Suspect Accused of Stealing Lotto Tickets Arrested after Chase
TYLER — Tyler Police arrest a suspect accused of stealing scratch-off tickets. It happened around 10:20 Saturday morning at the Valero gas station, 1301 WSW Loop 323. According to the clerk, the suspect, later identified as Kory Devers, 22, Tyler, entered the store, grabbed a handful of lotto tickets, assaulted the clerk and fled on foot. A female customer witnessed the robbery and ran after the suspect. Responding officers arrived in the area and located the witness who directed officers to where she last saw the suspect. Officers located Devers hiding in the creek bed in the area of Driftwood and Woodland Hills. She was arrested and charged with robbery, a 2nd degree felony. Devers was also booked in on several outstanding warrants out of Tyler Municipal Court. The store clerk suffered only minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Truck and Train Collide in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE — A Union Pacific freight train traveling northeast through the city of Jacksonville struck a late-model pick up truck at the Myrtle Drive railroad crossing at 11:57 Friday night, according to the Jacksonville Daily Progress. Occupants of the truck were able to get out before the collision. The truck was partially lodged underneath a rail car that is used to transport new automobiles. The accident took place near the Texas Basket Factory. Read more …
Company Responds after Construction Fatality
TYLER — The management company of a hotel under construction in South Tyler is responding after an accident claimed the life of a worker at the site. The firm is offering its condolences to family of Michael Castillo. In a statement, the company says, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. Safety is a primary concern for all our sites. We are looking into how this event occurred. We will also be taking all precautions to ensure something like this does not happen at this or any of our other properties in the future.” Read more …
Two Smith County Burglary Suspects Arrested
TYLER – Two men have been arrested in connection with a residential burglary in southwestern Smith County. The suspects are identified as Andrew Woods, 23 and Anthony Asbell, 24. Warrants were issued for both suspects for the offense of Burglary of a Habitation by Judge Jack Skeen of the 241st State District Court with bond set at $500,000 for Woods and $750,000 for Asbell. Both are currently in the Smith County Jail. Read more …
Identities Released in I-20 Wrecks
GREGG COUNTY — A series of wrecks on Interstate 20 on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning resulted in two deaths, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said. According to the Longview News-Journal, Joel Bird and Constance McCumbee of North Carolina died during a wreck that happened about 2:30 a.m. Friday just west of the Scottsville exit on I-20. Officials said a fire engulfed an 18-wheeler involved in a crash with a second tractor-trailer. DPS Trooper Matt Beatty said one tractor-trailer was traveling west when it rear-ended another tractor-trailer, causing the first semi to catch fire. Bird and McCumbee died at the scene. Read more …
Ohio Murder Suspect Arrested in Smith County
TYLER – Around 1:30 Friday afternoon the U.S. Marshals’ Task Force, along with Smith County Constable Precinct 4 deputies and a Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect wanted for homicide out of Ohio. The task force received a tip that the suspect was located at a residence on Paula Drive near Spur 364 in the southwestern part of Smith County. He wasn’t there, but they received information that the suspect could possibly be located in the 13000 block of County Road 192 near State Highway 155 South. Task force officers confirmed with neighbors that the suspect was living at the trailer with his girlfriend, and was home at this time. Task force officers forced entry into the residence and found the suspect, Byron Harris Jr., 27. He was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Smith County Jail.
Transient Arrested, Two Longview Officers Slightly Injured
LONGVIEW – A criminal trespass call has resulted in Longview police arresting a transient and two officers injured. It began with a call to the Budget Inn in the 2000 block of East Marshall Avenue. The motel owner told officers a man was standing by the ice machine and refused to leave when he was asked to do so. After handcuffing Danterio Larmarc Bryant, 28, they found in his pocket a broken glass pipe that is typically used to smoke methamphetamine. When he resisted being put in the squad car, officers had to put let restraints on him. The Longview News-Journal reports, once inside the car, Bryant removed the leg restraints. When officers opened the door, Bryant is said to have he shoved an officer into the back of the vehicle and escaped. As officers tried to recapture Bryant, one received a cut on his left middle finger and another got scrapes on his right arm and left shoulder. To get him under control officers tased him. Bryant has been charged with escape causing bodily injury, resisting arrest, search and transport, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bonds total $30,000.
