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JFVD Saves Home in Joaquin - September 15, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department (JVFD) prevented a mobile home from completely burning down on Stone Street on the afternoon of Sunday, September 14, 2014.

JVFD firemen responded to the scene of the fire located at the residence of Blake Price at 199 Stone Street at 4:50pm where they located a fire on the back side of the house.

Although damage was incurred at the back door of the house, the firemen were able to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading throughout the rest of the home.

According to the fire department, the fire is suspected at this time to have been electrical in origin. The mobile home is owned by Mike Smith of Timpson.


Two-Vehicle Crash Results in Ambulance Transport of One Driver - September 15, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

The driver of one vehicle involved in a two-vehicle crash in Center was transported to a hospital for minor injury on Monday, September 15, 2014.

A grey 2001 Honda Minivan driven by Cristina Aviles, 39, of Center was exiting Logansport Street to the right onto Cotton Ford Road and failed to yield right of way to oncoming traffic.

The van which Aviles was driving struck the side of a blue 2001 Ford Contour driven by Valerie Phillips, 50, of Center. Phillips was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to ETMC in Carthage for minor injuries.

Citations were issued to Aviles for fail to yield right of way causing accident, fail to display driver's license and expired motor vehicle inspection.


Sheriff's Department Reports of IRS Scam, Asphalt Scam - September 15, 2014
Submitted by Shad Sparks

Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that an unknown person or persons is calling random people and stating that they are an IRS agent and attempting to get money from them. If they do not, they will be at their doorsteps within 45 minutes to collect. The IRS does not operate this way. The caller appears to have an Middle Eastern accent. Do not give this person your personal, banking or credit card information over the phone.

We have also been informed of an Asphalt company calling and wanting to pave your driveway for a small fee. Be very cautious of these people, as they have in the past, taken advantage of people, especially the elderly.


Five Way Water Supply Boil Water Notice - September 12, 2014
Submitted by Shirley Di Verdi

Due to water main break, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required our water System, Five Way Water, to notify customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption. This is for the customers that were out of water on 9/12/2014 south of spur 699.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to use. The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes. In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other
suitable source.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify you that the water is safe for consumption. Instructions to discontinue boiling will be issued in the same manner as this notice.

If you have any questions concerning this matter, you may contact Vince Di Verdi at 936-590-9177 or 936-591-1205.


Texas Medical Board Suspends Mahmood - September 12, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

Dr. Tariq Mahmood, 63, has received a suspension of his medical license by the Texas Medical Board at their August meeting. According to a press release issued by the Texas Medical Board, they issued disciplinary action to 41 physicians during that meeting and entered into an agreed order of voluntary suspension with Dr. Mahmood.

The document states the board found Dr. Mahmood has indicated his desire to voluntarily suspend his medical license in lieu of further disciplinary proceedings due to his initial conviction of conspiracy, identity theft and health care fraud stemming from fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims.

If Dr. Mahmood were ever to seek the removal of the suspension, the board has specific expectations of Dr. Mahmood which would include the complete and final resolution of any and all criminal charges and investigations that are currently pending, or any charges that may be brought as a result of the allegations.

Dr. Mahmood, the former owner of Shelby Regional Medical Center, was indicted on 15 counts of health care fraud violations on July 24, 2014. A jury convicted Mahmood of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud, and seven counts of aggravated identity theft following a four day trial. He faces 10 years in federal prison for the conspiracy conviction, 10 years for each health care fraud conviction and two years for each aggravated identity theft conviction.


Beware: Phishing Scam Alert - September 11, 2014
Composed by J.J. Ford

Scams continue to be a daily plague for everyone. Email is often times an easy way to target people in hopes of getting sensitive information which is referred to as phishing. Phishing is a form of online identity theft in which fraudsters trick Internet users into submitting personal information to illegitimate web sites.

A Shelby County Today viewer shared a phishing email he received recently which is shown in the image.

  • Do NOT respond to requests to "Verify" personal financial information.
  • Be suspicious of any communication that solicits sensitive information such as PIN and credit card or bank account numbers. The real companies do not contact customers in this manner.
  • Do not use links provided in these e-mails, as they may lure you to phony, look-alike Web sites that exist solely for the purpose of stealing your identity.
  • When in doubt, contact the real company by telephone or by entering their web address yourself in the location bar of your browser.

Judge Assigns Receiver to Liquidate Former SRMC - September 10, 2014
Composed by J.J. Ford

Travelers on Hurst Street may have noticed activity at the former Shelby Regional Medical Center (SRMC.) 123rd Judicial District Judge Charles "Brick" Dickerson assigned on August 8, 2014 a court appointed receiver to inventory the contents of the building located at 602 Hurst Street, Center, Texas.

