SMITH COUNTY — One man has died, another man has been charged with murder following a shooting in Smith County. It happened just after 10:00 Tuesday morning in the 100 block of Patton Lane. Arriving Smith County Sheriff Deputies found Alex Wesley Jones, 23, Tyler, had shot and killed another man after a confrontation. This morning, Jones was charged with first-degree murder and is being held in the Smith County Jail on a $750,000 bond. The name of the deceased man is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The investigation is ongoing.
TYLER — The Italian company Tazza Pronto is on its way to Tyler. Mayor Barbara Bass made the announcement Wednesday during her final State of the City Address to Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce members. Tyler Economic Development Council chief Tom Mullins said earlier the company had been looking in Seattle, Kentucky, and Tyler. It will now partner with Distant Lands Coffee on a popular single-serve product, operating in the old Carrier plant. According to Bass, the partnership will bring in some 125 jobs by 2015. (more…)
TYLER – The Smith County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating Angel Fuentes Salgado, 24. On March 19, Salgado was terminated as an employee from Servpro, located on FM 2493. On March 30, Salgado was captured on surveillance video at that location while breaking into a vehicle and stealing a gas card, according to authorities. Salgado then allegedly tried to use the gas card, which had been deactivated, at a gas station in Bullard. According to officials, he then returned to Servpro and unsuccessfully attempted to break into another company vehicle. The attempt damaged the vehicle. (more…)
WILLS POINT (AP) – One driver has been killed and three students injured when a car drifted into oncoming traffic and struck a school bus in East Texas. Trooper Jean Dark says the Wills Point Independent School District bus came to rest atop a portion of a Toyota Camry following the collision about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in Van Zandt County, about 45 miles east of Dallas. She says the bus was traveling south when the northbound Camry crossed into its lane. Both drivers attempted to avoid the accident but ended up colliding in the northbound lane. A third vehicle also was involved in the wreck. Dark says a man driving the Camry died at the scene. The bus driver and three students on the bus were taken to a hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.
ATHENS — A Henderson County Jury has handed down four life sentences and one 20-year sentence to Danny Ray Lusk, 37, of Kemp. Jurors earlier convicted Lusk of four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child by contact before sentencing him to the maximum time available on each count. KETK reports Lusk was arrested in April of 2011 for the aggravated sexual assaults of two family members under the age of 14. Evidence revealed that Lusk began assaulting the two victims when they were three and four years old. Both victims testified that Lusk assaulted them for years before they finally came forward to other family members.
TYLER – A 55-year-old Longview lawyer has been sentenced to federal prison for mail fraud. Steven Rushing pleaded guilty Feb. 15 and was sentenced Wednesday in Tyler to 41 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider. Rushing was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $929,076.29.
According to federal authorities, beginning in January 2007, Rushing devised a scheme to defraud insurance companies and health care providers using the United States mail to execute the scheme. Rushing’s scheme involved providing legal representation to clients injured in accidents. Rushing negotiated settlements with civil defendants or a potential civil defendant’s insurance provider.
MARSHALL — A former Marshall pastor will be spending time in prison for online solicitation of a minor. A jury sentenced Raymond Earl Cooper to 10 years probation for the first count. The former pastor of First Church of the Nazarene in Marshall was sentenced to two years prison time for the second count. The sentences will run concurrently. Cooper was also fined $10,000. (more…)
TYLER – Appearing before U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis, two Smith County residents were sentenced Wednesday in Tyler to federal prison for drug trafficking violations. Clinton Daniel McCaa, 32, of Whitehouse, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2013, to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 80 months. Tara McDonald, 40, of Tyler, pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2013, to maintaining a place for the distribution and use of methamphetamine She was sentenced to 38 months. (more…)
TYLER – A 26-year-old Longview man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas. Jason Ray Ragan pleaded guilty on Feb. 6, 2013, to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced Wednesday in Tyler to 50 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis. (more…)
TYLER – A federal grand jury returned multiple indictments Wednesday charging individuals with separate federal crimes in the Eastern District of Texas. (more…)
EAST TEXAS — East Texans encountered widespread severe weather beginning early Tuesday evening. No tornadoes were reported. But because of straight line winds, some as high as 70 miles an hour, there have been reports of downed trees and power lines. Among the hardest-hit areas were Upshur County, Rusk County, Gregg County, Jacksonville, the Hallsville and Nesbitt areas of Harrison County, and Pittsburg. In Lufkin, a woman was killed when struck by lightning. In the Mixon area, in northern Cherokee County, a lightning strike started an oil tank fire. A roof was peeled back on a barn in the Troup area. There were also reports of hail and numerous power outages in East Texas. A tornado watch was posted late Tuesday afternoon and expired at 10:00 Tuesday night.
