Three men arrested for allegedly driving under the influence

Jul 7, 2015 765

Three local men are in custody after they were arrested by Columbus Police Officers for driving under the influence over a 12-hour period.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that at approximately 5:50 p.m. on Monday, Officer Ben Goodin observed a man acting erratically while stopped at the train tracks at Third Street and Lindsay Street. Goodin noted that the driver of a vehicle was flailing his arms and scratching the back of his head vigorously. Other motorists who were also stopped for the train motioned to Goodin out of concern. Goodin stopped the suspect, who was identified as 43-year-old Robert L. Woodruff, of Columbus.

Authorities say that Woodruff failed several roadside sobriety exercises, but passed a portable breath test. Goodin believed that Woodruff was under the influence of a drug and offered him a blood test. The officer also completed a Drug Recognition Expert test on Woodruff. At the conclusion of the tests, Woodruff was placed under arrest and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a preliminary charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated.

CPD officials say that at approximately 12:22 a.m. on Tuesday, Officer Kelly Hibbs reported witnessing a vehicle disregard a flashing red traffic signal at 10th Street and Central Avenue. Hibbs stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, 38-year-old Nathan K. Morton, of Columbus. Hibbs noted that Morton appeared intoxicated.

Police say that Morton failed several field sobriety tests, and was taken to the Columbus Police Department for a Certified Breath Test. The results of the test indicated a blood-alcohol content of .134 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent. Morton was arrested and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a preliminary charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated.

Columbus Police say the third incident took place at approximately 5:40 a.m. Tuesday. Officers responded to the 4800 block of Eastgate Drive in regards to a vehicle crash. The caller reported that a van had struck his son’s vehicle and the driver of the van had fled the area on foot. A short time after officers arrived, the driver of the van returned to the scene of the crash. He was identified as 22-year-old Christopher F. Calkins, of Columbus.

Officers say they had probable cause to believe that Calkins had operated a vehicle while intoxicated, so they transported him to the Columbus Police Department for a Certified Chemical Breath Test. The results of the test were .194 percent, nearly two-and-a-half times the legal limit.

Calkins was placed under arrest and booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on a preliminary charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle with a BAC of .15 percent or greater.

Local man facing check fraud and drug charges

Jul 7, 2015 875

A Columbus man was arrested after he allegedly attempted to cash a stolen check that belonged to his mother.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that officers were dispatched to a financial institution in the 600 block of Union Street at 12:55 p.m. on Monday. The suspect, 44-year-old Shane L. Banks, allegedly fled the bank when he saw the officers arrive. Harris says that police chased Banks on foot and caught him in a yard in the 600 block of California Street.

Officers searched Banks, allegedly locating methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. Banks was also allegedly in possession of a stolen check, a receipt and cash from a transaction at another bank that occurred approximately one hour earlier. Banks was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on the following preliminary charges:

Resisting Law Enforcement (Class A Misdemeanor)
Possession of Methamphetamine (Level 6 Felony)
Receiving Stolen Property (Class A Misdemeanor)
Check Fraud (Class B Misdemeanor)
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Class A Misdemeanor)

Harris added that officers from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police assisted with the capture of Banks.

City Council to consider Water Street rezoning

Jul 6, 2015 517

The Columbus City Council will consider a request to rezone three-and-a-half acres of city-owned property on Water Street during its meeting Tuesday evening.

Columbus Redevelopment Director Heather Pope says the request is the natural progression for the area. She said that the ultimate goal is to have a thriving, commercial riverfront district for the downtown. The 3.53 acres, located between the Robert N. Stewart bridge entering downtown and west of the East Fork of the White River, is currently zoned “Public.” The proposed rezoning, initiated by Mayor Kristen Brown, would change the property to “Commercial: Downtown.” Pope points out that the rezoning would put this property in the same zoning as property to the north, east and west.

