VAN — Eastbound lanes of I-20 were shut down for several hours near Van following a wreck Wednesday. According to KETK, the DPS says there was a major crash at mile marker 540 in the eastbound lanes. A picture from the scene shows a semi involved in the crash on fire. The wreckage was cleared Wednesday night and the lanes reopened.
TYLER — Tyler city leaders are discussing what to do about Confederate flags flying at historic Oakwood Cemetery on W. Oakwood Street. Assistant City Manager Susan Guthrie said the mayor and two council members met Wednesday morning to talk about how the community can work together to best resolve the situation and handle similar concerns in the future. The city says it wants to create a plan to preserve history and respect everyone buried in the cemetery. Of particular concern is a Confederate flag — not the battle flag — flying from a pole at the cemetery. Guthrie says some African-Americans and Jewish people are buried at Oakwood. Small Confederate flags were removed from the cemetery earlier this week, but Guthrie says the city was not behind that action. A formal vote on any removal has not taken place.
TYLER – Smith County reminds residents affected by tornadoes and flooding this past spring that there is still time to register for aid. Smith County was included in a Presidential Disaster Declaration allowing local residents with damaged property to register for help with FEMA and the Small Business Administration. The deadline to register for assistance is July 28. According to a news release, FEMA representatives said 77 people have registered for assistance but there may be residents who haven’t applied because they don’t think they’re eligible. Assistance is available for both homeowners and renters whose property was damaged. FEMA representatives say if you receive a response from FEMA that might first appear negative, you should read the entire letter because FEMA may only require additional documents with your application. … Read More
ATHENS — A Whitehouse man was taken into custody Tuesday night in Athens following a string of crimes in two counties. According to KETK, Tyler police say Jake McDaniel, 25, was arrested by Henderson County deputies and charged with assault of a public servant, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and resisting arrest. McDaniel allegedly began the night stealing an SUV from a legal office in Tyler on the 100 block of Line Street. He then reportedly went to an ATM at a local bank on the 100 block of SSW Loop 323. A witness reported seeing McDaniel acting suspicious and took pictures of the incident.… Read More
PEA RIDGE, Ark. — An Arkansas police department has put out an alert for two teenagers who may have run away to East Texas. According to KETK, the Pea Ridge Police Department said Lexi Nida, 15, and Tyler Raxter, 17, were last seen in Pea Ridge and are possibly heading to Durant, Oklahoma, but are believed to be in Malakoff or Athens, Texas. Nida is described as 5’5″ tall with blond and black hair and green eyes. Raxter is said to be 5’8″ with brown hair and green eyes. He also has both ears pierced and a “Good Vibes” tattoo on his inner left wrist. Law enforcement reports there are no known vehicles and their phones have been turned off. If you have any information, contact Detective Davis with the Pea Ridge Police Department at 479-451-8220.
SPRING HILL — An East Texas high school football stadium has been vandalized. According to the Spring Hill Independent School District in Longview, faculty arrived on the campus this morning to find the football stadium press box and the visitor’s side ticket booth had been spray painted with sexually-explicit language and pictures. KETK reports the stop sign at Spring Hill Parkway and Heritage Drive near Spring Hill Primary School was also defaced. The school district is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of those responsible. Contact Spring Hill ISD, 903-759-4404 or the Longview Police Department with any information.
CROCKETT (AP) – Four people have drowned in Houston County Lake in East Texas over the weekend in what authorities believe was a canoeing accident. Authorities recovered the bodies of Antonio Gutierrez, 49, Amy Mendez, 47, Sebastian Chavez, 6, and Juan Cantu, whose exact age was not disclosed. Officials believe they drowned Sunday afternoon. The Houston County Sheriff’s Office said three bodies were recovered Sunday, and Gutierrez’s body was recovered Monday morning. Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Steve Lightfoot says the four were at the lake for a family gathering Sunday near Crockett. A search began after a Crockett Family Resort employee became concerned when the four did not return a rented canoe on time. Lightfoot said what caused the canoe to capsize is unknown, but foul play is not suspected.
MARSHALL — Officials in Harrison County say a missing teen has been found safe. According to KETK and the Marshall News Messenger, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office had been seeking information on 15-year-old Robert Haskins. The youth had been missing from his home since July 2. He’d been spotted at a party July 4 on Rosborough Springs Road and at a Whataburger on Victory Drive last Friday. Lieutenant Jay Webb said Tuesday afternoon that Haskins was at the Willoughby Juvenile Center. Webb said the boy had missed a week’s worth of summer school.