Currently all the contents of the facility are being inventoried. Once the inventory is completed and returned to the appointing court, as well as legal requirements are met, the contents of the hospital will be sold.

Everyone with medical records stored at the facility will be notified by mail and by public notice as to when and where they can be claimed.

The process the receiver follows is dictated by the court and will require a certain amount of time. Nothing can be sold nor can records be collected until the inventory as well as other requirements are met. The facility is closed to the public at this time.

The process was spurred by a motion for entry of default judgment which was filed by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. against Shelby Medical Holdings, LLC, Shelby Hospital, LLC, Eshna, Inc., Cameron Hospital, Inc. and Tariq Mahmood. The plaintiff, Wells Fargo Bank, filed the motion for relief of judgement against the aforementioned defendants for the sum of $1,251,621.38 as well as additional fees and expenses mentioned in the motion.


DPS Investigates Motorcycle, Truck Collisions - September 10, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

DPS investigated two crash incidents on Tuesday afternoon involving pickup trucks in Shelby County and a motorcycle in San Augustine County, with injuries reported in both incidents.

A two-vehicle crash involving pickup trucks occurred just near the Center Country Club on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 causing injury to one passenger and delaying the flow of traffic.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jordan Eastridge, at 4:30pm a 2003 tan GMC pickup truck (seen above) driven by Zachary Crockett, 24, of Center with passenger Keith Gustarvis, 40, was exiting County Road 4356 and failed to yield right of way to another truck on U.S. Highway 96 North.

As Crockett was entering Highway 96 Mario Borrentos, 52, of Center was traveling southbound in a 2002 gold Chevrolet pickup truck (seen below) on Highway 96 when Crockett attempted to cross in front of Borrentos to County Road 3770.

The front right of the Chevrolet struck the front left of the GMC and spun it around causing the two vehicles to collide again on their sides.

Gustarvis was transported by ACE EMS to ETMC Carthage for treatment of his minor injuries. Borrentos was cited for no driver's license and Crockett received citations for fail to yield right of way at stop intersection and no driver's license.

Assisting at the scene with traffic control was the Center Fire Department and Shelby County District Attorney's Investigation Division.

Motorcycle crash
A 2004 black Harley Davidson motorcycle ridden and driven by Ricky D. Rhodes, 54, of Center was traveling northbound on State Highway 147 in San Augustine just on the other side of the Shelby County line at 2pm when a crash occurred.

According to Trooper Eastridge, Rhodes was traveling through a sharp curve at an unsafe speed when the motorcycle exited the roadway to the left. Rhodes laid the motorcycle down in a ditch and struck a mailbox.

Rhodes was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. He was life-flighted from San Augustine Memorial hospital by Life-Air Rescue.

As of today (Wednesday, September 10) Rhodes is in stable condition at LSU Hospital in Shreveport.


Truck-Tractor Fire Ignites at Golden Chicken Farm - September 10, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

Golden Chicken farm, located on County Road (CR) 3129, was the scene of a truck-tractor fire on Wednesday morning, September 10, 2014. The Center Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of the fire 1.3 miles down CR 3129 at 8:35am.

When the firemen arrived at the scene the Eagle Eye Services chicken hauler truck was engulfed in flames. The firemen quickly began to engage the fire and worked to extinguish the flames. Once water was put on the fire it was quickly extinguished.

After the firemen completed their task, they returned to the station at 9:02am.

Click Post below if the video does not load.


Flags at Half Staff - Patriot Day - September 10, 2014
Submitted by Larry Hume

According to national law, September 11th of each year is Patriot day. Flags are to be flown at half-staff from sunup to sundown, Thursday, September 11, 2014. If you fly a flag outside that cannot be lowered respect for the day can be shown by tying a black rope or ribbon at the top of the flag staff.


Pedestrian Receives Life-Flight Following Crash - September 8, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

A two-vehicle crash resulting in injury to a pedestrian required the pedestrian to be life-flighted from the scene in Timpson on Saturday, September 6, 2014.

According to Timpson Police Officer Michael Williams, at 10:15am a 15-year-old driver of Timpson was traveling on Church Street in Timpson and was traveling toward FM 947 (Tennessee Road) in a white Infiniti Q45. The driver stated there was some shaking in the front of the car which caused her to lose control of the vehicle.

The Infiniti struck the passenger side of a parked maroon Toyota V6 Highlander which then struck Huey Williams, 80, of Timpson who was standing on the sidewalk.

Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service was dispatched to the scene and once there it was determined that a life-flight was necessary. The Timpson Volunteer Fire Department established a landing zone in Martin Luther King Park and Life-Air Rescue transported Williams to Good Shepherd Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

The 15-year-old driver was cited for no drivers license and no insurance. More information will be provided on the condition of Williams as it is made available.


Lumberton Man Loses Life Following Two-Vehicle Crash (Updated) - September 5, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

A Lumberton man lost his life on Friday, September 5, 2014 following a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 96 South.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 9:34am a black 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Howard Dean Steele, 54, of Lumberton, Tx. was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 96 South. As Steele entered the intersection of FM 2140 a white Dodge Ram DirecTV van driven by Lester Darnell Beuford Jr., 38, of Keithville, La. was traveling southbound into the same intersection.

Trooper Jones stated that Beuford failed to yield right of way to Steele as Beuford made a left turn onto FM 2140, and struck the Harley Davidson. The motorcycle continued onto the southbound shoulder where it crashed with Steele at a line of trees. The van came to a halt on FM 2140.

Steele was life-flighted from the scene of the crash to LSU hospital by Life-Air Rescue where he was pronounced deceased on arrival. The incident remains under investigation and charges are pending at this time.

Members of the Center Fire Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Precinct 1 and Precinct 5 Constables offices all assisted at the scene.
Jessie Griffith with ACE EMS expressed his gratitude at the scene, to the other emergency personnel for working so well together and assisting EMS with the patient.


Suspects Sought in Generator Theft - September 4, 2014
Submitted by Shad Sparks

Sometime between Sunday August 24th and Monday August 25th, 2014 suspect(s) unknown entered onto the Halstead residence located on Highway 87 South in Shelbyville, Texas and stole a Predator generator, model 68530, 7000 running watts, red and black in color. (Picture attached)

This case is under investigation by Investigator DJ Dickerson of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at www.centercrimestoppers.com. Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.


Shelby County Sheriff's Department Seeks Sexual Assault Suspect - September 4, 2014
Submitted by Shad Sparks

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a suspect wanted from the Shelby County area.

William Alexander Lopez of Center, Texas is wanted for a 1st Degree Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Lopez is described as a male, hispanic 5'3 tall, weighing 120lbs. Lopez is 23 years of age.

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at www.centercrimestoppers.com. Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.

Wide-Area Power Outage Affects Multiple Counties - September 4, 2014
Submitted by Britney Johnson

Due to an outage experienced by SWEPCO – Southwestern Electric Power Company, the DETEC service areas powered by our Center, Center South, Hilltop, Holly, San Augustine, Bronson, Black Ankle, Pendleton, Hemphill, Six Mile, Hurstown and Huxley Substations experienced a brief outage.  As of 3:27 PM, everyone should now have power restored.  Should you still be experiencing an outage, please contact Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative at 1-800-392-5986.

At this time, the cause of the outage is unknown.  Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time as DETEC worked with SWEPCO to have power restored as soon as possible. 

Man Receives Life-Flight After Incident with Vehicle in McClelland Community - September 4, 2014
Composed by J.J. Ford

One man was life-flighted from Shelbyville ISD following an incident in the McClelland Community involving a car.

A 9-1-1 call came into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 8:17pm on September 3, 2014 for an incident involving a vehicle in the McClelland Community area. A second 9-1-1 call came in reporting a vehicle had wrecked at the curve in front of McClelland Church.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, a 1999 Buick LeSabre passenger car, driven by a 17-year-old unlicensed driver, was driving at an unsafe speed in a curve on CR 2571. The driver ran off the roadway to the right and struck a culvert causing damage to the car.

The driver did not receive any injuries and was cited for no driver's license and unsafe speed.

According to witnesses at the scene, events leading up to the crash included a dispute between the minor driver and another male subject who jumped onto the hood of the 1999 Buick as it was driven off. The Buick had substantial damage to its windshield where it had been struck multiple times. The male subject on the hood of the Buick was thrown off the vehicle and received injuries requiring medical attention.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell confirmed the injured subject to be Matthew Trevino, age 27, of Center. ACE EMS arrived on scene to treat Trevino for his wounds and then transported him to the Shelbyville ball field parking lot where the Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department had established a landing zone for Life Air Rescue. Life Air Rescue then transported Trevino to
University Health in Shreveport.

Emergency personnel responding to the scene include, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies Cody Muse, and Adam Renfro; as well as Constable Pct. 2 Jamie Hagler.


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