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Grand jury to get case against man charged in crash that killed daughter
 Justin Story  / 

Nearly three hours after being involved in a crash that killed his 3-year-old daughter, blood tests showed a Smiths Grove man was impaired, according to testimony Friday.

Dyllan Martter, 39, of Smiths Grove, appeared in Warren District Court for a preliminary hearing in his criminal case.

Martter was driving four of his daughters in a 2001 Ford Excursion on May 9 when it overturned on Three Forks Road.

Three-year-old Lucia Martter died at Greenview Regional Hospital from injuries sustained in the crash, and her father was arrested on charges of murder, three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.

Deputy Tim Robinson of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office testified Friday that he was dispatched to the crash at 7:39 p.m. May 9 after a resident in the area who heard the crash called 911.

Robinson arrived about 15 minutes later and learned from Assistant Chief Wes Jenkins of the Smiths Grove Police Department, who had arrived earlier, that Dylan Martter was the driver and had the smell of an alcoholic beverage on his breath.

Robinson said Martter appeared unsteady on his feet.

Martter told police he had consumed two beers about two hours before the crash, Robinson said.

Field sobriety tests conducted around 8:30 p.m. suggested Martter was impaired and a breath test gave a reading of 0.112 percent, above the limit of 0.08 percent for legal drivers.

Martter was arrested and taken to Greenview for evaluation.

“While in the emergency room, he stated several times ‘I killed my daughter,’ ” Robinson said in an arrest citation.

Law enforcement obtained a search warrant directing them to obtain blood samples from Martter at the hospital.

Collected 20 minutes apart nearly three hours after the crash, the samples showed blood alcohol content measurements of 0.111 percent and 0.107 percent, Robinson said Friday.

Under questioning from Martter’s attorney, Steve Romines, Robinson said he did not note whether Martter showed the effects of a concussion and that Martter refused medical assistance from EMS at the scene of the crash.

Martter was out of the vehicle and kneeling beside his daughter when Robinson arrived, the deputy testified.

Martter is free on a $100,000 cash bond and he is not permitted to drive.

Dyllan Martter

Bac Totrong / Bac Totrong/Daily News  

Cancer survivors and supporters walk Friday, May 31, 2019, during the annual Relay for Life at Bowling Green Ballpark. (Bac Totrong/

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Cancer Society supporters race to a cure at BG Ballpark
 D Kizer  / 

More than a decade ago, Pam Pannell found out she had cancer “by a fluke.”

After Pannell was thrown off the horse she was riding, she had a CT scan that revealed she had kidney cancer. Pannell, now a 12-year cancer survivor, credits that horse with saving her life.

“Usually with kidney cancer, it’s not discovered until later on because there really are no symptoms until it’s metastasized,” Pannell said.

On Friday, Pannell joined fellow survivors, caregivers and her teammates at Bowling Green Ballpark for the 24th annual Warren County Relay for Life. Participants celebrated, remembered and fought back at the event.

Pannell said her mother died of lung cancer, and cancer also claimed her mother-in-law and all of her mother-in-law’s siblings, which makes the yearly Relay for Life event extremely close to her heart – so close that Pannell still walked this year even though she just had surgery for a torn meniscus.

“I belong to Broadway United Methodist Church Relay for Life team and we’ve been doing this for a good long time,” Pannell said. “We have a really dynamic team who really works hard for American Cancer Society. Our team has matched their goal and now we’re trying to surpass our goal.”

Jill Isom, senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society in Warren County, said event organizers expected a turnout between 1,500 and 2,000 people for the annual event, which lasted until midnight.

The overall goal for this year is $360,000, and “well over” $200,000 has already been raised. Isom said she’s certain more fundraisers in the fall and a dedicated community will help them reach their lofty goal – and more.

“They exceeded their goal last year by $25,000, so I feel certain that they’ll hit that number,” Isom said.

Intermittent rain showers threatened to put a damper on the proceedings and lower the number of people who’d show up for the event, but Isom said the community was “amazing” and would support a good cause “rain or shine” – especially this year because the event had a brand new location.

