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Category: Local News Archive

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Efforts Underway to Remove Judge Baker

joelbaker-1
TYLER – Grassroots America We The People is working to remove County Judge Joel Baker. Our news partner KETK is reporting the group is trying to raise funds to file a civil suit in district court to remove the judge. The initial cost is $1,000. That sum will grow because of the discovery process and trial costs. The group hopes to file the suit soon. They are in discussion with an Austin attorney to prepare the suit. Their goal is to have Baker removed before the 2018 primary election. The judge has come under fire recently over allegations of lewd behavior.

Authorities Identify Victims in Smith County Accident

Fatalwreck_1459809611366_7923534_ver1.0SMITH COUNTY — Smith County DPS has released the identities of the two people killed and the three injured in a Monday afternoon wreck near Lake Palestine. The wreck occurred near the entrance of The Villages Resort at Farm-to-Market 2661 and Big Eddy Road, also known as County Road 1261. The preliminary crash investigation revealed a Freightliner with a towed semi-trailer, driven by Leon C. Ronald, 69, of Flint, was traveling southbound on 2661. A Hyundai Accent, driven by Matthew Collins, 27, of Austin, was eastbound on 1261. Collins was stopped at the intersection. A Toyota Avalon was northbound on 2661. Collins failed to yield the right-of-way by turning left in front of the Freightliner. The Freightliner struck the Hyundai, which caused the Hyundai to strike the Avalon. The Freightliner and Accent left the roadway and came to rest in the east bar ditch. … Read the rest of the article…

Third Smith County Shooting Suspect in Custody

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – All three suspects have now been arrested in a recent incident in which Smith County deputies were fired upon. Sheriff Larry Smith said Tuesday that Ricardo Martinez “Rico” Pineda (pictured), 36, of Tyler, was tracked down in northeastern Arkansas. Earlier, Juan Alberto Quiroga, 18, of Tyler, turned himself in to the sheriff’s department. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon. His bonds, set by 114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy, total $6,000,000. The driver of the car the suspects were in, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was previously arrested.… Read the rest of the article…

Affidavit: Alleged Affair Spurred Texas Constable’s Shooting

Meraland JacksonTYLER (AP) – Authorities say a shooting where an East Texas constable and his 5-year-old granddaughter were injured was prompted by his wife’s belief that he was having an affair. That according to an arrest affidavit, 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson told officers she shot her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson, Saturday because she believed he had been having an affair with a co-worker. Meraland Jackson is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She’s jailed on $500,000 bond. Police say she shot her 63-year-old husband in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson was in stable condition at a local hospital. The couple’s granddaughter was treated and released. Meraland Jackson told investigators her granddaughter was hit accidentally.

Angelina County Man Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child

John Wesley CarterLUFKIN – An Angelina County man, on probation for child pornography, has been arrested for sexual assault of a child. Free on bond is John Wesley Carter, 45, of Huntington. The former Lufkin charter school counselor was arrested on Saturday. He posted bond the same day. He has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child. The girl is said to be 13. She is said to have reported the incident to a teacher and then to a school counselor. Carter is currently serving five years probation after pleading guilty in February of last year to child pornography charges.

Naked Driver Arrested

David Ben McKinneyMT. PLEASANT – A naked driver, Identified as David Ben McKinney, 55, has been arrested in Mt. Pleasant. It started around 2:30 Sunday morning when officer saw a naked man running in town. Then a caller told police they saw naked man get into a truck near the downtown square. A short time later officers stopped the truck near the intersection of Washington and Cotton Streets. Behind the wheel was a naked driver. When officers asked McKinney why he was naked, they say his response was, “I’m drunk.” He was booked into the Titus County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Missing Marshall Man Sought

Danny Joe RileyMARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in solving one of the city’s long standing missing person’s cases. It was August 1992 when Danny Joe Riley was last seen. He was believed to be traveling with another person to Houston. The Marshall Police Departments’ Criminal Investigations Bureau has put in many hours on this case, but has yet to locate Riley. When he disappeared, Riley was 43 years of age, was 5’9” and weighed 165 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Riley, you’re asked to contact the Marshall Police Department.

