LONGVIEW — Two ZIP codes in Longview are among the highest for fire risk in North Texas — and for the American Red Cross. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, that means working to increase awareness about what causes fires and the importance of smoke alarms. ZIP codes 75602 and 75604 are on a list of the top 10 ZIP codes at risk of fire in the North Texas region, which included Amarillo, Tarrant County, and Waco in the Red Cross study. They were the only Northeast Texas ZIP codes on the list.… Read More
TYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in TxDOT’s Tyler District during the Week of Jan. 23. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues. Slow down and pay attention when traveling through work zones.
Following a rain delay, construction is set to begin Monday on a new Loop 281 widening project in Longview. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes to avoid delays during the project at Loop 281 and FM 1845/Pine Tree Road. The project will have a major impact on traffic with travel reduced to one lane in all directions. The contractor is Longview Bridge and Road. Additional information is available in the Gregg County section of this story.… Read More
SCOTTSVILLE – A suspected tornado tore through parts of Harrison County Saturday. In Scottsville, just east of Marshall, at least one suspected twister touched down causing severe damage. According to KETK, no major injuries have been reported. Earnest Marshall, who was inside his home during the storm, described what he experienced. “This used to be my house,” said Marshall. “I heard the wind…like a tornado…house shifted, covered my head. It’s tore up.” It wasn’t immediately known how strong the suspected tornado was.
BULLARD – The Brook Hill School headmaster is responding after a controversial tweet, sent out from a Brook Hill fan page Friday afternoon, sparked outrage online. KETK reports the page, BH Family, sent out a racially-charged tweet ahead of the basketball game against All Saints. The tweet said, “All Saints tonight @ their place! Come blacked out…girls-6:00 guys-8:00. #byebarrack.” Along with this tweet, an emoji of a black man and a moon were attached. The tweet caused several people to reach out, asking for it to be taken down and an apology be issued. A few hours later the tweet was deleted and another tweet was sent saying, “Easy everyone. Was not trying to get under anyone’s skin. We will change the theme if that helps at all.” The backlash continued, until the Twitter page was set to private Saturday afternoon, and then later shut down.… Read More
TYLER — The City of Tyler Traffic Department will be closing parts of eastbound and westbound Sunnybrook Drive and Earl Campbell Parkway at Frankston Highway (state Highway 155) Sunday from 6 a.m. until noon. The closure will be for the grinding of existing pavement markings to open additional lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic. You’re asked to proceed with caution when traveling in this area. Frankston Highway will not be affected by the work.
BROWNSBORO — DPS Sgt. Jean Dark reports a crash involving a Brownsboro ISD school bus around 3:50 Friday afternoon on Hwy 315, some 3 miles south of Hwy. 31 in Henderson County. According to Dark, preliminary information indicated the bus collided with another vehicle, causing minor damage, with no injuries reported. EMS was dispatched as a precaution. Additional information wasn’t immediately available.
TYLER — Tyler Mayor Martin Heines says he and other community leaders are committed to “solving issues the Tyler way.” The mayor commented following a City Hall meeting in which he and some of those other leaders discussed the aftermath of a police stop involving football star Ricky Williams. Heines stressed the importance of talking about issues and focusing on solutions, saying the group will move forward in a “mature, wonderful, civic manner.”… Read More
LONGVIEW – An East Texas man was arrested Thursday morning for allegedly exposing himself to a woman. According to KETK, Longview Police said they responded to a report of indecent exposure on West Loop 281 around 11:30 a.m. Authorities learned at the scene a man in a truck exposed himself to a woman. He was identified as Randal Charles Harty, 33, of Gladewater, according to police. The victim reported the suspect parked near her vehicle, stepped out of his truck, and exposed himself to her. Harty was arrested and booked into the Gregg County Jail. He was released Thursday on $1,000 bond. Harty was previously arrested in Gregg County in 2004 for exposing himself to a child. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on two counts of indecency with a child.
EDGEWOOD – An East Texas business owner arrested at a car dealership in Edgewood is accused of possessing thousands of prescription pills. KETK reports The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, along with other local and federal agencies, raided Michael Goggans’ business on January 12. Authorities say the prominent business owner was arrested on multiple charges: manufacture and delivery of controlled substance and two counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture with intent to deliver simulated controlled substance.… Read More
LONGVIEW — A former Longview police officer out on bond after being arrested on several child indecency charges is back in jail after police said he picked up one of his victims from school — a violation of the conditions of his release. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Michael Patrick Healy, 68, is charged with two counts of indecency with a child exposure, three counts of indecency with a child sexual contact, and one count of attempt to commit indecency with a child sexual contact. He was held Friday in the Gregg County jail on bonds totaling $500,000. The charges stem from incidents with multiple victims in the 1980s and 1990s and in March 2011.… Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, the White House announced President Obama commuted the sentences of 330 more people, including four East Texans. KETK reports Juan Garcia from Tyler had his prison sentence commuted to expire in May. He was arrested in Tennessee more than 8 years ago for drug-related charges. The 3 other East Texans were from Mabank, Kilgore, and Jefferson.
