Monthly Archives: March 2017

Traffic stop leads to arrest on drug charges

Samantha K. Gay; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.
Samantha K. Gay; photo courtesy of Columbus Police Dept.

A Morgantown woman was arrested on drug charges police say she failed to stop at an intersection on Thursday afternoon. Lt. Matt Harris, spokesman for the Columbus Police Department, says that Sgt. Ben Goodin saw the violation at Middle Road and Poshard Drive shortly after 2 p.m. During the traffic stop, Goodin said the driver appeared visibly nervous and did not make eye contact with him. The woman allegedly gave officers a driver license that belonged to someone else. Harris says the woman then falsely identified herself a second time. Officers determined a short time later that the driver was 37-year-old Samantha K. Gay. Harris says that Gay was taken into custody and told police that there were drugs inside the vehicle. During a search of Gay’s purse, officers reportedly found seven bags of methamphetamine. Police also allegedly found marijuana, pipes with drug residue, two digital scales, 70 syringes and other drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.

Gay was arrested and taken to the Bartholomew County Jail. While there, officers reported finding an additional bag of methamphetamine that Gay had tried to hide in her clothing. They also learned that the woman was wanted on a Brown County warrant for Dealing Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

As a result of Thursday’s arrest, police say that Gay is facing additional preliminary charges of:

Dealing in Methamphetamine Greater than 10 Grams (Level 2 Felony)
Possession of Methamphetamine 10-28 Grams (Level 4 Felony)
Trafficking with an Inmate (Level 5 Felony)
Possession of a Legend Drug Injection Device (Level 6 Felony)
False Informing (Class B Misdemeanor)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class C Misdemeanor)
Possession of Marijuana (Class B Misdemeanor)

Greensburg teen facing rape charge as an adult

A Decatur County teenager was arrested for rape and is facing prosecution as an adult. WRBI radio in Batesville is reporting that 17-year-old Paul W. Rose, of Greensburg, is facing charges of Rape, Sexual Battery, and Criminal Confinement against a younger girl.

The station is reporting that the incident happened in January. The following month, investigators met with the alleged victim. She reportedly told them that her encounter with Rose began as consensual, but as it escalated, she asked Rose to stop. In the report, police say that Rose refused to stop and wouldn’t let her leave.

WRBI is reporting that Rose’s bond was set at $10,000 and a jury trial has been scheduled for July 26.

For more on this story, visit

Bureau warns of scam targeting grandparents

The Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana is warning of a scam targeting seniors in the area. They are calling it the grandparents scam.

Tim Maniscalo, president and CEO of the bureau, explains that authorities see an increase of these types of scams around spring break, when college students are frequently traveling.

The scammers will claim to be from a jail or hospital or even your grandchild and say that your relative needs immediate help financially.

They could also require you to purchase a prepaid card such as an app store card or a Green Dot card.

Maniscalo says that a legitimate authority is never going to ask you to wire transfer money or to make a payment by buying store cards or pre-paid debit cards.

Unfortunately, many of these scammers operate from overseas and there is little that can be done to get your money back. He said that these scammers are preying on people’s good nature and their desire to help family members.

Maniscalo suggests that people check the Better Business Bureau website for a frequently updated Scam Tracker. It allows users to focus on current scams being reported locally.

For more information, go to the Better Business Bureau of Central Indiana’s Scam Tracker.  

Philharmonic to present Bible-inspired epic Saturday

The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic will be presenting a Bible-inspired performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” on Saturday evening at Columbus North High School’s Erne Auditorium.

The philharmonic’s conductor and musical director David Bowden says that the show will feature world renowned bass baritone Timothy Noble. Noble may be best known locally as the singer of the National Anthem at IU basketball games.

The show will also feature a young, local performer, Ally Parker. She performs with the Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir.

Other featured performers include Rachel J. Holland, Hannah Penn and Justin Stolz.

The performance tells the story of Elijah from 2 Kings including his confrontation with the priests of Baal and flight from Queen Jezebel. Bowden talks about what makes the arrangement so powerful.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the high school. It will be preceded by a Musically Speaking session with Bowden at 6:45 p.m..

Tickets are available for the show at the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic offices on Franklin Street or you can go online to

Store evacuates after lightning strike

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.
Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.

A suspected lightning strike led to the evacuation of the Bed Bath and Beyond store in Columbus yesterday afternoon.

Columbus firefighters were called to the store on National Road at about 1:05 p.m. Thursday on a report of the smell of smoke in the building. By the time firefighters arrived, the store staff of five employees and about 10 customers were being evacuated. Managers told firefighters that they believed the building had been hit by lightning.

Capt. Mike Wilson says firefighters investigated and discovered that the smell of smoke was strongest closest to the entrance and store sensors were detecting a problem in the air conditioning system.

Firefighters went to the roof where they found discoloration on the breaker box. They unhooked the unit and store managers said they would be getting the damaged air conditioning unit repaired.

Two stolen vehicles recovered; one found burning

Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department.
Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Bartholomew County deputies recovered two stolen vehicles this week. One was running and one was burning.

The sheriff’s department reports that deputies were called to the scene of a reported grass fire just before 10 p.m. Wednesday evening.. That’s where they discovered two vehicles in the woods near South County Road 100W. A Honda Prelude that had been reported stolen in the Edinburgh area was on fire, while a Chevy truck stolen from Columbus was undamaged, but the engine was still running.

