SMITH COUNTY — A Tyler man wanted in connection to a Smith County robbery has been arrested in Las Vegas. According to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Justin Lamar Tave, 25, was arrested Thursday night in Nevada. Tave was wanted for a robbery at a home on Highway 69, August 6th. Two other suspects, Ammad Kentrail Williams and Sidarius Gene Alexander, were arrested a short time after the robbery. The three suspects are accused of ransacking the home, macing and tying up the female resident and stealing a safe along with other items. The Smith County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers and the US Marshal’s Task Force in Tyler and Las Vegas worked together to apprehend the fugitive.
LONGVIEW — A second East Texas man is being held in connection with the death of an Oklahoma man after what police say was a drug deal gone bad. According to the Longview News-Journal, William Earl Garrett II, 26, Longview, was held in an Arizona jail before being extradited to Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to police there. Garrett was wanted on a first-degree murder warrant in the July death of Chazz Holly, 28, Talala, Oklahoma, according to Tulsa police. … Read More
TYLER — With the new school year starting on Monday, area schools held their convocations Friday. The University of Texas at Tyler kicked off the new academic year with a convocation Friday morning at the UT Tyler R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center Vaughn Auditorium. President Mabry gave the state of the university address. Officials also introduced 49 new faculty members and presented academic and service awards.… Read More
BATON ROUGE, LA. (AP) — A fugitive with a history of evading sex offender registration in Texas and Louisiana has been captured. Attorney General James Caldwell, in a news release Thursday, said Kentrell Debose, 27, was arrested Tuesday in Shreveport. He was booked into the Caddo Parish Jail and is awaiting extradition to Harrison County, Texas, where he’s wanted for failure to comply with the Texas sex offender registry. Debose also is wanted by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for a parole violation after being convicted in 2011 of failing to comply with Louisiana sex offender registry laws, as well as for illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and possessing a stolen firearm.
WHITEHOUSE — Former Whitehouse Police Officer Shawn Johnson reveals he’s demanding at least $100,000 in a lawsuit against the city and wants his old job back. According to KETK, the lawsuit says Johnson lost money from jobs he couldn’t take during his suspension as well as money from the city. Johnson was fired about a month ago following an investigation stemming from an incident in May. That incident involved his estranged wife claiming she was assaulted by former Police Chief Craig Shelton. Charges were later dropped against Shelton when it was reported the woman had lied to a grand jury.
TYLER — The Christmas parade that takes place in downtown Tyler is a tradition that East Texans look forward to every year. For a fear of being what officials term “inappropriate,” the city has opted to no longer host the event. However, KETK reports another group is stepping up to sponsor the event instead. Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman-Elect Bob Westbrook, says, “There are federal, national, state, and even local organizations that really don’t like for government of any kind to be involved in the sponsoring or the holding of religious events.” Now multiple Rotary clubs in Tyler will sponsor the time-honored tradition.… Read More
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County Road and Bridge crews worked fast this week to replace a concrete box culvert so County Road 3107 could reopen before school starts, according to a county news release. The road is in the northeast part of the county, close to Gladewater schools. After announcing the closure Monday to replace the culvert undermined by May flooding, the road was reopened Wednesday afternoon.
TYLER — A Mineola man accused of burglarizing a Lindale building several times over a two week period has been indicted by a Smith County grand jury. KETK reports Trae Hanson, 30, is charged with two counts of burglary of a building and one count of possession of a controlled substance. Hanson and his girlfriend, Krista McLemore, were arrested June 5 at a location off County Road 450. Authorities say a search of a building in which the couple was found led to the recovery of stolen property. The Smith County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were able to catch the alleged thieves after the property owner placed a game camera at the location of the burglaries.