TYLER – A Tyler teen has been arrested on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child. According to KETK, Smith County Jail records show 17-year-old Matthew Clinton Branin was apprehended by the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. The assault reportedly occurred Wednesday. Branin was jailed on $400,000 bond. The details concerning the alleged crime were not immediately known.
LONGVIEW – A Carthage man whose car became stuck in a ditch Wednesday was arrested later after a Longview police officer reportedly discovered he had two stolen guns in the vehicle and that he was wanted on an aggravated assault charge. KETK reports Ravon Rashad Sewell, 27, was charged with two counts of theft of a firearm. He also was arrested on a Panola County warrant charging him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Sewell remained in the Gregg County Jail with bond set at $6,000 for the gun charges. Bond was withheld on the Panola County warrant. … Read More
ANDERSON COUNTY — Anderson County Deputies and the Texas Rangers are investigating the deaths of two people in the Elkhart area. According to KETK, the victims were found dead in the 7600 block of FM 2419. The Sheriff’s Office said they received a call for help from a family member at around 7:20 Wednesday night. The caller said he found his mother and father deceased in their home. Deputies said he reported not talking to his parents in the last three weeks. He said his father had been ill recently and his mother had not been working. Both appeared to have been dead for some time. Their bodies were sent for autopsy.
TYLER — Tyler Police are investigate an armed robbery at the Family Dollar Store on Troup Highway. It happened last night around 7:50. Officers said store employees reported that a black man armed with a handgun entered the store and demanded cash from the register and safe. He left with an undisclosed amount of money. The suspect is described as 5’7 with a thin build, wearing a black hoodie, black sweat pants and black shoes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Tyler Police Department.
DALLAS (AP) – More details come out regarding an autopsy on a prominent personal injury lawyer found unresponsive in his car. It was announced earlier that Brian Loncar died of an accidental cocaine overdose. Loncar was found Dec. 4 in the front seat of his vehicle, which was parked in front of his downtown Dallas law office. The Dallas County medical examiner’s office says the autopsy showed hypertension and hardening of the arteries were secondary factors in the 56-year-old lawyer’s death. Loncar’s death came two days after the funeral for his 16-year-old daughter, who killed herself on Nov. 26. According to Grace Loncar’s obituary, she had battled depression. Brian Loncar was well-known in Texas for his television advertisements, in which he branded himself the “strong arm.” His firm has offices across the state, including one in Tyler.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler has reintroduced his bill H.R. 582, the Kari’s Law Act of 2017. The measure previously passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives but was held up in the Senate. Introduced first in 2015, Kari’s Law of 2017 will ensure that anyone who dials 9-1-1 can reach emergency personnel even if the phone typically requires that user to dial a prefix such as 9 or 7 to get an outside line. Kari Hunt Dunn (pictured) was killed by her estranged husband in 2013 inside a Marshall motel room. Their young daughter attempted to dial 911 to call for help, but she didn’t know she had to dial a 9 first. A Texas version of Kari’s Law went into effect last summer. … Read More
PALESTINE – Authorities have confirmed the body of Cody Lusk has been found at Circle R Lake near Palestine. KETK reports Lusk, 37, had been missing since Saturday. He was last seen leaving to go fishing. According to Anderson County Game Warden Mike Hanson, the victim was found in the water with the use of sonar equipment at around 1:20 p.m. Thursday. Hanson said it appears he drowned. The Palestine Fire Department dive team pulled Lusk’s body from the water after he was located. His body has been sent to Dallas for autopsy.
TYLER — Tyler Mayor Martin Heines says former football star Ricky Williams is very welcome in Tyler. That’s after an incident last week in which local police responded to a suspicious person call about a man crouching behind a fence. According to KETK, Williams claims he was profiled. He says he was taking a walk in a wooded area near his south Tyler hotel while in town for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award banquet. That’s when police approached and began to question him in what he considered an inappropriate way. Police Officer Don Martin says law enforcement personnel were just doing their job and treated him respectfully. Williams was allowed to go free following the encounter. Heines says since the incident, he and Williams have had “a very positive conversation” by phone. Heines says he even invited Williams to stay at his home next time he’s in Tyler.
LONGVIEW — Two East Texas law enforcement agencies were involved in a pursuit Thursday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says some time between 7:30 and 8:00, deputies received a call of a suspicious vehicle on FM 2011. A deputy patrolling the area located a van matching the description and pulled behind the vehicle. At this point, the driver of the van took off and a chase ensued. Deputies in Gregg County began assisting in the pursuit when the van entered their county in the Lakeport area. According to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, they followed the van from Highway 322 to Highway 149 or Estes Parkway into the Longview area.… Read More
TYLER – TxDOT reports portions of FM 2087 in Longview, SH 294 near Slocum, and FM 1917 near Elkhart are open to traffic after experiencing water-related issues Wednesday. The closures came as TxDOT continued to monitor road conditions that developed as heavy rain fell in the area. Officials confirmed Thursday morning that conditions have returned to normal.