Wanted Suspect Arrested in Smith County
TYLER – A man, who fled from Smith County sheriffs’ deputies nearly two months ago, has been arrested. Charles Ray Griffith, 24, who is said to have ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, was arrested Friday afternoon. His girlfriend, Darlene Jackson, who was wanted for violating her parole, was also taken into custody. They were arrested following a brief chase. Griffith, who lives in Chapel Hill, was wanted for possession of drugs. On July 30th, as deputies tried to arrest him at his home on Dry Creek Road, he eluded them by fleeing to a nearby creek.
Some Will Not be Charged for Using Toll 49
TYLER — Drivers who used Toll 49 between Interstate Highway 20 and State Highway 31 on the following days and times will not be charged for their tolls. Specifics:
*Monday, September 15th during the hours of 8 a.m. to 7:10 p.m.,
*Tuesday, September 16th during the hours of 7:10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
*Wednesday, September 17th during the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 7:35 p.m.
Maintenance work was being performed on the toll road which caused some delays and lane closures. “We appreciate drivers’ patience while we performed the road work,” said Everett Owen, Interim Executive Director of the NET RMA. “We are being supportive of our customers. Whenever there is work performed that might slow traffic, the NET RMA will consider not charging for road utilization on a case by case scenario.” The NET RMA does use message boards to alert drivers of any potential delays.
Few Fireworks in First Texas Governor’s Debate
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — Democrat Wendy Davis went after Republican Greg Abbott over defending deep classroom spending cuts and his record on women in the first governor’s debate in Texas in nearly a decade. Abbott on Friday night delivered his best shot upon asking Davis whether she regretted voting for President Barack Obama. She wouldn’t answer and instead digressed. But the first of two scheduled debates between Abbott and Davis otherwise saw few fireworks. Abbott is the favorite to replace Gov. Rick Perry next year and was content to play it safe even when Davis attacked. The debate in the Rio Grande Valley made border security a major topic. Both Davis and Abbott reiterated their support of deploying the Texas National Guard and state troopers to the border. The election is Nov. 4.
Ex-student Sues SMU Over 2012 Sexual Assault
DALLAS (AP) — A former Southern Methodist University student has filed suit against the university, alleging that it created “a hostile, dangerous environment” for him immediately after he reported that he had been sexually assaulted. The Dallas Morning News reports the student reported being sexually assaulted on campus in September 2012 by a member of a family prominent in the university’s history. The suspect was arrested and indicted by a grand jury, but the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges months later citing a lack of sufficient evidence. The lawsuit filed in Dallas Friday alleges SMU so botched the case that the student had to withdraw and give up a scholarship. SMU declined comment.
Missing Travis County Deputy’s Body Found
AUSTIN (AP) — The Travis County sheriff says dive teams have recovered the body of a deputy whose patrol car was swept away by floodwaters as she checked roadways during heavy rains this week. The body of Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis was found Friday afternoon in Lake Austin. The 35-year-old deputy was a seven-year Travis County Sheriff’s Office veteran. She was checking low-water crossings during storms early Thursday when she radioed to say her patrol car was being washed away in an Austin-area subdivision. Her empty car was found a short time later but she couldn’t be found. Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton became emotional when announcing that her body had been found, saying he was determined to “bring her home.”
