Local News

One Dead in a Van Zandt County Crash

DPS badgeVAN — A two vehicle accident in Van Zandt County has left one person dead and one injured. Dead at the scene was Crystal Ramirez, 18, of Rockwall. The Department of Public Safety reports her car was traveling in the wrong lane when it collided head-on with a truck driven by Kevin Stryker, 38, of Ben Wheeler. He was taken to a Tyler hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The accident happened around 11:15 Monday morning on Farm Road 314, about four miles south of Van.

Upshur County Treasurer Held in Contempt of Court

gavel2GILMER — Upshur County Treasurer Brandy Vick has been taken into custody after being found in contempt of court. Vick refused to move her chair across the Upshur County Justice Center while handing jurors their payment for service. According to the Longview News Journal, Upshur County’s 115th District Judge Lauren Parish issued the order Monday for Vick to be taken into jail custody. She is not to be released from the jail until she appears before the court. Vick had set up next to Justice of the Peace Lyle Potter’s office inside the Upshur County Justice Center to pay jurors for service of the 115th District Court. Vick said she was asked to set up there by Sheriff Anthony Betterton, who, Vick said, had told her that was the safest location in the building. But, when she refused to move, the judge found her in contempt.

Man Arrested after Crashing Plane He Took for Texas Joyride

Harrison-County-SheriffWASKOM (AP) — A Louisiana man has been arrested after authorities say he took an airplane without the owner’s permission from an East Texas airport outside Marshall and later crashed. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers tell Shreveport television station KSLA that Nathan Henley, 30, of Minden, Louisiana, told the plane owner he was going to wash the plane before a scheduled flight class Monday but instead took it on a joyride. He’s now charged with unauthorized use of a flying aircraft. Henley, who is not licensed to fly, and another man aboard escaped injury when the plane went down about 4:00 Monday morning in a pasture north of Waskom in Harrison County. Authorities told The Marshall News Messenger the aircraft apparently ran out of fuel.

Two Arrested in Marshall Shooting

Marshall Police ShieldMARSHALL — Two persons are in custody in connection with a drive-by shooting in Marshall. Arrested were James Fields, 28, and Billy Mason, 20. Fields has been charged with deadly conduct and a warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia and Mason has been charged with deadly conduct and a warrant for violation of parole. The shooting is said to have occurred around 10:30 Sunday night in the 1500 block of Fields Street. No injuries were reported.

Three Juveniles Detained in East Texas Gun Store Break-In

handcuffed-teenMARSHALL (AP) — Marshall police say they’ve taken three juveniles into custody in the investigation of the theft of more than a dozen firearms from a sporting goods store last month. Eleven handguns and four rifles were reported missing after the early morning break-in September 13 at Diamondback Outfitters in Marshall. The burglars apparently got in by breaking a glass door at the front of the store. Police announced Monday the three had been detained and all but two of the weapons had been recovered. Marshall authorities and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are continuing to investigate the case.

Arrests Made in Sulphur Springs Homicide

Justin Joe McQueenSULPHUR SPRINGS — One Person is in custody following a fatal shooting in Sulphur Springs. Being held on a $1 million bond is Justin Joe McQueen, 19, of Sulphur Springs. He’s charged in the shooting death of Jesse Vasquez, 25, of Sulphur Springs. He was shot around 8:30 Sunday night in the 600 Block of Ingram Street. Vasquez, who was shot numerous times, was found lying in the road. He later died at an area hospital.

Carl Crabtree Trial Pushed Back a Week

Carl CrabtreeTYLER — The intoxication manslaughter trial of Carl Crabtree, 31, of Tyler, which was scheduled to have started today, has been pushed back to next Monday. A pre-trial hearing is set for Thursday. The case involves the deaths of two people stemming from an alleged drunk driving crash March 4. That’s when Crabtree, 31, of Tyler, was driving south on Old Jacksonville Highway and his vehicle crossed the center line, colliding head-on with an SUV. (more…)

Gregg County Woman Scam Victim

scam alert2LONGVIEW — An elderly Gregg County woman has been bilked out of money by a Publisher’s Clearing House scam. The sheriff’s department reports she received mail that she had won a Publisher’s Clearing House cash prize. She was told to deposit a check in the amount of $8,980.30 and mail 39 $100.00 bills to an address in Austin, TX Via FedEx. It was all a scam and she lost the money. Gregg County investigators remind you that Publisher’s Clearing House and other reputable sweepstakes organizations do not operate in this manner.

Gregg County Vehicle Burglaries Investigated

Gregg County Sheriffs Office patchLONGVIEW — A string of vehicle burglaries at Express Energy Services in Gregg County is under investigation. According to the sheriff department’s Face Book page, the burglaries occurred at the business off State Highway 31 sometime between 6:00pm on Thursday, October 8 and 6:15am on Friday, October 9. The suspects are said to have taken hand tools, chains, and batteries from four different vehicles and two trailers at the business. Anyone with information is asked contact Investigator Robinson with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office at 903-237-2526 or call Crime Stoppers at 903-236-STOP.

