East Texas News
EAST TEXAS — The Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) reported 47 new cases of coronavirus in Smith County Thursday. There are 593 active cases in Smith County and there have been 19,363 cases of recovery. Smith County has recorded 296 COVID-19 related deaths.
In Gregg County, there were 37 new cases reported Thursday, bringing the currently active total to 204. There have been 10,757 recoveries and 196 COVID-19 related deaths in Gregg County. For a current list of COVID vaccination providers in East Texas click here.
AUSTIN (AP/Staff) — Texas Republican lawmakers have advanced a sweeping elections bill aimed at continuing that party’s national push for tightening voting restrictions, even as Democrats have said the legislation would hurt voters of any party. Senate Bill 7 was authored by state Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineola. An agreement was reached between Republicans and Democrats in the House, and the bill passed early Friday with 20 amendments. The amendments included lowering initially proposed enhanced criminal penalties and instructing the state to develop an online format for tracking early ballots. The vote came after hours of debate. Both chambers would need to negotiate a final version of the bill before it could go to Gov. Greg Abbott.
LONGVIEW — The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man while they investigate a homicide on North White Oak Road in White Oak. According to our news partner KETK, the Sheriff’s Office began investigating on May 4 and has identified people who might have information about the homicide. Law enforcement is looking to speak with Brandon Allen Gilliam, 39. He is described as being 6’2”, 270 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes. Gilliam is a registered sex offender, and officers believe that he is non-compliant with the conditions of his registration. He is also wanted by the state parole board for a parole violation. If you have seen Gilliam, you should contact the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Investigator Jennifer Nieves, or submit your information to Gregg County Crime Stoppers at 903-236-STOP.
TYLER — A Smith County jury has convicted and sentenced a gang member who assaulted an officer, according to information from the district attorney’s office. 35-year-old Anthony Bendy Jr. gets 45 years in prison for manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance with a deadly weapon. Authorities say Bendy was stopped last year for a traffic offense, with officers finding drugs and over $1800 in cash. A fight ensued in which Bendy struck one officer in the face and slammed the other to the ground, causing a concussion and two broken ribs. Authorities say Bendy also unsuccessfully tried to take the injured officer’s weapon and then fled — finally being caught after four days. Bendy had four prior felony convictions.
TYLER — A Tyler man is dead after a crash on Toll 49 Thursday. According to our news partner KETK, the crash occurred on Toll 49 between Paluxy and Broadway around 4 p.m. The preliminary DPS report indicates that the driver of a 1998 Kawasaki motorcycle and the driver of a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, were both traveling westbound on Toll 49. The driver of the Chevrolet made an illegal U-turn, causing the motorcycle to strike the side of the truck. The driver of the motorcycle was identified as Christopher Lee Eickenhorst, 40. Eickenhorst was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Chevrolet was identified as Jamal Russell, 30, of Jacksonville. Russell was not injured in the crash. (more…)