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Road Reopens after Big Rig Fire

TYLER — A tractor trailer rig caught on fire this morning and stalled traffic in a couple of lanes for a time, but those roads are now open. It started around 5:15 this morning at Loop 323 and Old Jacksonville Hwy. Officials said it’s believed the truck caught fire due to a malfunction with the brakes. No injuries were reported and the truck was extinguished quickly by TFD.

Ellis Defeats Patterson in Smith County’s GOP Primary

Jason EllisTYLER – Smith County voters in the GOP primary runoff have elected Jason Ellis as judge of the County Court at Law. Since he has no Democratic opponent in November, he will be succeeding Thomas Dunn in January. In complete, but unofficial returns Ellis polled 6, 337 votes to Mike Patterson’s 3.821 votes. Read the rest of this entry »

Longview’s Merritt Loses GOP Nod for Agriculture Commissioner

tommy merritt-2AUSTIN (AP) — Former lawmaker Sid Miller has won the Republican nomination for Texas agriculture commissioner after a runoff boosted by a rare endorsement from Governor Rick Perry. Miller also played up using shock rocker Ted Nugent as his campaign treasurer. That gave his candidacy a star power that challenger Tommy Merritt (pictured) couldn’t match. Miller served in the Texas House for more than a decade before losing his West Texas seat two years ago. Perry made few endorsements this GOP primary season but threw his support behind Miller earlier this month. Despite a historic Texas drought, Miller and Merritt spent much of their campaigns touting conservative credentials on issues such as gun rights and abortion instead of addressing farming. Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is leaving office after losing his bid for lieutenant governor.

Drowning at Lake Hawkins

HAWKINS – A swimmer has drowned in Lake Hawkins. He was said to have been swimming with two others when he went under and didn’t surface. This was around 1:00 Tuesday afternoon. The victim’s name has not been released pending the notification of relatives. He is said to be an 18 year old man from Big Sandy.

Police Looking for Missing Longview Woman

LONGVIEW – The Longview Police Department is seeking the public’s help in locating a mentally disabled woman. KETK reports Begona Parker, 53, was last seen sitting on her front porch in the 800 block of Sabine Street. She was at her adult day care facility awaiting a ride. She is described as 5 feet 7 inches and weighing around 190 pounds with two gold teeth. She was last seen wearing a white shirt with blue horizontal stripes, blue capri pants, and denim tennis shoes. If you have any information about her, you are asked to contact Longview police.

Longview Murder Suspect Booked into Jail on Infant’s Death

KendrickElliottMug2.1401220700LONGVIEW — A Longview murder suspect was booked into the Gregg County Jail Monday. Authorities believe he killed his infant girl. According to jail records, Kendrick Jamal Elliot, 22, was booked into the jail on one count of murder. His bail was set at $100,000. Elliot was listed on the Crime Stoppers website as wanted on April 17. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, the suspect was accused of killing his 4-month-old child in 2013. An autopsy concluded the infant’s skull and ribs were fractured. Read the rest of this entry »

Two East Texans Charged in Grave Thefts

Jack Brown-stealing from grave sitesGAINESVILLE — Two people have been arrested for allegedly stealing from grave sites across East Texas. KETK reports Van Zandt County authorities arrested Ruby and Jack Brown, both of Murchison, on theft of property from a grave charge in Gainesville. On May 15, Van Zandt County authorities discovered grave burglaries at the Myrtle Springs Cemetery, Asbury Cemetery and Meredith Camp Grounds Cemetery. The bandits allegedly vandalized between 50 and 100 graves. In many instances, the pair reportedly stole copper from the graves. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Pharmacist Gets 32 Years for Child Sex Assault

james_prosperie_smith_jailTYLER — A retired Tyler pharmacist who had pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault against a child has been sentenced to 32 years in prison. According to Smith County judicial records, James Carey Prosperie, 74, of Tyler was arrested September 3, 2013, after a standoff at his home on Jeff Davis Drive. KETK reports that a Smith County jury sentenced Prosperie to two 16-year sentences to be served consecutively. According to the arrest affidavit provided by Smith County, Prosperie was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old relative on June 8, 2013. A report from CPS states Prosperie confessed to a lawyer friend he had sexual contact with the underage relative on at least two separate occasions. Prosperie formerly operated the now-closed Medicine Shoppe on East Fifth Street in Tyler.