TYLER — A lightning strike is to blame for a house fire in Tyler Tuesday night. According to KETK, the lightning struck a home in the 500 block of Patton Lane just before 8:00. Firefighters were able to catch the blaze quickly and it was extinguished in about 15 minutes. Officials said a closet and air conditioner were damaged. No injuries were reported.
LUFKIN (AP/Staff) – An East Texas restaurant worker standing outside the eatery and holding an umbrella during a storm has died after being hit by lightning. Lufkin police say the lightning strike happened Tuesday night. KETK reports the woman’s been identified as Meshell Foxworth, 30. She was struck outside the IHOP restaurant and died at Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin. Lt. Ronny LaRue says medical personnel attempted to transport Foxworth to a trauma center but the helicopter could not fly in the bad weather.
TYLER – The East Texas Food Bank is saddened by the tragedy that has struck Oklahoma and is responding, according to a food bank news release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and those who lost their home in this disaster,” according to food bank officials. The news release continues, “The East Texas Food Bank is working within a coordinated effort of emergency response organizations and the Feeding America network of food banks, including the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, to help meet the needs of those impacted by the tornado.” (more…)
TYLER — The 17th season of The University of Texas at Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center will feature world-renowned performances and speakers, Susan Thomae-Morphew, Cowan Center executive director, announced. Top draws include the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cirque Dreams Rocks, and distinguished lecturer Charles Krauthammer. (more…)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama opposes a House bill that would speed approval of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. The route takes the pipeline through eastern Smith County. The White House said Tuesday that the bill “seeks to circumvent longstanding and proven processes” by removing a requirement for a presidential permit. The legislation also says no new environmental studies are needed. (more…)
AUSTIN (AP) — A Republican lawmaker has resurrected a radioactive waste bill that would allow a West Texas site to store more hazardous materials. San Angelo Representative Drew Darby on Tuesday incorporated the measure into another bill governing a radioactive storage site in Anderson County. (more…)
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A Houston man has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for his role in a smuggling ring that brought hundreds of people into the U.S. Sanderlei Alves DaCruz was sentenced Wednesday in a New Jersey federal courtroom. Prosecutors say many of those who were smuggled were young women from Brazil who had agreed to work as strippers to help pay off their smuggling debt. Some of the strip clubs were in northern New Jersey.
DALLAS (AP) – Police say that a Dallas elementary school teacher whose year-old daughter died after being left for hours in her car told officers she thought she had dropped her daughter off at day care that morning. Police revealed the information in the arrest warrant for 42-year-old Vibha Marks, who is charged with child abandonment.
AUSTIN (AP) – Hecklers have repeatedly interrupted a speech by Gov. Rick Perry by demanding that Texas expand its Medicaid program under the terms laid out by the federal health care overhaul. After being interrupted several times during his speech at an Austin business forum Wednesday, the governor clapped his hands in exasperation and said: “Please, please, please, please!” He invited the protesters to debate the issue later.
GRAPEVINE (AP) – The Boy Scouts of America convenes a two-day meeting of 1,400 local leaders to consider changing its long-standing ban on allowing openly gay boys to be members. Officials with the Irving-based organization were scheduled to meet Wednesday and to vote on the issue Thursday.
FORT HOOD (AP) – The Army psychiatrist charged in the deadly 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage says he wants to represent himself at his upcoming trial. Fort Hood officials said Wednesday that Maj. Nidal Hasan is seeking to sever ties with his three Army attorneys. The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, is to consider his request at a hearing next week. She also delayed jury selection to June 5, about a week after it was scheduled to start.
AUSTIN (AP) – Schools could train teachers to exchange fire with potential attackers under a plan advancing in the Texas Capitol. In a 28-3 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved a bill that would authorize one armed marshal for every 400 students. It has already passed the House over the objection of the state teachers association.