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Crime
Police arrest suspects in recent criminal cases

Jones

Police have been busy arresting people for alleged assaults, theft-related offenses and shootings.

Two of those taken into custody are being held on high bonds and have extensive prior records.

One of the two being held on a high bond, Curtiss Jones, 38, is charged with first-degree burglary, misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and felony habitual misdemeanor assault.

Police at 3:07 a.m. on Nov. 2 responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the 700 block of South Church Street and officers found two men fighting.

The officers found out that Jones had shattered a window, entered the residence and started attacking Emanuel Anderson, a city spokesman said.

Jones had swung a knife blade at Anderson, who had suffered minor abrasions, Nash County District Court records said.

Jones, who listed an address in the 1100 block of Southwest Main Street, remains jailed on a $300,000 secured bond in the Edgecombe County Detention Center, Nash County Chief Deputy Brandon Medina said.

State Public Safety records show Jones was convicted in 2017 in Nash County for multiple prior larcenies, in 2015 in Edgecombe County for breaking and entering vehicles and in 2015 in Nash County for larceny and conspiracy to use or possess drug paraphernalia.

The records also show Jones was convicted in 2012 in Nash County for possession of illegal drugs, in 2011 in Nash County for assault on a female and larceny, in 2007 in Nash County for larceny and resisting an officer and in 2006 in Edgecombe County for common law robbery.

The records also show Jones was convicted in 2002 in Nash County for maintaining a place for the purpose of a controlled substance and possessing a controlled substance and in 2001 in Nash County for use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

The second person being held on a high bond, Tyre Warren, 27, is charged with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon, misdemeanor injury to personal property and misdemeanor resisting a public officer.

Police at 12:31 a.m. on Oct. 30 responded to a report of a shooting with an injury in the 1000 block of West Thomas Street.

Warren was uncooperative, but officers found out Warren had suffered a gunshot wound to one of his wrists during a robbery earlier in the 1100 block of Cokey Road, the city spokesman said.

Warren, who listed an address in the 300 block of McDonald Street, is jailed on a $260,000 secured bond in the Nash County Detention Center, Medina said.

State Public Safety records show Warren was convicted in 2018 in Nash County for felony breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and breaking and entering vending machines.

The records also show Warren was convicted in 2017 in Nash County for felony breaking and entering and larceny and in 2013 in Edgecombe County for conspiring to discharge a firearm into an occupied vehicle and felony breaking and entering.

The records also show Warren was convicted in 2011 in Edgecombe County for felony breaking and entering, misdemeanor breaking and entering, aiding and abetting misdemeanor breaking and entering and simple assault and in 2011 in Nash County for misdemeanor breaking and entering.

Another person with an extensive prior record, Tyrod Whitehead, 43, is charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon, misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor discharging a weapon within the city limits.

An officer on patrol at 2:12 a.m. on Oct. 20 heard the sound of a gunshot in the Meadowbrook area, the city spokesman said.

The officer subsequently found out a domestic dispute was occurring at a location along Glendale Drive and was told by Glenda Davis that her boyfriend, Whitehead, had shot at her, the spokesman said.

Officers found a spent shell casing on the ground and found the firearm underneath vegetation in the backyard, the spokesman said.

Specifically, Whitehead used a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol in shooting at Davis, Edgecombe County District Court records said.

Bond for Whitehead was set at $2,500 secured, the city spokesman said.

Whitehead, who listed an address in the 4300 block of Sloop Court in the Battleboro area, posted the bond, Edgecombe County District Court records said.

State Public Safety records show Whitehead was convicted in 2009 in Nash County for resisting an officer and carrying a concealed weapon and in 2004 in Edgecombe County for assault on a female and simple assault.

The records also show Whitehead was convicted in 2003 in Edgecombe County and in Nash County for driving while impaired.

The records also show Whitehead was convicted in 1999 in Edgecombe County for driving while impaired and driving while his license was revoked and in 1997 in Nash County for possession of illegal drugs and simple assault.


Local
featured
Sunset Avenue project plans outlined

An upgraded Sunset Avenue on the western to northwestern side of the city could have a roundabout intersection with Buck Leonard Boulevard and Forest Hill Avenue and would have a simpler intersection at Winstead Avenue and a traffic control signal at Weatherstone Drive.

Additionally, to help slow down traffic, the center turn lane on Sunset from Buck Leonard and Forest Hill to Halifax Road would be replaced with a tree-lined median and the speed limit would be decreased from 45 mph to 35 mph.

The details were outlined by a representative of the Stantec consulting firm.

The firm has been conducting a study to determine a long-range vision for the busy, roughly 2.5-mile corridor — and, in turn, to have new gateways and spur private redevelopment of land and structures.

