Category: Local News Archive

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Authorities Identify Victim of Palestine Fire

commercial_structurePALESTINE — The body of a victim from a late September fire in downtown Palestine has been identified as that of Hope Leann Pyle, nicknamed Hope Clark, 32, from Palestine. According to KETK, on September 28, two people were found dead after a building and apartments went up in flames just after midnight in the 110 block of East Oak Avenue. The building was a total loss; two firefighters were treated at the scene for heat-related injuries. Read the rest of this entry »

Missing Harrison County 19-Year-Old Found in Longview

missing_manMARSHALL — A 19-year-old Harrison County man who had been missing since Thursday has been found at a Longview motel. That’s according to KETK. Shortly after 9:45 Tuesday morning, investigators with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office received information indicating Dayton Hathaway was at the motel. Investigators went to the location and, after confirming with the desk clerk, found the missing person and his roommate in a motel room. According to officials, Hathaway was found well and gave no explanation as to his decision not to have any contact with his family. He is safe and Investigators have contacted his family to give them the information. Hathaway had last been seen near his residence in the 6700 block of US Highway 80 East. Besides having no contact with his family while he was missing, Hathaway had not reported to work during that time.

Mom, Daughter Sentenced in Bank Robberies

thumb_Evie_Mearlene_Herrin-2LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) – A Texas woman and her daughter have been sentenced to federal prison for their role in three bank robberies. The American Press reports 58-year-old Evie Bowin Herrin and 31-year-old Amelia Darci Crew, both of Cleveland, Texas, were sentenced in Lake Charles, La., for conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Herrin received 86 months in prison, and Crew received 51 months in prison. They both received three years of supervised release. They pleaded guilty June 27. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, the defendants admitted to stealing over $17,000 from banks in Louisiana and Texas, including the Citizens National Bank in Henderson February 28th. Herrin admitted to entering three banks wearing a disguise.

Smith to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Bullard

thumb_Larry-SmithBULLARD – Sheriff Larry Smith will hold a town hall meeting this evening from 6:00 to 7:30 at First Baptist Church in Bullard, located at 1428 South Houston Street. According to a press release, attendees are encouraged to park near and enter the north side of the Family Life Center. The town hall meeting is his fourth since taking office in January. The others were in Whitehouse, Tyler, and Lindale. “I look forward to meeting and talking with the citizens of Southern Smith County,” said Sheriff Smith. “I want to thank Senior Pastor Scott Brown and everyone at First Baptist Church in Bullard for their hospitality in hosting this town hall.” A town hall meeting is also scheduled for November 5 at the Starrville Community Center on Highway 16.

Tyler Man Pleads Guilty in Kansas to Holding Dogfight

Vertrick JordanKANSAS CITY, KAN. (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded guilty in Kansas to holding a dogfight at his home earlier this year. The U.S. Attorney’s office says Vertrick Jordan, 47, of Tyler, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to transport animals across state lines to participate in dogfighting. Jordan admitted conspiring with two Kansas City, Kan., men to hold a dogfight March 23 at his Texas home. Agents who raided the fight detained 30 people and found a dogfighting pit on the property. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Arrested for Robbery; Allegedly Locked Store Employees in Cooler

Francisco BenitezLONGVIEW — Two Longview men have been arrested after allegedly locking employees in a cooler to rob their store. Longview police tell KETK that Francisco Benitez, 20 (pictured), and Genaro Villela, 17, entered a store in the 500 block of South Mobberly Avenue, and that one was armed with a knife. According to police, Benitez and Villela locked two women in the store cooler and began stealing items and loading them into their van. Police say an officer stopped and caught the robbers in the act. After searching the vehicle, the officer reportedly found the stolen cigarettes and synthetic marijuana. The suspects were booked into the Gregg County Jail on $50,000 bond each.

CPS Takes Custody of Child Allegedly Stabbed by Father

744039110378TYLER — There’s new information about the 9-year old child who was injured during an argument between her mother and father. KETK reports she’s been taken into custody by Child Protective Services. Police believe the girl was stabbed by her father during a domestic dispute. It happened around 1:00 Friday morning in the 1300 block of Bellehaven Court in Tyler. The father, Vahid Lamea, 52, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The mother and child were taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Week-Long Closure at Tyler Senior Center

thumb_cityoftylerTYLER — The Tyler Senior Center is closed to the public through October 26 for maintenance and will reopen Monday, October 28. All center-sponsored activities will be suspended while the facility is closed, including the October 25 Friday Night Dance and Gentle Senior Yoga classes. Meals on Wheels participants who routinely eat lunch at the Senior Center can pick up their meals at the organization’s main office at 3001 Robertson Road, Tyler. For more details about meal availability and times, call the Meals on Wheels office at 903-593-7385. The Tyler Senior Center, 1915 Garden Valley Road, serves active seniors ages 55 and better. Normal operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. For more information about the center and its activities, call 903-597-0781.