KILGORE — The Kilgore College Rangerettes will perform at the Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Ball tonight at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The ball, held on the eve of the inauguration of presidential candidate Donald Trump, is sponsored by the Texas State Society. The Rangerettes will perform their “Texas show” which consists of a kick, pom, skirt and jazz routine to popular Texas-themed music. Also, sophomore Swingsters will perform special numbers at the ball. The Rangerettes have performed at the last four inaugural balls for Pres. George W. Bush in 2001 and 2005 and for Pres. Barak Obama in 2009 and 2013.
LONGVIEW — A Kilgore man was sentenced Wednesday to 42 years in prison for the December 2014 shooting death of Franciosa Lakeef Jackson, 36, in Kilgore. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report Marcus Demois Whitaker, 37, pleaded guilty Friday in the 124th District Court in Gregg County. A sentencing hearing took place Wednesday. Whitaker will be eligible for parole after having served half of his sentence.… Read More
MARSHALL — One of Marshall’s “Most Wanted” is now behind bars. Trekevien Jacquia Darnell Miller, 20, of Longview, was taken into custody by Longview Police on Monday. Miller, whom police term a known gang member, was wanted for a felony bond forfeiture warrant out of Gregg County and wanted for questioning for his reported involvement in engaging in organized criminal activity in Marshall. Miller is being held in the Gregg County Jail.
UPSHUR COUNTY — The Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday identified the highway patrol officer involved in a fatal officer-involved shooting Jan. 3 in Upshur County. According to KETK and the Longview News-Journal, DPS spokeswoman Jean Dark identified Trooper John Smith as one of the law enforcement officials involved in the shooting of Dale Hightower Jr., 53, of Gilmer. Upshur County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ramon Ortiz also was involved in the shooting. Smith and Ortiz are on paid administrative leave while the Texas Rangers investigate the shooting. Smith joined the Department of Public Safety in 2009 and is assigned to the office in Gilmer. … Read More
ZAVALLA — Two people remain hospitalized following a house explosion Tuesday morning in Zavalla. According to KETK, volunteer fire-fighters in Zavalla were called to the scene of an explosion a little after 6:00 a.m. The two victims were in the care of their neighbors. One of the victims, Lyle West, was buried in the burning debris that once was his home. The other victim, Elaine West, was in a neighbor’s yard. Lyle West was flown to Galveston with serious injuries and Elaine West was transported to a Lufkin hospital for her injuries. Zavalla VFD could only speculate as to what caused the fire but they believe it was possibly caused by a propane gas leak. The explosion had people startled from all around even businesses located three to five miles away heard and felt the blast. In addition to debris being scattered everywhere most of the neighbor’s homes were damaged by either the flying debris or the shockwave.
TYLER — A Tyler man remains behind bars following his arrest for alleged indecency with a child. According KETK, Mark Allen Vanhouten, 53, was arrested by the Tyler police Tuesday on one count of indecency with a child by sexual contact. A warrant was issued by the 7th District Court of Judge Kerry Russell. Vanhouten was booked into the Smith County Jail Tuesday night with bond set at $150,000. Details concerning the case were not available.
TYLER — During a ceremony Wednesday at the Tyler Police Department, Chief Jimmy Toler promoted Lieutenant Billy Yates (pictured) to Assistant Chief and Sergeant Eddie Sheffield to Lieutenant. Assistant Chief Yates will be assigned as the Commander over the Investigation Division and Lieutenant Sheffield will be assigned to Training Division. Asst. Chief Yates has received numerous awards and commendations, including meritorious conduct, life saving award, certificate of achievement and certificate of merit. In 2001, he was also recognized as Rookie of the Year and Supervisor of the Year in 2012.… Read More
LONGVIEW — Classes at Longview ISD’s Foster Middle School remained canceled Wednesday after a water line ruptured, sending students home early Tuesday. According to KETK, the district contacted parents, and buses were made available to take students home. Longview ISD will release more information about the status of the repairs as it’s available.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – It’s been nearly three decades since a 31-year-old East Texas woman was found dead on the shoulder of New York State’s Adirondack Northway, and state police say the case remains open. Terri Kay Roark’s body was found in 1988 on the shoulder of Interstate 87 at the Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge, which spans the Mohawk River and links Albany and Saratoga counties. An autopsy found that she died of a skull fracture and the case was ruled a homicide. Troopers say the victim’s last known address was Mount Pleasant, Texas. An investigation revealed that she was last seen leaving a mental health facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma the week before her death. Investigators haven’t been able to identify any ties the victim may have had to the Northeast. Anyone with information is asked to call (518) 783-3211.