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Wood County Man Indicted in Sexual Abuse Cases

joshuatutorwoodcoWOOD COUNTY — A Yantis man was indicted recently for the alleged sexual abuse of two girls, ages 14 and 12. KETK reports the incidents happened about a month apart. On April 3, a Wood County deputy responded to a report of a sexual assault at the Yantis school, according to an Wood County arrest affidavit. Friends of the 12-year-old assaulted told police the victim said Joshua Michael Tutor, 20, had sexual relations with her on the playground. The mother also showed a string of text messages between her and the suspect. In the texts, the suspect admits to sexual activity, according to officials. Read the rest of this entry »

Missing Teen Sought

hannahlongviewLONGVIEW — The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help finding a missing Longview teenager who was last seen Sunday. Jay Webb, administrative lieutenant of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that Hannah Nicole Barker, 15, is believed to have run away from her home on Peggy Ruth Road. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Peggy Ruth Road is in a part of Longview that reaches into Harrison County. “She just apparently crawled out of a window at her residence,” Webb said. “Her mother went to check on her and she wasn’t there.” Barker is described as being 5-feet 1-inch tall and weighing 100 pounds. She has brown hair and green eyes, according to Webb. Anyone with information about Barker’s whereabouts is asked to call the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office at (903) 923-4000.

Suspect in Triple Fatality Released on Bond

shelbytaylormug3HENDERSON — The woman accused of killing a woman and her two children in an alleged drunken driving incident has been released on bond. According to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby Taylor, 22, of Henderson, was set free after posting a $501,000 bond on Friday. KETK reports the suspect was facing a 2013 DWI accusation, among other charges, before the fatal crash occurred. The Rusk County District Attorney’s Office has filed three manslaughter charges against her for the deaths of Rudra Patel, 5, Trisha Patel, 12, and Heena Patel, 43. The father, 42-year-old Ketanbhai Patel, survived the crash. Read the rest of this entry »

One Killed, Three Hurt in Weekend Crash near Longview

HARRISON COUNTY — Three people are recovering from injuries sustained in a head-on collision that killed one person over the weekend about two miles north of Longview in Harrison County. KETK reports that at 9:27 a.m. on Saturday, an SUV headed north on FM 2208 crossed the center line and smashed into a truck driving south. The driver of the SUV was identified as Janice Wilkinson, 62, of Colmesneil. She was taken to a Longview hospital in stable condition. Two other passengers in the SUV were injured, one fatally. Bobby Wilkinson, 64, of Colmesneil, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Nancy George. He was taken to the Meadowbrook Funeral Home in Marshall. Sharron Smith, 61, of Colmesneil was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. The driver of the truck, 19-year-old Cayden Ferrill, was treated and released from a Longview hospital. All four passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Police: Man Wanted in Robbery Considered “Armed and Dangerous”

nickelberrylpdLONGVIEW — Longview Police are looking for 25-year-old Vontrequel “Trey” or “Tre” Nickelberry. According to KETK, he is the suspect in an aggravated robbery that occurred May 10 in the 1000 Block of Young St. Police say Nickelberry is considered armed and dangerous. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Nickelberry, you are asked to call police immediately or contact Gregg County Crimestoppers at 903-236-7867 to remain anonymous.

Bond Set at $2 Million in Four-Year-Old’s Death

stacieparsonsmugATHENS — Bond has been set at $2 million for an East Texas woman who was arrested after authorities say she admitted to killing her four-year-old daughter. According to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, of Athens, walked into the Athens Police Department around 8:45 Monday morning and told police she had murdered her young daughter. The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office responded to her home in the 410 block of Martin Luther King Drive and found Parsons’s child deceased with head and chest trauma. Officials tell KETK the alleged murder took place at a bridge on County Road 1500. Parsons remains the Henderson County Jail on a single charge of capital murder.

Harassment Complaint Leads to Prostitution Arrest

pearson,josephLONGVIEW — Police in Longview say a prostitution arrest was made following a harassment complaint. Police were dispatched Tuesday morning to a suspicious vehicle in the area of the 2900 block of Lynn Street. When officers arrived they were told by the victim that the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Joseph Pearson of Daingerfield, had been continually harassing him since April, 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Medical Code Workers Testify against Texas Doctor

tariq mahmoodTYLER (AP) – Some medical workers responsible for treatment billing codes say they felt pressured by a Dallas-area doctor to allegedly falsify data to get more money from Medicare. Testimony continues in the Tyler health care fraud trial of Dr. Tariq Mahmood, who’s denied wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors say the hospital chain owner conspired to submit more than $1.1 million in false billings. The Dallas Morning News reports Norma Longley testified Monday that she balked at changing billing codes for Renaissance Hospital Terrell patients. Longley says Mahmood insisted diagnoses by other doctors be altered to reflect more expensive treatments. She later discovered her codes for Medicare reimbursements were altered. Cynthia Kennemer Plumlee testified she was fired after refusing to let Mahmood be “involved” in reviewing patient codes. She cited professional ethics.

