EAST TEXAS — A couple of East Texas communities are taking part this weekend in a statewide drill to test the Civil Air Patrol’s disaster response. KETK reports Tyler Pounds Regional Airport and Civil Air Patrol Headquarters in Nacogdoches are among locations that kicked off the exercise Saturday and will continue with it today. “This will test our response should we be called up by Texas emergency management officials,” said Lt. Col. Steve Kinter, incident commander for the activity. The weekend scenario includes disaster relief, search and rescue, and homeland security missions, conducted by veteran air and ground crews and trainees.
HALLSVILLE — Police arrested a Hallsville man, charging him with a third sexual assault of a child offense in a week’s span, according to police reports. James Wesley Pierce, 44, was arrested Thursday on charges of sexually assaulting a child younger than age 17, according to police files. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report he also was arrested the previous Friday on the charges of sexual assault of a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child. … Read More
CHEROKEE COUNTY — An East Texas man was killed early Friday morning after the vehicle he was driving was hit by an 18 wheeler. KETK reports the accident happened around 6:45 a.m. at the intersection of FM 13 and FM 856, about 4 miles east of Troup in Cherokee County. Cherokee County DPS troopers say the driver of a 2003 Mustang pulled out in front of an 18-wheeler on FM 13. The driver of the Mustang, Joshua Page, 29, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the 18-wheeler, Jay Cloud, 45, was not hurt. Troopers say Page was not wearing his seat belt. They’re still investigating the incident.
MARSHALL — A movement to honor a Marshall woman’s memory has now taken on worldwide significance. According to KETK, Friday marked one month since the petition for Kari’s Law started. Now, the cause has a new symbol for those backing the petition to show their support. It’s a story that’s captured worldwide attention. According to police, Kari Hunt Dunn was murdered at the Baymont Suites in Marshall in December. Police say Kari’s children were in the room as their father stabbed their mother to death. Kari’s 9-year-old daughter hopelessly tried to dial 911, but as her grandfather, Hank Hunt, explains, she didn’t get through. … Read More
TYLER — A Tyler woman has been seriously injured in a collision with an SUV. The bicyclist has been identified as Petra Spence of Tyler. Tyler police say officers responded around 3:43 Friday afternoon to the intersection of East Second and Belmont. The initial investigation showed that Spence, 52, was riding a bicycle eastbound on Second. According to authorities, she failed to yield to a stop sign at the intersection with Belmont and was struck by the SUV, which police say was northbound on Belmont with the right of way. Spence was rushed to ETMC with life-threatening injuries.
NACOGDOCHES — An ongoing narcotics investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine in Nacogdoches County has resulted in three arrests. The three were arrested after authorities obtained a warrant when learning that large amounts of cocaine were being sold at a house in the 1600 block of Martinsville Street. Officers seized over $2,000 along with four crack cookies, weighing 64 grams. Booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail were Javosky Thomas (pictured), 31, of Nacogdoches; Lakeith Howard, 34, of Houston; and Eric Thomas, 34, of San Augustine.
MARSHALL — The Marshall City Commission has accepted the resignation of City Manager Frank Johnson. The action came during a called meeting on Thursday. The reason for Johnson’s resignation was not announced. Appointed as acting city manager, until a replacement is found, was Marshall Fire Chief Kenneth “Buzz” Snyder. Johnson was named Marshall’s city manager in 2001. Before that he was the city’s Director of Planning and Community Development for 15 years and was Assistant City Manager for three years.
MARIETTA — A Cass County home has been destroyed by a fire that followed a couple of explosions. The Marietta Fire Department tells KETK the call came in around 7:15 Thursday night. The home on Front Street was hit by two explosions and then the fire. No one was at home when the fire started and there were no injuries. They continue to try to determine what caused the explosions.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP/Staff) – A fugitive from East Texas was arrested Thursday in Bellingham, Washington, on a warrant accusing him of first-degree murder. Michael Maurice Dupree is accused of killing 72-year-old Paul Marshal in 2009 in Van Zandt County. Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks told The Bellingham Herald the 59-year-old has been living in Bellingham under the name Billy Michael Dupree. Dupree even had been arrested twice. He pleaded guilty to harassment and obstructing law enforcement after threatening to shoot firefighters who responded to an aid call in May 2012. He was jailed again in December for a probation violation. Authorities in Texas became aware of Dupree and asked deputies to hold him in jail for extradition.
TYLER — Major General John Furlow says he’s ready to go to court. Furlow is running against current Smith County Judge Joel Baker. But KETK reports he’s also in the middle of a lawsuit with the state. That lawsuit claims Furlow was getting paid twice for the same job during his military service. Furlow responded to the suit, saying he was not “double dipping” and plans to fight this to the end. Furlow says, “This is something, when I made my announcement in September, I disclosed… this is not something I’ve walked away from.” He says his campaign is “about the issues of a failed administration that continues to fail and make the wrong decisions for the citizens of Smith County.” Furlow is being sued for nearly $130,000. But the candidate maintains the state actually owes him money.
