Mt. Juliet Police Join Wilson County Sheriff to Deliver Message on Distracted Driving in Mock Crashes at Two Schools
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Mt. Juliet Police is joining the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office to deliver a reality-based portrayal of a distracted driving car crash and the subsequent response by first responders, emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement. The first crash will take place today at 12:00 p.m. at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy. This event is a joint-effort with the school, Wilson County Sheriff, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet, and Mt. Juliet Police Department. The crash will bring the consequences of distracted driving to reality before prom season.
The first mock crash will take place today, Thursday, April 30, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy. The second mock crash event will take place on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. at Mt. Juliet High School. During the simulated response, the public should expect to see emergency vehicles and a medical helicopter in the area of the schools.
Agencies participating in the event are: Mt. Juliet Police Department, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, and Vanderbilt Lifeflight. Hamblen’s Wrecker Service of Mt. Juliet is providing the crashed vehicles for the exercise.
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Police Chief James Hambrick acted swiftly, decommissioned (police authority suspended), and placed an officer on leave without pay after discovering that he possibly falsified his timecards.
Crime Suppression Unit Sergeant Jason Ezell is the subject of an investigation of possibly entering time on his timecards that he did not work. After becoming aware of the timecard discrepancies, Chief Hambrick immediately instructed staff to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the issue.
“I will do everything I can to ensure that we uphold our department values and maintain the community’s trust,” said Police Chief James Hambrick. “I’ve instructed staff to conduct a very thorough investigation, and accountability will be held to the highest standard.”
Ezell, 40, is a 16-year veteran of the police department.
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Two, on-duty restaurant employees are charged with drug possession after undercover Mt. Juliet Police Crime Suppression Unit (CSU) officers watched a drug deal in the restaurant parking lot. On April 7, 2015 around 1:00 p.m. a patrol officer witnessed suspicious behavior near Burger King, located at 11547 Lebanon Road, and he notified undercover officers of the activity.
After undercover officers arrived and established surveillance at the restaurant, they watched a man, identified as Dennis Shae Caruthers, 29, of Old Hickory, exit the back door of the restaurant and get into the passenger seat of a Buick parked in the parking lot. He was in the Buick for less than a minute, and Caruthers and the driver, identified as Tre DeWayne Bates, 21, of Mt. Juliet, got out of the car. Bates went into the restaurant’s customer entrance, and Caruthers got into the passenger seat of a Nissan nearby, which was occupied by a female, identified as Amanda Fajkus, 24, of Mt. Juliet.
As CSU officers made contact with Caruthers and Fajkus, they noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the Nissan’s interior. As Fajkus exited the Nissan, a bag of marijuana and a bag of crack cocaine fell out of her restaurant uniform.
Further investigation revealed that Bates just sold marijuana to Caruthers. A search of Bates’s car revealed two separate bags of marijuana. Officers found more marijuana and crack cocaine on Caruthers’s person. Caruthers and Fajkus were working for Burger King and in full-uniform at the time of the incident. A total of 49 grams of marijuana, 7 grams of crack cocaine, $1,032.00 in cash, and a 1998 Buck Park Avenue was seized in this incident.
Caruthers was arrested and booked into the Wilson County Jail, charged with Possession of a Schedule II Drug for Resale and Simple Possession of a Schedule VI Drug. Bates was arrested and booked into the Wilson County Jail, charged with Possession of a Schedule VI Drug for Resale. Both are set to appear in court on July 28, 2015.
Fajkus was issued citations and released, charged with Simple Possession of a Schedule II Drug and Simple Possession of a Schedule VI Drug. She is set to appear in court on July 23, 2015.
“We are committed to ensuring illegal drugs stay out of our community, and good police-work like this ensures that we are successful in our commitment,” stated Police Chief James Hambrick.
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Three shoplifters were apprehended this afternoon after they ran out of JCPenney with over $2,000 in merchandise concealed under their clothes. Around 2:45 p.m., Mt. Juliet’s Police & Fire Communications Center received a call from JCPenney loss prevention because they were watching a group of three shoplifters concealing items under their regular clothing.
An undercover Mt. Juliet Crime Suppression Unit officer was in the Providence MarketPlace mall, and he was able to quickly establish surveillance to apprehend the thieves. Loss prevention was able to provide a detailed description of the shoplifters to officers, and they were apprehended as they ran from the store. In an attempt to conceal their thievery, the shoplifters hid the merchandise under their clothing. However, it was very obvious to officers, due to the amount of items stuffed under their clothing, that they were the thieves. $2,218 worth of childrens’ clothing, stolen from JCPenney, was recovered from the group and returned to JCPenney.