The total cost of such a project would be about $10.7 million.

The roundabout would cost about $2.2 million, while work on the segment from Buck Leonard and Forest Hill to Winstead would cost roughly $3.7 million and work on the segment from Winstead to Halifax would cost roughly $4.7 million.

Stantec’s Mike Rutkowski on Wednesday told an online open house what he believes to be the bottom line.

“This corridor is unfortunately unsafe,” Rutkowski said, noting that this is compared to similar roadways statewide. Rutkowski also noted the corridor has quite limited lengths of sidewalks.

In speaking about the intersection with Buck Leonard and Forest Hill, Rutkowski said he and team members looked at two options. One would be to clean up the design of the present intersection. The other would be to have a roundabout, which is a circle junction designed to keep traffic flowing.

“The No. 1 traffic-calming device in America is a roundabout. No one is flying through a roundabout more than 15 or 20 mph,” Rutkowski said.

Rutkowski also said he and his team have heard much support in the community for a roundabout at Buck Leonard and Forest Hill.

Rutkowski also referred to the boulevard being named for Leonard, who lived from 1907 to 1997 and who in 1972 was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“Why not celebrate your historic character by putting a monument in here or something that celebrates the city, ‘The Center of It All?’” Rutkowski said of a roundabout.

When Rutkowski showed the intersection of Sunset and Winstead, he said, “Here’s the big bugaboo” and illustrated the present nine-lane design of Winstead on the north side of the intersection.

Rutkowski said he believes the present three northbound lanes of Winstead north of the intersection are unnecessary because no feeder approach requires that many lanes. He said those three lanes should be reduced to two.

There presently are six southbound lanes of Winstead approaching the intersection.

Rutkowski said the proposal is to eliminate the exterior right turn lane from southbound Winstead onto westbound Sunset but to keep the inner right turn lane. The problem, Rutkowski said, is that the inner right turn lane is hardly used because motorists are afraid to make the right when a vehicle is alongside to the right.

Rutkowski said he and his team also have pedestrians in mind because reducing the number of lanes would shorten the walking distance over the part of Winstead immediately to the north of the intersection.

When Rutkowski showed the proposed traffic control signal at Weatherstone, he said the reason for having one there would be due to the large gap between the signals at Candlewood Road and Halifax.

Rutkowski also cited the need for having a continuous traffic control system along the corridor.

As for the present overall design of Sunset, Rutkowski referred to the center turn lane.

“And honestly, in terms of safety and crashes, that’s causing a lot of problems,” Rutkowski said. He said that is because a motorist does not know who has the right of way when he or she enters that center turn lane.

In fact, Rutkowski said, about 45 percent of the accidents on the corridor are resulting from angle wrecks — that is, when motorists sideswipe other motorists.

Rutkowski said certain intersections would be redesigned with curbs moved back a bit to permit U-turns by those driving larger vehicles.

As for the present 45 mph speed limit on the corridor, Rutkowski said, “Honestly, folks, if it’s posted 45 that means people are going 55 — and that’s nothing you want in your urban area.

“So we would advocate for that speed limit to be dropped to 35,” Rutkowski said. “It still means people can progress through there, but it’s more of a controlled speed, because we’re going to see a lot more bicycle, pedestrian and transit users here.”

At the same time, Rutkowski made clear that the proposal does not call for having lanes for bicyclists in the roadway because there are so many cars on the corridor. Instead, Rutkowski said, the proposal calls for a roughly 8- to 10-foot multi-use path along Sunset for use by bicyclists, joggers and walkers.

The path would be on the south side of Sunset from the intersection with Buck Leonard and Forest Hill to Winstead and from Winstead the path would be on the north side of Sunset to Halifax.

Rutkowski also made clear that the proposal calls for high-visibility crosswalks.

Rutkowski said the work already has included analyses of data, public input and a design workshop.

The City Council in March signed off on the Stantec firm to do the study of Sunset from Buck Leonard and Forest Hill to Halifax, with the work to cost nearly $115,000 and the state Transportation Department to pay 80 percent of the amount.


Local
State Supreme Court candidates await results of election recount

NASHVILLE — The Nash and Edgecombe county elections boards were both engaged in recount efforts Thursday as the fate of the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court hangs in the balance.

Justice Paul Newby, a Republican, so far has garnered just over 400 more votes statewide than his opponent, Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. More than 5.5 million votes were cast in that election. As result, Beasley has requested a recount of all ballots in each county in the state. The cost of the recount is borne by each county.

Patrick Gannon, a public information officer with the State Board of Elections, sent out a statement Tuesday reminding the public of why such recounts are important.

“In a 2016 statewide recount in the state auditor’s race, Chuck Stuber trailed Beth Wood by about 6,000 votes before the recount. After the recount, Wood won by about 6,050 votes out of more than 4.5 million cast in that election,” Gannon said.