Palestine Starting Mosquito Spraying

Palestine  mosquito sprayingPALESTINE – The city of Palestine will start a mosquito spraying program on Wednesday. Spraying will start at 9:00pm in the approximate boundary areas of Kenny Drive to the north, Gardner Drive and Peachtree Drive east to the city limits, Palestine Avenue and North Loop 256 to the south, and Old Brushy Creek Road to the west. It will continue through the night. Other areas throughout the city are planned for the coming days and weeks.… Read the rest of the article…

Nacogdoches County Fire Death

fire image NACOGDOCHES – A Nacogdoches County teen has died in a weekend house fire. The fire was reported around 4:00 Sunday morning on County Road 521, south of Nacogdoches. Killed was Jose Alexis Hernandez, 18. Sheriff’s deputies tried to get into the trailer, but couldn’t because of the heat and smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the victim’s body was found in a bedroom near the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen from a stovetop that had been left on overnight. An autopsy has been ordered.

Numerous Longview Residents Indicted in Drug/Weapons Case

Longview drug indictmentsLONGVIEW — U.S. Attorney John Bales announced the indictment of 17 suspects, including 16 from Longview, in a federal firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy in Gregg County. The suspects, named in three separate indictments, are alleged to be involved in a conspiracy by either members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood and criminal street gangs. The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine from at least January 2014. Many defendants are also charged with firearms violations such as being felons in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.… Read the rest of the article…

Two Inmates, One from Longview, Escape from Van in Florida

police-6DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are looking for two inmates, including one from Longview, who escaped from a van heading to Tallahassee. Walton County Sheriff’s officials say they were notified by a private company that transports prisoners that 30-year-old Michael Andrew Rotunno and 31-year-old James Thomas Banks escaped early Monday. Rotunno was being transported from Longview. The van had stopped at the Walton County Jail in the Florida Panhandle. Sheriff’s officials are assisting in the search. Local school districts also have been notified of the escape. Rotunno is charged with larceny in a building and delivering and manufacturing narcotics. Banks faces charges of unarmed robbery and escaping from jail. A Walton County Sheriff’s news release says the inmates were on their way to a facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Banks was on his way from Orange County, California.

Tyler Police Chief Announces His Retirement

image002TYLER — Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle has announced his retirement. According to a news release, after 33 years of service, Swindle will retire in June. He started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a a patrol officer, eventually advancing through the ranks as investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and finally, as chief of police in 2000. Chief Swindle is responsible for the operations of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the liaison for the Health Department.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Constable’s Wife Charged in Shooting

751493191540 TYLER (AP) – Police say the wife of an East Texas constable has been charged after her husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were injured in a shooting during a family disturbance. Tyler police said Sunday that 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She was jailed on $500,000 bond Sunday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Police say the Saturday shooting was the result of a disturbance between the woman and her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson. Police say she shot him in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson and the girl were taken to the hospital. He was in fair condition Sunday. She’s been released. Police haven’t said what caused the disturbance.

Two More Tyler Robbery Suspects Arrested

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have arrested two more suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery were Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Bond was set at $500,000 for each man. According to police, the two loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart and pointed a gun an an employee while taking the TVs from the store. The alleged driver of the getaway car, 25-year-old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

TxDOT’s Weekly Road Construction Update

TxDotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of April 4. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues.

The contractor plans to close Bellwood Road on the Loop 323 West Widening Project in Tyler starting Monday and keeping the closure in place for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, motorists should remain alert as night work continues starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday to place hot mix in the southbound lanes. Daytime work continues as well. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible to avoid delays. Get more information about this project in the Smith County portion of this story. … Read the rest of the article…

Public Library Addresses Overdue Books; Over $600,000 Owed

cityoftylerTYLER — Citing a backlog totaling over $600,000, the Tyler Public Library has implemented a new policy on overdue books. The City Council recently authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with Unique Management Services, Inc. to aid in the collection of fines and fees owed to the library. Officials say $640,228.10 is currently owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back fourteen years. … Read the rest of the article…

TJC Newspaper Staff Wins 39 Awards

tjc-signDALLAS – Tyler Junior College communications and media students took the sweepstakes awards for newspaper and online during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) annual conference March 31-April 2. According to a press release, TIPA is the oldest collegiate media organization in the country. It consists of 77 public and private two-year colleges and four-year universities in Texas that teach journalism or have existing or planned student publications. TJC students placed in an array of categories including design and layout, news and feature writing, photography, and online breaking news package. Laura Krantz is TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media and TIPA president. Krantz says says her students showed TJC is preparing them with tools for success “in an ever-changing news business.”