Further investigation revealed an additional $1,300 worth of unclaimed merchandise in their car. Those items were from Claire’s, Old Navy, and Children’s Place. Officers attempted to make contact with those area stores. However, they were unsuccessful in determining what store those items were stolen from.
Dereka Conway ($8,500 bond), 19, Rickeita Butler ($7,500 bond), 23, and Terra Braden ($7,000 bond), 18, all from Nashville, were arrested and booked into the Wilson County Jail, charged with Theft of Merchandise. They are all set to appear in court on June 25, 2015.
“Our strong-partnership with local merchants and strong-bond with loss prevention staff continues to pay off, and we successfully apprehended this group that was stealing from our community,” stated Chief James Hambrick. “Our department has zero tolerance for this type of activity, and we will continue to ensure efforts are made to prevent shoplifting.”
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Large egg hunts will bring traffic to N. Mt. Juliet Road and a crowd to Charlie Daniels Park on Saturday, April 4, 2015 during the day. The public should be aware of this event so they can avoid any traffic inconvenience it may cause. N. Mt. Juliet Road is expected to be congested this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. around Charlie Daniels Parkway as people take part in this event.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early and use Woodridge Place to access the school parking lots for parking. There is very limited parking inside Charlie Daniels Park.
Arson at Charlie Daniels Park Being Investigated; Investigators Hoping to Identify Possible Suspects Caught on Camera
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Investigators are in the process of looking into an arson at Mt. Juliet’s Charlie Daniels Park after burned trashcans were discovered in two different restrooms. On Sunday, March 22, 2015, a park employee found the fire damage while doing a routine check of the facilities.
The suspect(s) ignited two separate trashcans in separate restroom buildings, which caused smoke and fire damage to the walls. Thankfully, the damage was isolated in and around the trashcans. It is believed that the arson occurred sometime late on Saturday, March 21, 2015, and two males were caught on camera acting suspiciously. The suspects on camera appear to be white males and possibly between 13 to 20 years of age. They also possibly arrived and left in a silver Kia Soul. Investigators hope someone will recognize the possible suspects on camera.
Anyone with any information regarding this crime is encouraged to call the Mt. Juliet Police Department at (615) 754-2550. Information can also be given anonymously by calling (615) 754-TIPS (8477) or via the Mt. Juliet Police Department website at http://www.mjpd.org/ .
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – The community has a chance to get an inside, in-depth look of Mt. Juliet’s police operations in an upcoming Citizens Police Academy session. The Mt. Juliet Police Department is currently accepting applications for the academy session that will begin on April 15, 2015 and will continue every Wednesday night until June 24, 2015. Class sessions start at 6:30 p.m. and conclude by 8:30 p.m.
Mt. Juliet’s popular Citizens Police Academy offers city residents an inside look at aspects of law enforcement most have never seen, in a series of free lectures, demonstrations, and discussions. This program is directed towards citizens who live or work in the Mt. Juliet community. The program’s goal is to increase the understanding between citizens and their police department. Citizens are not trained to be police officers. However, after completion of the citizens academy, participants are able to become a citizen volunteer within the department.
Applicants must live, work or volunteer in the City of Mt. Juliet, be 21 years of age or older, and have no felony or domestic violence convictions. The application can be found online at www.mjpd.org, and the last day to apply is Wednesday, April 8, 2015. There is no cost to participate. For more information regarding the Citizens Police Academy, Cpl. James Christensen can be reached at (615) 754-3907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Application: Citizens Police Academy Application
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Today is certainly going to be a great day to enjoy the outdoors and break free from the winter hibernation. This means that more kids will be out, walkers and runners will hit the sidewalks and streets, bicyclists pedaling away, and motorcycles will be rolling. Spring is a reminder that it is extremely important to safely share the road. Automobile drivers must be aware that others have certain rights and privileges on our roadways, and must be aware and respect the law.
The police department always has a steady flow of concerned residents worried about motorists speeding through neighborhoods and not stopping at stop signs, all of which are valid concerns. Residents want to ensure their neighborhoods are safe. Speeders and stop sign violators lead to unsafe roadways. Drivers must yield to children playing in the streets; even though they are consistently reminded to stay out of the street, they do not always put safety ahead of their play. Motorists are responsible for driving with extreme care when children are present. Slow down near schools, playgrounds, and in neighborhoods.