SMITH COUNTY — A Smith County school is appealing the state’s decision to revoke its charter. Just last month, the Texas commissioner of education told Azleway Charter School that Texas would no longer recognize the school starting June 30. According to KETK, state officials say Azleway and five other schools “failed to meet academic or financial accountability performance.” But next month, Azleway officials get the chance to change their minds. They’ll have a closed hearing with the Texas Education Agency where a judge will make the final decision.
GLADEWATER — A Gladewater home was destroyed by fire Thursday. KETK and the Longview News-Journal report it happened a little after 1:00 Thursday afternoon at the corner of Wood and Martha Streets. An explosion heard after the fire sparked is said to have been caused by a propane tank. Gladewater firefighters say the blaze spread quickly inside because of the home’s metal exterior. No one was home at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.
HOLLY LAKE RANCH — Two Holly Lake Ranch men accused of animal cruelty will not get to keep their pets after a Thursday morning custody hearing. That’s according to KETK. Last week, Johnny Munoz and Jared Williams were arrested on animal cruelty charges. Prior to to that arrest, their pit bull, Mary Jane, was killed by one of the deputies who said it was “too aggressive.” 10 more dogs were seized by Wood County, including three-week-old puppies. Since then, four of the puppies have died. The body of one puppy was sent off for an autopsy. … Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. — East Texas Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert isn’t shy about his opposition to same-sex marriage. According to Gohmert, Supreme Court justices said a few years ago that they didn’t see any biological evidence to support marriage being between a man and a woman. Gohmert commented, “They need some basic plumbing lessons.” The Tyler-based lawmaker spoke at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation. On Tuesday, a federal judge declared Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. A similar decision was handed down in Utah last month, but the Supreme Court has since put that ruling on hold.
DALLAS — An East Texas man is fighting for his life after his wheelchair became stuck on a burning pile of trash. Diabetes claimed 68-year-old Bobby Prescott’s legs, so the Troup man uses a motorized wheelchair. Tuesday, he was burning debris in his yard. His girlfriend of 18 years, Pamela White says he screamed for help and was already on fire when she got there. She says he’s in a critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Friends have raised money for a new wheelchair, but money is being raised for his future expenses and White’s travel expenses to Dallas. Her hands were burned too.
LONGVIEW — The Longview City Council has decided to end talks to build a conference center and hotel along Interstate Highway 20. The city hand been in negotiations with Longview Innkeeper LLC on the project. After an executive session of the Longview City Council yesterday, City spokesman Shawn Hara told the Longview News-Journal they planned to end the negotiations that began last year, but still move ahead with the idea to build a conference center along Interstate 20. Hara said “the council is still committed to the idea of the hotel/conference center and their desire is to see it along the I-20 corridor.”
TYLER — The 2014 Tyler Cattle Barons’ Gala Committee has announced that Joe Nichols is the headline entertainer for the 27th annual event. “The artist performing at this year’s gala has had several exciting things happen in the past few months,” said Brian Merritt, co-chairman of this year’s event. Joe’s #1 hit “Sunny and 75” has been certified GOLD by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for single sales in excess of 500,000 digital downloads. The song is the lead single from his debut RED BOW CD release Crickets. … Read More
LINDALE — The other two suspects in the Monday morning theft at Lindale’s Wal-Mart have been identified. Police say they are Kelly Ann Edwards and Henry Ray Marshall. Both remain at large. The two, along with Adam Bowers,who is in custody, are said to be the ones captured on surveillance video. After taking merchandise from the store, one of the suspects is said to have pulled a gun on a store employee who had confronted the suspects. If you have any information about the incident, or know where Edwards and Marshall may be found, you are asked to contact Lindale police.
LONGVIEW — A man believed involved in a fatal hit and run accident has surrendered to Longview police. The accident occurred on December 21st around 12:15am. Killed was Tabitha Lynn Herriage Rodriguez, 33, of Longview. The accident happened in the 1600 block of South Green Street. Rodriguez was walking northbound in the inside lane when she was hit by a suspect’s vehicle. After striking Rodriguez, the driver continued traveling northbound and failed to stop and help the woman. Rodriguez was taken to a local hospital where she later died from her injuries. Longview police are completing their investigation and the case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office for possible action.