Palestine Police Department Investigating Shooting

police-1PALESTINE – Palestine police are investigating a shooting reported early Saturday morning. Police say at 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a home on West Carolina Street near the Del Mar Street intersection on a report of gunshots in the area. They found a victim who had been struck after several bullets were fired by an unknown suspect from outside the residence through the wall of the victim’s bedroom. The victim, whose identity is not being released, was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment. The full extent of his injuries is unknown at this time, according to police. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Mark Harcrow at 903-731-8422. Information can also be submitted anonymously by texting PALPD, then the tip, to 847411.

One in Custody after Allegedly Stealing Patrol Vehicle

sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — One person is in custody after authorities say he stole a Rusk County patrol car and led them on a chase early Friday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says shortly after midnight, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a tail light out as it headed south on Highway 259. The driver was identified as a man from the Houston area. During the stop, officials say the driver was able to get into a patrol vehicle and leave the scene. They report he headed south with another patrol vehicle in pursuit.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Indicted in Parents’ Murders

Casey LansdaleLONGVIEW — A Gladewater man’s murder case will now go to trial after a Gregg County grand jury indicted him on Friday. According to KETK, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office says Casey Lansdale, 41, is accused of murdering his parents in January. The bodies of Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, were discovered during a welfare check by police. After interviewing the suspect, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He was booked into jail on $1 million bond. Judicial records showed Casey had a history of family violence.

Tyler Robbery Suspects Identified

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have learned the names of two suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery are Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Along with the arrest warrants each had a bond set at $500,000. The two are said to be the suspects who loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart. And as they took the TVs from the store, pointed a gun an an employee. The driver of the getaway car, 25 year old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

One Way Street for Palestine

one way trafficPALESTINE – Due to the yearly Dulcimer Festival at the East Texas Museum of Culture, the City of Palestine has temporarily converted Michaux Street between East Reagan Street and Park Avenue to one-way traffic. The change started Friday and will last until Monday.

Body of Missing Man Found

Alan David SchwiemNACOGDOCHES The body of a missing Nacogdoches County man has been found. We reported Thursday authorities were searching for 61 year old Alan David Schwiem of Douglass. He was last seen shortly before 6:00 Tuesday evening when he went to the Dollar Store in Alto. Sheriff Jason Bridges says Thursday evening around 7:00, a farmer cutting hay saw the top of a pickup in a deep creek of State Highway 21 west of Douglass. Authorities say The creek is very deep and had shrubbery around it, making it impossible to see from the roadway. It looks as if Schwiem was returning from the store when he drove off into the creek in Cherokee County.

Victim Identified in Fatal Wreck in Palestine

Thinkstock_033116_police-a6438bc205c9018e5e3c4bbf7bcb400d4f4b07fbPALESTINE – The victim of a fatal Palestine accident Thursday afternoon has been identified. She is 72 year old Bonita Salter of Palestine. She made a left turn with an unprotected green traffic light and was hit by a pickup driven by 61 year old Geronimo Avila, of Houston. Availa and his passenger were uninjured. The driver of a third vehicle involved in the accident was hurt. 66 year old Mirilyn Allen of Palestine is being treated at Palestine Regional Medical Center. The wreck occurred at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Loop 256.

