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News School officials, town leaders taken into custody

Dwayne Cabe puts Franklin High School Principal in a patrol car for a trip to Town Hall.The day before Halloween and just a shadow away from a full moon, nearly a dozen community members and government officials were arrested and detained at Franklin's Town Hall. With crimes ranging from impersonating an officer, to drunk and disruptive behavior and resisting arrest, Chief David Adams with the Franklin Police Department had his hands full Tuesday morning with a room full of guilty culprits.

Early Tuesday morning the crime raid began with the arrest of Franklin High School Principal Dr. Chris Baldwin. After being taken out in handcuffs by Officer Dwayne Cabe, Baldwin was escorted to Town Hall to appear before the volunteer judge, Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch, who was brought in to help deal with the special circumstances.

Franklin police officer Dwayne Cabe had to track down April Chastain, owner of April’s Flowers on Main, for her part in the crime ring.Welch ruled that Baldwin was allowed to return to FHS for the day, but as punishment for his unspeakable crimes, he had to produce $500 in bail money by the end of the day. The bail money was given to Macon County's March of Dimes. “I certainly learned my lesson,” said Principal Baldwin. “As part of my plea bargain and release, I promised to faithfully support the March of Dimes in the future.”

The all-in-good-fun fundraiser event featured a slew of jailbirds including FHS Band Director Buddy Huckabee, who was arrested for going 25 mph in a 55 mph zone while eating a twinkie and realtor Justin Harrell, who found himself behind bars for the third March of Dimes Jail-NBail event. County Commissioner Bobby Kuppers was arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer and Allison Bodenheimer of Caterpillar was arrested for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. “It's always fun to take part in events like this one, but it's even more enjoyable to see the community come together in such a great cause,” said Kuppers. “The March of Dimes has meant so much to so many people over the years, that it's the least my "fellow prisoners" and I can do to help raise money for this outstanding charity. Besides it's not every day you can be arrested by such fine law enforcement officers, tried by such a wise judge and then bailed out by the finest people in the world. It was my pleasure and my honor to be asked to paricipate.”

Franklin High School book keeper Sandy Tabor sent out the following email to faculty Tuesday morning after dutifully recording the incident by taking pictures: “Our Principal, Chris Baldwin, was arrested this morning!!!! In order to keep him in jail ... I mean out of jail ... we need to raise bail money on behalf of the March of Dimes foundation. The sponsor form is located in the main office – see Ms. Gerber or Ms. Tabor to sign up and pay for your pledge. Please make checks payable to March of Dimes – thanks!!!!!”Other jailbirds included County Commissioner Ronnie Haven, Angel Medical President and CEO Jim Bross, and April Chastain, owner of April's Flowers on Main.

The event, which was coordinated by Angel Medical Center's Director of Volunteer Services and Community Relations Coordinator Jennifer Hollifield noted that while locked up in their makeshift cell in Town Hall, the jailbirds had to call friends and family and raise money or take pledges to meet their $500 bail money to benefit March of Dimes.

Josh Drake, co-owner of Mulligans, was called by several inmates to help bail them out and came down to Town Hall to help a friend in need. “It was a lot of fun to come up here and show support for Macon County's March of Dimes,” said Drake. “I would have stayed longer, but they might have tried to arrest me!”

According to Jennifer Hollifield, with pledges still being collected, the event raised between $4,500 and $5,000 for Macon County March of Dimes.

About Jail-N-Bail

Jail-N-Bail is a national March of Dimes and one of the community's favorite events of the year. Jail-N-Bail brings together community leaders and ordinary citizens for a common cause: Fighting birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Since its inception in 1957, more than five million citizens have volunteered their time in the name of fun - and a good cause.

At this event, volunteer "jailbirds" serve time in a "mock jail" and "Prisoners" are arraigned before a volunteer judge on trumped-up, outlandish charges, such as "reckless golfcart driving." Nearly 500 events are held annually across the country.Secure in their makeshift jail in Town Hall, Franklin Police Department jailbirds, County Commissioner and FHS history teacher Bobby Kuppers, Allison Bodenheimer with Caterpillar and FHS Band Director Buddy Huckabee scrambled to find friends and family to pay their bail.After being arrested and transported to Town Hall, each prisoner had to go before volunteer judge Assistant District Attorney Ashley Welch for sentencing.

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