Car crashs into wrecked I-79 vehicle
A major disaster was averted early Sunday morning when a car sped past EMS workers and struck a wrecked vehicle on I-79. The incident occurred at approximately 7:09 a.m. January 12, when the driver of a 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over, while headed south on I-79 near the 60.5 mile marker.
When first responders arrived on scene, one of the three occupants had been ejected from the accident. As they attempted to render aid, a second vehicle, a 2006 Pontiac Grand Am, struck the Tahoe as it lay on its side in the middle of the south bound lane. Miraculously no additional injuries occurred as a result.
Crews from Braxton EMS transported two of the three occupants of the Tahoe and the driver of the Pontiac to Braxton County Memorial Hospital. No additional information regarding their condition was available at press-time.
The Tahoe was owned by Samantha Miller of Youngstown, OH. The Pontiac was owned by Frank E. Boytek III of New Salem, PA.
Two vehicles and then firefighters from the Sutton Fire Department as well as four volunteers and one engine from Gassaway VFD responded to the accident.
The accident is still under investigation by the Braxton County Sheriff’s Department.
Grand Jury indicts 18
On Tuesday, February 9, the latest term of the Braxton County Grand Jury convened with the Honorable Richard A. Facemire, Circuit Court Judge presiding. The jury returned indictments against 18 individuals on a total of 85 various charges.
Bobby Allen Stillwell and Ronald Duffield, both of Strange Creek, were indicted on a total of eleven misdemeanor and felony charges. West Virginia State Police SR. TPR G. Jones, Braxton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy J. Jenkins, and Deputy T. Flint were the investigating officers for these cases. Stillwell is facing the felony charges of receiving and transferring of stolen goods and conspiracy to receive and transfer stolen goods. Duffield was indicted on six felony counts, including three counts of burglary, grand larceny, breaking and entering of building other than a dwelling, and conspiracy to receive and transfer stolen goods. He is also facing five misdemeanor counts, including two counts of destruction of property, two counts of petit larceny, and obstructing an officer-false statement. Duffield has been accused of breaking and entering in various homes and camps in the Strange Creek area from March 10 to April 7, 2016. During these alleged break-ins, numerous items such as pistols, chainsaw, weedeater, jewelry, crossbow, knife, ax, and other goods were stolen. On March 26, Duffield provided Stillwell with approximately $1830 worth of stolen merchandise. Doors, locks, and window screens were damaged during the commission of the crimes.
Nathaniel James Wood of Birch River has been indicted on four felony charges, first degree arson, first degree robbery, assault during the commission of a felony, and cultivating a controlled substance-marijuana. WVSP TPR J.O. Hensley was the investigating officer. On April 22, Wood is accused of setting a camper in the Servia area on fire. He also beat and struck an individual when trying to take the victim’s wallet and cell phone. During the investigation, five marijuana plants were located near his residence.
Harry William Alderman of Gassaway, Joshua David Bohn of Oak Hill, and Jessica Denise Nicholson of Gassaway all were indicted on numerous charges. BCSD Deputy C. Westfall, WVSP SR TPR G. Jones, and SGT K. Huddleston were the investigating officers. Alderman is facing felony charges of burglary, grand larceny, conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and nighttime burglary, and the misdemeanor counts of prohibited person from possessing of a firearm, obstructing an officer, false statements and petit larceny. Bohn was indicted on nighttime burglary, grand larceny, conspiracy to commit burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, all felony counts and the misdemeanor counts of prohibited person from possessing a firearm, and obstructing-fleeing from an officer. Nicholson is facing the felony charges of nighttime burglary, grand larceny, conspiracy to commit burglary, and conspiracy to commit grand larceny. On June 4, these individual broke into a residence in Frametown. Various items were stolen including a pistol and jewelry for a total value of $1200. Both Alderman and Bohn had previous felony convictions. Also, Alderman allegedly stole a jar with approximately $5 worth of coins from another residence.
Gregory Peck Samples of Strange Creek was indicted on the felony charges of distribution and exhibition of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, three counts of wanton endangerment involving a firearm, and three counts of child neglect resulting in substantial risk of injury. Samples is accused of possessing approximately 28 images that portrayed a minor in explicit conduct from an investigation in December 2015. On August 6, 2015, the defendant allegedly fired shots in his home that was occupied by his wife and daughter at the time of the incident. WVSP TPR J. Hensley investigated these cases.
