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General news and features

Ga.’s Zero DUI Tolerance Takes on Urgency

Authorities Cracking Down During the Holidays To Avoid Increase in Traffic Fatalities




 In recent years, Georgia has always used the holiday season to reinforce the state’s zero tolerance policy for impaired driving. If you’re over the limit, you’re under arrest. It’s that simple.


However, the end of 2012 has brought a new sense of urgency for Georgia besides battling the Christmas shopping crowds and making New Year’s resolutions. That’s because for the first time in 6 years, Georgia is on track to experience an increase in traffic fatalities. If fatalities maintain their current rate, the state will surpass last year’s total of 1,226 deaths on our roadways.

Expect more patrolling on secondary roads




At the November commissioner’s meeting, the county amended their 2012 budget to reflect a $143,000 state grant received by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. 

This grant, the HEAT Unit grant provided by the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic, is meant to combat death and injures cause by impaired driving.

According to Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig, who spoke at the Thursday, Nov. 29 meeting, the county has begun to implement the program and is already seeing positive results.  

The $143,000, Craig said, will pay for two fully equipped patrol vehicles and will also cover salaries of deputies driving the vehicles. 

The sheriff said these deputies will be charged with patrolling secondary roads in the county. Craig noted that Pickens County has one of the highest rates of fatalities and serious injury rates of surrounding counties.

“We’re not just going to get out here and work 515,” he said. “We’re going to be working the backroads, out in Hill City, Cove Road and the roads out in the community, not just in the state routes, which we already have the state patrol working.” 

Craig said in the first four days of the program, one of the department’s HEAT officers issued 70 citations, several of which involved illicit substances or drunk driving.

“Of those I think we had three or four DUIs as well as several drug arrests,” he said. 

For more information about the program, and to find out which other counties in the state have HEAT officers, visit


16-year-old murder suspect will likely be released on bail this week

    addisjoseph        16-year-old Joseph Addis, who is charged with murdering his stepfather with a samurai sword on November 23, will likely be released on bail to the home of his grandparents in the Preserve gated community following a Wednesday hearing.

   The house where he will be held under 24/7 supervision of his grandmother is the same place he is accused of stabbing his step-father Christopher Allen, 36, a single time with the rusty, old sword following a family argument. Marcie Allen, the wife of Christopher and mother of Addis, told detectives that the stabbing occurred following a family fight where the older Allen had tried to slap the juvenile. The mother said during a cell phone conversation in front of a deputy that Allen had regularly been abusive.

   Judge Brenda Weaver indicated that she would grant bail unless something unexpected came up in psychological exams from Addis’ in-take at the Youth Detention Center in Dalton, or in a conversation the judge requested with the psychologist if the report is not available.

   Judge Weaver announced her intention following a lengthy and at times tense hearing Wednesday where the victim’s mother testified along with Addis’ grandparents.

   The witnesses all described Addis as extremely withdrawn and in need of counseling. During the hearing it was also announced by the District Attorney’s office that they opposed any bail release where Ms. Allen and her son could “collaborate,” as they are looking at possible charges against Ms. Allen in the death of her husband. Read more in next week's print edition.


• Read extensive details from the incident report, in our e-edition

 • Original online story here

• Psychological evaulation of 16-year-old murder suspect ordered in first court appearance

• Further Details released in samurai sword slaying



Local church holds forum on social media


Mt. Zion Baptist Church Pastor Ben Mock and Pickens County Corporal Chris Leake

Follow this link to read "The Believer's Guide to Facebook" by Rev. Mock

     At a forum Sunday night at Mount Zion Church on the dangers of social media, Corporal Chris Leake with the Pickens Sheriff’s office advised parents to use today’s technology to their advantage, teach kids how to behave civilly on social media sites, and above all never post anything your grandmother wouldn’t approve of.


Further details on samurai sword killing released


addisjosephDeputy hears mom say

son was only protecting her


A 16-year-old Jasper juvenile male is charged with murder following the stabbing death of his stepfather Friday, Nov. 23 in The Preserve at Sharp Mountain gated community.

      Pickens County Sheriff Donnie Craig said the juvenile stabbed his stepfather with a sword, later identified as a “Dha” (similar to a samurai sword) following an argument that began over a minor issue  just before midnight Friday. 

The deceased has been identified as Christopher Todd Allen, 36. The name of the suspect was initially withheld due to his age, but later released as he is being charged in superior court at this time. The suspect has been identified as Joseph M. Addis. There is some confusion about whether a 16-year-old facing a murder charge is treated as a juvenile in the court system.

The 16-year-old is in custody at the Juvenile Detention Center in Dalton. He was arrested at the scene after a relative called 911. 

At the time of the stabbing, the family was living in the basement of their relatives’ house in The Preserve.

The incident report states that the victim had picked up his wife at 8 p.m. from Rocco’s Pub where she worked on the night of the killing. The report states that Marcie Allen, the wife of the victim and mother of Addis, told officers that the victim “had already been drinking” when he picked her up. 

Ms. Allen went on to tell officers in her initial interview more details about the tragic evening.


Read more about the case, including details from the incident report, in our e-edition