Man Rescued after Boat Capsizes

thumb_gamewarden-texasLAKE PALESTINE — A Man’s boat capsized on Lake Palestine near Coffee City Monday evening. Luckily, the East Texan is safe. According to authorities, eyewitnesses say a large wave threw the driver out of his boat. Two search and rescue teams then traced the shoreline just east of the bridge near the Smith County-Henderson County line. Game wardens tell KETK they called off the search after two men on a boating dock said they saw it happen, so they jumped in, and saved the man. Strong wind gusts are blamed for the accident. The Coffee City Volunteer Fire Department assisted in the search.

Smith County Deputy Constable Dies of Heart Attack

Steven MurrayTYLER – Smith County Precinct 1 Deputy Constable Steven Murray has died of a “massive” heart attack. He was rushed from his home to the hospital Monday afternoon where he later died. Murray, who was serving as a K9 handler, had been with the precinct since 2006. The following announcement was posted around 9:00 last night on the sheriff department’s Face Book Page, “Thanks for the many thoughts and prayers for Deputy Constable Murray. We are sad to announce we just received word that he is now in the loving arms of God. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they go through these difficult times.”

LETU to Sign Agreement with SkyWest for Pilot Cadet Program

LeTourneau Logo6LONGVIEW — LeTourneau University and SkyWest Airlines will sign a letter of agreement to provide a direct pathway for selected LETU flight students to find employment with SkyWest Airlines after graduation. The signing will be at 12:15 Wednesday afternoon in the Grand Hall at LeTourneau University’s Abbott Aviation Center at East Texas Regional Airport.

LETU Provost Dr. Philip A. Coyle said this partnership with SkyWest Airlines provides LETU flight students a direct path to pursue their aviation careers. “LETU’s aviation program is built on excellence and on great partnerships like this one with SkyWest,” Coyle said. “This agreement will facilitate a pathway for qualified LeTourneau University pilots who graduate from our flight program to pursue a career as an airline pilot with SkyWest Airlines. It is a testament to the quality of the pilots our school produces.” Read the rest of this entry »

BBB Warning about “Cryptolocker” Malware

Better Business BureauTYLER – The BBB is warning consumers of a malware program that accesses your personal computer and holds it hostage. A release by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explains that “Cryptolocker” encrypts all your personal documents, photos and files so you can no longer open them. Con artists then demand money in order to give you access again.

The FTC reports that Cryptolocker is spread mostly through downloads by way of email. The email might look like a normal message from an authentic company, similar to a tracking notice from a shipping company. However, when you click the hyperlink in the email, Cryptolocker encrypts everything on your hard drive and in your shared folders. Read the rest of this entry »

Victims Identified after Chase Leads to Fatal Smith County Wreck

DPS-PatchBULLARD – Department of Public Safety officials released the names of one person who was killed and another who was severely injured in a high-speed Smith County chase over the weekend. KETK reports that according to DPS Trooper Jean Dark, the driver, Christopher Blake Lucas, 26, was killed Saturday evening in a chase off Farm Road 346 near County Road 188 in Bullard. A passenger, Travis Allen Holley, 24, is currently in serious condition at a local hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

Annual Memorial Day Service Held at Memorial Park

Memorial Park CemeteryTYLER — An annual Memorial Day ceremony was held Monday at Tyler’s Memorial Park. One guest speaker, Sheriff Larry Smith, told KTBB we shouldn’t remember the military just one or two days a year. “It’s something we need to think about as often as we can,” said Smith. “Every time we see a veteran, or every time we see someone in uniform, we need to tell them how much we thank them.” Another keynoter, State Representative Matt Schaefer, told us Memorial Day is about remembering past sacrifices, but also being aware “that we still live in a dangerous world, and the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform are still ongoing and still so important to remember.” Schaefer is also a Navy Reserve lieutenant commander.

Two Accused of Making False Police Report

Landon Keith BrownTYLER – Two men have been arrested by Tyler police after being accused of making a false report of a robbery. Taken into custody was Landon Keith Brown, 17, and Stephen Dwight Woldt, 22, both of Tyler. Shortly after 4:00 Sunday afternoon a call to 911 reported the robbery of an individual. The caller stated that he and another victim had been beaten and then robbed at gun point by three men who then fled into a wooded area near the Valero station at 403 Loop 323 SSE. Both victims had multiple cuts, bruises, and abrasions on their faces and arms. The victims reported that their money and drivers licenses were stolen, as well as a vial containing 60 Xanax pills which were recently obtained by prescription. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman Injured in Tyler Incident

police-car-lights2TYLER – Tyler police are investigating a report of a woman who was cut on the hand. The incident occurred around 8:30 Sunday night in the 200 block of South Fannin Street. The woman’s wound was said to be a non-life threatening injury.