RJ Dobbins of Frametown was charged with the felony count of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-methamphetamine, and the misdemeanor counts of driving while license revoked, possession of marijuana, and carrying a deadly weapon without a license. WVSP TFC S. Baier investigated the incident on March 10, 2016 that started with a traffic stop. Dobbins’ license was revoked for DUI. Two separate containers containing methamphetamine was found, along with less than 15 grams of marijuana. Also two knives with 3.5 inch blades were discovered.
Travis Lee Cook of Burnsville faces indictments for the felony charges of burglary, entry without breaking of a building, and grand larceny. WVSP CPL P. Huff was investigating the alleged burglary in Frametown from May 2016 in which several tools, including saws, weedeater, pipe cutter, brad air guns, pipe wrenches, and metal detector was stolen. The total for the items taken was $1883.85.
Blake David Edinger was indicted on the felony charge of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana. He was also indicted for the misdemeanor counts of driving with suspended license, domestic assault, brandishing deadly weapon, and carrying a deadly weapon without a license. On May 12, 2016, WVSP SGT K. Huddleston found several bags of marijuana in Edinger’s vehicle after a traffic stop. He was also accused of striking a female on her head and threatening her with a gun.
Melinda Carter, from Gassaway, was indicted for delivery of controlled substance-Buprenorphine and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-Buprenorphine, both felonies. On May 22, 2015, Carter sold Buprenorphine to a confidential informant during a controlled buy set up by WVSP TPR J. Tallman.
Samuel Adam Tanner of Frametown faces indictments for the felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance-methamphetamine and the misdemeanor charge of prohibited person in possession of a firearm. On May 20, 2016, Tanner sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant for cash. During the execution of a search warrant, two guns, a shotgun and a rifle, were located in his residence. WVSP TFC L. Mohr investigated.
Mary A. Ellis of Duck and Frankie Dewayne Clowser II of Sutton have been indicted on the felony charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-marijuana, possession of controlled substance-methamphetamine and conspiracy On April 30, 2016, both Ellis and Clowser were in a vehicle stopped by WVSP TPR E. Schoolcraft. Several bags of marijuana were found in the vehicle and meth was also located.
James Brett Wright and Ashley Nichole Markle, both of Sutton, were indicted on three felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance-methamphetamine and three felony counts of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance-methamphetamine. WVSP TPR Schoolcraft used a confidential informant to purchase the meth in a controlled buy on July 11, 2016.
Sutton residents, Richard Cory Barker and Melissa Shawntell Graham were both indicted on two felony charges of delivery of a controlled substance-oxycodone and two felony charges of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance-oxycodone. WVSP TPR Schoolcraft used a confidential informant to purchase the oxycodone in a controlled buy on June 4, 2016.
(Editor’s Note: The return of an indictment by a Grand Jury indicates that a person has been charged formally by the State with the commission of a crime or crimes. It is an accusation. The U.S. Constitution provides that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the State. Upon entering a pleas of innocent, persons accused of a crime are entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers. The guilt or innocence of the accused is determined by a Petit Jury, not by means of an indictment by a Grand Jury.)
McDonald’s owner presents
Leadership Lecture to freshmen
McDonald’s owner John Ebert (center) provided a Leadership Lecture to the freshman class. Also pictured (L to R) Lisa Cook, McDonalds marketing director, David Dilly, Superintendent of Schools, BCHS Principal Jessica Pierson, Assistant Principal Flora Cox, and Susan Dilly, Coordinator of Healthy Schools.
On Monday, February 13, Braxton County High School freshmen attended a leadership lecture presented by John Ebert, Owner/Operator of 41 McDonald’s Restaurants in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania including the Flatwoods location.
Susan Dilly, Coordinator for Healthy Schools, collaborated with the Eagles Experience teacher, Marinda Locke, to bring this opportunity to the freshman class. The Eagles Experience class works with the students teaching leadership skill and to learn about different career opportunities.
Dilly has worked with Ebert in the past with ACT Math Prep courses and scholarship opportunities through the McDonald’s corporation. “When I learned about his leadership lecture, I felt this would be beneficial to the students in the Eagles Experience class,” commented Dilly.
According to Locke, “Most of the speakers I have come in to talk with the students do it for every class individually. But with Mr. Ebert’s busy schedule, we decided, and worked it out, so he could do the whole freshman class at one time in the gymnasium.”
“He is known to give back to the communities and help students do well so they succeed. This leadership lecture is just another one of those opportunities.”
Ebert, originally from Ohio, attended Notre Dame and majored in accounting. He started his career in Dallas for a large accounting firm, Arthur Young. After several years with the firm, he decided to leave and go into the McDonald’s training program to work toward owning his own restaurant. His first McDonalds was in Bridgeport, WV in 1990.