Marshall Kidnapping Suspect Sought

Antonyo Danta Rivers
MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in tracking down a kidnapping suspect. He is 30 year old Antonyo Danta Rivers. In May of last year, Rivers is said to have held a person at gunpoint and forced them to drive him to a location in Marshall. Once the victim was able to get away, they called police. They have been unable to locate him and feel he could be in in the Dallas or Houston Areas. Rivers is described as 5’11, 135 pounds with a thin build. He has black hair and brown eyes and a music symbol tattooed on the left side of his face.… Read the rest of the article…

Tyler’s Fire Chief is Retiring

Tim JohnsonTYLER – Tyler Fire Chief Tim Johnson is planning to retire. He has announced he will retire April 27th, after serving as the Tyler Fire Chief for over 5 years. Johnson promoted through the ranks of firefighter, driver, captain and district chief before being appointed to the position of Fire Chief in January 2011. During her 35 years of service with the City of Tyler, Chief Johnson has seen a lot of growth. He has also partnered with TJC to establish the Tyler Junior College Fire Academy and helped establish the Tyler Fire Foundation. Also under Johnson’s leadership, the City of Tyler Fire Department obtained grant funding to procure a regional communications trailer, as well as an emergency response trailer, assets that benefit the entire State of Texas.… Read the rest of the article…

Baylor Offers Brief Response to Lawsuit

15637_1376277909304065_134233716_nWACO (AP/Staff) — Baylor University is offering a brief response to a lawsuit against the school involving a Mt. Pleasant High School graduate and former football player convicted of rape. The litigation claims the university’s alleged lack of action violated Title IX. Our news partner KETK obtained a statement from Baylor that reads, “We encourage students to come forward and we have a fully staffed Title IX office that receives and resolves those reports. The university will respond to the lawsuit in an appropriate manner after it has had the opportunity to review the complaint.”… Read the rest of the article…

Jury Selection Begins in Case That Inspired Movie “Bernie”

Bernie TiedeHENDERSON (AP/Staff) – Jury selection is underway in the sentencing trial of an East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior he befriended in the town of Carthage. Tiede was given life in prison, but allowed to go free temporarily after his original prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a lesser prison sentence. The proceedings leading to his release began thanks to publicity from the movie “Bernie” – in which Jack Black plays Tiede and Shirley MacLaine portrays the widow, Marjorie Nugent. But at a new punishment trial, jurors could decide to send him back to prison. The trial is expected to start next week.

Two Smith County Shooting Suspects Identified

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – Two more suspects have been identified in connection with a high speed chase in Smith County. During the chase on March 21st, shots were fired at pursuing sheriff’s deputies. No one was injured. The driver of the vehicle, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was arrested following surveillance at Tyler’s Residence Inn. He was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.… Read the rest of the article…

Two People Reported Missing in Nacogdoches County

Alan David Schwiem
NACOGDOCHES – The Nacogdoches County sheriff’s department is looking for two missing persons in separate cases. According to a news release, both persons could be in danger because of physical and mental health issues. They are identified as Alan David Schwiem, 61, and Noemi Sanchez,33. Schwiem was last seen on Tuesday and Sanchez was last seen March 10th.… Read the rest of the article…

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Efforts Underway to Remove Judge Baker

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 1:03 pm

joelbaker-1
TYLER – Grassroots America We The People is working to remove County Judge Joel Baker. Our news partner KETK is reporting the group is trying to raise funds to file a civil suit in district court to remove the judge. The initial cost is $1,000. That sum will grow because of the discovery process and trial costs. The group hopes to file the suit soon. They are in discussion with an Austin attorney to prepare the suit. Their goal is to have Baker removed before the 2018 primary election. The judge has come under fire recently over allegations of lewd behavior.

Authorities Identify Victims in Smith County Accident

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

Fatalwreck_1459809611366_7923534_ver1.0SMITH COUNTY — Smith County DPS has released the identities of the two people killed and the three injured in a Monday afternoon wreck near Lake Palestine. The wreck occurred near the entrance of The Villages Resort at Farm-to-Market 2661 and Big Eddy Road, also known as County Road 1261. The preliminary crash investigation revealed a Freightliner with a towed semi-trailer, driven by Leon C. Ronald, 69, of Flint, was traveling southbound on 2661. A Hyundai Accent, driven by Matthew Collins, 27, of Austin, was eastbound on 1261. Collins was stopped at the intersection. A Toyota Avalon was northbound on 2661. Collins failed to yield the right-of-way by turning left in front of the Freightliner. The Freightliner struck the Hyundai, which caused the Hyundai to strike the Avalon. The Freightliner and Accent left the roadway and came to rest in the east bar ditch. … Read the rest of the article…

