasked with investigating the truck theft.

News From LawrenceburgNow.com

Drug buy lands Loretto Woman in jail

Law enforcement officers reported last week that a Loretto woman was jailed after they watched her make a drug buy in the parking lot of a local market.

The incident occurred in the parking lot of the former Sugar and Spice Market on East Gaines Street.

While officers observed, Tammy May Daniel, 40, of Cedar Hill Road, allegedly approached a “known drug dealer” in the parking lot, purchased illegal drugs, then went back to her car.

Officers approached Daniel and confronted her about the activity. She reportedly handed over a cigarette pack containing 12 Lortab pills and 2 Somas.

Although Daniel claimed the dealer had “given” her the pills and she had paid nothing for them, she was placed under arrest.

Daniel was transported to the Lawrence County Detention Center where she was booked on charges of possession of Schedule III narcotics and possession of a Legend drug.

News From LawrenceburgNow.com

Scam artists promise new car

Scam artists targeting a Loretto resident Wednesday attempted to compel her cooperation by promising to ship a new car to her via UPS.

The victim, 74, reported to Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies that she had been receiving telephone calls from two different men throughout the day. Reports show they had already placed eight calls to her residence.

During the calls the con men instructed the victim to go to a CVS, Walgreens or Walmart store and purchase a Go Card for $4.95. Once she had purchased the card, the men instructed her to forward them $250.

Once they received the payment, the men said they would send her a new car by UPS. They then gave her a “tracking number.”

Deputies advised the woman not answer any more calls from the scammers and report any further intrusions.

News From LawrenceburgNow.com

State Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Former Sheriff’s Lawuit

The 2010 Lawrence County Sheriff’s election is now officially over after the State Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by former Sheriff Kenny Taylor to overturn the election results.

Taylor wanted the results overturned and a new election held, charging that candidate Mike Risner didn’t live inside the county. Taylor sued the Lawrence County Election Commission, Risner and the winner of the election Sheriff Jimmy Brown.

Sheriff Brown told WDXE news that, “after over a year, and three court appearances this case is finally over.” The state Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision throwing out the lawsuit but attorneys for Taylor appealed that decision.

“I very pleased that were are able to put these issues to rest. The basic finding by the Court of Appeals was that Kenny Taylor waited too late to file his suit, and the state supreme court refused to hear the case,” said Brown’s attorney Charles Doerflinger.

Source: WDXE.com

GM Announcement Lifts Spring Hill Spirits. Spring Hill ready to get rolling.

With the promise of 600 new jobs at General Motors’ Spring Hill plant next year, and 1,110 more in 2013, United Auto Workers union members at the facility are likely to approve a new four-year labor contract with the carmaker.

Leaders of Spring Hill’s UAW Local 1853, briefed by the union’s top officials on Tuesday, said the deal on the table would allow the shuttered vehicle assembly line to reopen at least partially within a few months, bringing back some of the 2,000 workers laid off nearly two years ago.

“From what we heard at the meeting, the company will invest $61 million to bring one new vehicle to the plant next year, then spend another $358 million for a second vehicle the following year,” said Mike Herron, chairman of Local 1853.

There also are $5,000 signing bonuses, but no hourly raises, included in the contract proposal for most current employees at the plant. There are still about 1,100 employees there making four-cylinder engines and body panels for vehicles assembled at other GM facilities.

But getting no pay raise is not a problem for employees such as Cindy Wilson of Franklin, who works on the engine assembly line in Spring Hill. Wilson said she’s ready to vote in favor of the new contract.

“I’m very happy about it,” she said. “The more jobs we can have here, the better off we’ll all be. I still have a job, so I am very thankful for that. And I’m not really losing anything under this contract, so I’m OK with it.”

Union officials are scheduled to present the four-year GM contract to members in Spring Hill later this week, and a vote is expected within a week.

LaDonna Johnson, one of the workers laid off when GM moved production of the Chevrolet Traverse to Michigan in November 2009, said she won’t be allowed to vote on the contract, but she’ll gladly take her job back when the assembly line reopens.

She’s among about 500 former Traverse assembly workers still here waiting for the plant to resume production, and she just turned down an offer to move to a GM plant near Kansas City, Kan.

“I’ve been laid off two years now, and at the end of this month I’ll lose my health benefits,” she said. “I had to make a decision Friday to take a forced move to Kansas City or stay here and gamble on being called back.

“I said no, and now I’m glad I did. I have older parents here so I didn’t want to go, but right now I’m getting only $275 a week in state unemployment benefits,” Johnson added.

Equinox is likely

Exactly what will be built at Spring Hill has not been revealed; GM has said only that it will be “two midsize vehicles.”

But the two likeliest candidates are the best-selling Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain midsize crossover utility vehicles, which are being assembled at a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Sales of those vehicles have been so brisk that the Canadian plant has not been able to keep up with orders.

Economic development officials from Spring Hill and Maury County who met with GM officials last week in Detroit said they were told Spring Hill would get an “overflow” product from another plant, and they said the Equinox was mentioned.

That makes sense if the initial investment is to be only a modest $61 million, said David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., and son of the late GM President and CEO Ed Cole.

“My guess is that the first stage will be to move an existing product from somewhere else, and there is a good shot it will be the Equinox,” he said. “The $61 million probably wouldn’t be enough unless they were going to move something from somewhere else.”

Retirement offered

Under the contract proposal, some of GM’s 2,400 entry-level workers will get $3.50-per-hour pay raises, to $19.28 per hour. Now they make from $14 to $16 per hour, about half the pay of a longtime UAW worker.

The union also said GM is offering payments for workers to retire early or leave the company. With those incentives, GM is clearly trying to clear out older workers and cut its labor costs by hiring new workers at the entry-level wage.

Some of Johnson’s former co-workers recently agreed to take offers to move to other GM plants out of state, and they don’t even start those new jobs until Oct. 17.

“They’re not happy about that now that the plant here is reopening,” Johnson said.

Depending on which GM relocation package they agreed to take, the workers will have to stay at their new jobs either three years or six months before they can apply to return to Spring Hill, Johnson said.

“If they took the $30,000 package, they can’t come back for three years; if they took the $4,800 package, they will have to work there at least six months.”

The majority of the Spring Hill workers laid off with the move of the Traverse to Lansing, Mich., took jobs at the Michigan plant long ago because they already had experience with the vehicle.

“A lot of them left wives and kids here and went up there because they only had three or four years more before retirement,” said Wilson, the engine assembly worker. She said many want to come home now. “They really want to retire here. I’m one of those who doesn’t ever want to go back to Michigan. The weather is much more agreeable here,” Wilson said.

Spring Hill flexible

GM spent more than $700 million in 2007 and 2008 to create a modern, flexible assembly operation at Spring Hill, and as such, it can easily and quickly be converted to make any product GM wants to build there, auto analyst Cole and others said.

“There are a lot of options they have with the flexible manufacturing capabilities at Spring Hill,” Cole said. “But they do have a business case for reopening the plant. They are really running short of capacity, which is why they’re doing this.”

As for Johnson, she said she’ll hang out in Spring Hill and hope she doesn’t have any medical problems before she gets her job back at GM.

“I’m ready whenever they give me a call,” Johnson said. “I’ll have to be real careful not to get sick, and I’m going to be sure to get my flu shot before the end of the month.”

News Courtesy of The Tennessean