He spoke to the student about different ways to be a leader and succeed. Being organized, planning, making every day count, positive attitude, staying healthy, constantly learning new information, setting a good example, staying true to your word, and adding value to others all are ways to succeed.
Ebert also spoke to the students about being present everyday in school and striving to be the best student they can be. He provided an ACT Math Prep course to the high school students in the Fall of 2015 and hopes to provide another this coming fall. During his presentation he showed the students ways to answer some of the math questions quickly and efficiently without using the direct formulas involved. Preparing for standardize tests and the ACT/SAT, were emphasized to become better students and on to being future leaders.
He brought several students forward with opportunities to learn about the interview process. Ebert talked to them about the importance of eye contact and a firm handshake, as well as, having a positive attitude.
At the end of the presentation, students were provided information about the Archways Scholarship. This scholarship provides $700 per year, up to $2800 over four years, for tuition assistance to McDonald’s employees.
Sutton man arrested on burglary
Gary “Boomer” Cogar, 29, of Sutton was recently charg-ed with grand larceny and burglary.
According to the criminal complaint, Braxton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy C.E. Westfall responded to a burglary in progress on Cline Drive on January 24. When he arrived on scene, the deputy talked with the caller. She stated she had walked into the residence to feed the cats and noticed someone in the basement. The caller said she saw someone leave the basement and run out of sight into the woods behind the residence.
Deputy Westfall also received a verbal statement that there was a Toyota truck sitting at the bottom of the hill that was strange and out of place. As he was leaving the driveway to investigate the truck, the officer observed Cogar speeding away from the area in a Toyota truck. Deputy Westfall also witnessed the suspect almost hit an oncoming vehicle.
The deputy pursued Cogar but was unable to make contact with him. He was able to get a statement from the driver of the vehicle that the suspect almost hit, and the driver also identified the driver of the Toyota truck as Cogar.
On January 30, Deputy Westfall received a recorded statement from a confidential informant. In the statement, the informant said that Cogar had admitted to breaking into the house located on Cline Drive and stealing jewelry. He told the officer that there was a stash of jewelry hid in the woods behind the residence that the suspect had placed.
Deputy Westfall searched the area and was able to locate the jewelry which collaborated the informant’s statement. The victim had stated she had lost over $1000.00 in jewelry.
Cogar is currently in the Central Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash only bond set by Braxton County Magistrate Beth Smith awaiting additional court proceedings.
Several have day in Circuit Court
Several court orders were recently completed by the Honorable Richard A. Facemire in the Braxton County Circuit Court. Braxton County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Hamon McLaughlin represented the state for these hearings.
Teddy Campbell appeared before the court on January 18 for a plea hearing with his attorney, Tyler Mason. Both parties had reached a plea agreement for the felony charge of fraudulent schemes. The defendant agreed to plea guilty to the charge and the state agreed to dismiss all other charges that are pending and remain silent at sentencing. Campbell also agreed to pay restitution to the victim in the matter. Judge Facemire moved to delay sentencing in order to have a pre-sentence investigation report completed. Sentencing is scheduled for February 21 beginning at 1:30 pm.
Edsel Westfall and his attorney, Jeff Davis came before Judge Facemire for a sentencing hearing. The defense moved for alternative sentencing for the felony conviction of cultivating a controlled substance-marijuana. The state recommended probation as per the plea agreement. Westfall was sentenced to the state penitentiary for a period of no less than one year but no more than five years. However, the court granted the motion for alternative sentencing. The defendant’s sentence was suspended, all but ten days to be served at the Central Regional Jail on weekends and he was placed on five years of probation.
Dottie Jo Westfall along with her attorney, Bryan Hinkle, came before the court for sentencing on the misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance-marijuana. The defense moved for alternative sentencing and the state recommended probation as part of the plea agreement. Judge Facemire ordered a sentence of six months in the county jail, but granted the motion for probation. Her sentence was suspended and she was placed on three years probation.
On September 21, Roy Rhodes appeared before Judge Facemire for a probation revocation order. He was represented by his attorney, Andrew Chattin. The Braxton County Probation Office was represented by Jacob Foster. Through counsel, Rhodes admitted to the allegations in the revocation petition. The defense requested he be placed on probation again and the state requested the defendant be sentenced to serve sixty days of incarceration before being reinstated to probation. The court denied the motion for alternative sentencing stating the defendant’s prior criminal record for the same offense, his unemployment and nomadic lifestyle. For the felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance-methamphetamine, the court sentenced Rhodes to a period of no less than one year but no more than five years in the state penitentiary. For the misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance-hydrocodone, he was sentenced to six months to run concurrent.
