Sweet reaches deal; Tackett charged with child neglect

By Tyler Roebuck

troebuck@kpcmedia.com

COLUMBIA CITY — If the court accepts his plea bargain, Chadwick Sweet,40, of Churubusco, will serve a 24-year sentence on a charge of dealing in methamphetamine, a level 4 felony.

Due to a history of drug-related offenses, Sweet received habitual offender status, which added an additional 12 years to the 12-year sentence of a level 4 felony.

Sweet was arrested in May when the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on his property and found “methamphetamine and methamphetamine paraphernalia,” police reports say. Sweet said he manufactured meth as frequently as two out of every three days, as many times as 20 per month.

If the court accepts his agreement on Jan. 25, Sweet will serve his sentence with 22 years incarcerated and two years on probation.

Child neglect, OWI and possession of Meth

Whitney Tackett, 26, of Rome City, appeared Monday for an initial hearing on a slew of charges after a 911 caller reported a dangerous driver Nov. 19.

According to court documents, Tackett was driving eratically at speeds upward of 90 miles per hour and swerving between lanes. Upon pulling her over, officer Aaron Cook found a child in the rear seat in a booster seat, but “she was way too young and small to be in a booster seat,” he wrote in a police report. Documents state that the child was two years old.

Cook allegedly smelled marijuana and observed that Tackett’s “eyes were droopy and her speach was slurred,” the report said. “Her eyes lacked focus and she looked like she had been awake for days.”

In October, Tackett was convicted of operating while under the influence of a controlled substance in Noble County, and had an outstanding warrant in Saint Joe, Mich. for a methamphetamine charge.

Tackett is charged with possession of methamphetamine, a level 5 felony, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a level 6 felony, OWI with a schedule I or II controlled substance, a level 6 felony, neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony, possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor, child restraint system violation and driving left of center, both minor infractions.

Tackett has elected to represent herself, and is seeking bond reduction with a hearing to happen at a later date.

In other Whitley Circuit Court news

Michael Alma, 46, of South Whitley, failed to appear for an initial hearing on charges of class A misdemeanor domestic battery, level 6 felony strangulation and criminal confinement, a level 3 felony. Prosecutor DJ Sigler was unsure if Alma was aware of the hearing, as he bonded out before the charges were officially filed. Judge Matthew Rentschler issued an order to appear for court next week, and will issue a warrant if he does not appear.

• Samuel Rans, 49, of Columbia City, pleaded guilty to two counts of child molesting as a class C felony and level 4 felony. Rans allegedly molested his victim between August 2007 – December 2015. A class C felony carries an advisory sentence of two to eight years, and a level 4 ranges from two to 12 years. In accordance with the plea agreement, the court has full discretion as to the length and amount executed of Rans’ sentence. His sentencing hearing is Jan. 25.

• Jeremiah Gawthrop, 35, of South Whitley, appeared for a violation of probation after allegedly being in possession of a samurai sword and other knives. Gawthrop was also arrested for possession of meth in Starke County and resisting arrest in Whitley County in August. In order to allow for Gawthrop’s lawyer to become involved, his next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 27.

• Jeffery Lemmon, 49, of Columbia City, was charged and sentenced on a class A misdemeanor OWI and class B possession of marijuana. Lemmon will have a 365-day sentence with all of it suspended and the executed portion of his sentence will be the time he has served leading up to court. Rentschler asked if this was Lemmon’s first exposure to the criminal justice system, to which he replied yes. “Make it your last,” Rentschler said.

• Laura Koze’s hearing was continued to Dec. 27.

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