A woman identified as Nancy Randolph of Putnam County was found dead inside a vehicle that was driven into Center Hill Lake last Monday afternoon, May 13.
While details of the case are very sketchy, Dekalb Sheriff Patrick Ray confirmed that the woman who drowned was believed to be the driver of the vehicle found in the lake and that two others who had been with her in the vehicle escaped and swam to shore.
News outlets in the area report that the woman who died is Nancy Randolph, 40, of Putnam County. Sheriff Ray told the Herald-Citizen last Tuesday morning, May 14, that his detectives have two different addresses in Putnam County for the victim, and said he is not sure which address is correct.
He said the body of the victim had been sent for an autopsy and that the two people who were with her at the time the vehicle went into the water have been questioned.
In an official statement the sheriff issued late last Monday, he said the incident was reported at 12:25 p.m. at the Johnson Chapel Boat Ramp.
“The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to the boat ramp where a car had run off into the lake,” the statement says.
“A sheriff’s deputy who was close to the area arrived on the scene within seven minutes and spoke to two adults who said that the vehicle they were in had run into the lake and the driver, a female, was still inside the automobile.
“Deputy Brian Williams and Detectives Mike Billings and Jeremy Taylor of the Sheriff’s Department went into the water and pulled the body of the woman from the submerged vehicle.
“The water was believed to be 10 to 15 feet deep. DeKalb Emergency Medical Services was on the scene and started CPR on the woman.
“She was then taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The other two adults were treated at the scene but refused further medical treatment.”
Sheriff Ray commended Deputy Williams and Detectives Billings and Taylor, saying, “They went into the cold water and risked their own lives to try to save her.”
Last Tuesday, Sheriff Ray declined to give further information on the case, saying that the investigation is still underway.
Former Celina pharmacist William Lester Donaldson is going to prison for 15 months and will be on supervised probation for three years after that.
The sentence is for drug offenses he committed while working at a drug store in Celina in recent years.
Donaldson, 53, of Celina, was also fined $25,000 in the case.
He was sentenced two weeks ago by Chief U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. for possessing Hydrocodone with the intent to distribute it, according to an announcement from Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District David Rivera.
“Donaldson was a pharmacist in Celina, Tenn., and on five occasions between August 13, 2010, and October 5, 2010, in various locations in the Middle Tennessee area, he advanced and sold Hydrocodone pills to individuals without a valid prescription,” the federal prosecutor said.
“Donaldson’s conduct was captured by an in-store surveillance system, showing him removing previously prepared bottles from a drawer within the pharmacy and placing them in his pocket.”
He was indicted in April of 2011 and pleaded guilty to five counts of illegally possessing and distributing Hydrocodone on November 13, 2012.
The investigation was conducted by the Celina Police Department, the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the TBI, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.