Crystal Bickford and attorney, Teresa Munk, appeared before the court for a probation revocation hearing on September 14. Also present was Mike Haley from the Braxton County Probation Office. The court listened to sworn testimony from Haley, Bickford, and a third individual before finding the defendant in direct violation of the terms and conditions of her probation by living in a home of known drug users. Bickford requested that she be placed on home confinement and readmitted to probation, but the state requested she be sentenced to serve 120 days incarceration before being reinstated to probation. Judge Facemire denied the motion for alternative sentencing stating she was in need of correctional treatment in a correctional setting and anything other than incarceration would depreciate the seriousness of the offense. For the felony charge of conspiracy, the court sentenced Bickford to the state penitentiary for a period of no less than one year but no more than five years. The court also ordered that should the defendant find placement in a long term rehabilitation center, he would consider a motion to reconsider sentence and allow Bickford to attend the center.
On September 12, James Douglas Key and attorney, Chattin, appeared before Judge Facemire for a sentencing hearing. The defense moved to readmit the defendant back to probation and the state made no objection to this motion. The court ordered Key to a sentence of no less than 10 years but no more than 25 years for the felony count of failure to register as a sexual offender-second or subsequent offense. But the court granted the motion for probation and suspended all but 30 days of the sentence. The defendant was placed on five years of probation.
On August 8, Roger Furby along with attorney, Clinton Bischoff, came before the court for sentencing. The defense moved for alternative sentencing and the state remained silent per the plea agreement. The court said it was troubled by the defendant’s criminal record; therefore Furby was sentenced to no more than one year for the misdemeanor offense of violation of a domestic violence petition and no more than one year for the misdemeanor offense of destruction of property to run consecutively. However, Judge Facemire granted in part the motion for probation. Furby is to serve the sentence for the violation of a protective order. The sentence for destruction of property was suspended and he would be admitted to probation for a period of five years.
Welding students making advancments
Braxton County High School Welding Instructor, Jason Wayne, stated his students have been “busy and working hard” recently.
Two students, Adam Barnett and Colton Buckhannon, became certified in SMAW pipe and one student, Colton Knight in SMAW plate. Also, Wyatt Barrett was certified in GMAW plate. SMAW stands for Shielded Metal Arc Welding, which is stick welding, and GMAW stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding or what is more commonly know as mig welding.
All are planning to work in the welding field after graduation. Barnette specifically wants to be a boilermaker.
“These four young men have worked very hard to achieve these accomplishments,” stated Wayne. “All of my students know that I am more than willing to help them achieve their goals, and I feel responsible for also teaching them 21st Century skill, which includes collaboration, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.”
“Coach Wayne helps us a lot,” according to Knight. “Sometimes it seems like he’s being hard on us, but he is just pushing us to do better and live up to our potential.”
On top of the welding certifications, eighteen seniors have also passed their CPR/First Aid training and received their certification cards.
Wayne stated, “I feel our class went very well. I was very impressed with the interest these 18 students showed in learning skills to maybe help save someone’s life someday.”
The students learned First Aid, CPR and even how to operate an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). A written exam and also a skill performance exam had to be successfully completed before they could receive their card from the American Heart Association.
“I took the instructor course last year knowing this would help my students further their skills and knowledge, making them more employable,” he said.
Wayne’s welding class fabricated a utility trailer that will be raffled off on February14 at 12:30pm, with the help of Singleton Trailer Sales. Singleton’s helped the class get the materials needed to fabricate a 12’x 6’4"utility trailer to raise money to support the welding class at the high school.
“Without their help it would have been very difficult to assemble such a nice trailer to offer to the public,” he stated. “This project was very helpful to my students by teaching them fabrication skills and even wiring skills when we wired up the lights.”
Wayne commented, “Thanks to everyone that supported our program by purchasing tickets.”
Another event for the welding class was Weyerhaueser donating $350.
Weyerhauser has always been a big supporter of the BCHS welding program. Over the years they have donated not only money, but also materials for the classroom.
“They were generous enough to let my seniors have a field trip to their plant in Heaters last year. I’m hoping to go again this year with my seniors.”
All the students in the welding class signed a Thank You poster board, but according to Wayne, “that seems so little for everything they do!”
The monetary donation has been put to good use purchasing materials for the classroom like welding rods and saw blades,