Simpson Holds Town Hall Meeting Following Border Tour

thumb_David-SimpsonLONGVIEW – State Representative David Simpson of Longview invites citizens from District 7 and the surrounding area to a slideshow presentation and report about his week-long tour of the southern Texas border. After the report, the floor will be open for questions and comments from the audience about immigration and border security, according to a news release. The town hall meeting will take place at The Bridge Building at Mobberly Baptist Church from 5:30 to 7:30 this evening. Mobberly is located at 625 E. Loop 281 in Longview. The event is free and open to the public.

Sheriff’s Office Reviewing Policy on Case Submissions

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER (Staff/AP) — Sheriff Larry Smith and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office Command Staff are in the process of reviewing incidents in which inmates were released on personal recognizance bonds. According to a news release, these inmates were released due to their cases not being filed with the District Attorney’s Office in time to indict. Officials say each case file will be reviewed at the Sheriff’s Office as well as any Sheriff’s Office communications to or from the District Attorney’s Office. Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Destroys Longview Warehouse, Contents

mopacfire0721LONGVIEW — The Longview Fire Department responded to a major fire at a warehouse on Mopac Road Monday afternoon. KETK reports that when officials arrived on scene, the structure was engulfed in flames and collapsed. According to fire officials, the building was used to store extra clothes, hangers, and other storage equipment for Webco’s store displays. Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary said the Miracle Tabernacle church was also keeping about 70 oak pews inside the building. All contents inside the structure, as well as the structure itself, were lost. The cause is undertermined at the moment, but nothing appears to be suspicious about the fire, according to Zackary. No injuries were reported.

“Government Grant” Phone Scam Targets East Texas

Better Business BureauTYLER — The Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas is warning the public to be extremely wary of phone calls claiming to come from bogus government grant agencies. BBB has received calls from residents concerning unsolicited telephone grant offers that are nothing more than an attempt to clear bank accounts. East Texas consumers have been receiving phone calls telling them they have been awarded a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But the caller says in order to get the grant, you’ll need to provide bank account and other personally identifying information. Ultimately, consumers do not receive any grant money, and may lose their own money in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Sheriff Says Deputy’s Arrest Led to Recent Arrests of Six Others

kimbrick_jonesTYLER — The 2013 arrest of a Smith County deputy for drug trafficking led to the recent arrests of six other people. KETK reports the seizures and arrests were a byproduct of Kimbrick Bernard Jones’s arrest for selling meth from a patrol car. Sheriff Larry Smith said Jones (pictured) cooperated with the FBI and sheriff’s office as they continued to investigate criminal activities. Following his sentencing, they were able to pinpoint alleged suppliers and traffickers of meth involved. The six were indicted in federal court last week. Smith’s office also seized meth, firearms, and a large piece of land off County Road 3104 where illegal horse racing was reportedly taking place. Deputies searched four residence on more than 100 acres of land in rural Smith County.
Read the rest of this entry »

Asphalt Enhancement Project Underway

TYLER — Roadwork on South Broadway Avenue from Erwin Street to Fourth Street is underway. The existing asphalt surface will be removed and replaced with new asphalt. To minimize inconvenience to the public, all work will be done at night between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:00am, according to officials. During this time, the road will periodically be closed to through traffic. Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes during this time. All work is expected to be complete before August 5, weather permitting.

County Road 112 Closed for Bridge Repair

Road Closed2TYLER — Smith County Road 112 is closed for bridge repairs. The project, which started Monday, is expected to last up to three weeks. The closure only applies to the portion of CR 112 located between County Road 131 and County Road 129 in the southern half Smith County. Drivers should utilize an alternative route for the duration of this project.

Baby Dies at Angelina County Home

crimescene-coronerHUNTINGTON (AP) — Officials say a 2-month-old girl has died at an East Texas home as the woman with whom she was living ran an errand and left several other adults to watch the baby. The Angelina County Sheriff’s Department says an autopsy was scheduled on the infant, whose name wasn’t immediately released. Sheriff Greg Sanches says an initial review indicates the baby apparently died of natural causes. Sanches says the woman in whose care the child was entrusted had to pick someone up Saturday and left the sleeping child in the care of several family friends at a home near Huntington. One of the adults checked on the girl, noticed she wasn’t breathing and called 911. Child Protective Services has been notified.

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a quick look at events and work planned in the Tyler District of the state highway department.