Missing Gladewater Man Sought

Darrius Markeith LewisGLADEWATER — Gladewater police are looking for a man who have been missing for over a week. Darrius Markeith Lewis, 38, is said to be a man of “diminished capacity.” He was last seen on October 2nd. Lewis is described as a black male who is 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighs 185 pounds and has black hair with brown eyes. If you have information about Lewis, you are asked to contact the Gladewater Police Department.

Dan Flynn to Co-Chair Committee on the Teacher Retirement Plans

Dan Flynn2AUSTIN – Speaker Joe Straus has appointed the current Chairman of the Texas House of Representatives Pension Committee, Republican Representative Dan Flynn of Van, as Co-Chair of the Joint Interim Committee to study the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Benefit Plans. The committee was appointed by House Bill 2974 which was passed during the 84th Regular Session. The committee is to review the health benefit plans administered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas and propose reforms. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature no later than January 15, 2017.

State News

Abbott Writes to AG Paxton, Backs Police Religious Mottos

In God We TrustAUSTIN (AP) — Governor Greg Abbott is voicing his support for a Texas police department displaying “In God We Trust” on its patrol vehicles. Abbott wrote to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday saying “there can be no doubt” courts would side with the Childress Police Department. Its officers have placed “In God We Trust” on vehicles amid nationally publicized tensions between law enforcement and some of the communities they serve. The nonprofit Freedom From Religion Foundation asked Childress police to remove the mottos, citing separation-of-church-and-state standards. Abbott was attorney general before becoming governor in January. His letter cited legal opinions backing protections for religious freedom. Conservative state lawmakers have asked Paxton, who has been indicted on securities fraud charges, for an attorney general’s opinion providing legal guidance on the matter.

Patrick Wants Texas Lawmakers to Focus On School Vouchers

Dan Patrick-serious2AUSTIN (AP) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants the Legislature to study implementing school voucher programs that have so far stalled in Texas, despite support from top conservatives. Patrick oversees the Texas Senate and promotes “school choice.” On Monday, he unveiled a third set of issues he’d like emphasized before lawmakers reconvene in January 2017. Patrick backs giving parents state funding to remove their kids from struggling public schools and send them to private and religious alternatives. Last session, Senate plans offering tax breaks to corporations that funded “school-choice scholarships” for low-income Texans fizzled. House Democrats and rural Republicans generally oppose vouchers, fearing they’ll bleed more funding from already cash-strapped public schools. Patrick’s other priorities for next session include religious liberty protection laws, which sparked national outcry when approved in other states.

Texas Lawmaker Uninjured When He Crashes Plane Into Fence

Kel SeligerDALLAS (AP) — Texas state Sen. Kel Seliger was not injured when he accidentally drove his single-engine plane onto a vehicle service road and ran into a chain-link fence at Dallas Love Field. Love Field spokesman Jose L. Torres said the 62-year-old Amarillo Republican was alone in the plane when the accident happened near a private aviation company along Lemmon Avenue, northeast of the airport’s commercial airline terminal. Torres said Seliger was heading back to Amarillo but took the service road instead of a taxiway that leads to a runway. The left wing of the Bonanza A-36 caught the fence and pulled the propeller into the fence. In April, Seliger was injured and needed ankle and elbow surgery after a motorcycle accident in Austin. He was alone at the time.

Police Defend Use of Taser on City Official in Texas

Jonathan Miller taseredPRAIRIE VIEW (AP) — Police officials in a small, predominantly black Texas college town are defending the decision to use a stun gun on a City Council member outside his apartment. Prairie View City Council member Jonathan Miller tried to intervene as officers questioned his friends Thursday night. Police video shows officers using a Taser on Miller when he was slow in following police commands. Miller and the officer ordering the use of the Taser are both black. Police Chief Larry Johnson said Monday that the Taser was used according to policy. Prairie View is the same city where a white state trooper arrested Sandra Bland, a black woman, on a traffic charge. Bland later died in jail.

Knife-wielding Man Shot by Deputies in Odessa

Odessa Police DepartmentODESSA (AP) — Sheriff’s deputies in Odessa have shot and wounded a man at the end of a police chase after authorities say he ran at them armed with a knife. Ector Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Duesler says the chase began Sunday morning as police responding to a disturbance call were told the man involved had left in a pickup truck. Officers spotted the truck and the chase began as the driver refused to stop. When he eventually did, Duesler says the man got out, had a knife in his hand “and began charging at deputies.” When he ignored their orders to drop the weapon, three officers fired at him. The man was taken to a hospital. His name hasn’t been released and his condition isn’t immediately known.

Man Convicted of Capital Murder in Deputy’s Ambush Slaying

Mark Anthony Gonzalez-cop killerSAN ANTONIO (AP) — A jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding a man guilty of capital murder in the random 2011 ambush slaying of a deputy stopped at a traffic light at a San Antonio intersection. The Bexar County jury will not consider whether Mark Anthony Gonzalez gets the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole for the fatal shooting of Bexar County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kenneth Vann. Vann was shot 46 times while responding to a non-emergency call in his patrol car. Investigators say Gonzalez was drunk and on anti-depression medication when he opened fire on Vann, leaving his body unrecognizable. Testimony begins Tuesday morning in the penalty phase of the trial. Only one person has been sentenced to death in Texas so far this year.

