Man charged after punching mother

A 29-year-old Hamblen County man arrested Sunday for domestic assault for allegedly punching his 65-year-old mother allegedly assigned blame to a pair of extremely unlikely suspects, according to an arrest warrant.

Joseph Thomas Popaduik reported his late father and President Donald Trump instructed him to strike his mother, Debra Popaduik, according to Deputy Dustin Jordan, who reported the defendant was otherwise “talking crazy.”

Popaduik allegedly responded to what he believed were beyond-the-grave and long-distance instructions. The defendant allegedly landed a below his mother’s right eye, creating a red mark, according to a warrant, which states Popaduik’s unusual behavior did not end there.

This morning, Popaduik remained in the Hamblen County Jail in lieu of $35,000 bond, but he could face problems even if he comes up with the $3,500 and change required to temporarily gain his freedom.

If Popaduik is released from jail, he’ll have to comply with normal conditions of release like staying away from his mother and abstaining from the use of alcohol.

Popaduik initially signed the bond-notification document, but he later scratched out his signature, saying didn’t understand the rules and he wanted to consult with an attorney before agreeing to anything.

Gas prices fall slightly

Tennessee gas prices have fallen 0.3 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.27 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 3,821 stations.

Though gas prices lower than a month ago, they stand 6.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Tennessee is priced at $2.04/g today, while the most expensive is $2.99/g, a difference of 95 cents per gallon. The cheapest price in the entire country today stands at $1.71/g while the most expensive is $4.99/g, a difference of $3.28/g.

The national average price of gasoline has fallen 1.6 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.58/g today. The national average is down 1.6 cents per gallon from a month ago, yet stands 14.7 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

“The nation’s average gasoline price on Thanksgiving was slightly higher than expected at $2.58 per gallon, with a close to even split with roughly half the nation’s states seeing average prices decline in the last week while the other saw upward moves on continued speculation on a possible U.S./China trade deal,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Moving into December, aside from a possible trade deal that has been elusive for nearly 16 months, gas prices typically trend lower during the month as refiners continue to increase output after maintenance season - and as overall weather curbs gasoline demand, easing prices.

“While prices are now notably higher than a year ago, I’d place much of the ‘blame’ on a strong U.S. economy, and continued optimism that some sort of U.S. and China trade tie-up will be wrapped up.”

Man charged after Newport crash

A man who drove into the rear of another vehicle on Cosby Highway in Newport on Saturday told Newport Patrol Officer Jordan Douglas he was texting and not looking at the roadway at the time of the collision.

The officer reports Chad Austin McGaha, 22, Keener Road, Newport, was in possession of syringes, a large baggie of methamphetamine, a firearm and $994 in cash. In addition, the crash occurred at the Jones Circle intersection, in a drug-free zone of the Newport Community Center.

Now McGaha faces charges of possession of methamphetamine and marijuana, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, DUI, violation of the implied consent law, driving on an expired license, no insurance and texting while driving.

The driver of the second vehicle involved in the crash is not identified in the report.