Third Smith County Shooting Suspect in Custody

Posted/updated on: April 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – All three suspects have now been arrested in a recent incident in which Smith County deputies were fired upon. Sheriff Larry Smith said Tuesday that Ricardo Martinez “Rico” Pineda (pictured), 36, of Tyler, was tracked down in northeastern Arkansas. Earlier, Juan Alberto Quiroga, 18, of Tyler, turned himself in to the sheriff’s department. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon. His bonds, set by 114th District Court Judge Christi Kennedy, total $6,000,000. The driver of the car the suspects were in, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was previously arrested.… Read the rest of the article…

Affidavit: Alleged Affair Spurred Texas Constable’s Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Meraland JacksonTYLER (AP) – Authorities say a shooting where an East Texas constable and his 5-year-old granddaughter were injured was prompted by his wife’s belief that he was having an affair. That according to an arrest affidavit, 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson told officers she shot her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson, Saturday because she believed he had been having an affair with a co-worker. Meraland Jackson is charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She’s jailed on $500,000 bond. Police say she shot her 63-year-old husband in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson was in stable condition at a local hospital. The couple’s granddaughter was treated and released. Meraland Jackson told investigators her granddaughter was hit accidentally.

Angelina County Man Charged With Sexual Assault of a Child

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 2:54 pm

John Wesley CarterLUFKIN – An Angelina County man, on probation for child pornography, has been arrested for sexual assault of a child. Free on bond is John Wesley Carter, 45, of Huntington. The former Lufkin charter school counselor was arrested on Saturday. He posted bond the same day. He has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault of a child. The girl is said to be 13. She is said to have reported the incident to a teacher and then to a school counselor. Carter is currently serving five years probation after pleading guilty in February of last year to child pornography charges.

Naked Driver Arrested

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm

David Ben McKinneyMT. PLEASANT – A naked driver, Identified as David Ben McKinney, 55, has been arrested in Mt. Pleasant. It started around 2:30 Sunday morning when officer saw a naked man running in town. Then a caller told police they saw naked man get into a truck near the downtown square. A short time later officers stopped the truck near the intersection of Washington and Cotton Streets. Behind the wheel was a naked driver. When officers asked McKinney why he was naked, they say his response was, “I’m drunk.” He was booked into the Titus County Jail on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Missing Marshall Man Sought

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Danny Joe RileyMARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in solving one of the city’s long standing missing person’s cases. It was August 1992 when Danny Joe Riley was last seen. He was believed to be traveling with another person to Houston. The Marshall Police Departments’ Criminal Investigations Bureau has put in many hours on this case, but has yet to locate Riley. When he disappeared, Riley was 43 years of age, was 5’9” and weighed 165 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. If you have any information about Riley, you’re asked to contact the Marshall Police Department.

Palestine Starting Mosquito Spraying

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

Palestine  mosquito sprayingPALESTINE – The city of Palestine will start a mosquito spraying program on Wednesday. Spraying will start at 9:00pm in the approximate boundary areas of Kenny Drive to the north, Gardner Drive and Peachtree Drive east to the city limits, Palestine Avenue and North Loop 256 to the south, and Old Brushy Creek Road to the west. It will continue through the night. Other areas throughout the city are planned for the coming days and weeks.… Read the rest of the article…

Nacogdoches County Fire Death

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:58 am

fire image NACOGDOCHES – A Nacogdoches County teen has died in a weekend house fire. The fire was reported around 4:00 Sunday morning on County Road 521, south of Nacogdoches. Killed was Jose Alexis Hernandez, 18. Sheriff’s deputies tried to get into the trailer, but couldn’t because of the heat and smoke. After the fire was extinguished, the victim’s body was found in a bedroom near the kitchen. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen from a stovetop that had been left on overnight. An autopsy has been ordered.

