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DPS Pursues Motorcycle into Shelby County, Suspect Remains at Large - May 22, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers


Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Horton is seen speaking with the passenger of the motorcycle as she sits by the motorcycle following the chase.

DPS Trooper Ricardo Segura investigated the Suzuki 600 motorcycle following the incident. He is seen being assisted by Gene Vail and his wrecker crew.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was engaged in a bi-county vehicle chase on Monday, May 18, 2015 south of Shelbyville and the suspect driver is still being sought.

At around 12am Texas DPS State Trooper Ricardo Segura was entering Shelby County on FM 147 as he attempted to pull over a blue Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle which was speeding and had two riders. As the motorcycle was 1 mile from the intersection with State Highway 87 South the driver of the motorcycle laid the motorcycle down beside the roadway.

When Trooper Segura brought his vehicle to a stop it was discovered the passenger was still with the motorcycle and her leg was trapped beneath it. While Trooper Segura removed the vehicle from atop the passenger, the driver fled into the woods.

Jamie Hagler, Constable Precinct 2, arrived shortly after with Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Horton to assist in the search for the suspect.

The passenger informed authorities she did not know the identity of the driver. Center Police Sgt. Scott Burkhalter arrived at the scene with K9 Taz to assist in searching for the suspect in the woods. ACE EMS transported the passenger from the scene to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for examination.

No information has been provided by DPS at this time pertaining to the suspect or passenger. Further information will be provided as it is made available.


Jamie Hagler, Constable Precinct 2, tried to gain information from the passenger relating to the driver of the Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle.
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DETEC Reports of Weather Related Outages - May 21, 2015
Submitted by Brittney Johnson

As of 12:40 PM approximately less than 30 members are without power due to the morning storms. These members are scattered in Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine and Jasper Counties.

Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative would like to thank the membership for their patience as crews have worked to restore power as quickly as possible. DETEC is proud of the hard work and extra hours crews have endured this storm season – thank a Lineman when you see one!

If you are still experiencing an outage please report it to DETEC at 1-800-392-5986.


Currently DETEC (Deep East Texas Electric Co-op) is reporting approximately 600 weather related outages.

Shelby Co. - approx. 50
San Augustine Co. - approx. 380 - Outages in Shelby and San Augustine Counties are primarily along Hwy 147 N in the Hawthorne, Bland Lake and Calgary Communities
Nacogdoches Co. - approx. 150 - FM 225 area, west of Nacogdoches
Sabine Co. - less than 20

Crews are working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.

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Center PD Traffic Stop Nets Drugs and Over $30,000 - May 20, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford


Shelby County Today was on scene as officers searched the vehicle where they recovered a large amount of narcotics and money. Center Police Officer Jake Gross is seen at the back of the vehicle as Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Bradley Horton searches the passenger side of the vehicle with Sgt. Scott Burkhalter.

Center Police Department traffic stop nets an assortment of drugs, a gun, and over $30,000 in suspected drug money in the early hours of Tuesday morning on Hurst Street.

According to a Center Police Department press release, Sgt. Scotty Burkhalter with his K9 partner, "Taz", observed a black Chrysler 300 leaving Wal-Mart parking lot without headlights turned on at 1:30am on May 19, 2015. Sgt. Burkhalter initiated a traffic stop in the 800 block of Hurst Street and made contact with the driver of the Chrysler, Benny Earl Holmes, 25, of Tenaha.

Burkhalter observed Holmes was reaching into the floor board of the vehicle while Burkhalter was talking to him. Burkhalter ordered Holmes to get out of the vehicle and to show his hands. He complied after several commands to do so.

Coming from the vehicle Sgt Burkhalter smelled a strong odor of Marijuana and placed Holmes into custody for further investigation.

Arriving on scene and assisting Burkhalter was Center PD Officer Jake Gross along with Shelby County Sheriff Deputy Michael Griffin and Deputy Bradley Horton. During the investigation a .380 caliber pistol was located in the floorboard next to two big bags of marijuana.

