Meth bust made at motel with history of trouble


by Gene Kang

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 2:55 PM

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- One Clarksville motel has been at the center of controversy for a lot of crime. Police call it a nuisance and have served warrants and made hundreds of trouble runs this year alone.

People complain that America's Best Inn and Suites in Clarksville has some of the worst crime.

"I try to stay away from that area. The cops are always over there busting people for drugs and violence. It's just a bad area," said neighbor, Wendel McCallister.

Early Saturday morning, Clarksville police made a meth bust after an anonymous tip.

"They noticed a plastic bag floating in the commode. They got it out and they did test it," said
Darrell Rayborn, Clarksville Police Chief of Detectives.

They seized several containers of meth, two handguns and a large amount of paraphernalia.

All five people were arrested:

Emily Dorton, 20, of Elizabeth, Ind.
Dale Hartlerode, 25, of Depauw, Ind.
Jacob Hartlerode, 23, of Depauw, Ind.
Lerissa Knight, 19, Marengo, Ind.
Andrew Presley, 25, Corydon, Ind.

This is the same motel where in July of 2011, Betsy Dalton gave birth to twins in a toilet. She did not even know she was pregnant. One of the babies drowned but she was never charged. Police say she was mentally challenged.

Clarksville Police have made 272 trouble runs to this motel. That is 16 pages worth of bad history.

"A lot of domestics, theft cases and anything you can think of...we have uniformed officers who periodically get out and do foot patrols in the motel. We try to deter some of the crime," said Rayborn.

Clarksville's lead detective tells WHAS 11 News that America's Best Inn and Suites draws such clientele because it has the cheapest daily and weekly rates in town, located right off I-65.

"I think the management, they're trying," said Rayborn.

Bernard Johnson, a security officer for the motel America's Best Inn and Suites says they are making improvements.

"We definitely cleaned it up. Like four or five years ago. The motel may have been bad but I wasn't there. Since I've been there, there's no prostitution or drug stuff over there. We cleaned it up," said Johnson.

Clarksville Police say they have taken a proactive measure with patrol cars in the area and are working with motel security to try and curb crime.

WHAS 11 News has reached out to motel management and has not heard back so far.