Category: Local News Archive

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Rusk County Authorities Warn of Drug Dangers to Kids

thumb_sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — Law enforcement officials in Rusk County are pushing to make parents aware of drugs that pose a danger to their kids. Sheriff Jeff Price draws attention mainly to prescription drugs. He tells KETK moms and dads get prescriptions, take the meds, get better, and quit taking the pills — but keep them around in case they need them again. He says the kids are then going into medicine cabinets and taking the drugs. According to the sheriff, parents don’t even realize how many pills they had, or if any are missing. He advises getting rid of the meds when they’re no longer needed. Local officials also point out that children are splitting cigars open, taking the tobacco out, and filling them with K2 or marijuana. They say parents should be on the lookout for scales in their kids’ rooms — and for cigarette lighters in those rooms or the children’s vehicles.

Officials: Burglar Arrested Onsite

Charles WilsonSMITH COUNTY — Smith County authorities say a burglar has been arrested at the scene of the crime. Around 9:15 Monday morning, Smith County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a 911 call regarding a suspicious vehicle located in the 22500 block of County Road 26 near Overton, in the southeastern part of the county. The caller advised that a gray older model SUV with a trailer attached was on his neighbor’s property without permission. . Read the rest of this entry »

Man Indicted on Child Porn Charges Arrested for Online Solicitation

franklinjoyamugNACOGDOCHES — A Nacogdoches man already indicted on another charge is behind bars after he was arrested last week for online solicitation of a minor. According to KETK, Sheriff Jason Bridges said his office received a complaint that a man had been calling and sending text messages to a 14-year-old girl. The man told the girl he was 16 years old. Franklin Joya, 20, started sending numerous sexual text messages to the victim and attempted to persuade her to meet with him at a local convenience store, according to officials. The child told her parents about the alleged ongoing harassment, and they notified authorities Thursday afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

National Voter Registration Day Activities in Smith County

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — Three Tyler-area groups are partnering today — National Voter Registration Day — to get people signed up to vote in the November elections. According to a press release from the League of Women Voters of Tyler/Smith County (LWV/TSC), the theme for this year’s National Voter Registration Day is Democracy in America. Organizers say that nationally, 471 Congress seats, 36 governors, governors, 46 state legislatures, and many other decisions will be on ballots in this year’s midterm elections. According to LWV/TSC President Mary Claire Rowe, “Mid-term elections never garner the response of Presidential years. That’s why the League is so focused on getting potential voters registered and getting them out to the polls in November.” Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Causes Heavy Damage at Tyler Home

thumb_tyler-fire-dept-logoTYLER — Tyler firefighters battled a two-alarm residential blaze that caused heavy damage at 1714 Ridgeview Drive. The initial call was received just before 8:45 Sunday night and the caller reported seeing fire coming from the house. The first arriving unit reported heavy smoke and fire on arrival and called for a second alarm. Five engines and one ladder company, along with a district chief and an investigator, responded to the scene. Officials say the fire started in the clothes dryer in the garage. There was extensive fire, heat, and smoke damage to the home. In addition, a vehicle was destroyed. Occupants were home at the time of the fire, but there were no injuries.

TxDOT Project Updates

thumb_TxDotEAST TEXAS — Here’s a quick look at work planned in the Tyler District during the Week of September 22.

SMITH COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) maintenance crews in Smith County this week are conducting milling operations on State Highway 155 South at Dog Wood City southbound from the city limits to the Henderson County Line this week. Daytime lane closures will be in effect. Motorists are reminded to slow down and be prepared merge in and around work zones. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler’s Free Bulky Item Collection Week

TYLER — The City of Tyler Solid Waste Department and Keep Tyler Beautiful are sponsoring a free bulky item collection for City of Tyler residential customers as a part of Fall Cleanup Week. The Solid Waste Department will pick items up for one week only, Monday, September 22 through Friday, September 26. Please place your bulky items on the curb by Monday, September 22. There is a possibility that citizens’ bulky items may be picked up on a different day from their regularly scheduled garbage collection. Please be advised that you will not need to call the Solid Waste Office after placing bulky items at the curb. Bulky items that will be picked up at no charge include furniture, appliances, carpet, fence material, up to four noncommercial vehicle tires, old toys and other large items that would normally require a special fee. No liquid waste, limbs or brush will be picked up. Paint must be dried out with oil dry or kitty litter.

Weekend Wreck Claims One Life

autoaccident-cautiontapeEAST TEXAS — A wreck Saturday afternoon claimed the life of a Gladewater woman. It happened around 2:30 on Hwy 31 near CR 246. According to the Department of Public Safety report, Melissa Tucker, 43, was headed east when her vehicle rear-ended another vehicle as the lanes merged. The report indicated that the impact forced Tucker’s car into oncoming traffic where she was struck head-on. Tucker reportedly died at the scene. No word on any other injuries.

