Category Archives: Local News

Three arrested after overdose at Columbus home

An overdose at a Columbus home early Saturday led to the arrest of three people on drug-related charges.

According to Columbus Police Department, officers were called to the 2200 block of McKinley Avenue at about 12:15 a.m. about a person who was unconscious and not breathing. Police performed life-saving measures on the man until paramedics arrived and he eventually regained consciousness. He was then transported to Columbus Regional Health.

But while inside the home, officers noticed marijuana and drug paraphernalia in view. A search of the home uncovered a box containing syringes and nearly half a pound of methamphetamine.

Three Columbus residents were arrested as a result of the investigation. 30-year-old Phillip L. Thompson and 27-year-old Jordan T. Roberts are being accused of dealing methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance and possessing drug paraphernalia and the syringes. 51-year-old Kristen M. Sexton is facing preliminary charges for possessing meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia as well as visiting a common nuisance.

The Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team assisted in the investigation.

Photos courtesy of Columbus Police Department

Jordan Roberts
Phillip Thompson
Kristen Sexton

County landfill increasing dumping fees in January

The Bartholomew County Landfill will be increasing its dumping fees after the start of the year.

The Bartholomew County Solid Waste Management District is announcing that dumping fees will increase to $36 per ton, starting on January 2nd. The landfill fees are currently $34 per ton, for loads over 200 pounds.

The landfill is on East Bartholomew County Road 450S.

If you have any questions, you can contact the Solid Waste Management District at 812-376-2614 or visit their website at

IU Columbus announces new coaches for basketball, dance teams

IU Columbus is announcing the coaches for its upcoming men’s and women’s basketball programs as well as the cheer and dance coach.

The three programs will be added to the school’s Crimson Pride athletics offerings in the 2024-25 school year. The school says all three coaches will be relocating to the Columbus area in the coming weeks to begin recruiting for their inaugural seasons.

James Adams will be the men’s basketball coach. He comes from Wisconsin where he coached high school college, and semi-professional teams. Adams was named 2018 Big Eight Conference Coach of the Year. Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Upper Iowa University, and a master’s degree in sports & recreational science from Ohio University.

Dana Dunson will be the women’s basketball coach, coming to Columbus from Louisiana. He has served as head coach for men’s and women’s high school varsity teams, as well as head women’s basketball coach at Centenary College of Louisiana and coached a men’s semi-pro ABA basketball team. He holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Louisiana State University of Shreveport and a master’s of divinity from Missionary Chapel Academy.

Pati Lara is coming from Texas to coach the cheer and dance teems, where she was director, head instructor and choreographer of the Elite Academy of Dance for more than 20 years. She trained from the age of four at the British ballet and graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Candidates for Indiana governor to take Columbus stage Friday

Six of the candidates who have announced runs to be the next Indiana governor will be in Columbus Friday for a forum at the annual meeting of the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation.

According to the agency, Republicans Sen. Mike Braun, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Brad Chambers, Eric Doden and Curtis Hill will be attending the forum, as well as Libertarian Donald Rainwater. Democrat Jennifer McCormick was also invited but declined.

Candidates will be given time for opening and closing remarks along with equal time to answer questions.

The annual meeting will also feature updates from the corporation on its efforts to grow the Columbus economy, with short remarks from Jason Hester, president of the corporation, and Miranda Fox, head of the board of directors. The corporation supports existing business growth and recruitment, and quality of place investments throughout Bartholomew County including Columbus and Edinburgh.

The forum will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Commons. The event is sold out.

You can get more information  at

Frederick chosen as first investigator for prosecutor’s office

Jay Frederick. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office

Bartholomew County has a new criminal investigator in the prosecutor’s office.

According to Prosecutor Lindsey Holden-Kay, the office has hired James “Jay” Frederick for the new role. As criminal investigator, Frederick will coordinate the investigative efforts of the office, promote relationships with law enforcement agencies and coordinate with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task force.

