Press Release

Police Department Press Release


Police: Don’t push your luck. Drive sober this March.


Motorists urged to drive sober for St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament


North Vernon, IN. — Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. That’s the important reminder coming from North Vernon Police Department with two of the heaviest drinking events of the year around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day and the NCAA tournament. All throughout March, officers will be conducting overtime patrols and sobriety checkpoints to prevent dangerous and impaired driving.


This is part of a statewide enforcement campaign, funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.


“This March, we’re conducting our own full-court press targeting anyone driving under the influence,” said Sgt. Todd Beam. “As a basketball state, we want everybody watching the tournament to have a good time, but not at the expense of others. It’s simple: If you plan on drinking, don’t drive.”


According to ICJI, in March of 2019, there were 433 alcohol-related crashes across Indiana, resulting in 205 injuries and five fatalities. Of those, 65 crashes (15 percent) and one fatality occurred during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend alone.


“St. Patrick’s Day is one of, if not the, biggest drinking days of the year,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “If you’re out celebrating, make the right choice and find a sober driver to get you, and your friends, home safely. Luck won’t keep you out of jail if you’re caught driving under the influence.”


Impaired driving isn’t the only risk on the road in March, according to ICJI. Dangerous driving, which includes factors such as speeding too fast for weather conditions and aggressive driving, is also a concern and something North Vernon Police Department officers will be watching for throughout the mobilization.


The following list includes several safety tips to prevent impaired driving this March.


  • Before the celebration begins, plan a safe way home.
  • Never drive impaired.
  • Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.
  • If you do drink, use a taxi, public transportation, ridesharing service or designate a sober friend or family member, and give them your keys.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride impaired, take their keys and help make arrangements to get them home safely.


To learn more about North Vernon Police Department, please visit: here to watch a video that features a St. Patrick’s Day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over safety message.


Media Contact:
Sgt. Todd Beam

Report of unconscious driver leads to Meth and OWI arrest.

On March 8, 2020, Officers of the North Vernon Police Department were dispatched to a report of a driver that appeared to be passed out behind the wheel at the intersection of 4th street and Summit street.  The caller reported that there was a possibility that the vehicle was still in drive.

Officers arrived on scene and woke the driver up.  Officers were able to safely put the vehicle in park but noticed the odor of burnt Marijuana was present inside the vehicle.

Officer Lucas Newsom conducted an OWI investigation on the driver of the vehicle, Crystal Riley, 35, of North Vernon.  The OWI investigation resulted in the arrest of Ms. Riley.  She was also found in possession of Methamphetamine and prescription only medication without valid prescription.

Ms. Riley was arrested and transported to the Jennings County Jail on the following charges.

 Possession of Methamphetamine- L6 Felony

Possession of a controlled substance- L6 Felony

Possession of paraphernalia- A Misd.

Legend drug violation-L6 Felony

Operating while intoxicated- Narcotics- A Misd.

All subjects charged are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

For Further information:

North Vernon Police Department
101 N. Madison Avenue
North Vernon, IN 47265

Noise complaint leads to meth charge 

            On Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, at 12:04 AM, Officer Isaac Barkes of the North Vernon Police Department responded to a noise complaint which resulted in the arrest of two persons in the 1200 block of West O&M Avenue.

            The call started when Officer Barkes received a complaint of loud noise in the 1200 block of West O&M Avenue. Officer Barkes was able to determine what house the noise was coming from and made contact with two males at a garage. As he was speaking with them he noticed an odor of marijuana coming within the garage. Officer Barkes continued with the investigation and determined Brian Wilkerson, 49, was the property owner and Richard Runge, 51, was visiting. Wilkerson surrendered a small amount of marijuana located inside the garage. Officer Barkes was taking Wilkerson into custody and discovered he had a bag of approximately 12 grams of methamphetamine in one of his pants pockets.

            Both Wilkerson and Runge were arrested, charging information below.

Brian Wilkerson, 49, of North Vernon

1.     Possession of Methamphetamine                         level 6 felony

2.     Maintaining a common nuisance                           level 6 felony

3.     Possession of paraphernalia                                   A misdemeanor

4.     Possession of marijuana                                           C misdemeanor

Richard Runge, 51, of North Vernon

1.     Visiting a common nuisance  A misdemeanor


*All persons listed are innocent until proven guilty.

For more information contact:

Sergeant Andrew Richmond
North Vernon Police Department