GREGG COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to continue several weeks of pavement-repair operations on U.S. Highway 80 between Loop 485 in Gladewater and the Upshur County Line, followed by similar work in U.S. Highway 271 between US 80 in Gladewater and the Upshur County Line. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress, and flaggers will control traffic in two-lane areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Police Arrest Six after Meth Seizure

DocumentFragment_4554764LONGVIEW — Longview police arrested six people Saturday morning on charges of manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance after more than 200 grams of methamphetamine were discovered at a Longview home. Debra Stiles, spokeswoman for the Longview Police Department, said Sunday that the drugs were found at a home in the 1900 block of Willis Drive during an investigation of a stolen vehicle. According to KETK, Gerri Paige Holt, 25, of White Oak, Brandi K McAlister, 32, of Ore City, Stephen Dwayne Cannada, 40, of Longview, Lacie Danielle Dorgan, 30, of Ore City, Carl Oscar Gearhart, 30, of Gladewater, and Leland Curtis Smith, 32, of Longview, were each being held Sunday on bonds of $50,000. Stiles said officers also found two more stolen vehicles at the home and an investigation is ongoing.

Grand Jury Deadline Passes, Suspects Freed

SheriffatEventTYLER (AP) — Eight people jailed on felony charges, including violent crimes, have been freed from an East Texas jail after a sheriff failed to present evidence to a grand jury within 90 days of their arrest. The Tyler Telegraph reports Sunday the Smith County Sheriff’s Office failed to meet the deadline. The newspaper says that according to documents it obtained through an open records request the suspects were released on their own recognizance between November 2013 and June 30. Another 13 could have been released but were held after additional charges were brought or due to federal retainers. Among those who have been released are a 56-year-old accused of shooting three people during a disagreement and two others charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Tyler Police Investigate Family Dollar Store Robbery

police-lightsTYLER — Tyler police are searching for a robbery suspect. Around 9:40 Sunday morning, police received a report of a commercial robbery at the Family Dollar, 1527 Loop 323. According to authorities, the clerk said the suspect, described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall, wearing a black jacket, green shirt and jeans, entered the store and demanded the money from the register. The clerk said the suspect had his face covered with his shirt and did not display a weapon. The suspect fled the store on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000.

Charges Dismissed Following Suspect’s Death

DocumentFragment_3909670GREGG COUNTY — Charges against Ina Lawson were dismissed days after her death in March, according to Gregg County District Attorney Carl Dorrough. According to the Longview News-Journal, Lawson was indicted this past year in the shooting of her husband, Gregg County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Sam Lawson. Sam Lawson resigned in January because of his injuries. Ina Lawson died of natural causes, according to her daughter.

Sales Tax Holiday Dates Set

EAST TEXAS — Texas shoppers will get their annual break on sales taxes on certain items during the state’s sales tax holiday scheduled for Aug. 8 to 10. The law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks priced less than $100 from sales tax, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend during the weekend.

“Families gearing up for the new school year will not pay any sales tax for many back-to-school items ranging from pens to blue jeans,” said Texas Comptroller Susan Combs. “When the back-to-school list is long and the money is short, it can be difficult for Texas families. We hope this tax break will help ease that burden.” Read the rest of this entry »

Prison Roof Collapses, 19 Inmates Injured

ems-ambulanceDIBOLL (AP) — Authorities say the roof of a privately run East Texas prison has collapsed, temporarily trapping dozens of inmates and sending 19 injured inmates to hospitals. One of those inmates was later airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston after the Saturday collapse at Diboll Correctional Center, about 100 miles northeast of Houston. Neither his identity nor his condition has been released. In a statement, a prison spokesman said the other inmates suffered cuts and bruises when wallboard fell from the ceiling of a housing area at the prison about 11:30 a.m. Spokesman Issa Arnita said 86 inmates were in the area when the ceiling material fell. He said officials are trying to determine the cause. The 518-bed minimum-security facility is operated by Centerville, Utah-based Management & Training Corp.

81st Annual Rose Festival Kicks Off

rosesTYLER — The countdown to the 81st annual Texas Rose Festival is officially underway following the festival’s kickoff over the weekend at Willow Brook Country Club. Rose Queen Katie Peltier says the festival has always meant a lot to her. She told KTBB, “I’ve watched it growing up here in Tyler all of my life, so it’s just great to be a part of such a wonderful community experience, and I’m just honored to represent the city of Tyler and the Tyler roses.” Kathleen Bertram is this year’s Duchess of the Texas Rose Festival. She chimed in, “I think this event is very important to Tyler, and I think we all should remember that the true star of the festival is the rose.” Read the rest of this entry »

Memorial Service for Missing Longview Doctor

John Petty-Longview DoctorLONGVIEW (Staff/AP) – A memorial was held today for an East Texas chiropractor who went missing during a commercial shark diving venture in the vicinity of West End, Bahamas, Sunday night. KETK reports John E. Petty, 63, of Longview, was honored at 2:00 this afternoon at First Baptist Church in downtown Longview. A reception followed at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, where Petty’s photo exhibit is on display. Coast Guard officials suspended their search for Petty Wednesday. He was among eight people in the diving group. According to Petty’s family, it’s now believed he was the victim of a shark attack.

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