Columbus man arrested on domestic violence allegation

Jul 28, 2015 1555

A Columbus man was arrested Monday evening on a domestic battery charge.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy MACE JASONJackson says that at approximately 6:30 p.m., Deputy Sgt. John Martoccia, responded to a domestic disturbance in the 9000 block of East Randal Street in Columbus.

When Martoccia arrived, he spoke with a woman who told him that 33-year-old Jason Mace, of Randal Street, had slapped and choked her. Mace had left before authorities arrived.

Later that evening, authorities were notified that Mace had returned to the residence. Martoccia and Lt. Greg Duke responded, allegedly finding Mace in the backyard of the home. Deputies say that he was arrested without incident.

Mace was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of Domestic Battery in the Presence of a Minor, as well as Strangulation. He was released on a $15,000 bond. The alleged victim was notified of his release.

Shots fired in alleged domestic disturbance in Elizabethtown

Jul 28, 2015 874

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of shots fired early Tuesday morning.

Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says at PRADO ERNESTOapproximately 5:31 a.m., Deputy Sgt. Gary Knoef responded to a domestic disturbance in the area of the Hilltop Trailer Park on US 31 in Elizabethtown. When he arrived, Knoef made contact with a woman who said her husband had choked her and broken her cell phone in an effort to keep her from calling 9-1-1.

The woman also told Knoef that her husband, 28-year-old Ernesto Prado, of Elizabethtown, had fired shots as she and two children ran from their trailer. The alleged victim also said that she was holding the couple’s 18-month-old child and that their eight-year-old child was also in the room at the time of the attack.

Investigators say that there were no guns in Prado’s possession when they arrived to investigate. However, Knoef reportedly did find a firearm and eight spent shell casings in the home.

Prado was booked in the Bartholomew County Jail on preliminary charges of domestic battery with children present, strangulation, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, intimidation with a deadly weapon, interfering with a 9-1-1 call and criminal confinement. He is being held on $50,000 bond.

Driver in fatal I-65 wrong-way crash identified

Jul 27, 2015 1134

The driver that caused Friday afternoon’s crash on I-65 by driving the wrong way on the interstate, killing himself in the process, has been identified.

Indiana State Police say that Johnson County Coroner Craig Lutz has identified 40-year-old Donn Keever, of Fairland, as the driver. Lutz has ruled the death as suicide.

Authorities say that at about 1 p.m. on Friday, Keever was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of I-65 at the 99.7 mile marker in Johnson County. He drove his pickup truck head-on into a northbound semi-tractor trailer.

Franklin Police say that Keever was the main suspect in an assault on his wife earlier that same day. Witnesses say that Keever allegedly threw gas on his wife, Amy Keever, then lit her on fire. He allegedly left the scene before officers arrived.

Amy Keever was transported to Eskenazi Hospital for treatment.

Schneck execs named to Baldrige Board of Examiners

Jul 27, 2015 480

Two staff members of Schneck Medical Center are being recognized for their work. Stephanie Furlow, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Schneck, says that the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has named Tammy Dye and Suki Wright to the Board of Examiners for the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Dye serves as Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Quality Officer for the hospital. Wright is the Director of Organizational Excellence and Innovation. The Baldrige Award is the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

Appointed by the NIST Director, examiners are responsible for reviewing and evaluating applications submitted for the Baldrige Award, as well as other assessment-related tasks. The examiner board is composed of more than 350 leading experts competitively selected from industry, professional, trade, education, health care and nonprofit (including government) organizations from across the United States.

Those selected meet the highest standards of qualification and peer recognition, demonstrating competencies related to customer focus, communication, ethics, action orientation, team building and analytical skills. All members of the board must take part in a nationally ranked leadership development course based on the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the scoring/evaluation processes for the Baldrige Award.

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987. Awards may be given annually to organizations in each of six categories: manufacturing, service, small business, education, health care and nonprofit. The Award promotes innovation and excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies.

Since 1988, only 99 organizations have received Baldrige Awards, including Schneck Medical Center. Schneck, a 2011 recipient, is the only organization in Indiana to have received the honor.