Numerous Longview Residents Indicted in Drug/Weapons Case

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

Longview drug indictmentsLONGVIEW — U.S. Attorney John Bales announced the indictment of 17 suspects, including 16 from Longview, in a federal firearms and drug trafficking conspiracy in Gregg County. The suspects, named in three separate indictments, are alleged to be involved in a conspiracy by either members or associates of the Aryan Brotherhood and criminal street gangs. The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine from at least January 2014. Many defendants are also charged with firearms violations such as being felons in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.… Read the rest of the article…

Two Inmates, One from Longview, Escape from Van in Florida

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

police-6DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) – Florida authorities are looking for two inmates, including one from Longview, who escaped from a van heading to Tallahassee. Walton County Sheriff’s officials say they were notified by a private company that transports prisoners that 30-year-old Michael Andrew Rotunno and 31-year-old James Thomas Banks escaped early Monday. Rotunno was being transported from Longview. The van had stopped at the Walton County Jail in the Florida Panhandle. Sheriff’s officials are assisting in the search. Local school districts also have been notified of the escape. Rotunno is charged with larceny in a building and delivering and manufacturing narcotics. Banks faces charges of unarmed robbery and escaping from jail. A Walton County Sheriff’s news release says the inmates were on their way to a facility in Jackson, Minnesota. Banks was on his way from Orange County, California.

Tyler Police Chief Announces His Retirement

Posted/updated on: April 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

image002TYLER — Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle has announced his retirement. According to a news release, after 33 years of service, Swindle will retire in June. He started his law enforcement career in 1982 as a a patrol officer, eventually advancing through the ranks as investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and finally, as chief of police in 2000. Chief Swindle is responsible for the operations of Neighborhood Services, Code Enforcement and Animal Services. He is also the liaison for the Health Department.… Read the rest of the article…

East Texas Constable’s Wife Charged in Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

751493191540 TYLER (AP) – Police say the wife of an East Texas constable has been charged after her husband and 5-year-old granddaughter were injured in a shooting during a family disturbance. Tyler police said Sunday that 66-year-old Meraland Taylor Jackson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon family violence. She was jailed on $500,000 bond Sunday. Jail records didn’t list an attorney. Police say the Saturday shooting was the result of a disturbance between the woman and her husband, Smith County Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson. Police say she shot him in the chest and the girl in the ankle. Henry Jackson and the girl were taken to the hospital. He was in fair condition Sunday. She’s been released. Police haven’t said what caused the disturbance.

Two More Tyler Robbery Suspects Arrested

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have arrested two more suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery were Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Bond was set at $500,000 for each man. According to police, the two loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart and pointed a gun an an employee while taking the TVs from the store. The alleged driver of the getaway car, 25-year-old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

TxDOT’s Weekly Road Construction Update

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:34 pm

TxDotTYLER – Here’s a look at work planned in the TxDOT Tyler District during the Week of April 4. These schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions, equipment failure or other unforeseen issues.

The contractor plans to close Bellwood Road on the Loop 323 West Widening Project in Tyler starting Monday and keeping the closure in place for at least a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, motorists should remain alert as night work continues starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday to place hot mix in the southbound lanes. Daytime work continues as well. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes if possible to avoid delays. Get more information about this project in the Smith County portion of this story. … Read the rest of the article…

Public Library Addresses Overdue Books; Over $600,000 Owed

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

cityoftylerTYLER — Citing a backlog totaling over $600,000, the Tyler Public Library has implemented a new policy on overdue books. The City Council recently authorized the city manager to enter into an agreement with Unique Management Services, Inc. to aid in the collection of fines and fees owed to the library. Officials say $640,228.10 is currently owed to the library in delinquent fines and lost materials dating back fourteen years. … Read the rest of the article…

TJC Newspaper Staff Wins 39 Awards

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 4:06 pm

tjc-signDALLAS – Tyler Junior College communications and media students took the sweepstakes awards for newspaper and online during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association (TIPA) annual conference March 31-April 2. According to a press release, TIPA is the oldest collegiate media organization in the country. It consists of 77 public and private two-year colleges and four-year universities in Texas that teach journalism or have existing or planned student publications. TJC students placed in an array of categories including design and layout, news and feature writing, photography, and online breaking news package. Laura Krantz is TJC department chair of Communications & Student Media and TIPA president. Krantz says says her students showed TJC is preparing them with tools for success “in an ever-changing news business.”