City Councilman Frank Jerome indicated during the June 10 meeting of the Columbus Plan Commission that the request may face an uphill climb before the council. During that same meeting, he also expressed concern that the city was “putting the cart before the horse” as it relates to this property. Jerome says that, in his opinion, the property needs to be developed before a rezoning takes place. He said that should includes planning for a People Trail connection and all necessary easements.

The Plan Commission ultimately voted in favor of the rezoning request on a vote of six-to-two. Jerome and Tony London were the lone “no” votes.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Authorities continue investigation into fatal Shelby County crash

Jul 6, 2015 490

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department continues their investigation into a fatal crash that took place Friday morning.

Chief Deputy Maj. Louie Koch says that at approximately 10:55 a.m., the department received a call of a motor vehicle crash, involving a motorcycle and semi tractor, with injury at the I-74 entrance ramp off of County Road 800 East.

When officers arrived on the scene they observed a man and motorcycle lying in the intersection with a semi just to the west. The victim, identified as 51-year-old Ronald Eakins, of Shelbyville, had severe head trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the semi, 42-year-old Don Mitchell, of Louisville, told deputies that as he driving north bound on County Road 800 East. He stated that he did not see any on-coming traffic, so he proceeded to the I-74 westbound entrance ramp. Mitchell then stated that he heard something hit his truck. When he looked in the mirror, he saw the motorcycle and man lying in the roadway. Mitchell reportedly consented to toxicology screen and was escorted to Major Hospital.

Toxicology results are pending. The Sheriff’s Department says that there will be no further information released at this time.

Columbus man arrested after allegedly fleeing from police

Jul 6, 2015 543

A Columbus man was arrested on several charges after he allegedly attempted to flee from Columbus Police Officers on Friday morning.

Sgt. Matt Harris, police department Spokesman, says that at approximately 3:25 a.m., Officers Bernard Sims and Jeremy Jones tried to stop a minivan after it allegedly failed to stop for a traffic signal at 17th Street and Gladstone Avenue. Authorities say the driver of the minivan refused to pull over. A short time later, the driver of the vehicle abruptly pulled over near 19th Street and Keller Avenue and ran away on foot. The suspect ran through several yards, however, officers caught up and apprehended him in the 1900 block of Caldwell Place. The suspect, 34-year-old Eric M. Froedge, allegedly told officers that he had warrants for his arrest. The warrants were later confirmed and he was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on the following preliminary charges:

Two Bartholomew County Warrants (Failure to Appear/Comply and Theft)
Resisting Law Enforcement
Driving While Suspended

There is no word as to when Froedge will appear in court.

Columbus Police arrest alleged hit-and-run driver

Jul 6, 2015 491

A Bloomington man was arrested after he was allegedly involved in a hit and run crash involving a motorcycle on Friday night.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says that at approximately 9 p.m., officers were dispatched to a report of a hit and run crash near the Bartholomew County Courthouse. A short time later, Officer Wesley Dodge observed the suspect vehicle going north on Chestnut Street. Officers stopped the vehicle and spoke with the driver, 40-year-old Floyd T. Davis. Officers noted that Davis had poor balance while he was standing outside of his vehicle. After allegedly failing roadside sobriety exercises, Davis was transported to the Columbus Police Department for a certified breath test. After Davis provided invalid breath samples, officers applied for a search warrant for a blood draw. The request was granted and Davis was transported to Columbus Regional Hospital for a blood draw. He was later booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on the following preliminary charges:

Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated-Endangerment
Leaving the Scene of an Accident involving Injury

The driver of the motorcycle who was struck reportedly refused medical treatment at the scene.

Bartholomew County Fair kicks off on Friday

Jul 6, 2015 824

The Bartholomew County 4-H Fair kicks off Friday.

Larry Fisher, Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Board President, says that a new edition to the annual event is the Heritage Building. He says the building includes a blacksmith’s shop on one end and antiques and primitives on the other. Fisher says a number of those items have been dated to the early 1800s.

Fisher says says entertainment at the fair is largely unchanged from years past. At the Grandstands, he says midget racing and the demolition derby are always the most popular attractions. Free entertainment will continue to be offered at the David Boll Theater. Fisher says that some of these free shows include the Columbus City Band, bluegrass music, a barbershop’s quartet and more.