Homeless shelter planned for Columbus’ east side

Jul 27, 2015 2228

The Columbus Township Trustee’s Office and Love Chapel are partnering to create a homeless shelter in a vacant building in east Columbus.

Elizabeth Kestler, with Love Chapel, says that she and Columbus Township Trustee Ben Jackson will ask the Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals Tuesday for a zoning variance for a township-owned building at 421 South Mapleton St. on the city’s east side. The site is currently zoned: Commercial: Community Center.

Kestler says the building, to be named Brighter Days Housing, measures approximately 3,500 square-feet. The entire lot size is 8,400 square-feet. She adds that the location will serve as an entry point for emergency housing for those needing shelter. Kestler noted that the location is a great one for shelter, as other resources necessary to help people get back on their feet are in the immediate area.

Kestler says that there has been a lot of support for this project. She noted that this area has been in need of a homeless shelter for quite some time. Kestler says that community support will be vital to the success of this endeavor. While the shelter will be staffed every hour of every day by at least one full-time employee, she says that they will need about 100 volunteers per month. These volunteers would work a few hours helping to maintain the home and grounds.

Tuesday’s Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. inside City Hall.

Columbus child hurt in hit-and-run receives new bicycle

Jul 27, 2015 995

A nine-year-old Columbus boy who was struck by an SUV earlier this month has a new biyccle, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous Fortville, IN man.

Columbus Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris says the new bikehit and run crash happened on July 7 in the 2800 block of Scotland Drive. On that day, police say that Darrion Hess was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle.

Harris says the Good Samaritan donated $1,000 to the Fraternal Order of Police #89 Earl L. Brown Memorial Lodge in Columbus with specific instructions to purchase the boy a bicycle and helmet. Any remaining money was to be used to help others, in Hess’ name. The boy was presented with the new bike by FOP Lodge #89 President Alan Trisler on Monday. “While Darrion was excited to receive a new bicycle, he was even more excited that a donation made in his name would help other children,” added Harris.

Columbus Police say the hit and run crash remains under investigation. A dark colored SUV was seen leaving the area after the crash. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Columbus Police Department. Tips and information can be left anonymously.

Shelbyville insurance company shut down by state

Jul 24, 2015 1744

A Shelbyville title insurance company was closed down by the state.

The Indiana Department of Insurance (IDOI) is reporting that an audit of the title insurance accounts of Hale Abstract Company, Inc., and its owner, D. Warren Robison, resulted in findings that Indiana consumers were being overcharged for their title insurance. Hale Abstract Company, Inc., was based in Shelbyville, Ind., and was licensed to sell title insurance in Indiana. After the Department filed a statement of charges against the agency, it closed its doors.

Department officials say the examination of the title agency began in November of 2013 and focused on its title insurance transactions in Indiana between August 8, 2012, and December 31, 2013. The IDOI examiner specifically identified that Hale Abstract Company and its agents consistently charged consumers premium rates greater than the rate specified in the contract agreement with the title insurance policy underwriter for the policies. The company is also accused of excessively charged consumers for filing recorded documents, such as mortgages and deeds. The IDOI also alleges that the majority of Hale Abstract Company’s closing transactions were being conducted and signed by a person not licensed to sell insurance in Indiana.

A hearing was held and IDOI Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson ordered Robison and Hale Abstract Company to each pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 to the Indiana Department of Insurance for overcharging consumers for title insurance premiums, government recording fees and for paying unlicensed personnel for signing HUD-1 forms. He also ordered the title agency to refund consumers the total amount of overcharges, an amount to be determined by the Department after a thorough review of the agency’s records.

The IDOI will conduct a review of all of the settlement statements provided by the agency. When finished, the department will notify the agency of the individual and amounts of excessive fees charged to Indiana consumers. The agency will then be required to issue refunds to those customers.

Commissioner Robertson also ordered that Robison’s resident insurance producer license be permanently revoked.