Palestine Police Department Investigating Shooting

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm

police-1PALESTINE – Palestine police are investigating a shooting reported early Saturday morning. Police say at 2:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to a home on West Carolina Street near the Del Mar Street intersection on a report of gunshots in the area. They found a victim who had been struck after several bullets were fired by an unknown suspect from outside the residence through the wall of the victim’s bedroom. The victim, whose identity is not being released, was transported to a Tyler hospital for treatment. The full extent of his injuries is unknown at this time, according to police. Anyone with any information is urged to contact Detective Mark Harcrow at 903-731-8422. Information can also be submitted anonymously by texting PALPD, then the tip, to 847411.

One in Custody after Allegedly Stealing Patrol Vehicle

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

sheriff-ruskcountyHENDERSON — One person is in custody after authorities say he stole a Rusk County patrol car and led them on a chase early Friday morning. According to KETK, the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office says shortly after midnight, deputies pulled over a vehicle with a tail light out as it headed south on Highway 259. The driver was identified as a man from the Houston area. During the stop, officials say the driver was able to get into a patrol vehicle and leave the scene. They report he headed south with another patrol vehicle in pursuit.… Read the rest of the article…

Man Indicted in Parents’ Murders

Posted/updated on: April 4, 2016 at 10:39 am

Casey LansdaleLONGVIEW — A Gladewater man’s murder case will now go to trial after a Gregg County grand jury indicted him on Friday. According to KETK, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office says Casey Lansdale, 41, is accused of murdering his parents in January. The bodies of Raye and Charles Lansdale, both 68, were discovered during a welfare check by police. After interviewing the suspect, police arrested him and charged him with murder. He was booked into jail on $1 million bond. Judicial records showed Casey had a history of family violence.

Tyler Robbery Suspects Identified

Posted/updated on: April 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Tyler Wal-Mart robbery 3-31-16TYLER – Investigators have learned the names of two suspects in Thursday morning’s robbery of Wal-Mart on the Troup Highway. Named in arrest warrants for aggravated robbery are Dustin Chrzas and Keonta Rashaud Johnson. Both are 19. Along with the arrest warrants each had a bond set at $500,000. The two are said to be the suspects who loaded flat screen televisions into a shopping cart. And as they took the TVs from the store, pointed a gun an an employee. The driver of the getaway car, 25 year old Jamaine Pringle of Tyler, was arrested on Thursday.

One Way Street for Palestine

Posted/updated on: April 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm

one way trafficPALESTINE – Due to the yearly Dulcimer Festival at the East Texas Museum of Culture, the City of Palestine has temporarily converted Michaux Street between East Reagan Street and Park Avenue to one-way traffic. The change started Friday and will last until Monday.

Body of Missing Man Found

Posted/updated on: April 3, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Alan David SchwiemNACOGDOCHES The body of a missing Nacogdoches County man has been found. We reported Thursday authorities were searching for 61 year old Alan David Schwiem of Douglass. He was last seen shortly before 6:00 Tuesday evening when he went to the Dollar Store in Alto. Sheriff Jason Bridges says Thursday evening around 7:00, a farmer cutting hay saw the top of a pickup in a deep creek of State Highway 21 west of Douglass. Authorities say The creek is very deep and had shrubbery around it, making it impossible to see from the roadway. It looks as if Schwiem was returning from the store when he drove off into the creek in Cherokee County.

