Highland News Leader

Highland area police briefs for Dec. 5-17

Editor’s note: The following incidents were listed among the official reports of local law enforcement agencies and court clerks. Readers are reminded that an arrest or charge does not constitute a finding of guilt. Only a court of law can make that determination.

House explodes near Highland

A home at 1033 Illinois 160 in Highland exploded Sunday afternoon. No one was injured.

Owners Becky and Jay Rock had planned to demolish the home that had been vacant for about a year.

Dave Thole, Becky’s father, said the Rock’s had planned to keep the house warm enough to avoid a pipe bursting but forgot there was an open gas line in the basement.

The house was not insured, and Thole said there would be no investigation.

HPD charges Lebanon man with sexual abuse

The Highland Police Department filed charges on Dec. 9, charging Zachary J. Fritsch, 37, with aggravated criminal sexual assault. Police allege that on Oct. 6, Fritsch reached under the shirt of a female victim between the ages of 13-17 and rubbed her chest over the top of her bra.

Marine man faces felony heroin charge

Travis A. Walker, 25, of Marine has been charged with a felony charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

On Wednesday, Nov.16, officers of the Marine Police Department responded to 411 E. Division St. in Marine in reference to 911 reporting a man slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle.

Upon arrival, officers met with Marine firefighters and paramedics. According to the Marine Police Department, Walker was attempting to hide narcotics after officers arrived to investigate. Police said heroin was located in Walker’s vehicle.

According to police, Walker was recently released from prison for manufacturing methamphetamine and was out on parole at the time of the incident.

Police took Walker into custody on Dec. 6. On Dec. 8, the above case was presented to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office and a warrant was issued. Walker’s bond was set at $25,000.

Governor grants clemency in two local cases

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Dec. 12 announced the results of his latest round of clemency requests, which included two Madison County cases.

Grayson Hendricks, who had a 1999 Madison County conviction for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, was pardoned and the case was expunged.

And Elzora Campbell, who had a 1994 Madison County battery conviction, was pardoned and the case was expunged.

Greenville inmate pleads guilty to assaulting fellow prisoner

Billy Evans, 26, pleaded guilty on Dec. 12 to a federal indictment charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm. Both Evans and the victim were inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution located in Greenville at the time the offense was committed. Evans faces a term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years. The sentencing has been scheduled for March 31, 2017, in East St. Louis.

According to federal prosecutors, on July 6, 2016, Evans assaulted another inmate with a weapon made by tying a combination lock to a belt. Immediately after the assault ended, Evans turned himself into staff at FCI-Greenville. Evans later admitted the assault when interviewed by the FBI, as well to constructing the weapon used to commit the assault. The victim suffered a 3 cm laceration to his head that needed staples to close, as well as abrasions and bruising to his right shoulder.

Greenville inmate gets 18 additional months for having a weapon

Antonio M. Green, 27, an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville was sentenced on Dec. 9 for possession of contraband by a federal inmate. Green received 18 months of imprisonment, to run consecutively to the term of imprisonment for which he is incarcerated. He also received an additional two years of supervised release, to run concurrently to the term of supervised release for which he is incarcerated. Green was also fined $200 and ordered to pay a $100 special assessment. Green has been detained since his arraignment on the indictment on July 11, 2016.

The charge arose when, on April 4, 2016, a correctional officer performed a random shakedown of Green’s cell and allegedly found a 7-inch, ice pick-style weapon with a handle in his locker. Green admitted that the weapon was his, according to federal prosecutors, stating that he had it for his own protection.

Greenville teen found safe

A 13-year-old Greenville girl, who was missing for almost a day, was found safe after an alert citizen recognized her from a picture being circulated on Facebook.

The teen went missing around 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 and had last been seen at the Fusion Dance Center in Greenville. It wasn’t until Tuesday around 11 a.m. that an alert Greenville citizen saw the girl enter Dollar General and followed her in. The police department was called, an officer responded to the store and confirmed it was the girl.

In addition to posts on social media, local police had also entered the missing girl’s name into the state police computer system and posters were being prepared for distribution.

HPD misdemeanors, tickets, citations

Dec. 5-6

▪ No tickets issued.

Dec. 7

▪ Tasha Lawson, 23, of Greenville was charged with having a canceled/suspended/revoked vehicle registration.

Dec. 8

▪ No tickets issued.

Dec. 9

▪ Gregory Seeger, 34, of Alton was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

▪ Jacob B. Bockhorn, 29, of Marine was charged with fleeing/attempting to elude a police officer. Police allege they tried to stop Bockhorn while he was driving a motorcycle, but he fled.

Dec. 10

▪ Rachel Atwood, 32, of Troy was charged with driving while having a suspended/revoked license.

Dec. 11

▪ No tickets issued.

Dec. 12

▪ Alexa Ruskus, 18, of Highland was charged with speeding.

Dec. 13

▪ Rose Ficker, 18, of Highland was charged with speeding.

▪ Ashley Bentancourt, 28, of Granite City was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

Dec. 14

▪ Scott Fohne, 46, of Highland was charged with driving while having a suspended/revoked license.

Dec. 15

▪ Connie M. Beard, 52, of Highland was charged with theft of lost or mislaid property. Police allege Beard found a wallet that contained $200 cash and several credit cards but failed to take reasonable measures to return the property to its rightful owner.

Dec. 16

▪ Keith Burkett, 44, of Highland was charged with driving while having a suspended/revoked license.

Dec. 17

▪ Ashley N. Goth, 32, of Highland was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police allege that Goth was responsible for three children, all under 17 years old, and left them without immediate supervision at a residence in the 1200 block of Broadway. Police, fire and EMS were called to the residence after it was reported that the children were yelling “help” from an upstairs window. Police said that when they responded, the children ran and hid, closed the blinds, and refused to answer the door. Police said Goth was also unavailable at her contact phone number and her whereabouts were unknown to emergency responders.

▪ David Bowder, 32, of Highland was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal transportation of alcohol, making an improper turn and improper lane usage.