The search concluded with the seizure of 13.6 grams of methamphetamine, powder cocaine, over a quarter pound of marijuana, a large amount of assorted pills, $30,616 in US Currency, and a pistol.

The suspect was charged with seven (7) felonies which includes possession with intent to distribute and money laundering. Holmes was taken to the Center Police Department.

The Center Police Department wants to thank Sheriff Willis Blackwell for his deputies and the help they provided.

 

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Sheriff's Department Seeking Information on Deer Lease Items Theft - May 20, 2015
Press Release

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on April 11th, 2015 suspect(s) entered onto the property of a deer lease located on County Road 1017 in Center, Texas and stole items such as a utility trailer with deer stands, deer feeder, solar panels, trail cameras, and buddy heaters. A photograph was provided from a trail camera that shows a vehicle of interest that was on the deer lease on April 09th, 2015 at approximately 12:33pm. The property was stolen on April 11th, 2015 at approximately 12:42am. Photographs were also provided depicting the some of the stolen property.

If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-598-5600 and ask to speak with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson or Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

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.

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Sheriff's Department Reports of Drug Arrest - May 20, 2015
Press Release

Sheriff Willis Blackwell would like to report that on the 12th of May at around 12am Sergeant Michael Griffin while on routine patrol made a traffic stop on a vehicle for an expired registration on Martin Luther King Drive in Center. Sergeant Griffin identified the driver as James Allen Watson, 41, of Joaquin with passenger Crystal Monique Steffen, 26, of Center.

During the course of the traffic stop, Sergeant Griffin observed the driver to be nervous and was denied consent to search the vehicle. Sergeant Burkhalter and K9 Taz with the Center Police Department was contacted to perform an open air sniff around the vehicle. K9 Taz alerted on the vehicle as containing possible narcotics and a search of the vehicle was performed.

During the search a usable amount of methamphetamine was located along with several items of drug paraphernalia. James Allen Watson was placed under arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance (state jail felony) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (class C misdemeanor).

This illustrates the inter agency cooperation between different law enforcement agencies committed to make Shelby County a better place. We would like to stress if you observe anything you believe to be suspicious or believe there is illegal drug activity in your neighborhood to please feel free to call your local agency or report it to the Center Crime stoppers.

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Shelby County Sheriff's Department Seeking Information on Vehicles Break-Ins - May 20, 2015
Press Release

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that sometime on Monday, May 18th, 2015 at 10pm to Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 4am, unknown suspect(s) entered into several vehicles in Shelby County. Areas in which the burglaries occurred were in the James/Antioch Communities on County Road 3215 and FM 2608. Suspect(s) stole a Pioneer stereo system and money.

If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-598-5600 and ask to speak with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson or Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

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.

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Tree Falls Across Gladstone Causing Gas and Electric Damage - May 18, 2015
Composed by Sean Martin

Update: As of 5:10pm the tree has been cleared from Gladstone and the roadway is back open.

Residents on Gladstone in Center got quite a surprise when a large oak tree fell across the street Monday, May 18, 2015 at 11:30am.


City of Center crews clearing the tree from the roadway

In the process of falling, the tree broke a gas meter and struck some overhead power line. Center police, fire department and street crews were called out to the scene. Also notified was SWEPCO and Center Point Energy.

While Center PD blocked off the street firemen made repairs to the meter. Upon securing the scene and beginning clean up, it was discovered the tree had fallen on a small car parked along the curb on the opposite side of the street. The car at the time was unoccupied and received damage to its top as well as the front window being busted out.


Tree across Gladstone

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Joaquin Sees Flooding as Rain Pours Down in Shelby County - May 18, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

 

The photos in this album include submissions by viewers as well as photos taken by Shelby County Today.

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, May 18, 2015

The Shelby County area has received a great deal of rain as the result of storms which have blown through. Joaquin and Haslam have a lot of flooding as a result. Shelby County Today captured, and viewers submitted, photos of roadways and homes in the area.

These photos have been included in a photo album on the Shelby County Today Facebook and can be viewed there.