MARSHALL (Staff/AP) — The parents of a teen shot dead after charging officers with a knife are suing the city of Longview. KETK reports the plaintiffs are seeking $10 million in damages for the violation of Kristiana Joy Coginard’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The victim was killed in the Longview Police Department lobby January 22. The Gregg County District Attorney’s Office announced June 26 there would be no charges brought against the officers involved. The case had been presented to a grand jury the previous day, and the panel found that the use of deadly force was authorized under state law. The lawsuit alleges the city failed to properly train its officers. Tim Maloney of San Antonio is representing the family. The suit was filed in Marshall federal court. Longview city spokesman Shawn Hara says the city will review the lawsuit and let the legal process play out.
KILGORE — TxDOT officials say traffic flow returned to normal around noon Tuesday on a stretch of I-20 near Kilgore — some eight hours after a wreck started creating big problems for drivers. The closure of westbound lanes occurred around 4 a.m. when two trucks collided on the shoulder. Officials say crews worked to remove the trucks, their cargo, and debris from the crash, opening one of the lanes later in the morning. Traffic was routed around the scene via the US 259/SH 31 Exit to SH 42 and back to I-20.
NACOGDOCHES (AP) – An East Texas man has been accused in a baseball bat attack that left his 77-year-old grandmother with a broken neck and his aunt hurt. Nacogdoches County jail records show James Leo Lacy was being held Tuesday on charges of injury to an elderly person, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, interference with an emergency call and resisting arrest. Online records don’t list an attorney to speak for Lacy. The 36-year-old Nacogdoches man was arrested Friday with bond at $860,000, but no bond on a parole violation charge. Police didn’t say what started the dispute. An affidavit says the grandmother was beaten with a bat and her neck broken. Lacy’s 55-year-old aunt tried calling for help but was struck in the head. Authorities didn’t release more details on the victims.
KILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department has requested the public’s help in the search for a missing man. KETK reports Larry Don Morgan, 33, was last seen walking around Martin Street in the downtown area around 6 p.m. on June 25. He’s described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 190 pounds in weight. If you know anything about Morgan’s whereabouts, you can submit a tip by contacting Detective Kay Lynn Newbill at email@example.com or (903) 218-6907. You can also text your anonymous tip to 847411 + KILGORE + your tip.
LAKEPORT — An autopsy has been completed after a woman’s body was found just west of the East Texas Regional Airport. She’s been identified as Eugenia Denise Williams, 47, Longview. According to the Gregg County Sheriff’s department Facebook page, her body was discovered in a ditch along Farm Road 349 around 1:15 Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s department confirms the case is a homicide but they will not release the nature of the injury due to the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information regarding this case are asked to contact Investigator David Falco at (903) 236-8438 or Crime Stoppers at (903) 236-STOP.
JACKSONVILLE — Officials continue to investigate after identifying the man whose body was found Sunday in Lake Acker, just northwest of Jacksonville. He is K.D. Dixon, 35, of Jacksonville. The body was recovered around 4:30 Sunday afternoon. He had earlier been reported missing by his wife. The cause of death is still undetermined, but foul play is not suspected. It appears as if the death is an accidental drowning, but an autopsy has been ordered.
CROSS ROADS — The Henderson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating human remains that were found over the weekend off County Road 133 in the Cross Roads area. KETK reports a search party discovered the remains Sunday around 2 p.m. The party was formed in response to a missing person report that was filed last month. The sheriff’s office says David McCan, who was last seen in the general area, went missing around June 11. At this time it’s unknown whom the remains belong to. An autopsy has been ordered. Preliminary results are expected later on this week.
LAKE TYLER — The campground area at Lake Tyler is covered with trash left over from the holiday weekend, and Tyler city officials are looking for long-term solutions. According to KETK, Director of Utilities and Public Works Greg Morgan says for now, it’s just something they expect. “It’s all kinds of debris that you would anticipate seeing as a result of people utilizing the camping facilities over the weekend and/or the parking lot,” says Morgan. Beer bottles, left-over fireworks, food, and diapers were scattered throughout the area. Cleanup crews began pick-up Monday morning and had a lot of work ahead of them. As for fixing the problem, Morgan says the city will “evaluate…maybe additional dumpsters scattered around at various locations to make more receptacles available. But again, there is not a lot of excuse for anybody to trash a public facility like that and leave it in that kind of condition.”