Two Detained After Texas Southern University Shooting Released

Texas Southern University ShootingHOUSTON (AP) — Houston police have released the two men detained after a student was killed at Texas Southern University, as police search for the suspected shooter. Police released a statement Monday saying investigators were searching for a suspect in the death of Brent Randall, 18. The freshman and another person were shot Friday in a parking lot outside a student housing complex. The statement says the second victim remains hospitalized in stable condition. Police quickly detained two of three men seen running into the apartment building after the shooting. Police spokesman Victor Senties said Monday that police have since released the two men and are still looking for the third. It was the third shooting within a week at the university. Police say it’s unclear if the shootings are related.

Ex-A&M Football Player Suspected in Dallas Jogger Killing

Thomas Johnson-Dallas jogger deathDALLAS (AP) — Police say former Texas A&M wide receiver Thomas Johnson has admitted to randomly attacking and killing a man on a Dallas jogging trail. Dallas police Deputy Chief Rob Sherwin says Johnson admitted to killing the jogger with a “large-edged weapon” in a random act of rage on the White Rock Creek Trail early Monday. Johnson was arrested after calling 911 from a nearby equestrian center. Johnson is being held without bond. Jail records don’t list an attorney who could comment on his behalf. Authorities haven’t released the victim’s name. Johnson played for the Aggies in 2012. He had three catches for 22 yards in A&M’s 29-24 win at top-ranked Alabama. He disappeared a few days later and wasn’t seen until he appeared at his family’s Dallas home three days later.

Man Charged in Shooting Outside Cowboy’s Game

Marvin Rodriguez-Cowboy Stadium shootingARLINGTON (AP) — Police say a man shot outside the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium after a game Sunday was trying to break up a fight. Arlington police said Monday the suspect, Marvin Rodriguez, 28, pointed a gun at a man during an earlier fight and then shot a 43-year-old man in the neck as the man tried to break up a later fight in the parking lot. The man was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. His name hasn’t been released. Police spokesman Christopher Cook declined to comment on a possible motive. Rodriguez is jailed on aggravated assault charges. The shooting occurred after the Cowboys lost to the New England Patriots. Police didn’t specifically say whether they would increase security, saying they currently have “robust security plans” in place.

Amusement Ride at Texas State Fair Throws Wheel, Worker Hurt

Crazy MouseDALLAS (AP) — A worker on the State Fair of Texas midway has been hurt by a wheel that flew off a spinning car on one of the amusement rides. Fair spokeswoman Karissa Condoianis tells The Dallas Morning News the ride known as the Crazy Mouse has been closed. It’s a small roller coaster with spinning cars that can hold up to four passengers. She says two cars carrying riders were stranded when the ride was shut Monday afternoon and workers were trying to get them down as soon as possible. She says they appear to be fine and have been provided water. The injured worker has been taken to a hospital and his condition is not immediately known.

Rowdy Parties Near TCU Getting Fort Worth Police Attention

TCU sealFORT WORTH (AP) — Fort Worth police say they’re going to start arresting rowdy intoxicated off-campus partygoers from Texas Christian University because warnings from officers aren’t working. Police are responding to complaints from residents of the neighborhoods near the school who have endured weeks of loud noise, littering and traffic problems that began with the start of school in August and that are worse than previous years. Authorities tell the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that on one weekend night last month, all 15 patrol cars from a division of the police department were devoted to party complaints near TCU. Some of the parties draw more than 100 people and the traffic clogs neighborhood streets. Police also say they’ll be writing more parking tickets. School officials say they’re working with the police.

Dell Buying EMC in a Transaction Valued Around $67 Billion

Dell Company LogoNEW YORK (AP) — Dell is buying data storage company EMC in a deal valued at approximately $67 billion. Shareholders of EMC Corp. will receive about $33.15 per share, which includes cash plus tracking stock linked to part of EMC’s economic interest in the VMware business. VMware will stay an independent, publicly traded company. Michael Dell will serve as chairman and CEO of the combined business. Dell Inc.’s headquarters will stay in Round Rock, Texas. The combined enterprise systems business headquarters will be in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, where EMC is based. The deal is targeted to close in the second or third quarter of Dell’s fiscal year ending Feb. 3, 2017. It still needs approval from EMC shareholders.

Gun Advocates Challenge Zoos’ Bans on Possession Around US

Houston Zoo entranceDALLAS (AP) — Visitors to the Houston Zoo can now pack a little something extra besides a camera. The nearly century-old institution recently lifted its longtime firearms ban amid a broader push by gun-rights advocates who are pressuring zoos in Texas and elsewhere around the U.S. to do the same. Gun-rights supporters say publicly owned zoos have misinterpreted laws and are illegally banning firearms. Some zoos have countered calls for policy changes by claiming they are considered amusement parks, day cares or educational institutions, all venues that legally can enforce gun bans in many states. An advocacy group in Texas is singling out zoos under a newly enacted state law allowing gun-restriction complaints to be forwarded to the state’s attorney general. Starting January 1, licensed Texas gun owners can openly carry firearms.