Monthly Archives: September 2016

Students to practice traffic stops at Columbus East

Members of the C-4 criminal justice program will be taking part in mock traffic-stops Thursday at Columbus East High School. Gene Hack explains…

Hack explains some of the situations students will have to deal with…

Hack says that the main thrust of the exercise is to tech students how to be safe, and keep other drivers safe, when they execute a traffic stop. He adds that those students taking part in in a two-year program, with those in the second-year conducting the stops and the first-year students observing.

Survivor of fatal Jennings County crash facing charges

Authorities don’t believe there was foul play involved in the death of a Seymour woman in a rural Jennings County crash. But what happened next has led to charges against the man driving the SUV.

37-year-old Nikki K. Hobbs Reed, of Seymour died Sept. 17th in an accident on U.S. 50 when the SUV she was riding in went off the road, down an embankment and crashed into a tree. Her death appears to have come shortly after the crash, according to an autopsy says Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, of the Indiana State Police.

But a police investigation into why the driver, 39-year-old Kevin E. Bell, of Dover, Pennsylvania took three days to leave the wreckage and crawl for help, has led to a string of charges. Wheeles said that when Bell was found on the side of the road and initially questioned, he didn’t mention the wreck just down the embankment, or that Reed had died and was still inside the vehicle, Wheeles said.

Bell was hospitalized at an Indianapolis hospital for his injuries and then released. Yesterday a warrant was issued for his arrest after a review of the investigation by Jennings County Prosecutor’s office on felony charges including driving while suspended causing death and leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Misdemeanor charges include failure to report a dead body, driving while suspended and false informing.

Bell’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Joint raid leads to finding of “bad heroin” source

Christopher P. Rees
Christopher P. Rees

Columbus and Bartholomew County authorities believe they have made an arrest that will get to the source of bad heroin in the community that is causing overdoses.

Last night the county Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, the federal DEA and the Columbus police community policing unit served a search warrant on a residence in the 300 block of Hope Avenue. Investigators found about five grams of what they believe to be bad heroin and added that to another nine grams found during the investigation, says Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the county sheriff’s department.

Corey B. Hofelich
Corey B. Hofelich

The bad heroin is cut with ingredients like powerful painkillers that increase the likelihood of a drug overdose. Although there have been many overdoses, no one in Bartholomew County has died from the recent surge of bad heroin, authorities say.

22-year-old Christopher P. Rees of Columbus is facing preliminary charges of dealing and possessing, while 21-year-old Andrew C. Ash of Columbus and 22-year-old Corey B. Hofelich are both facing preliminary charges of possession of heroin.

Andrew C. Ash
Andrew C. Ash

Other charges include:

  • Rees — Possession of marijuana,and maintaining a common nuisance.
  • Ash — possession of paraphernalia, and maintaining a common nuisance.
  • Hofelich — Possession of a legend injection device, possession of paraphernalia and visiting a common nuisance.

The charges could be enhanced because the location is within 1,000 feet of Foundation for Youth. The investigation continues and more arrests are expected, Jackson said.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Task Force is a combined unit of sheriff’s deputies, Columbus police and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office targeting drugs in the community.

Hospice says 30th-anniversary concert raised most so far

Our Hospice of South Central Indiana is reporting that this year’s concert at Mill Race Park was the best fundraiser for the organization so far.

Raffle sales and sponsorships meant more than $120,000 in net revenue for this year’s event with Peter Cetera. That’s about $10,000 more than expected, says Laura Hurt, with the agency.

The grand prize winner in the raffle was Carol B. Shoultz. Other raffle winners included:

  • First Prize – Mary Lou Slattery
  • Second Prize – Kris Gohn
  • Third Prize – Jane Jennings
  • Fourth Prize – Kathy Sasena
  • Fire pit and grill table – David Banks
  • Grill and smoker combo – Brent Howell
  • Just right upright grill (Minion) – Steve Drews

Faurecia was the title sponsor for this year’s event, which drew more than 8,000 people. This year’s concert over Labor Day weekend was the 30th anniversary concert.

VIMCare welcomes new doctor

Columbus Regional Health is welcoming a new VIMCare physician.

The hospital says that Amy Hale, M.D., is the newest member of the staff.

CRH says that Dr. Hale graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Franciscan St. Francis Health, in Indianapolis, in family medicine.

The Columbus native and Columbus North High School graduate also served two years in Swaziland as a United States Peace Corps volunteer and worked to provide health screenings to rural Hondurans, says the hospital.

Dr. Hale is the primary care physician at VIMCare Clinic, formerly known as Volunteers in Medicine. VIMCare Clinic has been designed to provide care to patients without a primary care physician who have HIP 2.0 or other Medicaid coverage, as well as the uninsured in Bartholomew County.

VIMCare Clinic is located within Columbus Regional Hospital in the former Emergency Department. Qualified patients seeking care can call VIMCare Clinic at 812-375-3660. More information is also available at

North Vernon continues work on 2017 budget

As the city of North Vernon works to finalize its 2017 budget, the city council is looking for ways to deal with a lack of revenue. During the council’s meeting Monday night, a large crowd gathered to call on the council to fully fund a request from the Senior Resource Center for $10,000. During earlier budget hearings, council members cut that amount in half. Connie Rayburn addressed the crowd…

Ford’s Crossing is the former golf course that went out of business that city officials indicated a desire to turn into a park.

Rayburn stressed that she, and all council members, think that the Senior Resource Center does excellent work. She says that it is simply a matter of making the best use out of the tax dollars available.

The city council is scheduled to go over the final numbers again on Thursday evening before making a final vote on the budget on October 11th.

Seymour Oktoberfest opens Thursday

This year’s Seymour Oktoberfest is about to get underway. Zach Clark is vice-president of the organization that is putting the event together. He says that while the event opens to the public on Thursday, not-for-profit groups get an entire day to themselves…

Clark says that the carnival rides are always popular. He adds that you have a little time left to get your pre-sale bracelets for the those rides…

Along with the carnival rides, food and beer, Clark says that there is a special focus on activities for the kids…

Among the events scheduled are a baloon glow, baloon race and the annual parade on Saturday…

For more on Oktoberfest, visit

Shelbyville looking to hire more police officers

The Shelbyville Police Department is accepting applications for police officers.

The department currently has one job opening, but anticipates at least two more openings in the first half of 2017. Shelbyville officials say that the hiring process will be conducted “aggressively,” with conditional employment offers being extended in mid-November. They add that the target start date for the new officers will be this January.

Those interested in applying for these positions must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 21-years-old and are required to hold a police officer certification recognized by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board prior to appointment.

The Shelbyville Police Department says that applications must be received, via, by Oct. 10. They add that the entry-level salary for these positions is $46,094 per year.