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Timpson ISD Early Release on Monday, Late Start on Tuesday - May 18, 2015
Submitted by Mid Johnson

Timpson ISD will release today at 1:45 because of pending road conditions. We plan to run buses at 2:00 p.m. or shortly thereafter as road conditions allow.

Timpson ISD Late Start on Tuesday, May 19th - The Timpson ISD will have a late start at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning to allow for better bus visibility.

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Shelbyville ISD Late Start Time for Tuesday - May 18, 2015
Submitted by Debbie Gilchrist

Shelbyville I.S.D. will start classes one hour later than normal on Tuesday, May 19th due to the prediction of flooding roads in our area. This will allow for better visibility for bus drivers and others.

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Joaquin ISD Statement: Early Release and Buses Not Running - May 18, 2015
Submitted by Donna Vergo

Road conditions have deteriorated to such a point that Joaquin ISD has decided not to run bus routes this afternoon, Monday, May 18, 2015. Students will be held at the school with supervision until parents can pick them up. This is a highly unusual situation and this decision has been made in an effort to keep all students safe.

School is being dismissed at 1:10 pm for all students.

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DETEC Reporting 1,300 Members Out - May 18, 2015
Submitted by Brittney Johnson

As of 4 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 130 members remaining without power due to the severe weather.

Nacogdoches Co: approx. 70 (with the majority located in the Etoile area)
San Augustine Co: less than 5
Sabine Co: approx. 55 (Hemphill)


As of 1 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 230 member without power due to the severe weather.

Panola Co: approx. 85 members out
Shelby Co: approx. 80
Nacogdoches Co: less than 10
San Augustine Co: approx. 50
Sabine Co: less than 5


As of 11 AM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 1,300 member without power due to the severe weather.

Panola Co: 550 members out – due to an outage experienced by SWEPCO whom feeds the DETEC line.

Shelby Co: 95
Nacogdoches Co: 60
San Augustine Co: 450
Sabine Co: 150
Jasper Co: less than 10

Crews are currently out working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. To report an outage, please call: 1-800-392-5986.

DETEC would like to remind members to be safe - STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Consider them all to be live and dangerous. Call DETEC at 1-800-392-5986 to report downed lines and outages.

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FM 699 Scene of Two-Vehicle Crash Near Tenaha - May 17, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

FM 699 was the scene of a two-vehicle crash outside of Tenaha on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Residents at the scene of the crash were first to check on those involved in the crash and to contact 9-1-1.

Jessie Griffith with ACE EMS arrived with law enforcement and the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department and began treatment of injured parties.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 1:20pm a white 2012 GMC Sierra SLE pickup truck driven by Marion Jackson, 71, of Joaquin was traveling north on FM 699 1/2 mile from U.S. Highway 84. At the same time a blue 2013 Ford Fusion driven by Doyle Taylor, 83, of Joaquin was traveling south when he blacked out due to a medical condition and the Fusion crossed into the northbound traffic lane.

Jackson attempted to avoid colliding with Taylor by vacating his lane and entering the southbound lane, which is a legal action. Taylor regained consciousness and when he saw what was happening he attempted to veer the Fusion back into the correct lane; however, the vehicles still sideswiped each other head-on on the front right driver side and disabling both vehicles in the middle of the roadway.

Emergency personnel from the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department and Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department provided traffic control at the scene while those involved in the crash were examined by ACE EMS.

Taylor was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of his minor injuries. Following examination by EMS, Jackson and his passenger Dewana Jackson, 38, of Joaquin refused transport to the hospital.

No citations have been issued at this time.

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National Weather Service Issues a Special Weather Alert (10:18am) - May 18, 2015

10:17 AM CDT Mon May 18, 2015

Significant weather advisory for west central DeSoto Parish, north central Shelby, and southeastern Panola Counties unit 11:00am CDT.

At 10:16am Doppler radar was tracking a strong thunderstorm near Tenaha or 8 miles south of Carthage moving northeast at 45 MPH.

Winds in excess of 40 MPH will be possible with this storm.

Locations impacted include: Logansport, Tenaha, Joaquin, Gary City, Keachi, Grand Cane, Longstreet, Front, Gloster, Reeds Store, Midyett, Woods, Deadwood, Paxton, and Kickapoo.