Suspect Arrested after Chase

286410647629TYLER — Tyler Police arrest a suspect accused of stealing scratch off tickets. It happened around 10:20 Saturday morning at the Valero gas station, 1301 WSW Loop 323. According to the clerk, the suspect, later identified as Kory Devers, 22, Tyler, entered the store, grabbed a handful of lotto tickets, assaulted the clerk and fled on foot. A female customer witnessed the robbery and ran after the suspect. Responding officers arrived in the area and located the witness who directed officers to where she last saw the suspect. Officers located Devers hiding in the creek bed in the area of Driftwood and Woodland Hills. He was arrested and charged with robbery, a 2nd degree felony. Devers was also booked in on several outstanding warrants out of Tyler Municipal Court. The store clerk suffered only minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

Identities Released in Fatal I-20 Wrecks

DPS-carGREGG COUNTY — A series of wrecks on Interstate 20 on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning resulted in two deaths, officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety said. According to the Longview News-Journal, Joel Bird and Constance McCumbee of North Carolina died during a wreck that happened about 2:30 a.m. Friday just west of the Scottsville exit on I-20. Officials said a fire engulfed an 18-wheeler involved in a crash with a second tractor-trailer. DPS Trooper Matt Beatty said one tractor-trailer was traveling west when it rear-ended another tractor-trailer, causing the first semi to catch fire. Bird and McCumbee died at the scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Truck and Train Collide in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — A Union Pacific freight train traveling northeast through the city of Jacksonville struck a late-model pick up truck at the Myrtle Drive railroad crossing at 11:57 Friday night, according to the Jacksonville Daily Progress. Occupants of the truck were able to get out before the collision. The truck was partially lodged underneath a rail car that is used to transport new automobiles. The accident took place near the Texas Basket Factory. Read the rest of this entry »

Transient Arrested, Two Longview Officers Slightly Injured

Longview PD BadgesLONGVIEW – A criminal trespass call resulted in Longview police arresting a transient and two officers injured. It began with a call to the Budget Inn in the 2000 block of East Marshall Avenue. The motel owner told officers a man was standing by the ice machine and refused to leave when he was asked to do so. After handcuffing Danterio Larmarc Bryant, 28, they found in his pocket a broken glass pipe that is typically used to smoke methamphetamine. When he resisted being put in the squad car, officers had to put let restraints on him. The Longview News-Journal reports, once inside the car, Bryant removed the leg restraints. When officers opened the door, Bryant is said to have he shoved an officer into the back of the vehicle and escaped. As officers tried to recapture Bryant, one received a cut on his left middle finger and another got scrapes on his right arm and left shoulder. To get him under control officers tased him. Bryant has been charged with escape causing bodily injury, resisting arrest, search and transport, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bonds total $30,000.

Ohio Murder Suspect Booked into the Smith County Jail

Byron Harris JrTYLER – Around 1:30 Friday afternoon the U.S. Marshals’ Task Force, along with Smith County Constable Precinct 4 deputies and a Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, attempted to serve a warrant on a suspect wanted for homicide out of Ohio. The task force received a tip that the suspect was located at a residence on Paula Drive near Spur 364 in the southwestern part of Smith County. He wasn’t there, but they received information that the suspect could possibly be located in the 13000 block of County Road 192 near State Highway 155 South. Task force officers confirmed with neighbors that the suspect was living at the trailer with his girlfriend and was home. Task force officers forced entry into the residence and found the suspect, Byron Harris Jr., 27. He was taken into custody without incident. Harris remains in the Smith County Jail with no bond.

Two Smith County Burglary Suspects Arrested

Andrew WoodsTYLER – Two men have been arrested in connection with a residential burglary in southwestern Smith County. The suspects are identified as Andrew Woods, 23 and Anthony Asbell, 24. Warrants were issued for both suspects for the offense of Burglary of a Habitation by Judge Jack Skeen of the 241st State District Court with bond set at $500,000 for Woods and $750,000 for Asbell. Both are currently in the Smith County Jail. Read the rest of this entry »

Wanted Suspect Arrested in Smith County

Charles Ray GriffithTYLER – A man, who fled from Smith County sheriffs’ deputies nearly two months ago, has been arrested. Charles Ray Griffith, 24, who is said to have ties to the Aryan Brotherhood, was arrested Friday afternoon. His girlfriend, Darlene Jackson, who was wanted for violating her parole, was also taken into custody. They were arrested following a brief chase. Griffith, who lives in Chapel Hill, was wanted for possession of drugs. On July 30th, as deputies tried to arrest him at his home on Dry Creek Road, he eluded them by fleeing to a nearby creek.

Some Will Not be Charged for Using Toll 49

Loop 49TYLER — Drivers who used Toll 49 between Interstate Highway 20 and State Highway 31 on the following days and times will not be charged for their tolls. Specifics:
*Monday, September 15th during the hours of 8 a.m. to 7:10 p.m.,
*Tuesday, September 16th during the hours of 7:10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
*Wednesday, September 17th during the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 7:35 p.m.
Maintenance work was being performed on the toll road which caused some delays and lane closures. “We appreciate drivers’ patience while we performed the road work,” said Everett Owen, Interim Executive Director of the NET RMA. “We are being supportive of our customers. Whenever there is work performed that might slow traffic, the NET RMA will consider not charging for road utilization on a case by case scenario.” The NET RMA does use message boards to alert drivers of any potential delays.

