2021 in Review – the most clicked stories on WTHITV.com | Crime

Date: 2021-12-28 18:27:19

A lot of news happened in the Wabash Valley in 2021.

A Terre Haute police detective was killed in the line of duty and Vigo County’s on-again-off-again…on-again relationship with a casino.

Here’s a look at the top stories you clicked on using stats from WTHITV.com.

20) June 2021 – Vigo County Deputy hospitalized

This started after deputies in Vigo County were called about a wanted man named Jonathan Crabb. According to police, Crabb rushed at Sgt. Rory Leech, from the sheriff’s office, and started attacking the deputy.

Crabb was ultimately arrested. See the original story here.

19) October 2021 – Two people were killed in Sullivan County crash

A crash in Sullivan County back in October took the life of 16-year-old Mallorie Cochran of Farmersburg and 58-year-old Perry Deschamp from Jasonville.

It happened at County Road 200 E. and State Road 48.

Of our top 20 local stories – what story do you think made the biggest impact of 2021?

About a month later, police released the cause of the crash.

The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office says Cochran was driving southbound on 200 E. when she failed to stop at a stop sign and crashed into Deschamp, who was going west on State Road 48. There’s not a stop sign for traffic on 48.

See the original story here.

18) September 2021 – The mystery of the black helicopters

We took calls into our newsroom about this one…a lot of calls. In September, over the course of a couple of days, black military-style helicopters were flying over Terre Haute. They appeared to be Black Hawks.

We called the airport – nothing. We called the 181st Air Intelligence Wing with the Air National Guard – nothing. Nothing from the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.

Then we reached out to the Indiana National Guard and finally got a response. See the full story here!

17) August 2021 – A shootout in Parke County

This summertime shootout between the Parke County Sheriff’s Office and a suspect in a domestic violence call left the suspect dead, and a deputy hurt.

It happened just outside of Rockville.

According to police, 35-year-old Chad Fiscus fired a rifle at them when they arrived.

In the exchange, Fiscus was killed, and Deputy Darian Lewellen was injured. Lewellen was treated and released from the hospital fairly quickly.

Here’s the original story.

16) All year – the casino

A casino in Vigo County. Will it happen? How long will it be delayed? I thought it was going to be Hard Rock?

We started this year under the assumption Vigo County’s new casino would be Hard Rock branded and be built near Walmart on the city’s east side.

That changed when the Indiana Gaming Commission pulled the license from Greg Gibson’s Lucy Luck. That chain of events kicked off a new round of bidding from four applicants – and an appeal.

Indiana Gaming Commission meets for the first time since a lawsuit was filed involving Terre Haute casino


The gaming commission awarded Churchill Downs the casino license – with their plans to build near the Haute City Center Mall.

Gibson and Lucy Luck ultimately reached an agreement with the gaming commission – dropping the challenge. That happened as another lawsuit was filed by a different applicant – Full House Resorts. That’s where we stand now.

Here’s what Churchill Downs has planned. 

15) June 2021 – Shake, rattle and roll

Many of us felt the ground shake back in June. That’s when a small earthquake impacted the entire Wabash Valley.

The 3.8 magnitude earthquake had an epicenter near Rockville. We didn’t hear any reports of injuries or damage.

Earthquakes and the Wabash Valley


Here’s our story.

14) August 2021, Teen killed in dirt bike crash

This Vigo County crash involved a teenager on a dirt bike and a pickup truck.

At the time, police said the driver of the truck, 49-yer-old Brent Robertson of Clinton, was drunk when he crashed into 15-year-old Anthony Elkins of West Terre Haute.

See the story here.

13) July 2021 – A Black Bear in the Wabash Valley

A black bear was spotted in Daviess County, and it caused quite the stir.

The Indiana DNR confirmed the bear sighting. We were told the bear likely came from Illinois and was making its way east.

Here’s the full story.

12) April/May 2021 – Jessica Nascimbene

Back in April, we first reported Jessica Nascimbene went missing. She was last seen at Walmart on Terre Haute’s southside.

Later on in April, police started an investigation into a hit and rush crash at the Sheriff’s Youth Ranch in Clay County after the sign was found smashed.

Officials later found a deceased Nascimbene and her vehicle in a deep ravine near the sign.

Here’s the story.

11) February 2021 – a Dirt bike deal

Since he was seven years old, Jack Joy, now a student at Terre Haute Noth Vigo High School, wanted to make it big in the dirtbike world.

Earlier this year, Joy signed a deal with Sherco USA. Part of the deal includes the teen getting his hands on four free bikes and a parts allowance.

Check out his story here.

10) June 2021 – The murder of Mezmariah Wilson

A shooting in Carlisle ended in the tragic death of Mezmariah Wilson, 15. She was a Terre Haute South student.

