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Big Hike in Smith County Inspection Fees

thumb_smithcounty-sealTYLER — A substantial hike is coming November 1 for inspection fees from the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office. According to KETK, the fees have remained the same since the mid 80s. But over time, the cost of conducting these inspections continues to increase. According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, Jim Seaton, Smith County’s late fire marshal, initiated the increase. The office surveyed various cities, taking into consideration the actual time it takes to conduct these inspections as well as how much it costs in fuel to get to a given location. Based on the information from these surveys, county commissioners approved the request. Read the rest of this entry »

East Texas Fugitive Wanted for Child Porn Arrested

gaylord_stevensTYLER — An East Texas man who was wanted for child pornography has been arrested in San Antonio. According to the Lindale Police Department, Gaylord Stevens was arrested by the United States Marshal Service Wednesday. KETK reports that Stevens has three felony arrest warrants for Possession of Child Pornography. The suspect was also arrested January 2, 2014, for cruelty to livestock. He was released a week later on $2,000 bond. On January 13, the horses at the center of the crime, were seized in a hearing. Officers have been taking care of their needs and the horses have been under veterinarian care since the city took custody.

Reports of Shots Fired in Tyler

Tyler Police PatchTYLER – Reports of shots fired kept Tyler police busy late Wednesday afternoon. Just before 6:00pm, there were numerous 911 calls about shots being fired in the area of Center and Locust. At the same time, one person ran into the Smith County Sheriff’s Office building and reported seeing two subjects firing weapons. Calls continued to come in with some stating that there were two subjects with rifles. Tyler Police officers responded to the area and swept multiple blocks without finding any indication that there was or had been an active shooter incident. One witness said he saw two black males firing guns at a house near the intersection of Center and Thomas. At the house officers found several firearms but found no reason to make an arrest. According to Sergeant Adam Colby, evidence was gathered from the scene and the case will be forwarded to the Criminal Investigation Division for follow up.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

SCSO Hosts Organized Crime Training Class for the Public

TYLER — 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. Read the rest of this entry »

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 (pictured) will remain on the case following a recusal hearing yesterday. 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 December 1. A motion to revoke Peterson’s bond for alleged marijuana use has been on hold until the recusal issue was resolved.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Gilmer Woman Sentenced in Fatal Accident

Sarah ReevesLONGVIEW – A Gilmer woman was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in prison and 10 years probation after pleading guilty to intoxication manslaughter. Sarah Reeves, 35, had originally been charged with driving while intoxicated in the accident in which she hit Lynden Bell, 24, of Longview. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report the accident occurred November 21, 2012, in the 1900 block of Lee Street in the Pine Tree area. When Lee died two days later, the charge was changed to intoxication manslaughter. Reeves could have gotten up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Police Release Pictures of High-Speed Chase Suspect

hispeedchaseLINDALE — Lindale police have released pictures of the alleged driver involved in last weekend’s high-speed chase in Smith County. According to KETK, police say they are looking for Carlos Bonilla, 22, who was last seen near Garden Valley Road in Tyler. The chase began shortly after 9:00 p.m. Friday on Highway 69 in Lindale. Police say they were conducting a traffic stop when Bonilla pulled out a weapon. He then reportedly sped off with police following close by. During the high speed pursuit Bonilla allegedly shot at police. Read the rest of this entry »

Hoax Ebola Story Circulating in East Texas

MT. PLEASANT — A story concerning Ebola is circulating East Texas and causing fears in the community. KETK reports a local hospital has released a statement to quell the concerns. The Titus Regional Medical Center put out the following release from Shannon Norfleet, RN, Director of Community Relations & Education: “TRMC has received several calls and comments regarding a circulating Facebook hoax about an Ebola case in Mount Pleasant. Please always be aware (or beware) of your online ‘news’ sources – is a pranking website and the circulating post is completely false. This hoax information has been shared with our local public information officers and news media as well.”

Boil Water Notice for South Rusk County Water Supply

thumb_boilingwater-2RUSK COUNTY — South Rusk County Water Supply, in southern Rusk County, has experienced a water outage. Officials say if you have experienced this outage, or extremely low pressure, you are advised to boil your water for a minimum of two minutes prior to consumption. Do this until further notice.

