- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Top 10 stories of 2012, Part 1
Dec 29, 2012 4:00 pm
It was a year that included the thrill of victories, as well as the agony of defeats. As the New Year approaches, The Democrat takes a look back at the top stories of 2012 with its first installment in counting down the top 10.
Actually, 12 stories made the top 10 list with two ties taking place during selections made by The Democrat's staff. It's a list that features both tragedy and triumph.
10. Wilson County official charged for not reporting child abuse
A Wilson County judicial magistrate and his wife were arrested and charged by police in February with failing to report the sexual abuse of a child.
Givens Phillips and his wife, Tonya, were booked into the Wilson County jail Feb. 16, according to a local news station.
Police said both were aware a 6-year-old child was being sexually abused and did not report the abuse to police.
9. Friendship Christian wins its second consecutive state football title
Friendship Christian’s football team beat Adamsville 44-7 at Tennessee Tech, taking the Class 2A state championship for the second year in a row. Both teams entered the season’s final game with 12-1 records.
The Cardinals featured a big line and deep roster - 74 strong.
Friendship dressed 49, but many were eighth-graders and freshmen. The Commanders' ace was an explosive offense, a more-than-solid defense and the experience of having been there and done that just 12 months earlier.
9. Mt. Juliet basketball player diagnosed with breast cancer
Mt. Juliet basketball player Ashley Roby revealed she had stage 1 breast cancer.
The 14-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of carcinoma.
Roby underwent a double mastectomy for reconstructive purposes.
8. Mom sues Wilson schools, SRO; arrested for filing false report
Two civil lawsuits were filed by a student's mother banned from Tuckers Crossroad Elementary School by school officials.
The mother in question, Jackie Shook, filed two civil lawsuits — one against School Resource Officer Pete Mecher and another against Ashley Davis, parent of a Tuckers Crossroads student.
One warrant charged that Mecher filed false police reports about Shook, and that he had "intimidated” her child at school. The civil warrant filed against Mecher sought $25,000, plus court costs and medical bills. Mecher received the summons on Feb. 1 and was transferred to another school the next day.
The second lawsuit was filed on Jan. 13 against Tuckers parent Ashley Davis. The suit claimed Davis filed a false police report against Shook and asks for punitive damages in the amount of $25,000, plus court costs. In October 2011, Davis filed a complaint with the sheriff’s department claiming Shook was videotaping her and her son as they were coming and going from the campus.
For months, Shook complained her daughter was bullied and school officials were doing nothing to stop it. The school system found her complaints to be without merit. Her complaints became so strident that, in July of last year, the Wilson County School System took steps to ban Shook from the Tuckers' campus, relenting only to allow her to pick up her daughter.
Parents were upset when the 2011 annual fall festival at the school was canceled due to security concerns surrounding the situation. Extra deputies were called to the campus on multiple occasions and the school was placed on almost permanent lockdown.
Judge Barry Tatum dismissed both lawsuits, and Shook was arrested as she left the courtroom.
Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe said Shook was indicted by a Wilson County grand jury for filing a false report against Tennessee State Trooper William Bennett. Ashe said Shook reported that Bennett was "blocking her driveway" when he was, in fact, working an accident and handing out tickets on Hartmann Drive at the exact time Shook said he was at her home.
7. Wilson schools propose new Lebanon middle school in old high school
The Wilson County Board of Education announced plans to use parts of the old building as a middle school stirred controversy as parents and county commissioners expressed fear that a building that was sold as substandard during the push for a new Lebanon High School, either was not as bad as advertised or would force students into an unacceptable, or even unsafe, building.
The person most on the hot seat for the proposed plan was Director of Schools Mike Davis. Davis said parts of the old LHS are not that old and, he believed, might be usable with some renovations.
Wilson County Board of Education Chairman Don Weathers later said the board already set into motion plans for a middle school nearly six years ago in areas surrounding Lebanon.
Weathers told a crowd of about 200 concerned parents, teachers and other community members a decision in 2007 and another in 2002 would have to first be reversed before students were allowed to remain at overcrowded Carroll Oakland, Southside and Tuckers Crossroads elementary schools, which currently serve kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
Weathers indicated the board would address the issue again during its meeting on Jan. 7. He said a vote on whether to use the old Lebanon High School to house 634 sixth- through eighth-grade students and 30 teachers currently at the three elementary schools as a new Lebanon Middle School if all information is available on the issue, such as an environmental study currently in the works at the former high school.
At a Dec. 1 work session, however, architect plans for three options were presented to the board, which also included proposals for additions at the three elementary schools, as well as a new middle school built near the new Lebanon High School off South Hartmann Drive.
Davis said no teachers would lose their jobs. He said a principal would first be hired, and teachers would be hired based on the principal’s recommendations to him. Davis said between 80-100 teachers are lost each year through attrition, so it wouldn’t be an issue of staffing the proposed new school.
7. ‘Family dispute' leaves one dead, two injured, one jailed
According to the Lebanon Police Department, a family dispute lead to the death of one man and the injury of two others.
LPD Chief Scott Bowen said that officers from his department responded to a call of a stabbing at 738 Meadowlane Drive in Lebanon.
Officers arrived at the scene and found three people had been stabbed. One victim, Lonnie Leftrick, 52, was found deceased at the scene.
The two other victims, Shane Leftrick, 29, and Kim Leftrick, 33, had also been stabbed. Both were transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where they remain in critical but stable condition.
Bowen said his department believed the incident stemmed from an ongoing family dispute.
Neighbors reportedly said the dispute was over a chainsaw, but Bowen said his officers were still looking into exactly what they were fighting about. He added that alcohol apparently played a role in the tragedy.
Bowen said the suspect, Timothy Blake Anderson, 39, was found next door when officers arrived.
Anderson was taken into custody and was transported to University Medical Center, where he was treated and released for an injury received during the altercation.
Anderson was charged at the time with one count of criminal homicide and two counts of aggravated assault.
6. Former Wilson deputy sentenced to 18 years
A former Wilson County Sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to 18 years and four months in prison for trying to sell information about a drug trafficking investigation.
John Patrick Edwards, 39, of Mt. Juliet, was sentenced in April by U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes. Edwards pleaded guilty in February to corruptly obstructing justice when he tried to sell information about a federal wiretap investigation to the targets of the investigation. At the time he attempted to sell the information, Edwards was serving as a Wilson County deputy.
The investigation was conducted by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Agency and involved the trafficking of both cocaine and marijuana.
Edwards had worked on the investigation in 2010 and 2011 and sought to provide the names of investigating agents and an informant in return for a Range Rover.
He was arrested in April 2011 after an investigation conducted by FBI agents. He was indicted in Davidson and Wilson counties in February.