All posts by John Clark

Duke Energy grants Columbus $5k for riverfront lighting

Duke Energy is giving a $5,000 grant to the city of Columbus for lighting along the river as part of the downtown riverfront project.

The power company announced the grant to the Columbus Redevelopment Commission on Monday, saying that the lighting planned for under the Second and Third Street bridges and along the riverfront will meet environmental protection standards. Those standards match up with Indiana Department of Natural Resources guidelines to support wildlife in the area.

Chip Orben with the Duke Energy Foundation said that knowing the funds would go toward energy conservation efforts made the project appealing to the Foundation.

The downtown riverfront project is due to start next year and will take about 18 months to complete, according to city officials. You can get more information online at

Authorities seeking person of interest in Waynesville death

Bartholomew County deputies are looking for a person of interest in the death of a woman found yesterday morning in Waynesville.

Investigators believe 19-year-old Bobby Neil Truitt II was the last person to see the woman alive.

Deputies were called to the scene of the suspected death in the 2700 block of South East Street in Waynesville at about 6:30 a.m. Monday morning. They found a dead woman with suspicious injuries. Deputies secured the scene and called in the city-county-state joint death investigation team.

The incident remains under investigation and the victim’s name has not yet been released.

The Republic newspaper is reporting this morning that the victim’s vehicle was missing from the scene and has since been recovered in Indianapolis.

Authorities are seeking any information on Truitt, no matter how seemingly insignificant.  Anyone with information regarding Truitt’s whereabouts is asked to contact: Detective Will Kinman at 812-565-5926.

The Bartholomew County Death Investigation team includes Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Police Department, Indiana State Police, Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office.

North Vernon police cite self-defense in man’s death

Correction: Due to a source error, Chance Goodwin’s name was incorrect in a previous version of this story.

North Vernon police say a man stabbed another to death in self defense after an altercation at a gas station Monday morning.

Investigators say that 25 year old Chance Goodwin of North Vernon pulled into a gas station on North State Street at about 12:45 yesterday morning. A passenger in his vehicle, 23 year old Luis Silva from Florida demanded money from Goodwin and when Goodwin refused, Silva allegedly confronted Goodwin. Both men got out of the vehicle, where Silva again confronted Goodwin. Goodwin told police that he feared for his safety and stabbed Silva one time with a knife.

Both men then separated, with Silva running across State Street before collapsing near the City Park. Goodwin then left the gas station, police say.

Detectives spent nearly 20 hours collecting evidence related at the scene and pieced together the details from witness statements and video from a nearby business that recorded the event. Goodwin came to the police station of his own accord to talk to investigators.

Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding found there was insufficient evidence, at this time, to contradict Goodwin’s claim of self-defense. He said that should new information develop the case may be reevaluated.

Waynesville death under investigation

The Bartholomew County Death Investigation Team has been called in after a dead woman was found in Waynesville this morning.

Deputies were called to the scene of the suspected death at South East Street in Waynesville at about 6:30 a.m. this morning. They found a woman with suspicious injuries. Deputies secured the scene and called in the joint team.

Sheriff Matt Myers says that Indiana State Police and Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting have been working at the scene.

The incident remains under investigation and further information will be released at a later time.

“The death investigation team is working aggressively to pursue further information and once that information is gathered, we will share it with the public,” Myers said.

The Bartholomew County Death Investigation team includes Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Columbus Police Department, Indiana State Police, Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office.

Capt. Dave Steinkoenig updates Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers at the scene this morning

Schneck’s Fish to head Indiana Hospital Association district

Dr. Eric Fish. Photo courtesy of Schneck Medical Center.

Schneck Medical Center’s president and CEO has been named the president of the Indiana Hospital Association’s Southeastern Indiana District for 2021 and 2022

Dr. Eric Fish has more than 15 years of leadership experience at Schneck, most recently, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Previous postopms included Medical Director of Schneck Obstetrics & Gynecology, President of the Schneck Medical Staff, Chairman of the Board of Managers for Inspire Health Partners, Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, and

IHA’s Board of Directors includes representatives from hospitals of all sizes across Indiana. These hospital leaders provide their insight as IHA sets strategic priorities, plans its annual activities and reviews membership requests.

Motorcycle rider dies in training course crash

A new motorcycle rider died in an accident during a training course over the weekend, according to Columbus police.

The training course was being conducted at Columbus Municipal Airport at about 12:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, when 66-year-old Carol McMurray of Indianapolis lost control of her new bike and crashed into a storage container. She was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital where she later died.

Police say the accident remains under investigation.

Updated: Body found near North Vernon City Park

North Vernon police are investigating after a body was found early this morning near the City Park.

Police say a passerby called officers about a person lying in the grass behind a nearby business at about 12:45 a.m. this morning. Police discovered that the person had died. Their identity has not yet been released, as police work to notify the next of kin.

Police say this is an active investigation and more information will be released as it becomes available.

Update 11:30 a.m.

North Vernon police say that they are seeking the public’s help in the investigation. They have released a photo of a vehicle that they believe may have been involved in the death.

If you have any information you can call 812-346-2345 for the non-emergency dispatchers or 812-346-1466 for the NVPD front office.

Photo courtesy of North Vernon Police Department

Early in-person voting set to begin next week

In person early voting will start in just over a week for the November election.

Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps explains that the deadline to register to vote is coming up on Monday, Oct. 5th and the county’s single early voting location will open on Tuesday Oct. 6th.

Unlike previous years, with multiple early voting locations, voters will only be able to cast ballots at Fair Oaks Mall in the former Carson’s store.

Phelps said that early voting will be going on at the mall Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Saturday voting on Oct. 24th and Oct. 31st also from 8 to 5. In person early voting will wrap up at noon on Nov. 2nd.

Phelps said that poll workers will be sanitizing the machines, as well as other common surfaces such as the digital poll books and tables between each use and all workers will be masked.

Neither the courthouse, nor Donner Center, will be used for early voting this cycle.

Election Day is Nov. 3rd and on that day there will be 12 vote centers around Bartholomew County, where you can cast your ballot.

Short police chase leads to arrest of unlicensed driver

Johnny Jordan. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

A Columbus man was arrested Thursday afternoon after leading police on a short car chase.

According to police reports, an officer noticed a car make a minor traffic violation near 9th and Reed streets at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The driver refused to stop, driving to an alley in the 600 block of Hutchins Avenue where he attempted to leave the vehicle.

The man, identified as 46-year-old Johnny E. Jordan, did not have a driver’s license and was arrested on preliminary charges of resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle without ever receiving a license.

Driver arrested after getting stuck in construction gravel

Trevor Jessup. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department

Columbus police say that a suspected drunk driver got his vehicle stuck in gravel at a construction zone early this morning.

According to police reports, Columbus officers found the crash at about 4 this morning at Taylor Road and 31st Street. The driver, 30-year-old Trevor A. Jessup appeared to drive past several “road closed” signs before striking a culvert and getting stuck in the gravel.

Jessup appeared to be unsteady on his feet and slurring his words, according to police reports. He failed several field sobriety tests and was arrested on a preliminary charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.