TYLER – At a news conference Friday afternoon, Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith announced that Keenon Olison, a detention officer-jailer at the county’s Low Risk Jail facility, had been arrested Friday morning and terminated as a Sheriff’s Office employee. Olison is charged with multiple counts relating to possessing a controlled substance in a detention facility with intent to deliver that controlled substance to an inmate as well as delivery of contraband to inmates. Olison was originally hired at the Sheriff’s Office on May 20, 2012. Approximately six weeks ago, information was received by the Special Services Unit of the Sheriff’s Office that a detention officer was smuggling contraband and controlled substances into the Smith County Jail Low Risk Facility. (more…)
QUITMAN — The Wood County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of conducting a large scale investigation into a drug and theft ring that has been operating in the southeastern part of the county. According to KETK, investigators determined certain suspects were stealing property such as four wheelers and firearms to trade for drugs. The “middle man” drug dealer was then exchanging the stolen property for a larger amount of drugs, officials say. (more…)
KILGORE — The Gregg County Sheriff’s Department is asking the public for help in solving recent burglaries and criminal mischief cases. Between 6:45 p.m. Thursday, March 6, and 6:30 a.m. on Friday, five construction companies working on the new Sabine school at 645 Access Road in Kilgore were burglarized. Thieves damaged portable buildings and steel boxes to take tools and equipment. Values of the tools are expected to be in the thousands of dollars. Some of the items include gas and electric hammers, saws, drills, nail guns, and air compressors, as well as copper fittings and chains. Anyone with information regarding these crimes is asked to contact Gregg County Investigator Eddie Hope at (903) 237-2530 or Crime Stoppers at (903) 236-STOP.
NEW HARMONY — A blaze burned down a two-story home Friday morning in the New Harmony area of Smith County. According to the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, a woman and her daughter, who live in the home, were in the back yard moving items when they heard a smoke alarm beeping in the house. One of the residents opened the back door and noticed smoke was filling the house. KETK reports the home, located on the 5500 block of Twin Lakes Drive, was destroyed before firefighters could put out the flames. No injuries were reported. The fire started on the second floor, but the cause is unknown at this time, said investigators. Both residents were housed by other family members. Dixie, Lindale and Noonday Fire Departments responded to the scene.
TYLER — There are signs that we are recovering from the 2011 drought. KETK reports the water levels at Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine are the highest they’ve been in years. Lake Tyler is about 96% full and Lake Palestine is overflowing. It hasn’t been this high since April 2011. “We’re just finally compensating for that long drought we went through,” said District 3C Fisheries Manager Richard Ott. Lake Tyler and Lake Palestine’s main purpose is to produce water for the citizens of Tyler. And they’re places to spend time with the family, fishing, boating, and swimming. But since the drought, a lot of those fun activities were limited. “There for awhile you couldn’t even get a boat on Lake Tyler because the lake levels got so low the ramps didn’t extend all the way to the water,” said Ott.
TYLER – Smith County officials are investigating an apparently accidental shooting that sent a man to the hospital. At 12:21 p.m. Friday, sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call from a woman at a residence on County Road 397 who reported that a man at that location had accidentally shot himself. According to a news release, Smith County Deputies and emergency personnel responded and found a man with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was taken to a local hospital where he was reportedly undergoing surgery for his injuries. At this time, a preliminary investigation is underway to determine the exact cause and reason for the man’s injuries. Officials say other information will be released as it becomes available.
WASHINGTON — Tainted beef recalled earlier this year from a California meat producer may have reached reached 35 states and Guam — not just six states as previously believed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday. According to CNN and KETK, one of those states heavily affected is Texas. More than 900 Texas stores sold bad beef, including a number in East Texas. Thousands of retailers have been added to a list of companies that received beef products from the company, Rancho Feeding Corp., the USDA said. (more…)
CARTHAGE (AP) – Investigators say an East Texas teenager has been charged with killing his stepfather to stop an attack on the youth’s mother. Panola County jail records show 17-year-old Koby Yoder of Carthage was booked Thursday on a murder charge and freed on $25,000 bond. Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John DePresca on Friday said 43-year-old Leonard Digiliormo was punching and beating his wife when her son intervened. DePresca says Yoder retrieved a handgun and fatally shot Digiliormo Wednesday night at the family’s home near Carthage. The woman’s 13-year-old daughter was also present. DePresca says the mother and both teens told investigators that the woman was being attacked. She was treated and released from a hospital. Jail records do not list an attorney for Yoder.
LONGVIEW — A Longview business was severely damaged Friday morning when a vehicle crashed head-on into the building. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. At around 7:45 a.m., a man was driving his 5-year-old son to school, but lost control of his truck and wrecked into Pine Tree Nails. Luckily, the business was closed at the time of the accident, according to the Longview Police Department. The driver was hospitalized with minor injures, and the child was uninjured. The boy’s mother picked up the child and took him to school. The building’s front exterior and interior were extensively damaged, but can be repaired. The name of the driver wasn’t immediately released. Officers could not speculate on whether drugs or alcohol were involved until a toxicology report is returned.