Tyler’s Memorial Day Ceremony

Memorial Park CemeteryTYLER — Tyler and Smith County remember fallen military members, and all veterans. A major annual Memorial Day service is set for Monday morning at 11:00 at Tyler Memorial Park on Highway 64 West. Guest speakers are Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith and Lt. Commander Matt Schaefer of the U.S. Navy Reserve, also the Tyler area’s state representative. Other touches include a fallen warrior ceremony procession, a rifle salute, and patriotic music. Organizers encourage the public to join in the ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT signTYLER — Here’s a quick look at other work planned in Smith County by the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation.

HENDERSON COUNTY – As early as Wednesday this week, TxDOT contract crews are scheduled to perform seal coat operations on the following roadways:
* West Loop 7 between FM 59 and FM 1616
* FM 59 between SH 19 in Athens and FM 753
* US 175 east of Athens between FM 804 and FM 315 (Saturday) Read the rest of this entry »

Longview Drowning Victim Identified

swimming pool waterLONGVIEW – A young boy, swimming in his grandparent’s pool, has drowned in Longview. It happened Saturday night around 8:00 in the 2000 block of Lillie Street. The Longview News-Journal identified the boy as Tywone Jackson, 10. Gregg County Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Arthur Fort told the paper family members found the boy unresponsive in the back yard pool. They had been unable to locate the youngster for around 20 to 45 minutes. The boy was rushed to Longview’s Good Shepherd Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00. His body has been sent to a Tyler lab for autopsy.

One Killed in Wreck Near Frankston

DPS badgeFRANKSTON – One person has been killed and two injured in a three vehicle accident in Anderson County. The wreck occurred on U.S. Highway 175 about a mile west of its intersection with State. Highway 155 around 1:00 Saturday afternoon. The accident remains under investigation and no information is available at this time.

Smity County Jail Inmate Back in Custody

Adam BowersTYLER – Freedom was brief for a Smith County Jail inmate. Adam Bowers, 34, of Tyler, escaped from the central jail rooftop recreation yard shortly after 10:30 Saturday morning. Although the incident is still under investigation, it appears that other inmates on the recreation yard intentionally blocked the view of the yard detention officer while Bowers unraveled the wire on the recreation yard fence and slipped through a hole. The inmate stripped off his jail uniform and ran across the roof and climbed down scaffolding that is in place as part of the jail construction project.

A recreation yard officer observed Bowers run across the roof and immediately announced the escape via the newly purchased jail radio system which was acquired primarily for such incidents. Jail staff immediately pursued the inmate and after a foot chase lasting around 20 minutes, recaptured Bowers 4 blocks north of the central jail. Read the rest of this entry »

Former Longview Teacher Headed to Prison

Robert Craig VarnellLONGVIEW – A former Longview teacher has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual assault of a child. Robert Craig Varnell, 57, of Holly Lake Ranch, pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Friday in 124th State District Court in Longview.. When arrested, Varnell was a high school science teacher and one of the district’s University Interscholastic League coordinators. Varnell started working for Longview ISD in fall 2009 and was in his second year as a teacher. Prior to working for Longview ISD, he taught at LeTourneau University. He resigned from his Longview job following his arrest in May of 2011. Read the rest of this entry »

Manziel Passes First Test with Browns

Johnny ManzielCLEVELAND (AP) — Tyler’s Johnny Manziel spent his first weekend in the NFL hanging around other rookies and unsigned free agents. He’s about to take the field with the bigger boys. Manziel, who had a “positive” rookie minicamp with Cleveland, will practice this week with the club’s veteran players, including Brian Hoyer, the quarterback he’ll try to unseat as starter. Browns first-year coach Mike Pettine made it clear that Manziel and Hoyer realize what’s at stake and that their competitive juices are already flowing. Read the rest of this entry »

TISD Scores in UIL Arts Competition

TISD Logo5TYLER — Tyler ISD middle and high schools received high marks and top honors at University Interscholastic League (UIL) fine arts competitions this spring. Nine programs across four Tyler ISD campuses earned Sweepstakes honors. These programs include the Hubbard Middle School varsity choir; Moore MST Magnet School varsity choir, non-varsity orchestra and varsity orchestra; John Tyler High School varsity orchestra; and the Robert E. Lee High School varsity and non-varsity bands, as well as varsity and non-varsity orchestras. Read the rest of this entry »

Woman’s Disappearance Labeled Suspicious

christina_davison_from_lnjKILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department has labeled an East Texas woman’s disappearance as suspicious. KETK reports authorities are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Christina Rea Davison, 43, who has been missing since May 17. Police first learned of her disappearance when Davison failed to show up for work and co-workers reported her absence. After searching Davison’s home, police believe she may be missing under suspicious circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

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