TYLER — Tyler Junior College is welcoming back a pair of special visitors as it kicks off the school year Friday. According to a news release, former TJC presidents Dr. Raymond Hawkins and Dr. Bill Crowe will join current TJC President Dr. Mike Metke in leading opening convocation activities, beginning 9 a.m. Friday in Wise Auditorium. Metke says the two guests’ impact “is still felt to this day,” according to the release. Hawkins served as TJC president from 1981 until 1994. Crowe was TJC president from 1994 until 2007. Metke has been president of TJC since 2007. … Read More
EAST TEXAS — A suspected robber who was shot in his rear end while trying to hold up a Terrell convenience store has been identified. According to Terrell Police Captain A.D. Sansom, he’s Matthew Colby Johnson, 22, Mineola. Investigators say he pulled out a gun on the store owner and his wife and as Johnson was leaving the store, the owner shot him in his buttocks. Despite being shot, he was able to get into his car and leave the store, leading law enforcement agencies through Kaufman and Van Zandt Counties before he rolled his car and was thrown from it. He’s listed in serious condition at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
TULSA, OKLAHOMA — Two East Texans are wanted in connection with an Oklahoma murder. Arrested in Gregg County on Wednesday was William Earl Garrett II, 26, of Longview. (pictured) Still at large is Sidney Aaron Randall, 19, of Gilmer. The men are accused in the death of Chazz Holly, 28, of Tulsa. His body was found along a highway in July. According to the Longview News Journal, Garrett, Randall, Vernon Lee-Mountel Smith, 27, of Tulsa, who has been arrested, and another man bound, gagged and placed Holly in the covered bed of his father’s pickup after a deal to sell the truck for drugs went bad. Holly, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was reported missing in June.
TYLER — The Tyler Junior College TRIO program has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education grant that will provide critical funding for the next five years. The grant provides $230,393 annually to serve 200 at-risk students each year through 2020, for a total of $1,151,965. TJC has received the TRIO grant since 1997.… Read More
TYLER — The next adviser of the Patriot Talon at The University of Texas at Tyler, effective September 1, will be Lorri Allen. She begins her new duties the first of next month. She follows Kevin Dilley, who accepted a position at Kent State University. As the Patriot Talon adviser, Allen will provide professional guidance, training and support to Talon editors and staff. She also will serve as a senior lecturer in journalism at the university. … Read More
MARSHALL — Harrison County investigators are advising citizens of a new scam variation that’s struck the area. KETK reports the callers, typically with a thick accent, will identify themselves as representatives of the Harrison County tax office or the appraisal district. The caller then says that back due taxes are owed and a warrant will be issued for the arrest of the person if he or she doesn’t immediately provide payment. The caller then says the person may pay by check and that the caller will accept the payment over the phone, and then asks for the account numbers. When you give the bank routing number and your account number, the caller will immediately send an electronic transfer to your account by computer, and your money is gone. … Read More
SMITH COUNTY — A search is underway for two men who robbed a homeowner at gunpoint Wednesday afternoon. According to KETK, Smith County Lt. Gary Middleton says at around 12:10 p.m., two black males entered a home on the 10300 block of La Mobile Avenue and held up two people, a man and woman, with a pistol. It was not immediately known what items were taken from the residence. The robbers are believed to have left the scene in a white vehicle. Authorities suspect a third person may have acted as a getaway driver. La Mobile Avenue is off Old Henderson Highway, just east of the Tyler city limits. … Read More
TYLER — We haven’t seen much rain in awhile, but it’s back — and Tyler police hope drivers will pay attention. They say drivers may have forgotten that rain means slippery streets — and an all-too-common result is car crashes. As you travel, especially going home from work in heavy traffic, you’re reminded to slow down and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
TYLER — Tyler Junior College trustees are getting busy on their 2015-2016 budget. The board will meet at 11:00 a.m. today for a public hearing on a proposal to increase tax revenues. TJC’s Fred Peters explains that trustees are proposing the same rate as the current one — .199926 per $100 valuation — but that more revenue would come in due to increased property valuations. Peters says the average tax bill would be just under $275, compared to a little over $264 last year. The hearing will be conducted in the Board Room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Center.
TYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court held a meeting Tuesday, but one agenda item has been tabled for another week. KETK reports a salary grievance committee was formed to discuss possible wage adjustments for some elected officials. Committee members had the chance to make recommendations to the court about each individual — and then their suggestions would be voted on by the commissioners. But on Tuesday, they were short one commissioner, so County Judge Joel Baker recommended tabling the vote until next week. Baker remarked, “We can discuss it today. We can consider on it today. I don’t believe a vote should be taken today, but if one is taken, I’ll request that we have another vote next week when Commissioner Warr is present.”
NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches Police are investigating an early morning shooting that left one person injured. According to KETK, officers were dispatched to the 2800 block of Pearl Street in response to reports of a shooting. When police arrived on scene around 12:45 Wednesday morning, they found an 18 year old male had suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound during a drive-by shooting in a parking lot. Two cars were struck as they were driving away from the scene. Police have not identified a suspect and the case remains under investigation.
