LONGVIEW – The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority (NET RMA) Wednesday presented Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt with a $400,000 check to help fund the county’s priority project submission. The county was recently named the first recipient of NET RMA’s annual Priority Project Program. The money goes to a proposal for the reconstruction and improvements to the U.S. 259 and Hawkins Parkway intersection in northeast Longview. The proposal is a partnership involving the City of Longview, Gregg County, and TxDOT. … Read More
TYLER — City of Tyler officials said drivers should continue to expect delays at the northwest corner of Rieck Road and Old Bullard Road today. Construction got underway at 8:00 Wednesday morning. The City of Tyler Street Department will be making repairs at this intersection and westbound traffic will not be allowed to pass through while crews are on site. Work is expected to last through 5 p.m. today. Drivers should seek alternate routes until work is completed.
LONGVIEW — Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary says a woman and a girl are dead after being pulled from a swimming pool at a Longview house. According to KETK, officials say upon rescuers’ arrival, both victims had gone into cardiac arrest. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Both were pronounced dead at the hospital. Zackary said rescuers were dispatched around 1:50 p.m. Wednesday to the call on Coleman Drive near the Paul Street intersection. Crews arrived shortly after.… Read More
KILGORE — The Kilgore College Rangerettes organization lost one of its pioneers June 28 with the passing of the Rangerettes’ second director, Deana Bolton Covin, at age 94. According to a news release from the college, Covin joined the KC faculty in 1966 as cheerleader sponsor and physical education instructor, teaching golf and bowling. She became assistant director of the Rangerettes in 1972, a position she held for seven years. In 1979, she took over the Rangerette director position from Gussie Nell Davis – the group’s founder – and led the organization for 14 years. Dana Blair, the Rangerettes’ current director, took over for Covin in 1993. Blair said as director of the Rangerettes, Covin brought the organization to “new heights of perfection and performance.”… Read More
ANGELINA COUNTY — Lufkin Police arrest Ruben Rios, 19, after he was accused of dousing a woman’s front door with lighter fluid and setting it on fire. According to KETK, he set her door on fire after she refused to let him borrow her vehicle or allow him to come into her home. The woman believed he was intoxicated at the time. Jailers found him in possession of methamphetamine after Rios was placed into custody and taken to jail.
TYLER — Tyler Police and the US Marshals Joint East Texas Fugitive Task Force have arrested the fourth and final suspect in connection to the aggravated robbery of the Valero gas station on Troup Hwy May 7. Officials said it was an inside job. According to authorities, a tip was called in to CrimeStoppers Tuesday indicating that Candice Renae McGee, 28, was at a residence on Tubbs Street in Tyler. Around 6:00 that evening, investigators located her at that residence and arrested her on the outstanding aggravated robbery warrant. Bond was set at $100,000. … Read More
TYLER — Smith County commissioners met Tuesday morning regarding an interim county judge, but don’t expect a decision for another few weeks. Joel Baker was suspended from any county duties stemming from an investigation into alleged violations of the open meetings act. The case involves executive sessions dealing with buying traffic cameras in 2014. According to KETK, commissioners decided they need more time to make what they call the right decision. They hope to announce an interim judge at their July 19 meeting.
CANTON — A former sheriff’s deputy for Van Zandt County has been charged with manslaughter. KETK reports the charge is in response to a woman dying from injuries she sustained in a February wreck. According to the Van Zandt News, Mary Lena Pettiet, 33, died after a crash that took place on Highway 64 and Highway 243 in Canton. Accident reports state Deputy Emily Grubbs was en route to an emergency call when she t-boned Pettiet’s car. According to judicial reports, Grubbs was booked into the Van Zandt County jail and released on $5,000 bond.
TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler School of Performing Arts is a few steps closer to becoming an All-Steinway School. The announcement from College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. Martin Slann comes in a UTT news release. University officials say Steinway is the world’s leader in producing high-quality pianos for music education. They say with this designation, UT Tyler will offer the best instruments available for student practice, study, and learning. “We believe it will indicate a commitment to quality and enhancing the student experience,” said school director Dr. Michael Thrasher in the release. “We also expect that it will help attract more music students to UT Tyler.”… Read More
EAST TEXAS — The Texas Medical Board announced Monday disciplinary actions taken against numerous doctors, including four in East Texas. According to KETK, On June 10, the Board and George Newell Bentley, M.D., Tyler, agreed to voluntarily surrender his Texas medical license in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings. The Board found that Dr. Bentley suffers from a medical condition that prevents him from practicing medicine. Further details were not available. … Read More
PALESTINE — Two additional suspects from the animal cruelty case on June 20, 2016, have been arrested with bonds set at $15,000 each. According to KETK, a warrant was issued Friday for Jasmine Warren, 18, of Athens(pictured) and a female minor. Both suspects were arrested Friday night by the Athens Police Department. A warrant was issued by the Palestine Police Department July 22 for Perla Miranda Fernandez, 20, of Athens. Fernandez was arrested the following day by the Athens Police Department. Three other suspects are still being sought in relation to this case. On June 20th, Palestine Police responded to the 700 block of South Street after a report of a group of six individuals who set fire to a puppy. The puppy, “Remi,” was transported to a veterinary clinic and died a short time later due to the severity of wounds she sustained from the burning.… Read More
GREGG COUNTY — The cause of an early morning fire that destroyed a strip club near Kilgore on Monday has not been determined. The Gregg County Fire Marshal said the investigation into the cause of the fire at Fantasy Ranch Saloon in the 6100 block of State Highway 31 West is ongoing. The club was closed Sunday, and wasn’t supposed to reopen until Wednesday, so that employees could celebrate the bachelor party of one of its owners, according to the business’s Facebook page. Officials said the building was a total loss. According to KETK, the fire was reported just before 4:00 Monday morning. No injuries were reported.