Victim Identified in Fatal Wreck in Palestine

Posted/updated on: April 3, 2016 at 7:58 am

Thinkstock_033116_police-a6438bc205c9018e5e3c4bbf7bcb400d4f4b07fbPALESTINE – The victim of a fatal Palestine accident Thursday afternoon has been identified. She is 72 year old Bonita Salter of Palestine. She made a left turn with an unprotected green traffic light and was hit by a pickup driven by 61 year old Geronimo Avila, of Houston. Availa and his passenger were uninjured. The driver of a third vehicle involved in the accident was hurt. 66 year old Mirilyn Allen of Palestine is being treated at Palestine Regional Medical Center. The wreck occurred at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and North Loop 256.

Marshall Kidnapping Suspect Sought

Posted/updated on: April 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Antonyo Danta Rivers
MARSHALL – The Marshall Police Department is seeking the public’s help in tracking down a kidnapping suspect. He is 30 year old Antonyo Danta Rivers. In May of last year, Rivers is said to have held a person at gunpoint and forced them to drive him to a location in Marshall. Once the victim was able to get away, they called police. They have been unable to locate him and feel he could be in in the Dallas or Houston Areas. Rivers is described as 5’11, 135 pounds with a thin build. He has black hair and brown eyes and a music symbol tattooed on the left side of his face.… Read the rest of the article…

Tyler’s Fire Chief is Retiring

Posted/updated on: April 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Tim JohnsonTYLER – Tyler Fire Chief Tim Johnson is planning to retire. He has announced he will retire April 27th, after serving as the Tyler Fire Chief for over 5 years. Johnson promoted through the ranks of firefighter, driver, captain and district chief before being appointed to the position of Fire Chief in January 2011. During her 35 years of service with the City of Tyler, Chief Johnson has seen a lot of growth. He has also partnered with TJC to establish the Tyler Junior College Fire Academy and helped establish the Tyler Fire Foundation. Also under Johnson’s leadership, the City of Tyler Fire Department obtained grant funding to procure a regional communications trailer, as well as an emergency response trailer, assets that benefit the entire State of Texas.… Read the rest of the article…

Baylor Offers Brief Response to Lawsuit

Posted/updated on: April 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

15637_1376277909304065_134233716_nWACO (AP/Staff) — Baylor University is offering a brief response to a lawsuit against the school involving a Mt. Pleasant High School graduate and former football player convicted of rape. The litigation claims the university’s alleged lack of action violated Title IX. Our news partner KETK obtained a statement from Baylor that reads, “We encourage students to come forward and we have a fully staffed Title IX office that receives and resolves those reports. The university will respond to the lawsuit in an appropriate manner after it has had the opportunity to review the complaint.”… Read the rest of the article…

Jury Selection Begins in Case That Inspired Movie “Bernie”

Posted/updated on: April 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Bernie TiedeHENDERSON (AP/Staff) – Jury selection is underway in the sentencing trial of an East Texas mortician whose murder case inspired the dark comedy “Bernie.” Bernie Tiede was convicted in 1999 of killing Marjorie Nugent, a widow more than 40 years his senior he befriended in the town of Carthage. Tiede was given life in prison, but allowed to go free temporarily after his original prosecutor said he believed Tiede deserved a lesser prison sentence. The proceedings leading to his release began thanks to publicity from the movie “Bernie” – in which Jack Black plays Tiede and Shirley MacLaine portrays the widow, Marjorie Nugent. But at a new punishment trial, jurors could decide to send him back to prison. The trial is expected to start next week.

Two Smith County Shooting Suspects Identified

Posted/updated on: April 1, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Ricardo Martinez PinedaTYLER – Two more suspects have been identified in connection with a high speed chase in Smith County. During the chase on March 21st, shots were fired at pursuing sheriff’s deputies. No one was injured. The driver of the vehicle, Jeremy Robinson, 32, of Hutchins, was arrested following surveillance at Tyler’s Residence Inn. He was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer.… Read the rest of the article…

Two People Reported Missing in Nacogdoches County

Posted/updated on: April 1, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Alan David Schwiem
NACOGDOCHES – The Nacogdoches County sheriff’s department is looking for two missing persons in separate cases. According to a news release, both persons could be in danger because of physical and mental health issues. They are identified as Alan David Schwiem, 61, and Noemi Sanchez,33. Schwiem was last seen on Tuesday and Sanchez was last seen March 10th.… Read the rest of the article…

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