Police told us two groups gathered at a large get-together in Sullivan County. That’s when several shots were fired.

Two men facing murder charges for death of Mezmariah Wilson


Originally police began the search for two suspects. Police were able to catch and arrest two men, Kyle Johnson and Matthew Earle. Both were ultimately charged with murder.

See the story here.

9) All year – COVID-19

This year is ending much like last year, with COVID-19 numbers spiking and hospitalization numbers climbing.

Many thought the virus would ease in 2021, and it did for part of the year. Now health officials warn 2022 could start off tough.

The Indiana National Guard was just deployed to help at Union Health, and a United States Navy team will help at IU Health in Indianapolis.

Click here for our continuing coverage of the virus.

8) May 2021 – Don Morris and his wife, Cheryl Hart killed in Myrtle Beach

In late May, Vigo County lost one of its elected leaders. Vigo County Councilman Don Morris and his wife, Cheryl Hart, were both killed when they were hit by a car in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Don and Cheryl were both pillars in the community.

The community came together to celebrate the life of Don Morris and Cheryl Hart


More than 300 people gathered at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute to honor the couple during a celebration of life.

Here’s our story.

7) July 2021 – Mom accused of stealing from her son

Back in July, this woman was accused of stealing a boatload of money from her son’s estate. To make things worse, the son had the money set aside because his dad was a Terre Haute Police Officer killed in the line of duty.

Josie Huff, of Robinson, was accused of talking almost a quarter of a million dollars from her son’s estate. Her son’s dad was Officer Rob Pitts, who was killed as he attempted to arrest a murder suspect.

She allegedly spent the money on a lot of different things for what investigators call “self-gain.”

Here’s the story.

6) July 2021 – The murder of Chloe Carroll

Our sixth most clicked-on story takes us back to July. That’s when 15-year-old Chloe Carroll of Terre Haute was shot and killed.

Carroll was shot at a gas station near 13th and Poplar. Police found her a few blocks away on 19th Street and Poplar.

Community gathers to honor Chloe Carroll


Two people were charged in connection to her death. 17-year-old Cody Scherb faces charges of dangerous possession of a firearm and theft of a firearm.

See the story here.

5) May 2021 – A mom murdered in southern Vigo County

In May, police launched an investigation after finding 72-year-old Gayle Wilson dead inside her Vigo County home on Curry Drive.

The main suspect? It was her son – and he was originally nowhere to be found.

Police began the search for Michael Wilson, ultimately finding him in Owen County. He was arrested and charged with murder and auto theft.

Click here for the story 

4) August 2021 – Former Sullivan County Coroner under investigation kills himself

An investigation into former Sullivan County Coroner Tracy Tackett started when a group published a video of him allegedly trying to meet a child in Kentucky.

While police were investigating the video Tackett was reported missing from his Sullivan County apartment. He was later found dead inside of his pickup truck. It was determined Tackett killed himself.

New information after the death of Sullivan County’s coroner


Here’s a link to our story about the investigation and another with our story about his death. 

3) August 2021 – Star of late 90s show arrested in Terre Haute

If you watched the popular late 90’s show Buffy the Vampire Slayer – you likely know the name, Xander Harris. He was one of Buffy’s “Scooby’s” that helped her save the world over and over.

Actor Nicholas Brenden played the part of Xander.

Brenden was pulled over by Terre Haute police on Seabury Street, just west of 13th.

He faced several charges, including lying about his identity and prescription fraud.

See the full story here.

2) October 2021 – Hobby Lobby to move across the street

Who will move into the old Kmart building on Terre Haute’s southside? The chain closed the store back in 2016, and ever since, it has been empty.

This year, we finally found who would take over the building. Well, part of the building. News 10 learned Hobby Lobby would make the (very short) move into a section of the building.

Terre Haute currently had a Hobby Lobby on U.S. 41, right across the old Kmart store.

Hobby Lobby will only use a portion of the building – so we are still waiting to learn who will take over the rest.

Here’s our original story. 

1) July 2021 – Detective Greg Ferency

It started as what appeared to be an ambush outside of an FBI field office in Terre Haute – and ended in the death of a Terre Haute Police Department detective.

Greg Ferency served as both a detective with the Terre Haute Police Department and a Task Force Officer with the FBI.

From a candidate for Terre Haute mayor to murder suspect – federal officials identify Ferency’s accused killer


Ferency was leaving the FBI office in Terre Haute when Shane Meehan allegedly opened fire on Ferency, resulting in his death.

Meehan took off and later resurfaced at Regional Hospital in Terre Haute, wounded. Meehan was formally charged for Ferency’s death.

People from around the nation attended Ferency’s services at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute. Speakers at his services included close friends, his police chief, Mayor Duke Bennett, and the Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray.

The community honors Detective Greg Ferency


Here’s a timeline of the events. 


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