GREGG COUNTY — An Australian who assaulted a young girl while he was living in Longview is headed to prison. According to the Longview News-Journal, Graham Charles Wecker, 26, agreed to a 28-year prison term Thursday in exchange for his guilty plea to aggravated sexual assault of a child. Wecker raped a girl under the age of 6 in Gregg County sometime around Jan. 1, 2014. Homeland Security has placed an immigration detainer on Wecker.
EAST TEXAS — Two Republican East Texas lawmakers are weighing in on Monday’s Supreme Court decision striking down key provisions of the state’s abortion law. State Representative and State Senator-Elect Bryan Hughes of Mineola issued a statement that reads, “In 2013 with the Landmark Pro-Life House Bill 2, Texas took reasonable steps to protect unborn children as well as pregnant women. Today in a lawless decision, the Supreme Court struck down a major part of House Bill 2, allowing abortion clinics to ignore basic health and safety standards. This ruling will mean more dangerous conditions for pregnant mothers as well as their unborn children. … Read More
DALLAS — It was a telling text about Johnny Manziel that was sent to a reporter by mistake. Now Manziel’s attorney has resigned and is explaining what happened. Attorney Bob Hinton tells KRLD News he thought he was sending a text message about Manziel’s misdemeanor case to a co-counsel. Instead it went to an AP reporter. And after a day of arguing back and forth, Hinton says the AP went with what he still considers attorney-client material. Hinton admits smartphones are not his strongpoint. He says, in part, “It’s just a very, very strange situation. I do not understand how it happened. But I also don’t understand how this stuff goes up into the clouds and then comes back…I don’t get any of that.” The AP says the text questioned whether Manziel could complete an alcohol program. Manziel faces a charge of abusing his former girlfriend earlier this year.
SMITH COUNTY — According to Smith County DPS, I-20 westbound near the Barber Road interchange was reduced to one lane for more than six hours after a three-semi truck accident. According to KETK, officials say one truck failed to control its speed and hit two 18-wheelers, causing it to roll on its side and catch fire. There was no immediate word on injuries. Authorities say the roadway finally reopened around 4:15 Monday afternoon.
MARSHALL — The death of a man found in his yard in Marshall last week appears to have been accidental. Around 7:00 Friday evening, police responded to a home on Sledge Street in reference to an unresponsive male lying in the front yard. It was reported that the victim, 31-year-old Demarcus Perry, had possibly been shot. Perry was transported to Good Shepherd Medical Center – Marshall, where he later died due to his injuries. Members of the Marshall Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau began investigating the cause of Perry’s injuries. … Read More
TYLER — Tyler police are issuing a safety advisory after working a fatality crash — the city’s ninth of the year. Officers were called around 9:35 Monday morning to the intersection of E. Douglas Blvd. and E. Front Street. Accident investigators determined that Claudia Sanders Miller, 92, of Tyler failed to yield the right-of-way turning left onto E. Front from Douglas Blvd. Miller was struck in the driver’s side of her vehicle by a pickup traveling eastbound on E. Front Street driven by William Logan, 78, of Arp. Miller was transported to East Texas Medical Center by EMS and died from her injuries. Logan was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Police encourage drivers to “Be Aware, Look Twice, Slow Down and Don’t Text and Drive.”
LONGVIEW — An East Texas man’s murder trial has been pushed back. According to KETK, 22-year-old Christian Sibley’s court date has been re-scheduled for July 25. He was slated to appear in court Monday for the February 2015 shooting death of Jerrad Hunt. Police say Sibley shot Hunt during a struggle at a Longview gas station. Sibley claims he was defending himself during the fight and that the gun went off while in his lap. The victim died a few weeks later
HARRISON COUNTY — 44-year-old Dennis Wayne Johnson died Sunday afternoon after a fiery crash in Harrison County. KETK reports Johnson was traveling West on Highway 154. According to the driver in front of Johnson, he passed him in a no passing zone while approaching a curve. Johnson went off the roadway, rolled several times, and then hit several trees. The vehicle immediately caught on fire and was engulfed in flames. According to Texarkana DPS, Johnson was the only person in the vehicle.