Texas Unemployment Rises to 5.3% in August
AUSTIN (AP) — Unemployment across Texas rose slightly to 5.3% last month. The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday announced the rate increased from the 5.1 percent recorded in June and July. The national unemployment rate stood at 6.1%. Through the course of the year, Texas employers have added 395,200 nonfarm jobs to their payrolls. Professional and business services added about 8,700 positions in August, while education and health services added 7,500 that month. The Midland area had the lowest unemployment rate in Texas last month at 2.8%. The jobless rate for neighboring Odessa was 3.4%. The McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area had the highest statewide unemployment at 9.8%, according to TWC figures.
Texas Backs Off Sales of Alcohol at Some Gun Shows
AUSTIN (AP) — After hundreds of negative responses, Texas officials appear to be backing off a plan to allow sales of alcohol at some gun shows, which would have come with strict conditions such as a ban on sales of live ammunition. Staff at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has recommended withdrawing the proposal at the panel’s next meeting on Tuesday. The initial plan caused an uproar when it was introduced last month. Hundreds of responses poured in from all sides of the gun-rights issue. Alcohol sales would have come with a series of conditions, including that a firearm be disabled and not immediately turned over to the buyer. But the plan still conjured worries about mixing guns and alcohol. Texas prohibits concealed handgun license holders from carrying their weapons into bars.
Castro: Hispanics Key to US Housing Sector Future
AUSTIN (AP) — The nation’s housing secretary says a booming Hispanic population will drive the future of America’s residential real estate market. Julian Castro also tells The Associated Press that a major overhaul of federal immigration laws would create a further boon to home sales across the country. The former San Antonio mayor cites a study from last year that projects nearly half of first-time homebuyers nationwide would be Hispanic in six years. The study also estimates federal immigration law changes could add about 3 million homeowners. Castro, who was confirmed as the US housing secretary in July, has been mentioned as a possible 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee. He declined to discuss his political future with the AP but says he hopes his new post will be meaningful to the Hispanic community.
Nearly $200M in Losses for Dallas Pension Fund
DALLAS (AP) — Officials say bad real estate investments have cost the retirement fund for Dallas police officers and firefighters almost $200 million. The Dallas Morning News reports the failed investments include a luxury resort and vineyard in California, luxury homes in Hawaii and large tracts of land in Arizona and Idaho. The investments began in 2005. The fund’s board listened to a presentation about the $196 million in losses by its staffers and a fund consultant on Thursday. Nearly half of the losses were recognized on the fund’s 2013 books completed this summer. The 2013 records came from new appraisals on the properties. Before, the fund valued many of its real estate ventures by how much it had invested rather than relying on appraisals.
Man Charged with Killing 3 Kills Himself in Jail
CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) — Authorities say a 63-year-old man charged with fatally shooting three neighbors and injuring a child at a South Texas trailer park last weekend has killed himself in a Corpus Christi jail. Senior Officer Marc Harrod says Nueces County deputies found Sammuel Everett Toomey used his pants to hang himself in his jail cell Thursday night. Toomey was found not breathing and was given CPR before he was taken to a hospital. His lawyer, James Lawrence, tells the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that Toomey’s wife called him early Friday, was hysterical and said jail officials called her to say her husband was dead. Toomey made a brief appearance in court Monday, a day after his arrest. Police said the shootings stemmed from ongoing disputes he had with his neighbors.
Reports: Errors Led to Texas Firefighter’s Death
DALLAS (AP) — State and local investigations have found tactical errors and miscommunication by commanders led to the death of a Dallas firefighter last year. The Dallas Morning News reports that the investigations detail the death of Stanley Wilson, 51, during a six-alarm blaze in May 2013. The reports were released to the public by his widow, Jenny Wilson. Several firefighters allege that Deputy Chief Bobby Ross ordered Stanley Wilson and three others into a collapsing condominium building hours after the fire started. The state report says commanders failed to properly asses the fire, the structure and available personnel. The newspaper reports Ross declined to comment on Thursday through a department spokesman. The spokesman similarly declined to comment.