Frederick is a lifelong resident of Bartholomew County and recently retired from the Columbus Police Department after 23 years. While with the police department he also served as deputy county coroner and previously served 10 years with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

At the police department, Frederick ran the Criminal Investigations Division. He is a longtime member of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) and current state chapter president. He is a certified medico-legal death investigator and past president of the Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council.

Holden-Kay said Frederick’s specialties include death investigations, crimes against children and narcotics offenses.

Holden-Kay said she is thrilled to bring Frederick on board. She said the office has long needed a criminal investigator and she is excited to make this a reality in her first year in the office.

Formal murder charges filed against accused shooter in Monday incident

30-year-old Corbin W. Hippensteel is formally being charged with murder in the death Monday afternoon of 54-year-old Alejandro Flores of Columbus.

According to court documents filed by the Bartholomew County prosecutor’s office, Hippensteel, who was homeless, had been drinking and who had mental health issues, was visiting his grandfather Danny Sanders on Joseph Cox Court, when Sanders friend, Flores, came to visit. Sanders told deputies that he didn’t hear an argument but after only a few minutes Hippensteel threatened to shoot Flores in the head, pulled a gun and tried to pull the trigger.

The grandfather tried to get Hippensteel out of the house, but then heard the gun go off. Sanders fled the house and heard more shots go off.

Hippensteel was arrested a short distance away. A search of the house recovered a .22 caliber revolver with several spent rounds along with a box matching the handgun. A search of the homeless encampment where Hippentsteel stays recovered more shells and a bag with bullets was found in Hippensteel’s coat pocket at his grandfather’s house.

An autopsy Thursday revealed that Flores had been shot in the head multiple times in the  incident Monday afternoon at a Columbus mobile Home park. The Bartholomew County coroner’s office has listed that as the preliminary cause of death in the investigation but Deputy Coroner Jay Frederick said that they do not expect to have final autopsy results for several weeks.

Autopsy: Victim shot multiple times in the head

An autopsy Thursday revealed that 54-year-old Alejandro Flores of Columbus was shot in the head multiple times in an incident Monday afternoon at a Columbus mobile Home park.

The Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office has issued the preliminary cause of death in the investigation.

Deputy Coroner Jay Frederick said that they do not expect to have final autopsy results for several weeks.

Officers were called to the 2600 block of Joseph Cox Court at about 4:45 p.m. Monday afternoon and found Flores Columbus shot in the residence. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 30-year-old Corbin W. Hippensteel was taken into custody without incident and is being held on a preliminary felony charge of murder.

Driver facing numerous charges after fleeing from police

A driver is under arrest after a police chase through Columbus, attempting to hide his vehicle in a yard and eventually crashing into a field.

According to the Columbus Police Department, officers noticed a speeding vehicle near National Road and Washington Street at about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday night and attempted to pull the driver over. But rather than stop, he took off at speeds of up to 80 mph, ignoring stop signs and traffic signals.

At one point, the driver tried to evade police by turning off his lights and driving into the backyard of a home in the 4300 block of Kennedy Court, where he crashed into a fence. Police tried to subdue him with a Taser but he shrugged it off, freed his vehicle and took off again before driving into a field and crashing into a ditch, disabling the vehicle.

He then tried to run away, but was soon caught by police.

31-year-old Jeffrey W. Melvin of Palmyra is facing charges including Resisting Law Enforcement in a Vehicle, being a Habitual Traffic Violator, Leaving the Scene of an Accident , Resisting Law Enforcement, Reckless Driving and Criminal Recklessness.

Kwanzaa celebration set for Columbus Dec. 14th

The local NAACP branch #3071 will be holding a Kwanzaa celebration at the Bartholomew County Public Library on Dec. 14th.

According to organizers, the event will include an explanation of the seven Kwanzaa principles of this African-American celebration and the lighting of the candles. It will also conclude with light refreshments.

The name Kwanzaa comes from a swahili word signifying the first fruits of the harvest. Created in the 1960s, it is a celebration of family, community and culture that honors African-American heritage.

The celebration will be from 6:30 to 7:30 on Thursday, Dec. 14th at the main library branch on Fifth Street in Columbus.