BROWNFIELD (AP) – A demolition worker from Tyler has been killed in an industrial accident at a West Texas job site. Terry County Sheriff Larry Gilbreath says 43-year-old James Croft died at the scene Thursday afternoon when a silo tank fell on him. Gilbreath says the accident happened at a location between Brownfield and Seagraves. Authorities say Croft was operating an excavator and helping take down a structure when the tank fell on him and the equipment.
TYLER — Honorees from near and far, including a legendary football coach, were recognized Friday night at Texas College’s annual Legacy Scholarship Fundraiser at Harvey Convention Center. According to the event’s program booklet, the college stages the yearly gala “in recognition of great support,” celebrating “individuals and organizations who have given unselfishly of themselves for a better Texas College and a better city of Tyler.” The fundraiser continued its tradition of adding a touch of Hollywood to the proceedings, welcoming back actor Marc Gomes as honorary host. Gomes also appeared last year, and previous Legacy events have featured movie star Danny Glover. (more…)
TYLER — The Tyler Junior College Main campus is growing, with one major construction project under way and a second about to begin. Next week, construction crews assigned to help build a new 250-bed residence hall on the west side of campus will be blocking off one existing parking lot and portions of another, to create a safe working environment. The construction will directly impact access to 185 parking spaces that are regularly utilized by TJC students, employees and TJC fleet vehicles. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to be prepared for this development. When students and employees return from Spring Break, on Monday, March 17, these 185 spaces will not be available. (more…)
TYLER — Mother Frances Hospital – Tyler was named this week as one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics, termed a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of healthcare. According to a news release from Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics, the Truven Health 100 Top Hospitals study identifies hospitals and leadership teams that provide the highest level of value to their communities, based on a national balanced scorecard. (more…)
TYLER — The City of Tyler Solid Waste Department and Keep Tyler Beautiful are sponsoring a free bulky item collection for City of Tyler residential customers. Due to the icy weather, the free bulky item collection has been extended to Friday, March 14. Bulky items that will be picked up at no charge include furniture, appliances, carpet, fence material, up to four noncommercial vehicle tires, old toys and other large items that would normally require a special fee. No liquid waste will be picked up. Paint must be dried out with oil dry or kitty litter. (more…)
FORT HOOD (AP) – A Fort Hood sergeant who was a coordinator of the post’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program faces multiple charges after he was accused of setting up a prostitution ring involving cash-strapped female soldiers. A statement issued by Fort Hood says Sgt. 1st Class Gregory McQueen was charged Friday with 21 specifications. Those charges relate to pandering, conspiracy, maltreatment of a subordinate, abusive sexual contact, adultery and conduct of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces. An Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian grand jury proceeding, is scheduled for March 20-21 at Fort Hood. Another Fort Hood soldier was court-martialed in the case. Master Sgt. Brad Grimes was convicted in December of conspiring to patronize a prostitute and solicitation to commit adultery, reprimanded and demoted.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – There’s no shortage of tea party challenges for congressional seats this year, but just how many are likely to win remains unclear. Texas held the nation’s first primary, and Republican Sen. John Cornyn (pictured) and Rep. Pete Sessions defeated tea party foes. The only tea party candidate seen as having a good chance for a Senate victory this year is Chris McDaniel in Mississippi.
RIO GRANDE CITY (AP) – A former South Texas probation officer is free on $290,000 bond following a corruption indictment. The indictment by a grand jury in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands accuses 31-year-old Joseph Romeo Ozuna of forging a judge’s signature and asking one of his probationers to have sex with him for money.
HOUSTON (AP) – The head of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas has agreed to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges with hopes of avoiding a life prison term. Under federal law, Larry Max Bryan could be sentenced to up to life in prison. The plea agreement calls for prosecutors to recommend the 52-year-old serve no more than 25 years.
AUSTIN (AP) – There won’t be a runoff in the race for Texas state comptroller. State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran has conceded the election to Glenn Hegar, clearing the way for him to accept the nomination. Hegar was just a few votes shy of winning more than 50 percent of the vote, and barring a victory from absentee and provisional ballots, would have faced Hilderbran in a runoff.
COLLEGE STATION (AP) – State transportation officials say a highway bypass in Central Texas will be rerouted to save a stand of ancient oaks that were under threat of being cut down. The Houston Chronicle reports the stand south of College Station includes a 500-year-old oak considered one of the oldest trees in Texas. Plans did not call for that oak to be razed but there were concerns the development would harm it.
DALLAS (AP) – An employee of a Dallas-based financial firm has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for trying to embezzle nearly $1.3 million. A federal judge in Dallas on Thursday sentenced Steven Chen Yu of Allen to 51 months behind bars. Yu, who last July pleaded guilty to wire fraud, must also pay $365,000 in restitution. Yu must report to prison next month.
PORT ARTHUR (AP) – Cut-up pieces of a $120,000 bronze statue stolen from outside a Southeast Texas library in late February have been recovered at a metal recycling center. Port Arthur police said Friday no arrests had been made in the theft of the 300-pound sculpture “The Family.”