Nacogdoches among “Texas Highways” Readers’ Favorites

Nacogdoches-Oldest Town in TexasSAN ANTONIO (AP/Staff) – Readers of “Texas Highways” magazine have chosen Nacogdoches as their 8th favorite destination in a countdown of the top 40 places to visit statewide. Officials with “Texas Highways,” published monthly by the Texas Department of Transportation, made the announcement Tuesday in San Antonio — which, by the way, tops the list. The countdown helped celebrate the publication’s 40th anniversary. The choices started with the January issue of “Texas Highways,” which has about 200,000 subscribers and an estimated 400,000 monthly readers. Read the rest of this entry »

Trinity Industries Found Guilty of Fraud

guard rail-dangerousMARSHALL — A company accused of selling defective guardrails has been found guilty of fraud. A federal jury in Marshall says Texas firm Trinity Industries should pay $175 million for misleading regulators about the re-design of its guardrails in 2005. Under federal law, that sum will be tripled to as much as one billion dollars. Some of that will go to whistle – blower Josuah Harmon who testified the re-design meant that instead of being cushioned, vehicles colliding with the ends of the guardrails could be impaled, leading to at least a dozen accidents, some fatal. This is the second time the case has been tried. The first ended in a mistrial in July.

Pilgrim’s Pride Worker Killed in Accident

MT. PLEASANT — A Pilgrim’s Pride worker was killed Friday as a result of a believed workplace accident. According to Mt. Pleasant Assistant Chief Kyle Holcomb, an employee was found unconscious in an ice room by another employee. The worker immediately called for help and CPR was performed on the injured man. The 55-year-old Hispanic male was eventually taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead by Justice of the Peace Judge Kay McNutt. KETK reports, the body has been sent for autopsy to determine the cause of death. The name of the deceased has not been released. Holcomb said foul play is not suspected. OSHA is now investigating the case. The Pilgrim’s Pride facility is located in the 1000 block of Pilgrim Street.

Last Week’s Storm Near Gilmer was a Tornado

tornado-weakGILMER – The National Weather service confirms that a storm that caused damaged near Gilmer October 13th was a tornado. Some homes and barns were damaged by fallen trees caused by the storm. It touched down just before 5:00 that morning. KETK reports the National Weather Service survey team determined an EF-1 touched down 6.5 miles northwest of Gilmer and that the 275-yard wide twister stayed on the ground for about six miles with peak winds of 95-105 miles per hour. The survey team reported determined the tornado moved east from south of FM 852 near Bison Road and FM 852 and passed along Armadillo Road, north of Lake Gilmer, then crossed Cherokee Trace. The tornado finally lifted at Highway 271 near Antelope Road. No injuries were reported in the storm.

New Electronic Sample Ballots Now Available

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — The Smith County Elections Office is now offering an Interactive ExpressPass Sample Ballot to all registered voters in the county. According to a county news release, the move part of the county’s commitment to provide quality service to voters. Officials say the system is convenient, simple, and completely safe for voter use. You can go to to find the new sample ballots. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman Accused of Sexually Assaulting Teen

angela_van_zandtMARSHALL — An East Texas woman was taken into custody following her alleged sexual assault of an underage teenager. According to KETK, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office reports Angela Van Zandt, 38, of Diana, has been charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. Authorities say the woman is not a teacher, as has been reported by another news agency. Van Zandt was released on $100,000 bond.

Tyler Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty, Receives 35 Years

john_grimes_ivTYLER — A Tyler man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder after accepting a plea deal Monday morning. According to KETK, the Smith County District Attorney’s Office reports John Grimes IV, 26, was sentenced in the 7th District Court. Grimes is deemed responsible for the murder of 65-year-old Tony Jeter. On December 1, 2013, Grimes was taken into custody and charged with capital murder after police responded to a home in the 500 block of East Bow Street and found Jeter’s body. Police said he died from a stab wound. Read the rest of this entry »

City of Tyler Awarded $174,030 for Veteran Housing

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the city of Tyler Neighborhood Services Department funding to administer 25 new Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) Vouchers. According to a city news release, HUD-VASH is a unique partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and HUD that provides long-term case management, supportive services, and permanent housing support for chronically homeless veterans. The VA provides case management and eligibility screening services, while HUD allocates permanent housing subsidies from its Housing Choice Voucher Program. Read the rest of this entry »

Van Zandt Co. Crime Stoppers Hands Out $600 in Rewards

image002CANTON — Van Zandt County Crime Stoppers has authorized $600 in rewards for tips that helped lead to the recent arrests of three men, all from Wills Point, in separate incidents. The Crime Stoppers board approved a $250 reward for a tipster who notified authorities about a man wanted for theft, including a stolen camping trailer. A $200 reward was authorized for a tip that led to a man sought for allegedly violating a protective order in Dallas County. Authorities tracked the man down at a school in Wills Point. Finally, a $150 reward was approved for a tip that led to the arrest of a man wanted by Van Zandt County authorities on a fugitive warrant. Read the rest of this entry »

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