LONGVIEW — More exposure for a Longview man accused of being a white supremacist, as questions arise about ownership of his home. According to the Longview News-Journal, as president of the nonprofit Council of Conservative Citizens, Earl P. Holt III has been connected with Dylann Roof, whom authorities say opened fire June 17 in a South Carolina church, killing nine people. Before the massacre, Roof wrote he was motivated in part by information on the council’s website, which shocked him with stories of black on white crime. Holt has written more than 4,300 internet posts this year alone commenting on topics mostly involving race and politics.… Read More
District-wide Seal Coat Operations have been ongoing in Van Zandt County the last couple of weeks with the contractor finishing up Farm Road 2475 before postponing work for a short period of time. Seal coat is the department’s preventative maintenance program designed to help roads last longer and require less maintenance. Striping operations continue on those roadways that have been sealed over the last few weeks in Henderson, Anderson and Cherokee counties. Expect lane closures.… Read More
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) – The grassroots advisory board Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set up as a sounding board for his tea party constituency is dissolving after a legislative session that left the leadership of that constituency dissatisfied. In a joint statement issued Friday, Patrick and board chairwoman JoAnn Fleming said they mutually agreed to dissolve the board and work together on a less formal basis. Fleming (pictured) is a state tea party leader who heads Smith County-based Grassroots America – We the People. Patrick said the decision came after several board members “expressed a desire for greater independence” from Patrick and the Legislature. The Texas tea party network is the nation’s strongest with four dozen major conservative groups representing thousands of active members. The recent legislative session left movement activists openly unhappy.
SALT SALT LAKE CITY (AP/Staff) – Seven years after a massive police raid on a remote polygamous group’s ranch in Texas, a small-town sheriff is mowing the lawn and irrigating the orchard as the state tries to sell the expansive property. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran is tasked with making sure the property stays intact, including the gleaming white temple built by the Utah-based group led by Warren Jeffs. Jeffs (pictured) remains imprisoned at the Louis C. Powledge Unit near Palestine. Texas authorities assumed control of the $20 million property over a year ago. While the state pays the utility bills, there’s no extra money set aside for maintenance and Doran ends up doing much work himself. Prosecutor Allison Palmer is selling the property and is willing to consider a number of possible uses, including a law enforcement training center or a juvenile holding facility.
TYLER — The Tyler Police Department continues its search for a missing person. Dvontae Tramond Oliverires, 23, was last seen at 1:30 Friday afternoon on foot in the 2100 block of West Erwin in Tyler. He is African-American, 5’ 11”, 175 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing only a pair of black shorts with white stripes and socks. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000.
EAST TEXAS — East Texans are celebrating Independence Day with a variety of events. A number of communities scheduled traditional fireworks displays and other activities. Go to http://www.ktbb.com/calendarofevents/ for a sampling of what’s going on around the area. Meantime, Tyler police are putting out a traffic advisory detailing the 4th of July fireworks show at Lindsey Park. Officials also remind residents within city limits that discharging a firearm is illegal and so are all unauthorized fireworks. … Read More
MARSHALL — Officials with Marshall-based Rio Ammunition have announced the opening of the company’s new manufacturing facility in Marshall and call it a boon to the local economy. In a news release, officials say the plant has added over 40 new jobs to the community and has the ability to double that in coming years. Rio is a subsidiary of the Spain-based MAXAM firm, and Spanish officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting at the new East Texas facility. According to the news release, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, and Gov. Greg Abbott believe the opening “also signals that the state is open for business to future international investment as well.”
CHEROKEE COUNTY — Six members of the controversial Church of Wells are under orders to stay at least two hundred feet away from a Houston mega church. The six heckled Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen during Sunday’s services and were arrested and charged with trespassing. Wells resident Patricia Brotherton says they’ve been harassing town residents for years, screaming at people that they’re evil. She wants them to stop it. Brotherton says last year church members yelled at her granddaughter during the town’s homecoming parade and told the four year old she was doomed.
LUFKIN — A dump truck has hit and killed a man in a motorized wheelchair in Lufkin. Killed Thursday morning was James Rudolph Roy, Jr, 70, of Lufkin. The truck’s driver, Ronnie Eugene Grogan, 64, of Lufkin, was ticketed for failure to yield from a private drive. The accident on Atkinson Drive, remains under investigation.
TYLER — The Clerk of the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler, Cathy Lusk, has announced her retirement. After 20 years in the post, Lusk is stepping down August 31st. She said the decision was not made lightly. Lusk is a member of both the Appellate Court Clerks of the State of Texas and the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks. She has served on numerous committees in both organizations. Lusk joins her husband, Mike, a former major in the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, in retirement.… Read More
AUSTIN — Governor Greg Abbott has appointed 10 student regents to their respective universities for terms expiring on May 31, 2016. Governor Abbott also appointed a student representative to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Among those named: Stephen F. Austin University-Nacogdoches student Ryan Brown-Moreno of Plano, who’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in general business.