Burton Brother Amusements will once again be providing the midway rides. Wednesday, July 15th will be “Kids Day” at the fair. The midway opens at 5p.m. every day, except for Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, the handicapped can enjoy the rides for free from 2 to 4 p.m. On Wednesday, the midway opens at noon for Kids Day. Attendees can ride all day with the purchase of a $15 wristband.

This year’s Bartholomew County 4-H Fair run July 10 through July 18. Parking is $5. For more information about the fair, visit

Police search for robbery suspect

Jul 6, 2015 391

The Columbus Police Department (CPD) is investigating a convenience store robbery that occurred over the weekend.

Sgt. Matt Harris, CPD Spokesman, says that at approximately 1:40 07-06 robbery1a.m. on Saturday, officers were dispatched to the Village Pantry, located at 3184 Washington Street, in regards to a robbery. The clerk told officers that a man approached her behind the counter and demanded she open the cash register. The man left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. A weapon was not displayed during the robbery and the clerk was not harmed.

The suspect is described as being 20 to 40 years old, 5’8” tall and approximately 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, dark pants and a bandanna over his head and around his neck.

Anyone with information in regards to the robbery is urged to contact Detective Chris Couch at (812) 376-2628. Tips and information can be left anonymously.

Neighborfest returns Thursday

Jun 29, 2015 632

The next edition of JCB Neighborfest is Thursday evening in downtown Columbus.

Karen Shrode, Executive Director of the Columbus Area Arts Council, says this edition of Neighborfest will be headlined by “The Tides,” a musical group that performs pieces from the 60s, all the way up to today. This free event kicks off on Washington Street, in front of the Commons, beginning at 5:30 p.m. It is expected to last about two hours.

Shrode says this event wouldn’t be possible without the support of Jackson County Bank, who has been title sponsor of Neighborfest for 14 years. She says that it is because of JCB’s support and generosity that Neighborfest is free to members of the community.

Columbus remembers Mayor Bob Stewart

Jun 26, 2015 999

A ceremony remembering the life of former Columbus Mayor Bob Stewart was held Friday afternoon at City Hall.

Local Attorney Pete King worked alongside the Mayor. He says that Stewart knew how to plan, and was ahead of his time, particularly when it came to the downtown area. King talked about how the city’s initial efforts to further develop the downtown area were met with a roadblock when a federal grant failed to come through. He said that Mayor Stewart would not concede defeat, telling his aides that the redevelopment would eventually happen. King noted that it was this initial effort that laid the groundwork for the city’s current development plan for downtown.

State Representative Milo Smith and City Councilman Jim Lienhoop both say that Mayor Stewart was ahead of his time in anticipating the need for foreign investment for the city. Both men noted that Stewart received negative attention for those trips to Asia. Smith says that the thought back then was that Cummins and Arvin Industries were enough to keep providing good jobs to city residents. “Now,” said Smith, “Arvin’s isn’t here anymore and Cummins has facilities all over the country and all over the world.” Lienhoop said that Stewart pioneered personal relationships between Columbus leaders and those in Asia. During his own Asian trip a few months ago, Lienhoop said that a number of their leaders spoke highly of Stewart and former Mayor Fred Armstrong, citing the trips those men made on behalf of Columbus. Lienhoop went on to add that he hopes that he gets the opportunity to lead the city in a way similar to that of Mayor Stewart, receptive and respectful of all points of view and surrounding himself with the best, most qualified people he can find to make Columbus work for all of its residents.

Friday’s remembrance was officiated by Bishop Charles Sims. Mayor Kristen Brown read a proclamation from Mayor Onoda of Miyoshi, Japan, which is Columbus’ sister city. Along with King, additional reflections were offered by family friend Lisa Opie, nephew Branner, brother Tom and daughter Rachel Stewart. Hundreds of people turned out for the service, including city and county leaders and former Columbus Mayors Fred Armstrong and Nancy Ann Brown.