More than 700 Infants Exposed to TB at Hospital
EL PASO (AP) — Public health officials say more than 700 infants at an El Paso hospital have been exposed to tuberculosis by an employee infected with the disease. The city’s Department of Public Health says the infants along with about 40 employees at Providence Memorial Hospital were exposed. Officials say they were exposed from September 2013 to August. The employee worked in the hospital’s nursery. Officials said employment and medical records were reviewed to determine which infants and employees were exposed. Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the health authority for El Paso County, says the hospital workers have been tested and officials are waiting on results. Letters were sent Thursday to the parents of the infants directing them to undergo screenings. Ocaranza says TB is treatable and the exposure doesn’t represent a public health threat.
Former West Texas Prison Guards Sentenced
ABILENE (AP) — Two former guards at a West Texas federal prison have been sentenced on charges stemming from an investigation of an inmate suicide two years ago. U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings on Friday sentenced Frederick Hernandez, 45, of Big Spring, to 10 months in prison and Christopher Moore, 42, of Dallas, to three years’ probation. Prosecutors say both worked at the Big Spring Correctional Center, a federal lockup run by a private contractor, and pleaded guilty earlier. Investigators looking into the suicide of an inmate determined paperwork that showed required safety checks and inmate counts were falsified.Hernandez said he signed the logs showing the checks were conducted even though he knew they had not. Moore acknowledged knowing the forms were false, but concealed the fact and failed to notify supervisors.
Councilwoman Investigated in 911 Abuse
BALCH SPRINGS (AP) — Balch Springs police are investigating a city councilwoman who they say called 911 to test the response time of officers. Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Haber tells KXAS-TV that Councilwoman Wanda Adams called 911 from a Dollar General store on Thursday. He says she told the officer she was testing them. Adams says she made the call because the employees feared for their safety following a string of burglaries. She says their concern constituted an emergency. Adams says the emergency call was valid, but she was also interested in response times. Haber says she called around the same time as a domestic violence call and that she tied up resources. He says police are considering filing charges with the Dallas County district attorney’s office.
Baylor Student Board OKs Concealed Guns on Campus
WACO (AP) — Baylor University’s student senate has approved a resolution that would allow students and others who have concealed handgun permits to carry their guns on the Waco campus. It still needs approval of the Baylor board of regents before it takes effect. And the student body president, Dominic Edwards, could veto the measure over the next seven days. School spokeswoman Lori Fogleman tells the Waco Tribune-Herald that Baylor officials believe allowing the guns would create security challenges. The resolution approved Thursday was written by 20-year-old senior Gannon McCahill after a student was killed and two others wounded in shooting this year at a university near his hometown of Seattle. Texas law allows college students with concealed carry licenses to have guns in a locked compartment in their car on campus.
Workers Accused of Stealing Parts from Texas Plant
SEGUIN (AP) — Police say eight workers at a Caterpillar plant in Texas are accused of stealing more at least $160,000 in parts from the company. The Seguin Police Department says nine people, including the eight workers, were taken into custody on Friday after the owner of a diesel repair shop in Houston reported a suspicious transaction involving diesel injectors. They say the injectors aren’t sold to the public. Police and the Texas Rangers recovered 107 injectors. They say the suspects had been stealing equipment since July and had planned to sell another 100 injectors. The suspects are each being held in the Guadalupe County Jail on $200,000 bond. They face charges of organized criminal activity, which is punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
Flight Attendants Reach Tentative Deal with AA
FORT WORTH (AP) — A flight attendants’ union says it has a tentative contract covering crews at American Airlines and US Airways. The union said Friday that negotiators reached an agreement with Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group Incorporated with industry-leading terms. Those terms were not disclosed. The company is calling it another step toward combining the two airlines into one, which will keep the American name. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants says leaders will meet next week and decide whether to send the agreement to members for a ratification vote. Shares of American Airlines fell $1.42, or 3.7%, to close at $36.63. They are still up 45% in 2014.