Torrential rainfall is also occurring with this storm and may lead to flash flooding.


10:08 AM CDT Mon May 18, 2015

Significant weather advisory for western Sabine Parish, Southeastern Shelby, Sabine, and northeastern San Augustine Counties until 11:00am CDT.

At 10:07am CDT Doppler radar was tracking a line of strong thunderstorm along a line extending from near Bland Lake to near Rosevine and moving northeast at 40mph.

Wind gusts up to 50 mph will be possible with these storm.

Locations impacted include: Milam, Hemphill, Pineland, Patroon, Rosevine, Noble, Columbus, Sexton, Bronson, and Toledo Bend Reservoir north.

Torrential rainfall is also occurring with these storms and may lead to flash flooding. Do not drive your vehicle through flooded roadways. .

If on or near Toledo Bend, get out of the water and move indoors or inside a vehicle. Remember, lightening can strike out to 15 miles from the parent thunderstorm. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Move to as safe shelter NOW. Do not be caught on the water in a thunderstorm.

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Sheriff's Department Reports on Vickers Arrest - May 15, 2015
Press Release

On Friday, May 15, 2015 Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that Johanna Vickers, 36, was arrested for the offense of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student and the offense of Sexual Assault of a Child, both 2nd degree felonies. The need for an investigation was reported to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office by Shelbyville I.S.D. who then fully cooperated with the Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation.

Sheriff Blackwell would also like to thank the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center who has purchased and donated through a grant to local law enforcement earlier this year of a Universal Forensic Extraction Device which played a key roll in the investigation.

Mrs. Vickers was booked into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department jail facility and arraigned by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Marla Denby with bond being set at a total of $50,000 dollars for both charges.

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Shelbyville ISD Teacher Under Arrest; School Superintendent Issues Statement - May 15, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

A Shelbyville ISD teacher has been arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department on charges of improper relationship between educator and student and sexual assault of a child.

Johanna Vickers, 35, of San Augustine was arrested Thursday, May 14, 2015 on the aforementioned charges at 8:10pm and released at 9:50pm on two $25,000 bonds. At this time a press release is pending from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Shelby County Today visited with Dr. Ray West, Shelbyville ISD Superintendent, to gather information from the district on the situation. Dr. West issued the following statement:

"Johanna Vickers, a teacher with Shelbyville High School, resigned Wednesday May 13, 2015 from the school district. She is no longer an employee of the school district. At the time of her resignation Ms. Vickers noted she was resigning for personal reasons and did not admit any wrongdoing related to the investigation for possible behavior involving her and a Shelbyville High School student. The investigation into the possible inappropriate conduct was initiated as an internal school investigation led by Jud Matthews, Shelbyville ISD Police Chief; however, early in the process Shelbyville ISD brought local law enforcement in to oversee the investigation since the case included the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by a school district employee.

"Since this is still an open and ongoing investigation the school district cannot offer comments regarding specifics of the case; however, it's to be noted that at the time of Ms. Vickers resignation nothing had been uncovered as far as an actual criminal act. This is a very fluid situation and it seems like with each passing day and maybe even each passing hour more things are being uncovered. It's my understanding as of this morning that she was actually arrested and charged. It's extremely troubling anytime something like this happens and it's something that disappoints all of us.

"We've got to remember that we have to allow enforcement officials to uncover facts for the investigation and not confuse things with rumors and speculation and allow the fact finding process to occur. Whenever any employee is accused of violating the trust that's given to educators that's a sad day for all of us. It doesn't change the fact that we must stay unyielding to our commitment to our students in providing a safe educational environment. Also, it doesn't take away from the fact that we stay committed to continuing the trust with our parents and stakeholders. Shelbyville ISD is a great place to be and will continue to be that and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other enforcement officials from the state who will likely become involved with this because it is an educator who earned their certificate.

"From my seat we will do whatever we can to make sure that if something's been violated then that person is going to have to face the consequences at the state level."