Last year there were 79 reported vehicle thefts in Bartholomew County and so far this year there have already been 25, according to statistics from teh sheriff’s department.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers is warning you to make sure to keep your vehicles locked, especially if you have valuables inside. He said that even extends to garage door openers, which a thief could use to break into your home, even without keys. He says not to make it easy for a thief to take your belongings, whether your valuables or your vehicle itself.

The sheriff urges anyone who sees suspicious activity to report it. He says that suspicious activities include any circumstances which seem out of place in your neighborhood.

If you see something that looks wrong you can call the sheriff’s department tip line at 812-379-1712 or call the non-emergency number for the Bartholomew County dispatch center at 812-379-1689.

Sheriff urges residents to lock vehicles, keep eyes open

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers is warning you to make sure to keep your vehicles locked, especially if you have valuables inside.

He said that even extends to garage door openers, which a thief could use to break into your home, even without keys.

The sheriff urges anyone who sees suspicious activity to report it. He says that suspicious activities include any circumstances which seem out of place in your neighborhood.

f you see something that looks wrong you can call the sheriff’s department tip line at 812-379-1712 or call the non-emergency number for the Bartholomew County dispatch center at 812-379-1689.

Columbus driver accused of fleeing crash scene

Photo courtesy of Johnson County Sheriff's Department.
Photo courtesy of Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.

Johnson County deputies are looking for a Columbus driver accused of leaving the scene of an accident yesterday at U.S. 31 and State Road 252 that injured two other drivers.

The sheriff’s department reports that the crash happened when an SUV pulled into traffic on U.S. 31 from the state highway garage at Amity and was hit by another vehicle at about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. That led the first driver to then crash into a panel van stopped at the stop sign on State Road 252. The sheriff’s department says that the first driver failed to yield, but the driver of the second car was seen running away from the scene.

Deputies believe that the second driver was, 40-year-old Ronald D. Estes, of Columbus, who has a suspended license for being a habitual traffic violator. Sheriff Doug Cox says they will be seeking a warrant for his arrest. The other two drivers were taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital.

Hope to open new visitors center Saturday at museum

A new visitors center branch in the town of Hope will open on Saturday, a new partnership between the Columbus Area Visitors Center and the Yellow Trail Museum.

The visitors center closed the previous satellite office in Hope at the end of the last year after a trial period. Previously, the Hope Area Chamber of Commerce operated a welcome center for the town. That closed in 2014.

Barb Johnson, director of the museum on the northwest side of the Town Square, says that the new partnership will allow the volunteer-operated museum to be open regular hours, including some weekday opportunities for visits. Beginning Saturday the museum will be open Thursdays-Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., and with extended hours during special events in town.


Saturday’s opening is considered a soft opening as the center is still getting all of its furnishings in place. At first, the center will be offering visitors information just for the broader Columbus and Bartholomew County area. But eventually, the center will also have Hope-specific activities and information.


Johnson says Hope’s founding as a church town for the Moravian Church makes it unique and calls is a perfect example of an Indiana small town.



The Yellow Trail Museum is named after an advertising campaign that took place in the early 1900s, aimed at drawing drivers to Hope and its mechanic’s shop.

From White River Broadcasting’s Bicentennial Moment series:

In 1915, Elda Spaugh opened a garage and gas station in the town of Hope, with the intention of servicing the cars in the community. But it became apparent that there weren’t enough cars locally, so he came up with an advertising plan to draw drivers from as far as Greensburg and Shelbyville. He and his welder painted yellow bands around fence posts and poles along the roads leading to those other area communities. Once that was done, he sent out cards urging drivers to “Visit Spaugh’s Garage, the Home of the Yellow Trail.” On the back of the card he included a convenient map of the routes leading to downtown Hope.

Soon, people asking for directions to Hope were told to follow the Yellow Trail. In 1975, a group of Hope leaders opened a museum in town and decided to call it the Yellow Trail museum in honor of Spaugh’s efforts to put Hope on the map. Parts of the Yellow Trail have been repainted over the years including in 1980 for the Hope sesquicentennial and in 1998 when the Yellow Trail Museum bought its long-time home building in town.

For more on Hope history and the Yellow Trail Museum, you can visit


Teenager revived after overdose in store parking lot

A 17-year-old girl is alive after a Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputy revived her from an overdose.

Judy Jackson, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department, says that just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sergeant Dean Johnson was on State Road 46 in front of Walmart when he heard units being dispatched to the parking lot in reference to a possible overdose. Upon entering the parking lot, Sgt. Johnson reported finding a running vehicle with its lights on. When he looked inside, Johnson saw the unconscious teen in the front seat. The girl had a pulse, but her breathing was reportedly shallow. Sgt. Johnson administered two doses of Narcan prior to EMS arrival. Jackson says that the girl was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital where her condition has not been released.

“We must create a strong foundation of communication with our children. Talk with them about drugs and alcohol and let them know the consequences for bad choices. Know where they go, who they are with and when they will be home. Monitor cellphones and Internet activity,” says Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers. The Sheriff continued, “The signs are there – a change in their behavior, personality or physical appearance and a change in friends.” Myers added that it is everyone’s job to keep youths safe.