Leave, now! House cleared after use being declared a ‘nuisance’

Published 9:35 am Thursday, October 15, 2020

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The ongoing party at 212 Edgewood Circle near Cooleemee is over.

Hopefully, it will mean some peace for a neighborhood that has lived with drug use, fights, loitering and other problems for years.

On Oct. 5, Superior Court Judge Mark Klass entered a consent judgment ordering the property be vacated and then sold. The ruling came after years of repeated calls to the residence, and documenting of evidence to have the property considered a nuisance.

According to Davie Sheriff J.D. Hartman, it is the first property in Davie County to be closed as a nuisance. In an agreement, the owners retain the property but must immediately vacate and then sell it. And they will likely owe the county some $50,000 or more for the work in filing the complaint, as well as costs of sheriff’s officers making repeated trips to crime calls.

“Over a period of many years, citizens residing in this neighborhood have unjustly suffered due to activities stemming from this specific property,” Hartman said. “I sincerely appreciate the cooperation from the property owners, as we worked to solve this problem and restore peace to this neighborhood.”

The process was delayed some six months because of court closures for COVID-19.

The property is owned by Donald Tyrone Smith and Carolyn Ann Privette Smith. The couple had been divorced or separated for some time, and the husband still owes his former wife money, Hartman said.

Mr. Smith lived in the house and allowed the parties, according to Davie Sheriff’s Lt. Wes Martin, who compiled much of the paper work needed to  have it declared a nuisance.

He said at one time, Smith had rented out portions of the house to 13 different people. One would rent a utility closet, four were in a garage area, each with their own quadrant.

That many people living in close quarters, as well as dozens of others who just came by to hang out, drink and do drugs, was a recipe for disaster, Hartman said.

Some 333 separate criminal events had been documented at the residence. Even after his office informed Smith last October that the property was a nuisance and proceedings would begin if it’s use wasn’t changed, the deparment responded to 20 calls before the year’s end, to 62 more calls in early 2020. That number doesn’t include the numerous calls for fights in the street, or people passed out or trespassing on neighboring properties.

Sheriff’s officers canvassed the neighborhood, and no other resident refused to cooperate in providing information to get the property declared a nuisance, Martin said.

“Evidence is replete with instances of citizens observing hand-to-hand drug transactions, patrons smoking marijuana, volumes of vehicle and foot traffic and other activity associated with illegal drug use, illegal drug possession, illegal drug sales and illegal drug overdoses by patrons of the property,” according to the complaint filed by Davie County Attorney Ed Vogler.

The complaint goes on: “Local residents and law enforcement officers informed the plaintiff that they feared for their safety because of the unlawful and violent activities that regularly occur at the property and on and around the property.

“Numerous illegal drug overdoses have taken place at the property. During one incident, two victims overdosed on illegal drugs, admitting to law enforcement they both had snorted heroin. Numerous wanted persons have been apprehended at the property. A subject was struck with a miniature baseball bat inside of the garage area.

“Deputies attempting to serve an arrest warrant at the property encountered a person armed with a knife and refused to obey deputies commands. Disturbances at the property resulted in one victim being stabbed with a broken bottle; one victim beaten by multiple people armed with bats and metal pipes; suspect stole a vehicle in the community fo flee the scene.”

Hartman said the property was the scene of often “loud music, loud abusive language, fights, violent assaults, loitering, extremely impaired patrons.”

The order goes with the property, meaning that Smith nor any of the named patrons, can never go there again, no matter who owns it. That list includes Robert Grey Ridings, Bron Depaul Smith, Janice Carol Ivey-Spillman, Tabitha Deleen Johnston, Samuel Jason Smith, Crandon Hairston, Harry Andy Burch, Katherine Dawn O’Brien, Jeffrey Scott Bailey, Miranda Dillard Head, Jason Arnold Lambert, Timothy Ray Green, Joe Lynn Stafford, Dustin Ray Jenkins, William Daniel Henderson, Winson Trevel Scott, Samuel Jason Smith, Nicole Sizemore, Lonnie Allen Thomas, Katherine Danielle Mossman, Jeffrey Shane Jacobs, Jamie Rena Beaver, Darrell Baker, Angela Leonard, Tisha Nicole Young, Frances Tyson Young, Oscar Lynn Young, Jonathan Johnson, Mandy Michelle O’Neal, David Singleton, Tony Shawn Smith, Jacob Lee Atwood, Scotty Eugene Cranfield,  Eric Charles Mize, Tonya Southern, Kevin James Richie, Shannon Michael Funderburk and Sherlyn Ivy Johnson.

Martin said the house was trashed inside.

The investigation included the Davie Sheriff’s Office, Davie County Government, and members of the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement’s Nuisance Abatement team.

“The nuisance abatement law provides a solution to problem locations that disproportionately demand law enforcement resources and reduce the quality of life for others,” said Scottie Shoaf, assistant special agent in charge of the abatement team. We embrace the positive chanes this judgment will facilitate within the community.”

“It’s been a long process … but we will be looking at other properties,” Hartman said. “We have two we are already looking at.”