“They’re coming in with their umbrellas, so it’s totally fine,” Isom said with a laugh. “I love our new venue – anytime you can do something a little bit different, people get excited. Even though it’s the same event that it’s always been, it’s a little bit different with a new venue, with the live music, so I just think people are really excited for the change.”

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, who signed a proclamation May 16 that made the month of May American Cancer Society Relay for Life Month in Bowling Green and Warren County, was on hand to speak during the opening ceremony.

Prior to his remarks, Wilkerson expressed gratitude to Bowling Green High School for playing host to the event for so many years, but acknowledged that the downtown ballpark was a large “step up” from a high school track.

“Now that they’ve got the loop open all the way around the field, this is the absolute best place they could choose to do it,” Wilkerson said. “This is great though – to see all these people here to memorialize some of their friends and loved ones and then some of themselves have their own challenges with cancer, so we’re glad to see everybody pull together and walk as a team.”

Tents selling food and homemade baked goods lined the concourse area, and patrons signed up for silent auctions and raffles as they walked around. When stadium speakers weren’t blaring “Africa” by Toto or “Purple Rain” by Prince, live music by Tyrone Dunn and Kin-Folk or Billy Duvall Jr. and The Sidewinders provided the soundtrack to a fun-filled evening with family and friends.

The purple shirts worn by cancer survivors paired with the purple balloons, ribbons, signs and decorations all around the venue created a different look and feel than most of the other events held at the stadium. Navy and orange dominate most evenings because they are the primary colors of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, which played host to the annual event for the first time.

This year’s theme was Race to a Cure, and Assistant General Manager Matt Ingram said the car-themed ballclub was happy to partner with Relay for Life to push for a cure and put on “a great event for the community.”

“Hey man, I’m from Bowling Green, so I’m used to the purple,” Ingram said about embracing purple rather than the Hot Rods’ navy and orange in the team’s ballpark. “But for this cause, we’re happy to be able to showcase it and make that change and it looks great in the ballpark. It’s great to see all the people out and it’s going to be a fun night.”

Joining Pannell in the group of purple-clad survivors walking in the event was Vince Perriello, who said he “had a better experience than most” during his fight with cancer because he never once had to undergo chemotherapy.

“I had a kidney stone,” Perriello said. “I went to the doctor about it and they drew blood and they called me that afternoon and told me I was dangerously anemic. Two days later, I was minus a kidney and a colon – the anemia was actually caused by the (cancerous) tumor in the colon bleeding and it was about to break through. Basically, that kidney stone saved my life.”

Now an 18-year cancer survivor after “a heck of a week” many moons ago, Perriello is still dedicated to finding a cure. He never misses the Relay for Life event – even this year, when he was uncertain about the change of venue.

“I wasn’t sure what it was gonna be like here, but I came anyway because this is just something I do,” Perriello said. “Cancer is one of those things people do know about, but you can’t stop talking about it. We need to keep our eyes on the prize.”

Bac Totrong / Bac Totrong/Daily News  

Cancer survivor Molly Hughes (right) gets a survivor’s medal placed on her Friday, May 31, 2019, by her mother Chelsea Hughes during the annual Relay for Life at Bowling Green Ballpark. (Bac Totrong/

County sees rise in illegal debris dumping
 Jackson French  / 

Local officials have noticed an uptick in dump sites where construction and demolition debris, particularly drywall, has been illegally disposed.

Stan Reagan, Warren County’s environmental planning and assistance coordinator, said construction and demolition debris, also known as CD&D, consists of materials such as insulation, wood, drywall and electrical components that need to be disposed of, usually following a job that involves tearing down or remodeling a building.

“One thing that we’ve had recently is a bunch of drywall that’s been dumped in the city and it’s been happening in the county,” he said.

The two most prominent sites where CD&D has been dumped are off Boatlanding Road and in an area near Lost River Cave, Reagan said.