TYLER — Smith County Juvenile Services’ H.O.P.E. Academy is already receiving national acclaim after only two years of service to the community. According to a county news release, the H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) Academy was recently named as a 2016 Achievement Award Winner by The National Association of Counties. It is a six-to-nine-month residential program for male juvenile offenders, focusing on behavior modification and family/parent relationships and vocational training. … Read More
KILGORE — First responders were called to the scene of a structure fire at a strip club in Kilgore. The fire, at Fantasy Ranch on Highway 31 E, was reported just before 4:00 Monday morning. According to KETK, officials said the blaze began in the back of the building and that no one was inside when it started. Details were limited.
Smith County construction projects updates:
Loop 323 West Widening
*Limits: Tyler’s West Loop and SH 31
*Contractor: Longview Bridge and Road, Ltd., of Longview
*Cost: $12 million
*Anticipated Completion Date: Winter 2016
The contractor continues to excavate the existing northbound lanes as well as conduct work on the new railroad bridge and Bellwood Road West. A temporary detour is in place. The project includes widening Loop 323 from SH 31 to Shaw Street. The speed limit on Loop 323 in the work zone has been reduced to 45 mph from SH 64 to
Shaw Street.… Read More
LONGVIEW – A police standoff in Longview ends peacefully with the suspect in custody. It started just before 3:00 Saturday morning with a report of a man in a home on Mamon Drive. The man, Sonny Dee Edwards, Jr., 31, of Longview, was under a protective order and not suppose to be in the house. Two women in the home were able to escape through a bedroom window. Edwards was said to have fired several rounds at a police robot, slightly damaging it. Shortly after 10:30, Edwards surrendered peacefully. He was booked into the Gregg County Jail on charges of violation of a protective order and criminal mischief.
MARSHALL – A man found lying in a Marshall yard around 7:00 Friday night has died. Police were called to a home on Sledge Street where a man, who may have been shot, was found lying in his front yard. He later died at a Marshall hospital. When it was thought another person may have been barricaded in the house, a SWAT team was called out. No one was found in the residence. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death. The victim’s name has not been released. The investigation continues.
LONGVIEW – The Gregg County grand jury has indicted three persons in connection with the deaths of two men back in March. The bodies of Dekeilen Joe Nelson, 20, of Gilmer and Kevin Lorenzo Stephenson, 28, of Henderson, were found near railroad tracks off Estes Parkway. Indicted this week for capital murder in the case was Dustin Charles Bennett, 36.(pictured) Indicted for aggravated robbery in connection with the case were Craig Deallen Davison, 50, and Patricia Francine Baker, 19. The three were arrested in April at a home on Roy Green Road near Hallsville. The arrests were made as the result of a Crime Stoppers tip.
TYLER – The North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority has a new Executive Director. He is Christopher R. Miller of Mobile, Alabama. In his most recent position, Miller was the Executive Director of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, a position he has held for several years. For six years prior to that, he was the Deputy Director of the organization. Miller, who starts to work on Monday, is succeeding Interim Executive Director Everett Owen. The organization helps accelerate the development of transportation projects in Smith and 11 other Northeast Texas Counties.
TYLER – County Court at Law No. 3 Judge Floyd Getz is being appointed to handle Smith County Judge Joel Baker’s judicial duties. This follows Judge Baker’s recent suspension without by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Administrative Judge Mary Murphy made the appointment this week. The appointment runs through the end of the year. At next Tuesday’s county commissioners’ meeting they will start the process of selecting an acting county judge.… Read More
DALLAS (AP) — A text message accidentally sent to The Associated Press shows that Johnny Manziel’s lawyer is seeking a plea deal in his domestic violence case, but has doubts about the quarterback’s ability to stay clean. The text message is from defense attorney Bob Hinton. It was transmitted after an AP reporter contacted him asking for comment about a hit-and-run crash Manziel was involved in Monday night. Hinton writes: “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle.” The text also says Hinton was given a receipt by a colleague that purports to show Manziel, a former Tyler resident, spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia shop 15 hours after the crash. Hinton says it was not known if the receipt from the paraphernalia store is legitimate.
TYLER – Police are investigating the robbery of a Tyler business. The Eggroll Express at 510 West Front Street was held up shortly before 11:45 Friday morning. A man with a covering over his face, armed with a handgun, fled with an undisclosed amount of money. He was described as a black male, about 5’9 and with a thin build. There was one customer in the store at the time of the robbery. No injuries were reported.