Probe Continues after Child Contracts STD, Allegedly from Relative

lopezNACOGDOCHES — More details have emerged on a story we brought you last week about an East Texan accused of giving a child a sexually transmitted disease. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges says the victim is a girl younger than six. The mother called authorities after she noticed something was wrong with the girl. Bridges says 19-year-old Jose Ignacio Lopez is a relative of the child and had been babysitting. Bridges says crimes like this are the most horrible ones they have to investigate. “Any time they’re a victim of a crime, especially of a sexual assault, it definitely touches home,” says Bridges. “We all have children ourselves, so we have to make sure that doesn’t get personal with us.” He says the STD can be cured. Lopez is charged with aggravated sexual assault and could also be charged with endangering a child.

Early Voting Continues in Smith County

thumb_voting-computerTYLER — The Smith County Elections Office is now offering early voting for the November 5 election. The Elections Office is located at 302 E. Ferguson, just two buildings east of its previous location in the Smith County Courthouse Annex. Early voting will be available October 21- November 1 at the following times:

Smith Elections Department: 302 E Ferguson Street, Tyler, Texas, 75702
· Oct. 21 – 25 – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
· Oct. 28 – 30 – 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
· Oct. 31 & Nov. 1 – 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

TxDOT Project Updates

TxDOT logoTYLER — Here’s a quick look at other work planned in the Tyler District of the Texas Department of Transportation.

SMITH COUNTY – Texas Department of Transportation maintenance crews this week are scheduled to make pavement repairs at the intersections of State Highway 31 and Farm Road 2661 west of Tyler, and SH 31 and Farm Road 315 in Chandler. A second crew is scheduled to continue base and pavement repairs on State Highway 135 between Troup and Arp. Daytime lane closures will be in effect in each location while the work is in progress. Motorists are encouraged to be prepared to reduce speed and merge in and around the work zones. Read the rest of this entry »

Threat Against U.T. Tyler Not Valid

U-T Tyler SignTYLER — It turned out to be a peaceful weekend at the University of Texas at Tyler. Threats made to the campus over several days turned out not to be valid. But, out of an abundance of caution, enhanced security measures remained in place throughout Saturday’s activities. The investigation is still ongoing and active. Read the rest of this entry »

Missing Man Found in Longview

Justin Wade AllenLONGVIEW — A missing Gregg County man is found following a reported kidnapping. Justin Wade Allen had been last seen on Saturday, October 12, on Goforth Road in Gregg County. Sheriff Maxey Cerliano reports Allen was located in Longview Saturday night around 11:00. He told investigators he had been kidnapped, assaulted and held at a location in the Spring Hill area of Longview. Allen was treated and released at Good Shepherd Medical Center for injuries to his face and upper body. Sheriff Cerliano says Allen’s release was due in part to the media coverage of this case, as his story became “too hot” for his captors to hold him longer. Read the rest of this entry »

Couple Missing, Foul Play Feared

Justin Wade AllenLONGVIEW — The Gregg County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s assistance is locating a missing man. Foul play is suspected in the case. Justin Wade Allen was last seen on Saturday, October 12, on Goforth Road in Gregg County. Justin is a white male, 5’8″, 170 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a dark shirt, blue jeans and boots. Justin was driving his red 1997 Chevrolet Camaro bearing Texas LP #BPL4173. He was with Hether Dawn Lyles, 29. Hether is a white female, 5’2″, 100 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding Justin Allen or Hether Lyles are asked to contact Investigator David Falco at 903-236-8438 or the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office at 903-237-2506.

Threat Against U-T Tyler Not Valid

U-T Tyler SignTYLER — After a thorough investigation conducted by officers from UT Tyler Police Department and investigators from UT System Police, it has been determined that the threats made to campus over the past few days are not credible. They appear to have stemmed from a domestic dispute unrelated to the University. Out of an abundance of caution, enhanced security measures will remain in place throughout Saturday’s activities. The investigation is still ongoing and active. Read the rest of this entry »

Elderly Man Gets Life in Prison

Anthony Joseph MillerTYLER — An elderly East Texas man will spend life in prison for murder. Anthony Joseph Miller, 70, waived a grand jury indictment and waived his right to a jury trial on Friday. The life prison sentence was the maximum penalty he could have received. He had been charged with the 2012 murder of Adam Palacios, 34, on Lavender Road in Tyler. His body was found in a field in Anderson County in September of last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Coach Bum Phillips Dies

Bum PhillipsHOUSTON (AP) — Former Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints head coach Bum Phillips has died at age 90. Wearing his familiar cowboy hat, Phillips became the Oilers’ defensive coordinator in 1973 and took over as head coach two years later. Armed with running back Earl Campbell, The Tyler Rose, and a successful defense, Phillips led the Oilers to the first of three straight playoff appearances in 1978 but was fired in 1980 after failing to get the team to the Super Bowl.