TYLER – The Texas Department of Public Safety announced that they’ll be increasing DWI patrols Aug. 21 – Sept. 7, which will include the Labor Day holiday weekend. DPS troopers plan to focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.
DPS offers the following tips for safe travel during the Labor Day holiday:
Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab. Eliminate distractions, including the usage of mobile devices. Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law. Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic. Slow down or move over for police, fire and EMS vehicles as well as tow trucks and TxDOT vehicles stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Don’t drive fatigued. Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.
CHEROKEE COUNTY — An arrest has been made following a high speed chase through East Texas. According to KETK, a man on a motorcycle, later identified as Charles Thomas, 40, Elkhart, led authorities on a chase through Anderson and Cherokee Counties Tuesday afternoon. The man was seen tossing baggies from his bike during the chase. Thomas was caught in Jacksonville near the intersection of Main and Rusk after he wrecked. Part of downtown Jacksonville was temporarily blocked off by police. The preliminary charges against Thomas are evading arrest and possession of a controlled substance. … Read More
PALESTINE — A Palestine man is in custody after authorities say he shot another man in his vehicle outside a local business. According to KETK, Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor says a man was shot several times in his vehicle around 8:20 a.m. Tuesday morning. It happened at a gas station at the intersection of Highway 287 and Highway 19, north of Palestine. The victim was flown to a Tyler hospital, where he is believed to be in stable condition. The victim is described as a 30-year-old Hispanic male. He had gunshot wounds to his upper body and leg.… Read More
KILGORE — Authorities have arrested a young man in connection with a recent arson case in Kilgore. According to KETK, Kilgore Fire Marshal Brandon Bigos says Dylan Wade Coker, 19, was arrested for a fire in the 1200 block of N. Kilgore Street. The blaze occurred in the early morning hours of August 4 at the former Thrifty Liquor. An arrest warrant was issued for Coker on Monday. The suspect turned himself into the Kilgore Fire Marshal’s Office at about 3 p.m. that day. He was taken into custody and booked into the Kilgore Municipal Jail. There was also a two-story apartment connected to the store, but the living quarters were unoccupied at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.
TYLER — The University of Texas at Tyler and Sam Houston State University have entered an engineering partnership. Officials with both schools say it will offer an effective pathway for students at Sam Houston to earn a four-year degree in selected fields of engineering. According to a UTT news release, the pact creates a seamless transition from lower-level coursework to completion of baccalaureate degrees in civil, electrical, or mechanical engineering. … Read More
CHEROKEE COUNTY — Authorities investigating two industrial plant fires near Jacksonville said they do not believe they were set intentionally. According to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Captain John R. Raffield, the fires at Century Industrial Coatings and STS Recycle do not appear to be related or be caused by arson. No other additional information was available from investigators.… Read More
MARSHALL — Harrison County authorities are continuing their investigation of a man injured by a train. The unidentified man had one foot severed and the other partially cut off. He claims he lost his footing and fell under the train. Authorities feel he may have been train hopping and could face trespassing charges. The incident was reported around 1:30 Saturday afternoon near the Muntz Cutoff and U.S. Highway 80 near Marshall.
AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Alton Frailey of Katy, Nelda Blair of The Woodlands and re-appointed Dr. Scott Coleman of Houston to the Stephen F. Austin University Board of Regents for terms set to expire on January 31, 2021. Alton Frailey is the superintendent for Katy Independent School District. He received his superintendent certification from the University of Texas at Tyler. Nelda Luce Blair is president and owner of The Blair Law Firm, P.C. Dr. Scott Coleman is a dentist in private practice and a clinical adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
TYLER — The Smith County Commissioners Court holds two public hearings today as it prepares to pass its 2015-2016 budget. At 5:30 p.m., the court will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at the R.B. Hubbard “Hub” Center, at 304 E. Ferguson. That follows the court’s second public hearing on the proposed tax rate, along with its final budget workshop, held during its regular 9:30 a.m. session. The court is scheduled to vote to adopt the budget on Aug. 24.
TYLER — The Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas has received reports that businesses are getting phone calls from people posing as Oncor Electric Delivery Company employees. According to a news release, consumers report that the callers are threatening them with disconnection of service if payment is not made immediately. According to the release, BBB reminds business owners that impostor scams are common and advises them to check directly with the company to determine whether or not a payment is owed. Local BBB President Mechele Mills says it’s common in these cases for scammers to use utility terminology. She says they may even spoof caller ID to make them seem more believable. … Read More