Harrison County Accident Kills Two, Highway Re-Opened

thumb_DPS-carSCOTTSVILLE (AP) — A section of Interstate Highway 20 in Harrison County has been reopened following fatal accident. Two residents of Monroe, North Carolina were killed in the crash between of two 18-wheelers. Following the crash, one of the trucks caught fire. The accident happened around 2:30 Friday morning just west of the Scottsville exit. That’s about eight miles west of the Texas/Louisiana state line. All westbound traffic was diverted off of I-20 onto Exit 628 until the site could be cleared. State troopers say one 18-wheeler was traveling west when it rear-ended another 18-wheeler. The semi that caused the crash then caught on fire. Killed was the driver, Joel Bird, 55, and his passenger, Constance McCumbee. The accident remains under investigation and authorities have not released the names of the victims.

Company Responds after Construction Fatality

mariottaxTYLER — The management company of a hotel under construction in South Tyler is responding after an accident claimed the life of a worker at the site. The firm is offering its condolences to family of Michael Castillo. In a statement, the company says, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time. Safety is a primary concern for all our sites. We are looking into how this event occurred. We will also be taking all precautions to ensure something like this does not happen at this or any of our other properties in the future.” Read the rest of this entry »

East Texas State Fair Begins

East Texas Fair LogoTYLER — Today’s the first day of the East Texas State Fair, and it’s designated as Senior Citizen Day. That’s just one of numerous attractions as the fair kicks off a ten-day run, wrapping up Sunday, Sept. 28. Free nightly concerts are featured, with nationally-known and local entertainment. There’ll also be carnival rides, food, shopping, livestock shows, and more. You can go to for a complete rundown. Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Staples to Resign

thumb_toddstaplesAUSTIN (AP/Staff) – State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples says he’s leaving office to become president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Staples said in a statement released Thursday that he’ll step down sometime within the next two months. His departure was expected, following a failed bid for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. His political career began as a city councilor in his hometown of Palestine. He went on to serve in the state House and then the Senate before becoming agriculture commissioner He received attention earlier this month when he raised objections to a school district pilot program that encourages kids to eat meatless lunches once a week. Staples said the effort by Dripping Springs was part of an “activist movement” advocating a vegetarian diet for Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

One Arrested, One Sought in Home Burglary

sheriffsearchketkTYLER — One person has been arrested and one is still sought after a home burglary Thursday in Tyler. According to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 12:20 p.m., sheriff’s detectives requested assistance from Tyler Police Department on initiating a traffic stop after seeing a vehicle suspected of involvement in a residential burglary case. The two men driving a gold Chrysler 300 led officers and detectives on a brief pursuit ending when the vehicle wrecked into a curb at the 2800 block of Pine Burr Road near downtown Tyler. Read the rest of this entry »

Cruelty Charge Dropped against Ex-Deputy

dooleymiddletonfamilyvidEMORY (AP/Staff) – An animal cruelty charge has been dropped against a former Rains County sheriff’s deputy who was fired after shooting a farm dog that was later euthanized. Jerrod Dooley appeared in court Thursday in Emory and said he’s permanently surrendered his law enforcement license. Dooley also apologized for shooting the blue heeler named Candy. Dooley said he was bitten before by another dog and that left him fearful of an attack. Dooley in April answered a burglary call near Point. Dooley has said the dog charged at him before he fired. The distraught owner then euthanized the wounded animal. Dooley was fired after he and the sheriff’s office received threats following the incident, part of which was recorded by patrol car video.

Couple’s Appeal Denied in Child Injury Case

thumb_Lady-JusticeTYLER — A Tyler husband and wife have been denied an appeal after the two were both sentenced to 25 years in prison for injury to a child. KETK reports the Twelfth Court of Appeals denied an appeal for Kenneth and Shelley Walker, who were sentenced October 3, 2012. They’d been found guilty of placing their two-year-old granddaughter, Bridget Walker, into a bathtub filled with scalding water. The toddler was severely burned on her feet and ankles and was flown to a Dallas hospital for treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

Captured Fugitive Guilty of Health Care Fraud Violations

Vivian YusufTYLER — A 44-year-old captured fugitive has pleaded guilty in connection with a federal health care fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. Vivian Yusuf, formerly of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud on Sep. 17 in Tyler before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love. Yusuf, a fugitive, wanted since March 2011, was arrested on June 3, 2014, at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Yusuf had been indicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft on Jan. 12, 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

Man Indicted for East Texas Murder Released on Bond

jasonwaltersmugQUITMAN — A man accused of murdering a Mineola teenager has been released on bond. Jason Russell Walters, 41, also of Mineola, turned himself in after being indicted by a Wood County grand jury. According to KETK, District Attorney Jim Wheeler says Walters was indicted on Friday. He was booked into the Wood County Jail Wednesday. Walters allegedly killed Christopher James Griffin, 19, with a gunshot wound to his neck. A judge upped his bond amount to $250,000 following the jury’s decision. The shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. June 15 at the E-Z Mart in the 100 block of North Pacific Street in Mineola. The suspect was initially released following his arrest on June 16 after posting $100,000 bond.

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