East Texan Brought Loaded Gun to NY Airport

Gun Barrel City logoNEW YORK (AP) — Authorities say a man from a Texas town called Gun Barrel City was caught with a loaded revolver in his carry-on bag at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police said that security officers noticed the handgun as Douglas White went through a security screening Thursday. Police say the 61-year-old White was charged with criminal possession of a loaded firearm.

Man Arrested; Reportedly Gave Child STD

lopezNACODOCHES — The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office has arrested Jose Ignacio Lopez, 19, of Nacogdoches for aggravated sexual assault of a child after he allegedly infected the child with a sexually transmitted disease. KETK reports that the investigation began on October 13, when the mother of the victim reportedly noticed that something was wrong with her child. The child was then taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Sheriff Jason Bridges was notified and was called to the hospital for an investigation. Bridges later stated that as a result of the assault, the child contracted a sexually transmitted disease from the suspect and is receiving medical attention for the disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Pine Tree Football Coach Resigns

fitzLONGVIEW — The Pine Tree School District’s Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, Derek Fitzhenry, has resigned. School trustees have unanimously accepted the resignation. The announcement from school board president, Charley Peck, came shortly after 4:20 Friday afternoon. According to the separation agreement, the school district will pay Fitzhenry $40,000. Read the rest of this entry »

Possible Threat at UT Tyler

1TYLER — University of Texas at Tyler police, with assistance from other agencies, are continuing an investigation into possibly threatening calls received Thursday. According to officials, the calls seemed to indicate the possibility of armed violence toward an unnamed individual or individuals. Increased security from additional police officers is in place and will remain in place throughout the weekend or until this situation has been resolved, according to information from the university. Cooperating police departments include UT Tyler, UT Health Northeast, UT System, and City of Tyler. Police are seeking assistance in determining the whereabouts of the individual pictured; they say he may have information that would be valuable to this investigation. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to contact police at 903.566.7300. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Huntington School Employees Now Armed

teachers armedHUNTINGTON (AP) – Some employees at an East Texas school district are now armed on campus. The Huntington Independent School District board passed the policy allowing some staff to carry arms in March, and beginning Friday they were able to arrive on campus with their weapons. Superintendent Eric Wright told the Lufkin Daily News the board approved the new policy in response to the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December. Twenty children and six adults were killed in that incident. Wright says staff with concealed carry permits that want to bring their arms on campus underwent several training programs, including a firearms proficiency test, a psychological evaluation, an active shooter class and a firearms safety course. He refused to name the armed staff members.

Parade Highlights Weekend Rose Festival Activities

thumb_rosesTYLER — The Texas Rose Festival continues through today in Tyler. A yearly highlight is the Rose Festival Parade, which brought out a large crowd yesterday morning. You can go to for a full rundown of Rose Festival activities.

Merritt to Run for Agriculture Commissioner

tommy merritt-2KILGORE — Former East Texas State Representative Tommy Merritt has announced he will be a candidate for the Republican nomination for Texas agriculture commissioner. That’s according to the Kilgore News-Herald. “After months of canvassing the state, I am flattered and encouraged by the overwhelming support I have received from across the state to take this important step,” Merritt said. “Texas needs an agriculture Commissioner who understands what farmers and ranchers are facing in these tough economic times.” Merritt has spent his entire life working in and around agriculture. “I’m no newcomer wannabe looking for a temporary job on the political career ladder,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me to bring the state what I know best – the needs of farmers, ranchers and landowners.” Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Recognized for Alerting Occupants of Structure Fire

thumb_tyler-fire-dept-logoTYLER — The Tyler Fire Department has recognized Cadarius Wheeler, a junior at John Tyler High School, for what are termed his bravery and quick actions in alerting the residents of a recent residential structure fire. The fire occurred on October 9th in the 2600 block of Border Avenue. The recognition came during a short presentation before the last night’s homecoming football game between John Tyler and Lindale, with fire department representatives on hand to present the award. Read the rest of this entry »

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