A stolen motorcycle from Iredell County was recovered at a Wilkesboro residence last week. Sheriff’s Deputies seized the vehicle and returned it to the owner. The suspect in the case is still at large as the investigation is continuing.
Your Hometown Christian Radio Station. WWWC Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
In case of an emergency, call Mickey Hutchens, a woman's voice said.
A deacon at Forbush Baptist Church, Hutchens was also a protector of his flock. If he wasn't on duty patrolling the streets of Winston-Salem, odds were good that he was tending to something at his church.
If something had gone awry, obviously Hutchens wanted to be among the first to know and first to react. He wanted to protect and to serve.
Mickey Hutchens died just before 7 p.m. last night at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, the result of a bullet wound he suffered six days ago in a ravine behind a fast-food restaurant on Peters Creek Parkway.
"Mickey sacrificed his life protecting the citizens of Winston-Salem," Chief Scott Cunningham said last night at a news conference. "His sacrifice was not in vain. He believed in what he was doing.
"He spent his life helping others."
Prayer for the best
Certainly Hutchens' death was not unexpected. Over the weekend, police officials solemnly passed word that his condition had taken a turn for the worse and asked the community to remember their fallen comrade in its prayers.
"Sgt. Hutchens died in the presence of his loving family and police friends," Cunningham said last night.
For that, we should be grateful.
As heartbreaking as it is to lose a man who died from a wound suffered while serving his community, it should be a small measure of comfort that those closest to him were able to say their goodbyes and be with him to the end.
Throughout a long weekend, Hutchens was never far from the thoughts of colleagues -- men and women who know the same fate is possible for them and yet answer calls for help every single day.
Cunningham, who deserves congratulations for his strong public show of leadership during a crisis, said as much while taking a turn working a police department booth at the Dixie Classic Fair. He had spent a good part of his Sunday by Hutchens' bedside, and so he likely knew what lay ahead.
Prepare for the worst. Pray for the best.
When the news that police all feared came to pass, Cunningham wanted his officers to hear it first from him -- not via an Internet posting or a scroll across the bottom of a television screen.
Man of integrity
A veteran with more than 25 years in the department, Lt. Billy Riggs spoke highly of his friend when asked in conversation Sunday afternoon how Hutchens was faring.
"Mickey and I grew up in the department together," Riggs said. "If it was the right thing to do, then that's what Mickey would do. I've done some stupid things in my time, but Mickey never did anything stupid."
Hutchens was known around the department to be methodical, highly organized and efficient. If a question arose about a police procedure or general order, Riggs said, Hutchens likely knew the answer.
"I might know what it was, but I'd have to look it up," Riggs said. "Mickey, he knew. He didn't make mistakes."
Criminal-defense lawyers who had occasion to cross-examine Hutchens also praised his character even before they learned of his death.
Nils Gerber, a defense attorney from Winston-Salem, remembered a case years ago involving social workers and witnesses whose testimony might not have been a strength for the prosecution's case. Hutchens was called to testify against Gerber's client during the trial.
"I knew when Mickey testified that he was going to be thorough and extremely honest," Gerber said. "That's the type of person he was and jurors could see that in him.
"His integrity was unassailable and everybody knew it."
Walter Lowell Stiehm II, 23, of 607 Belle Ridge Road in North Wilkesboro, was arrested on the two felony charges Thursday. Authorities said yesterday that the investigation is continuing. They did not release the high-school student's age.
Stiehm is also facing a charge of breaking and entering charges in connection with an incident in Boone that happened in August, just days before school started.
Stiehm is a senior majoring in Spanish and education at ASU. He is still a student there, but he is no longer a student teacher.
ASU's policy calls for removing a student from a student-teaching position if the student is arrested or charged with inappropriate conduct, pending the resolution of the charges, university officials said.
Stiehm said in an interview yesterday that the charges involving the student are the result of a misunderstanding.
"People that actually know me, know better than that I would do something like this," he said.
He declined to say if he was involved a relationship with the student.
"I know unfortunately, she's going to be put in this as well," he said. "It's not her fault. Stuff got said."
The superintendent of Wilkes County Schools, Steve Laws, said that Stiehm started student teaching this semester and that investigators said that the incidents did not happen on campus. Laws said that ASU does the background checks on its student teachers.
A mandatory background check is required no more than six months before a student begins student teaching, according to an e-mail that ASU officials sent to the Winston-Salem Journal.
ASU uses Certiphi Screening Inc., a service that specializes in applicant-screening services, including background checks.
Court records would have shown that Stiehm had some traffic-related charges, including a driving-while-impaired case in Watauga County in 2007. In that case, he pleaded guilty, received 12 months' probation and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service and 20 hours of substance-abuse treatment. Court records show that he completed his sentence.
The background check was done before Stiehm was charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering. A report from the Boone Police Department says that at 3:24 a.m. on Aug. 22, Stiehm was intoxicated and kicked in the front door of an off-campus apartment.
The man and woman in the apartment were awakened by their dog growling, then heard footsteps outside of their bedroom and saw a light flash turned on and off. The intruder ran when the resident opened the bedroom door.
A detective in the area saw Stiehm running away from the area after the call came in, stopped him and arrested him. Stiehm was an acquaintance of the man in the apartment, according to the report, which said that nothing was taken from the apartment.
Stiehm said yesterday that the Boone case had nothing to do with his student teaching and that he was not involved in the breaking and entering.
He is scheduled to appear in Wilkes District Court on Oct. 28 and in Watauga District Court on Nov. 23.
"People act as if I've already been convicted," he said.
The memoir is "Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times," named after his signature hit. Written with music journalist Eddie Dean and published by Gotham Books, it goes on sale Oct. 15.
Stanley is best known for his music in the Coen Brothers' movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" in 2000. His "Oh, Death" on the soundtrack earned him two Grammy awards.
The products from Fisher-Rex Sandwich Co. subject to recall will be identified by a six-digit product code that begins with 01. Products with a five-digit code are not subject to a recall.
The recalled products were distributed to convenience stores, gas stations and other retail stores in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said consumers who have bought the sandwiches should throw them away. He said inspectors will be checking to ensure the products are pulled from store shelves.
No illnesses related to the products have been reported so far.