Generally, pedestrians have the right-of-way at all intersections. Crosswalks are established to encourage pedestrians to cross at those locations. However, it can be common for pedestrians to cross roadways at other locations than crosswalks. The law specifically requires the driver to exercise great care and extreme caution to avoid striking a pedestrian. The following Tennessee statutes address pedestrian’s right-of-way when crossing the road:
TCA 55-8-134 – Pedestrian’s Right-of-Way in Crosswalks
(a) (1) Unless in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(2) When in a marked school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver shall remain stopped until the pedestrian has crossed the roadway on which the vehicle is stopped.
(b) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.
(c) Subsection (a) does not apply under the conditions stated in § 55-8-135(b).
(d) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
TCA 55-8-135 – Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks
(a) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(b) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(c) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on roadways as other users. In most cases, bicyclists and motorists must share the same lane. The motorist should always expect the bicyclist to make a sudden move, as the rider could encounter trash in the road, a pothole, or another obstacle that forces them to swerve. Bicycles can sometimes be difficult to see, and the riders are exposed and easily injured in a crash. Motorists should recognize that bicycle traffic is often overlooked, and it is difficult to judge their speed. The most common causes of crashes are drivers turning left in front of an oncoming bicycle or turning right, across the path of a bicycle. Motorists must leave at least 3-feet of distance between their vehicle and the bicycle when passing in the same direction. A driver should never attempt to pass between a bicycle and oncoming vehicles on a two-lane road. Slow down and allow vehicles to pass the rider safely.
Many have the perception that car vs. motorcycle crashes are caused by the motorcyclist. However, research shows that approximately two-thirds of car vs. motorcycle crashes are caused by the car driver who turned in front of the motorcycle. In many cases, the driver didn’t see the motorcycle until it was too late to avoid the crash. Motorcycles can be hard to see, and car drivers are accustomed to just looking for other cars and trucks. It is important for car drivers to always check their blind spots when changing lanes or turning to avoid crashes with motorcycles.
Sharing the road is an easy task for safe drivers. If a driver is consumed with distracted driving, speeding, and having no care for safety, sharing the road becomes difficult. Having safe driving habits and being aware of pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles is important to sharing the road safely. So, as the warmer weather springs in, please be extra mindful and share the road. Officers with the Mt. Juliet Police Department will be providing extra attention to neighborhoods and on the look-out for unsafe motorists. Every life counts.
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Additional Mt. Juliet Police Officers will hit the streets on the evening and through the night of Tuesday, March 17, 2015 in an effort to curb impaired driving and impaired-related crashes. Sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols will be conducted in the Lebanon Road, Mt. Juliet Road, West Division St, and Belinda Parkway areas during the St. Patrick’s Day night.
“The purpose of the sobriety checkpoint is to further educate our motorists and strengthen the public’s awareness to the need of removing impaired motorists from our roadways,” said Mt. Juliet Police Chief James Hambrick. “Our goal is to save lives and ensure our roadways are safe.”
Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – The barricaded subject incident on Newberry Lane has ended peacefully after police received a call of a man threatening to harm himself. Around 10:15 a.m., the Mt. Juliet Emergency Communications Center received a call from mobile crisis regarding a 52-year-old man threatening to harm himself at a home in the 2400 block of Newberry Lane.
Upon officers arriving on the scene to check on the man, he barricaded himself inside the home and made further threats to harm himself.
In an effort to ensure the man’s well-being was held at top priority, Mt. Juliet’s Crisis Negotiation and Special Response Team responded to handle the delicate situation. After lengthy communication with the man, he met officers at the front door. Thankfully, no one was harmed during this incident, and the man will be receiving the care he needs.
During the incident, the man called a local news agency, WSMV – Channel 4, to speak to staff regarding the incident, and their staff assisted the Mt. Juliet Police Department completely. Residents were asked to leave their homes as a safety precaution while members of the Special Response Team worked in the area. Approximately 8 homes were affected.
“The Mt. Juliet Police Department is thankful for the understanding displayed by residents as we handled this delicate situation. The barricaded individual was our top priority, and we wanted to ensure the outcome was as best as it could be,” said Chief James Hambrick. “In addition, I’m grateful for the professionalism and partnership displayed by the WSMV staff when they received a call from the individual.”