TYLER — A suspect in a December Tyler robbery has surrendered to law enforcement. On January 14 Longview Police stopped the stolen Buick Roadmaster for speeding. The driver and only occupant was identified as Donterius Montrey Jackson, a 20 year old male from Longview. The car was confirmed as stolen out of Tyler PD. Jackson was arrested for possession of the stolen vehicle. A small revolver pistol was found in his possession that matched the one used in the aggravated robbery from “The Reserves”. He was also arrested for felon in possession of a firearm, failure to identify as a fugitive and a warrant for no driver’s license.… Read More
ELKHART — Officials in East Texas have identified the victim and suspect in a Wednesday morning reported murder and attempted suicide. KETK reports that around 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office issued a capital murder warrant for Victor Aldaba Salcedo, 43, of Jacksonville. He’s accused of shooting his ex-wife, Lorena Salas Salcedo, 42, of Elkhart, before trying to take his own life by shooting himself in the face. … Read More
SMITH COUNTY — Smith County Road and Bridge crews began the task of replacing a well-traveled bridge on County Road 137 just north of Bullard this week. County officials say the wooden bridge, which crosses over Henshaw Creek, was only large enough to allow a single car to pass at a time. The replacement bridge will be made of concrete, will have a full two lanes, and will improve a number of safety issues for that road, officials say. Crews are moving the location of the bridge slightly to straighten out what’s termed a dangerous curve in CR 137. A county news release says that will improve visibility for both directions of traffic. Weather allowing, the project should be complete in approximately 14 weeks, according to a county news release. … Read More
GILMER — A Gilmer-based political action committee filed signatures Wednesday with the Gilmer city manager in hopes of making alcohol sales legal in the historically dry Upshur County seat. That’s according to KETK and the Longview News-Journal. The group, Gilmer Committee for Economic Growth, gathered more than 430 signatures that, if approved, will place two propositions on the May ballot. “There is no agenda for me other than that I want to see this little historic town square prosper,” said Gerald Jones, treasurer for the committee and owner of Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. “When all these other little towns are going wet and voting damp, the idea really is, yeah, we would be left behind. Who is going to want to be here?” … Read More
TYLER — Tyler city leaders Wednesday got the lowdown on where the city is in its five-year plan. Mayor Barbara Bass says Earl Campbell Parkway and the completion of Grande were just a few projects under the city’s collective belt. And getting Tylerites more involved is key in having all the plans come to fruition. City Planner Heather Nick tells KETK, “The city is just really excited about all the involvement in this plan. It is so important that you involve your citizens in your community in a plan. If you don’t, it’s just going to remain on the shelf.” The city council should have the entire plan for review come April.
TYLER (AP/Staff) – An undercover investigation has led to prison for the second of two men who tried to sell a fully automatic machine gun at an East Texas truck stop. Federal prosecutors announced Colten David Barrow of Quinlan was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison. Craig Marcus Cooper of Farmersville was sentenced last Friday to 18 months. Barrow in September pleaded guilty to attempting to sell a machine gun. Cooper pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a machine gun. Investigators say the men in January 2012 went to a truck stop in Van Zandt County to meet someone interested in buying the weapon for $10,000. The buyer was an undercover agent. Officers seized the weapon with the attached silencer.
DALLAS (AP) – A Dallas-area doctor charged in a federal health care fraud investigation now faces identity theft counts. The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that documents filed in federal court in Tyler show Dr. Tariq Mahmood faces seven counts of aggravated identity theft. Investigators say the case involves unlawful use of names of Medicare beneficiaries. Mahmood was charged last year with eight counts of health care billing fraud. Mahmood has pleaded not guilty to all charges. His attorney didn’t immediately return a message Thursday. Regulators last February halted funding for Mahmood’s Renaissance Hospital in Terrell and it closed. Mahmood also operated hospitals in Grand Saline, Cameron, Dilley and Center. Gov. Rick Perry last summered ordered state health officials to review facilities owned by the physician from Cedar Hill.
LINDALE — A man wanted for robberies in Lindale and Tyler has been arrested. Adam Heath Bowers, 34, is believed to be one of three persons seen taking merchandise from the Wal-Mart store, located at 105 East Centennial Boulevard in Lindale around 5:30 Monday morning. Bowers has also been identified as a suspect in Monday afternoon’s robbery of the Family Dollar store at 3503 Frankston Highway. He was also wanted for aggravated assault where Bowers allegedly fired shots at an individual off Highway 64 West in Smith County.… Read More
COLLEGE STATION (AP) — State forestry officials say there’s been a surge in reported timber thefts in East Texas woodlands. A statement Wednesday from the Texas A&M Forest Service says more than 20 timber theft cases have been reported from the Red River in the Ark-La-Tex to almost the Gulf coast of Southeast Texas. What’s making the timber easy pickings is the fact that one-third of the more than 200,000 family forest landowners I East Texas don’t live on the land and aren’t around to guard their timber stands. The state recommends property owners have trusted persons report any cutting, never sign a contract without checking a buyer’s references, insist on getting bids for the timber, mark all property lines and enlist the help of advisers, if necessary, to help in the sale.
LONGVIEW — A Kilgore man, who had been accused of trying to kill his father and himself last May, has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for aggravated kidnapping. In a plea deal, an attempted murder charge was dismissed against William Emmett Lawson, 51, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to prison. … Read More
CARTHAGE — A bicyclist has been killed in a Panola County accident. It happened around 5:00 Tuesday morning on U.S. Highway 59 about a mile from Carthage. Killed was Tony Weldon Gilliam, 50, of Carthage. He died about half an hour after the accident in a Carthage hospital. The Department of Public Safety says he was hit by a truck driven by Douglas Minton, 82, of Marshall. It appears as if the accident was caused when Minton had a stroke. He was treated first and Panola County Medical Center a later flown to a Longview Hospital.