“The Indiana Department of Insurance is authorized to regulate the practice of title insurance in Indiana and we’ll continue to work to protect Hoosier consumers from those who violate insurance laws and blatantly try to overcharge for title insurance premiums,” said Commissioner Robertson.

Fatal crash closes I-65 in Johnson County

Jul 24, 2015 3026

A driver traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-65 at the 99.7 mile marker in Johnson County was killed early Friday afternoon after colliding head-on with a semi-tractor trailer.

Indiana State Police (ISP) say that at approximately 1 p.m., Troopers were notified of the crash, which occurred just north of the Greenwood Main Street Exit. Troopers arrived to find the wreckage engulfed in flames.

ISP say that preliminary investigation and witnesses statements reveal that a pickup truck was speeding south in the northbound lanes of the Interstate. Investigators say the pickup was traveling in the northbound passing lane. They noted that this area of I-65 is under construction and has three lanes northbound with a concrete median barrier separating traffic heading south.

State Police go on to say that a semi-tractor trailer, driven by 50-year-old Toby Klar, of Nashville, TN., was traveling north in the middle lane. The preliminary investigation has led authorities to believe that the pickup truck abruptly turned into the path of the semi, causing a head on crash. The collision caused the semi-tractor trailer, which was full of shelving materials, to flip onto its passenger side. ISP say that Klar was not injured.

Investigators say that after the initial collision, the pickup truck continued southbound and was struck by a car before coming to rest against the concrete barrier wall. It then erupted in flames. The driver of the pickup was unable to escape and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Johnson County Coroner’s Office.

The driver of the car that was struck by the pickup after the initial collision with the semi, 47-year-old Donald Whitney, of Greenwood, was transported to Methodist Hospital. Authorities say that he suffered “non-life threatening” injuries.

ISP say that two additional vehicles were involved in the crash. However, they sustained only property damage. Police went on to say that and neither the drivers, nor passengers, were hurt.

Authorities say that they are unsure at this time why the driver of the pickup truck drove north, head-on in to the southbound lanes of traffic. They added that the investigation is ongoing. ISP added that the cleanup efforts are also continuing. Officials say the earliest that the northbound lanes of the Interstate will be reopened is 6 p.m.

Indiana State Police say that the identity of the deceased pickup truck driver is being withheld for the time being. They say that the Johnson County Coroner’s Office needs to make a positive identification, then the family must be notified.

State Road 58 work set to begin Tuesday

Jul 23, 2015 544

Indiana Department of Transportation maintenance crews plan to remove and replace a failed drainage structure on State Road 58 near Ogilville on Tuesday. Drivers heading through the Bartholomew County town should expect single-lane traffic or brief closures at the site, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

INDOT Spokesman Harry Maginity says that Columbus Subdistrict workers are scheduled to excavate the S.R. 58 roadbed at a crushed culvert location between County Road 650 South and County Road 700 South. He says that operations to install at new 36-foot drainage pipe, measuring 45-feet in length, will be done one-half a time, leaving one lane open to traffic.

Motorists will be directed around the work area by INDOT flaggers. The work may require complete closure of S.R. 58 for up to one hour at some time during the day.

INDOT says this work is dependent on the weather.

BCSD investigate early Thursday morning shooting

Jul 23, 2015 565

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputies joined with Columbus Police Department Officers in responding to a report that shots had been fired inside of a residence in the 3900 block of County Road 450 East.

Sheriff’s Department Spokesperson Judy Jackson says that dispatchers received a call stating that a man had fired a handgun inside, while in the presence of a woman.

BCSD Sgt. Kris Weisner reportedly spoke with the woman, who said the man had fired one shot into the floor. Additional Sheriff’s Department personnel also responded to the scene and the Columbus Police Department SWAT unit was called in to assist.

Jackson says that when CPD SWAT arrived, they took the unidentified male into custody without incident. He was secured and transported to Columbus Regional Hospital for evaluation.

Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Major Chris Lane said it was extremely important to have CPD’s SWAT Unit available to the Sheriff’s Office.

“Having all law enforcement agencies working together is extremely important and is why I want to make sure that we all train together”, said Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers.