Local News

Lanes Reopen on Stretch of I-20 near Estes Parkway

image1LONGVIEW — Wednesday was a trying day for law enforcement and highway crews who found themselves working two wrecks along part of I-20 in Gregg County. But westbound lanes west of Estes Parkway reopened Wednesday evening. The overturned cattle truck from the first crash that occurred between 6 and 6:30 am shut down the inside westbound lanes for some 12 hours. The second crash involving eight vehicles occurred in late afternoon just a couple of miles from the first scene, requiring I-20 traffic to be diverted. (more…)

Inmate Indicted for Allegedly Threatening Judge

George YarboroughHOUSTON (AP/Staff) – Prosecutors say a 42-year-old East Texas inmate has been indicted for threatening to kill a federal judge. George Yarborough, a former Houston resident, is facing a count of mailing a threatening communication. Yarborough is incarcerated at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison in Anderson County. Prosecutors say he will be transferred to federal custody to make an initial court appearance in the coming days. They say Yarborough in September mailed a letter to a judge in Houston that contained the death threat. he punishment for such a threat is up to 10 years in federal prison. TDCJ records show Yarborough has a criminal record that includes convictions for theft, burglary and drug possession.

Request Denied to Remove Judge on Peterson Case

Kelly CaseCONROE (AP/Staff) – A prosecution request to remove the judge handling the felony child abuse case against Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson has been denied. Montgomery County state District Judge Kelly Case will remain on the case following a recusal hearing on Wednesday in suburban Houston. Retired Tarrant County District Judge Jeff Walker denied a request by prosecutors, who had accused Case of being biased against them. Peterson, a former star for Palestine High School, is charged with injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son. He is on paid leave and Case has set a tentative trial date of Dec. 1. A motion to revoke Peterson’s bond for alleged marijuana use has been on hold until the recusal issue was resolved.

Woman Shot, Arrest Warrant Issued

Ramon AvilaTYLER – Tyler police are looking for Ramon Avila, 40, in connection with an aggravated assault that occurred last night. Around 7:45 a 911 call said that a person had been shot at 222 South Adams. Officers found a woman with a leg wound. She was rushed to East Texas Medical Center with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The victim and two witnesses identified Avila as the shooter. The arrest warrant charges him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was last seen driving a dark green 2004 Nissan Titan, TX LP- BT03370. Tyler police say Avila should be considered armed and dangerous.

Longview Teen Robbery Suspect Shot Five Times

Justin AguilarLONGVIEW – According to the autopsy report, a teenage Longview robbery suspect was shot five times by police and had marijuana in his system. The autopsy for Justin Aguilar, 15, was returned in June and was released by authorities yesterday. The Forest Park Middle School student was a suspect in the attempted robbery of the New-Way convenience store in the 1300 block of South Green Street March 9th. He was shot in a standoff with officers. (more…)

East Texas Pair Reportedly Left Pot at Day Care

LUFKIN (AP) – East Texas police have arrested a man and woman who they say dumped a gallon-sized bag of marijuana into a day care trash can. Fifty-year-old Frederick Ruth and 40-year-old Youlanda Whitaker have been charged with possessing marijuana in a drug-free zone and possessing a dangerous drug. Lufkin police say they received a report Monday of two people bagging up marijuana in a car. Officers found it in the Noah’s Ark Early Education Center Day Care and say Ruth and Whitaker were inside. They say Ruth turned over a small bag of marijuana. Officers found the larger bag in a bathroom after employees reported seeing Whitaker enter with a shopping bag. Police didn’t say why the suspects were at the day care.

SCSO Hosts Organized Crime Training Class for the Public

thumb_sheriff-smithcountyTYLER — The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a training class on organized crime October 24 and 25 for all members of law enforcement and Smith County area communities. According to a news release, organized crime including drug cartels is a major problem that, until fairly recently, was little known. SCSO officials say their goal is to educate law enforcement and the public to recognize some of the signs of organized crime. On Friday, the 24th, SCSO will be offering an eight-hour class on organized crime presented primarily by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Administration for those in the law enforcement community. Saturday, officials will open this presentation to both law enforcement and the community at large. (more…)

Reminder: Campaign Sign Regulations

thumb_smithcounty-sealTYLER — The Smith County Road and Bridge Department has recently received several calls about campaign signs placed in the county right-of-way, according to county officials. The county right-of-way is defined as the space between utility lines and the road’s edge. Signs placed behind utility lines are considered to be on private property. Campaign signs in the right-of-way are routinely picked up by the Smith County Road and Bridge Department. Signs on private property will not be removed. Signs that have been removed from the county right-of-way can be picked up at the County Road and Bridge Office at 1700 West Claude Street, Tyler, TX 75702 until the current election cycle ends. Unclaimed signs will be disposed of immediately after the November 2014 election concludes.

Congressman Hall Released from Hospital

Ralph HallPLANO (AP) — The oldest-ever member of the U.S. House has been transferred from a hospital to a rehabilitation center to continue his recovery from injuries suffered in a car wreck. In a statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall said the 91-year-old Texas Republican was discharged from Medical Center of Plano over the weekend to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Aide Natalie Raulston said Hall, whose district at one time included Smith County, suffered a broken nose and broken femur October 4 when the vehicle in which he was riding slammed into another that turned in front of his in Trenton, about 60 miles northeast of Dallas. The drivers were not injured. Hall is to leave office in January after losing a May Republican primary runoff for the 4th Congressional District seat.

State News

Obama Expresses Optimism about Ebola in U.S.

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama says he’s cautiously more optimistic about the Ebola situation in the U.S. Obama notes that relatives of the only person to die of Ebola in the U.S. have been freed from quarantine. And he notes that two nurses from a Dallas hospital who were infected with Ebola as a result of treating that now-deceased individual seem to be doing better. Obama also says a declaration by the World Health Organization that Nigeria is free of Ebola shows the outbreak can be stopped when caught early. The president commented Wednesday after meeting at the White House with Ron Klain, the government’s newly appointed Ebola Response Coordinator.

Dallas Nurse’s Dog Tests Negative for Ebola

DALLAS (AP) – The first Ebola test for the quarantined King Charles Spaniel belonging to a Dallas nurse hospitalized with the virus has come back negative. The city of Dallas said Wednesday that one-year-old Bentley will be tested again before his 21-day quarantine period ends Nov. 1. Bentley was quarantined after his owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola. She was the first of two Texas nurses infected after treating an Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital. She’s being treated at the National Institutes of Health, where her condition was upgraded to good. Bentley is being cared for by the City of Dallas Animal Services at a decommissioned naval air base. There was an uproar in Spain after Madrid authorities euthanized a dog belonging to a nursing assistant sickened by the virus.

Police: Two Dead in Houston Hospital Shooting

HOUSTON (AP) – Police say a man walked up to a female co-worker in a Houston hospital pharmacy and shot her fatally before turning the gun on himself. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon at the Ben Taub Hospital pharmacy, which is situated in a building separate from the main hospital. According to a witness and surveillance video, the man approached the woman from behind at her cubicle work station, shot her, then shot himself. Police say both died at the scene, but no other injuries were reported. Houston police spokesman John Cannon says witnesses reported the man may have made advances on the woman recently. It was unclear if she had spurned those advances.

Judge Indicted in Army Depot Fraud Case Suspended

TEXARKANA (AP) – A Northeast Texas judge and businessman indicted in an alleged billing scheme involving the Red River Army Depot has been suspended without pay. The Texarkana Gazette reported Wednesday that Patrick James was suspended by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. James is running unopposed next month to retain his seat as Bowie County Precinct 7 justice of the peace. He’s also a municipal judge in Hooks. A federal indictment unsealed Oct. 1 names James and six others on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government and theft of government property or money. James, who owns Hooks Tire Service, and the others pleaded not guilty and are free on bond. An attorney for James said Wednesday that they’ve received the suspension order. Jason Horton declined further comment on the investigation.

Odessa High School Evacuated after Gas Line Hit

ODESSA (AP) – A West Texas high school was evacuated after a construction crew punctured a gas line in an accident that sent eight people – four students and four teachers – to the hospital. Odessa High School closed for the day following the gas line accident late Wednesday morning near the main building on campus. Ector County Independent School District spokesman Mike Adkins said a total of eight people went to the hospital, either by ambulance or by private vehicle, as a result of the leak. All were treated and released. Odessa city spokeswoman Andrea Goodson says the contractor was hired by the district and the gas line is operated by Atmos Energy. Atmos Energy spokeswoman Brandi Price says the repairs were completed and the area was reopened by Wednesday afternoon.

Treasure Hunter Helps Texan Locate Lost Class Ring

GALVESTON (AP) – An amateur treasure hunter has found a North Texas man’s 1977 class ring that was lost during a summer trip to Galveston. The Galveston County Daily News reported Wednesday that a notice posted this week with the newspaper helped lead to the jewelry. Skip Jones of Bonham was vacationing with family in August near Pirates Beach. He was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico when his University of Houston ring slipped from his finger. Jones put up signs, searched the beach and then tried the newspaper notice. Clyde Longworth, who’s a lawn worker and Galveston Island Treasure Club member, saw the posting. Longworth used a metal detector to locate the gold ring under water and in the sand. Jones plans to give Longworth a thank-you check for the ring.