“It’s been more prominent lately,” he said. “We tend to see the growth of that with the growth of construction.”

The county has sent a letter to contractors explaining the issue and advising them to make sure that CD&D material their jobs generate is being disposed of properly.

“If you are using subcontractors for cleanup, make sure your subcontractors also are properly licensed and are disposing of your materials at properly permitted waste disposal facilities,” the letter said.

The letter also noted that burning and burying solid waste is “restricted or prohibited.”

The letter specifies that unloading material on another’s property and without proper state solid waste permits can constitute illegal dumping.

Reagan said the letter is intended to raise awareness of the issue and let contractors know that construction waste must be disposed of properly.

“If someone unknowingly was dumping, it gives them the chance to self-correct or to correct others,” he said.

The letter also urges anyone who is aware of someone illegally dumping materials or of any existing dump sites to call either Reagan’s office at 270-843-5353, local law enforcement or the Kentucky Division of Environmental Protection Bowling Green field office at 270-746-7475.

Though dump sites are mainly thought of as places where waste is being disposed of without the property owner’s knowledge, some consist of waste property owners leave on their own land, Reagan said.

“We just want to keep this from happening,” he said. “People are happy to fill in a hole and don’t always think about the consequences of throwing away some of that stuff.”

The consequence could be a contamination of local soil and groundwater, he said.

“Of course, anything that’s man-made has potential to have chemicals and solvents and can get into our karst system,” he said. “It gets in the ground and it tends to stay there.”

Bob Appling, director of the county’s contractors licensing board, said the letter, which was also posted on the county’s Facebook page, was sent to more than 50 contractors that deal with drywall and other types of CD&D.

There are abput 2,850 contractors licensed with the board, Appling said.

While it’s difficult to catch somebody in the act of dumping, Appling said any contractor found to be involved with an illegal dump could potentially face losing their license if Reagan files a complaint against the contractor with the board, though Appling speculated that legal action against the contract seems more likely.

“I think he’d probably go to the courts,” he said. “They can do more than we can.”

Lucia Martter

Warren East High School names new principal
 Aaron Mudd  / 

A fresh face will greet students at Warren East High School when they return to classes this fall.

After a vote from the school’s site-based decision-making council Friday, Jonathan Williams was announced as WEHS’ new principal, with his official first day set July 1. He replaces Nicole Clark, who’s taking an intervention job at Greenwood High School.

“I’m just blown away (and) extremely humbled to be a high school principal” in Warren County Public Schools, Williams said. “It’s amazing.”

Williams most recently served as principal of H.W. Wilkey Elementary School in Grayson County for five years. He’s also been a special education teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, been an assistant principal and a school interventionist, a role that supports teachers in boosting student achievement and engagement.

Williams described Warren East as having “the whole package” to offer students, with its strong academic, athletic and extracurricular offerings. He plans to work with the school’s council for a smooth leadership transition.

“We want the culture to be strong. We want student learning to be a No. 1 focus, and we want all of our students to graduate with a pathway ahead,” whether that’s college or a career, Williams said.

The council voted unanimously during a meeting at the school district’s central office, during which Williams appeared with his family.

His family members include his wife, Whitney, and four children: 11-year-old daughter Cariann, 8-year-old son Camden, 4-year-old daughter Catherine and 2-year-old daughter Chloe.

Asked what made Williams stand out, WEHS math teacher Cyndi Mann, who serves on the school’s council, said “it was apparent that he has strong leadership skills.”

“He will get all of us on board with a shared vision. … You can tell he is going to bring out the best in every one of us,” she said.

WCPS Superintendent Rob Clayton said the council was particularly impressed with Williams’ broad experience.

“His past experience as a special education teacher, an interventionist, assistant principal and then as a lead principal for five years really has provided him what we believe are the necessary experiences to be highly successful at Warren East,” Clayton said. “We’re very excited to have him come join our family and really look forward to his leadership there at Warren East.”

Williams thanked council members and Clayton for their confidence in him as a candidate.

“I’m extremely excited to get started,” he said.