Stories that impacted White County

Posted By | December 28, 2009 12:00 am

Law enforcement officials and animal rights organizations took custody of an estimated 275 dogs from a residence on Lost Creek Road.

Vauda Sullivan is shown with her son, Terry, who was found murdered in his home in January 2009. No arrests have been made to-date. The family is offering a $55,000 reward for information.

Dr. James Wardlaw, a well-known optometrist and humanitarian, died in a plane he was piloting when he crashed into a house in Georgia.

A Marine helicopter crash-landed near Power House Road. No one was injured.

Stuart Butler was found murdered at his home. The alleged perpetrator was arrested within just a few days.

White Countians experienced their share of tragedies, as well as triumphs, during 2009.
The following is a synopsis of the top 15 stories according to The Expositor and
•Number 1
The top story of 2009 was “Mass dog-breeding operation raided.”
Officers with White County Sheriff Department, working in conjunction with District Attorney Randy York, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society on an investigation that began almost two years ago, took custody of an estimated 275 dogs from a residence on Lost Creek Road.
•Number 2
The murder of Terry Sullivan, on Jan. 16, 2009, took second place for the most viewed story.
Sullivan was 50 years old at the time he was shot to death in his Oakland Drive home. As of Dec. 28, 2009, the murder is still under investigation by Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and District Attorney General Randy York. Numerous leads have been pursued, but no arrests have been made to-date.
•Number 3
The driver of a White County school bus and 10 students were taken to White County Community Hospital with non-life threatening injurie April 29, at approximately 7:30 a.m., after their bus crashed with a tractor-trailer on McMinnville Highway near Sunset Drive.
•Number 4
The pilot killed in a Friday afternoon plane crash in Georgia has been officially identified as James Wardlaw, 58, of Atlanta, formerly of Sparta.
Wardlaw had lived in White County for several years where he was a well-known optometrist. Wardlaw was the pilot of a twin-engine Cessna 310 that was headed for Sparta when it crashed at approximately into a house in Lawrenceville, Ga.
•Number 5
James E. Seibers, 45, of Sparta, was taken to White County Community Hospital by ambulance after the motorcycle he was riding crashed into the side of a car, at approximately 12:15 p.m., on Aug. 3, on Mayberry Street.
•Number 6
A 53-year-old Doyle man was arrested May 7 on 125 counts of sexual-related charges.
Selby Seals, of 221 Gooseneck Rd., was booked into White County Jail, on 15 counts rape of a child, 70 counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, and 40 counts of aggravated sexual battery. The bond for Seals was originally set at $2.4 million.
Detectives said the investigation had been in progress for several months and was conducted by White County Sheriff Department and the office of the district attorney general of the 13th Judicial District.
•Number 7
Officials in Spencer were reportedly in negotiations with a Georgia-based company that wanted to open a methadone clinic in the rural community that directly borders White County.
Paul Connell, chief executive officer of Private Clinic North, of Rossville, Ga., had reportedly filed a certificate of need with Tennessee Health Services Development Agency to locate the facility in Monterey, in Putnam County. However, Connell reportedly decided to pull the application for Private Clinic Monterey because of a technicality in the filing process.
•Number 8
A lawsuit filed in Circuit Court by a White County resident names Sheriff Oddie Shoupe and four others as defendants in the documentation that alleged such charges as ‘outrageous conduct’ and ‘excessive force.’
Martha Jane Judd, of Doyle, filed in White County Circuit Court, on July 10, 2009, naming five defendants in a lawsuit that alleges numerous violations of Tennessee law.
Named in the lawsuit are White County, Sheriff Oddie Shoupe, Nathan Blaylock, Gwen Denton and John Doe.
•Number 9
A U.S. Marine helicopter crash-landed in a field off Power House Road, Sept. 18, after reportedly striking a power line while flying near Rock Island State Park. Officials with White County Sheriff Department, Sparta-White County Rescue Squad, Doyle-Mt. Gilead Volunteer Fire Department, and Tennessee Highway Patrol were the first to respond to the scene. Federal Aviation Administration and military officials were also called to the scene to begin an investigation.
•Number 10
On April 21, Sparta Police and TBI agents charged Mack Broussard Jr., of Biloxi Miss., with the death of Stuart R. Butler, of North Oak Street, in Sparta.
According to Investigator Allen Selby, of Sparta Police Department, Butler was found bludgeoned to death Monday, April 20, at his home after officers attempted a welfare check of the man.
Broussard was charged with first-degree murder and theft over $10,000.
•Number 11
Two Sparta men were charged in the Henry Malcolm Frazier homicide. Michael Kyle Whicher, 23, and Timothy Shawn Rutherford, 27, both of Sparta, were taken into custody, June 30, and charged with felony murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery in connection with the death of Henry Malcolm Frazier.
Frazier’s body was found June 23 at a residence on Old Ridge Road in Crossville. Warrants allege that Henry Malcolm Frazier suffered multiple stab wounds during the attack.
•Number 12
Joe Thomas Luna, 62, of Sparta, died in the two-vehicle crash that occurred at approximately 6:50 p.m., Aug. 5, 2009, on Eaton Road.
According to Trooper David Hickey, of Tennessee Highway Patrol, Luna was traveling east on Eaton Road in a 1986 Dodge Ram.
Jackie Edward Brown, 18, was traveling west in a 1993 Buick Regal, going down a hill. Three juveniles were passengers in the vehicle. All four occupants reportedly suffered non life-threatening injuries.
Reportedly, all occupants in the 1993 Buick Regal were wearing seatbelts.
Officers are unsure if Luna was wearing his seatbelt.
Hickey said there were no signs of drugs or alcohol, but the incident was still under investigation.
•Number 13
A 19-year-old Sparta man was charged in the October 2008 vehicular death of high school track star Markie Voyles while a 44-year-old Cookeville man has been arrested for supplying alcohol to the teenage driver.
According to an indictment issued by White County Grand Jury, Travis B. Young, who was 18 at the time of the crash, was facing five charges in the death of 17-year-old Voyles. In addition, Douglas Balek, 44, was been charged with contributing to a minor and purchasing alcohol for a minor. According to the warrant issued for Balek, he admitted to purchasing alcohol for a party hosted by his daughter, which was attended by Young.
•Number 14
Sparta Police Sgt. Dale Dodson was fired Sept. 14, 2009, based on allegations of official misconduct, according to Police Chief Jeff Guth.
According to Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm, the TBI was requested, by the district attorney general’s office, on Sept. 15, 2009, to open an investigation about allegations of misconduct against Dodson, a 16-year veteran officer with Sparta Police Department.
The Expositor spoke with Dodson, on Sept. 25. He stated the firing was being appealed.
•Number 15
South Young Street Market was robbed at gunpoint, July 28, at approximately 7:52 p.m., and two men were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery and evading arrest.
This was the second time in two months the store has been the target of crime. Another robbery took place May 26, 2009.
According to Sparta Police Chief Jeff Guth, Cameron Shawn Green, 19, of Sparta, and Paul David Fuller, 23, of Oak Ridge, were arrested for their alleged involvement in the most recent robbery.

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