Small variances are expected between the canvassed results and the recount results in such elections, he said.

“Because ballots are scanned again through the tabulator, which may be a different tabulator, partial or stray marks on the ballot may be counted differently the second time. This may result in counts that are marginally different from the initial count by roughly a couple votes per 100,000 ballots cast,” Gannon said in the press release. “Some counties are using high-speed tabulators to expedite their recounts, which also may result in slight variances from the results from the smaller precinct tabulators that first counted the ballots.”

Attorney Steve Stevenson, a member of the executive committee of the Nash County Republican Party, was present at the recount held Thursday at the Nash County Agriculture Center.

“This is a very tedious process and about as exciting as watching gray paint dry,” Stevenson said. “But it is a necessary process.”

Stevenson said that the recount especially is important considering the nature of the race.

“It is important because this recount is for the chief justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and that position is tremendously important. I know both individuals in this contest and have a tremendous amount of respect for both individuals,” Stevenson said. “To ensure that one or the other is properly elected is why I felt it was appropriate for me to be here.”

While most ballots were rescanned, some ballots that had been rejected by the scanners were being processed hand-to-eye by both Democratic and Republican checkers. The process was overseen by Nash County Elections Director John Kearney, who operated the scanner. Two members of the Nash County Board of Elections, one Republican and one Democrat, also watched over the process in addition to other observers, including Stevenson.

Based on his observations, Stevenson said the recount seemed to be fairly conducted.

“I am very impressed with the organization of this particular recount in this county,” he said. “I have the ability to oversee everything as an observer. There is nothing here that concerns me.”

The State Board of Elections is posting the results of the recounts on its website. As of press time, the Nash County Board of Elections posted that Beasley had gained two votes in the recount. Edgecombe County results were not yet in.

Results can be found at https://www.ncsbe.gov/2020-statewide-recount-results.

Even when the recount ends, the results of the election still may not be immediately clear.

State law provides that if the initial recount is not hand-to-eye, which this is not, and does not reverse the results, that Beasley may demand a hand-to-eye recount in a sample of precincts. If the recount reversed the results, Newby would have the same right to ask for a hand-to-eye recount in a sample of precincts. The sample would be all ballots in 3 percent of the precincts and early voting sites in that county, chosen at random, Gannon said in the press release.

If results of the hand-to-eye recount differ from the previous results within those precincts to the extent that extrapolating the amount of the change to the entire jurisdiction, based on the proportion of ballots recounted to the total votes cast for that office, would result in the reversing of the results, then the State Board of Elections would order a hand-to-eye recount of all ballots statewide, he said.

Recount results are official results. The results of the recount will be considered the official results for the chief justice race, Gannon said.


Local
Commissioners honor retiring board member

Nash County commissioners took time out earlier this week to honor outgoing Commissioner Lou Richardson.

Richardson, who is retiring from the board, will be replaced by Marvin Arrington, who will assume the District 1 seat at the board’s Dec. 7 meeting.

Richardson has served on the board for 25 years. She was appointed to the District 1 seat after her husband, former Commissioner Kermit Richardson, died in 1995. Since then, she has been elected to the seat in every election since her appointment.

“During her long tenure as a member of the Board of County Commissioners of Nash County, Lou Richardson has always worked diligently to represent the needs of all Nash County citizens, and her service, wisdom and guidance to Nash County have contributed to the growth and economic welfare of Nash County,” county commissioners stated in a resolution approved Monday.

During her tenure on the board, Richardson has seen many changes in Nash County and has contributed to the completion of several projects that have enriched the residents of Nash County. Some of these efforts include the addition of a Senior Services Department and two operating Senior Centers and the establishment of a Human Resources Department.

She also was a part of the beginning of a Public Utilities Department, which has since expanded as Nash County now owns and operates the Central Nash Water and Sewer System and currently is establishing the Northern Nash Water System. The establishment of a countywide Parks and Recreation Department came during her tenure, and Richardson was an especially strong supporter of this endeavor, according to the resolution.

Richardson long has been an important contributor to the pollical process in Nash County and has been a member of the Nash County Democratic Women for 35 years. She also has demonstrated her public service in numerous ways by serving on various committees and being an active member of the Pine Chapel Baptist Church for more than 70 years, the resolution stated.

“Mrs. Richardson’s excellent attendance record at Board of Commissioner meetings, joint school board meetings, special called meetings and recess meetings is strong evidence of her dedication to Nash County, and her love for Nash County is exceeded only by the deep love she has for her family,” Nash County commissioners stated in the resolution. “The efforts and contributions of Mrs. Richardson will be long remembered and appreciated by her fellow commissioners and the citizens of Nash County.”


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