In addition to his statement, Dr. West spoke further of the rapidly changing situation involving the investigation, "A lot of times these investigations drag on, this has been extremely rapid in terms of how investigations unfold. I haven't really been involved in a lot of investigations but [they do take some time] to the point of frustration with everybody that wants to know what's going on. In this case this has really moved. There's families involved, there's children involved and nobody wins when something like this happens and we've just gotta keep doing our best to try to safeguard against it happening in the future and trying to make that for everybody else that we help them get through it and we move forward, but it's a disappointing day it really is."

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NWS Issues Flash Flood Watch - May 13, 2015

3:37pm CDT Wednesday, May 13, 2015

National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch in effect through the evening hours Wednesday, May 13, 2015 for Shelby County.

A line of thunderstorms is poised to move across much of the East Texas late afternoon and evening. Some training of thunderstorms will bring the threat of very heavy rainfall on still wet soil, bayous, rivers and lakes.

The flash flood watch is in effect until 1am CDT Thursday for portions of Southeast Oklahoma and Texas including the following areas in Southeast Oklahoma, McCurtain, and in Texas, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Rusk, San Angustine, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur and Wood.

A wide line of thunderstorms that will likely have training echoes that will be capable of producing heavy rainfall totals. The soil is still primed for quick runoff into already high bank bayous, rivers, and lakes. Rainfall amounts of one to three inches will occur in many locales with isolated higher amounts not out of the realm of possibility.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions

A flash flood watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation. You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash flood warnings be issued.

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Logansport Woman Injured in Joaquin Crash - May 13, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

A Logansport woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon, May 13, 2015 in Joaquin resulting in her transport to the hospital. Emergency personnel including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner, at 4pm a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban drive by Linda Blunt, 65, of Logansport was traveling from Houston east on U.S. Highway 84. Blunt did not recall what happened, and possibly fell asleep when she failed to maintain a single lane and left the roadway to the right. The Suburban traveled through a ditch and then over a culvert before the rear end skidded to the right and struck a utility pole on the right rear passenger door.

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department provided traffic control at the scene and assisted as ACE EMS administered treatment to Blunt. She was then transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of minor injuries.

No citations have been issued as of the time of this report.

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SCSO Press Release for Shooting Incident, 1 Deceased, 1 in ICU - May 13, 2015
Submitted by Sergeant Dickerson, Shelby County Sheriff's Office

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Sunday, May 10, 2015 at approximately 5:49PM, a deputy responded to 3678 FM 139 in Joaquin, Texas in reference to an altercation that had occurred between a John Leggett, James Leggett, and Richard Sharp, Sr.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 deputies were dispatched to the same location at approximately 1:06PM in reference to a shooting incident involving James Leggett, Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr.

Upon arrival, deputies found Richard Sharp, Sr. deceased in the front yard of James Leggett's residence and Richard Sharp, Jr. having received a gunshot wound to the right leg. Richard Sharp, Jr. was treated by ACE EMS and lifeflighted by LifeAir Rescue to LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana.

It was found that James Leggett had shot both Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr. at his residence. No charges have been filed at this time. Texas Rangers Brazil and Rayburn are investigating along with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham. All evidence was mapped, cataloged, and packaged for processing. Texas DPS Crime Scene team also came to the Leggett residence to map evidence.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Judge Margie Anderson pronounced Richard Sharp, Sr. as deceased at 1:45PM and an autopsy was ordered. Richard Sharp, Jr. was reported to be in ICU at LSU hospital.

This case is under investigation. A Grand Jury will hear all evidence of the case.

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Shelbyville ISD School Bus Involved in Crash (Update) - May 13, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Shelbyville ISD representatives responded to a two-vehicle crash involving a school bus and an 18-wheeler on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Students were on the bus when the collision occurred and another school bus was called to the scene to pick them up. No students were reported to have received any injuries at the scene.

(Update): According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 7:14am a 2004 Kenworth hauling a tanker trailer owned by MKO Trucking driven by Leon Hardaway, 25, of Center was traveling south on FM 3172 just under two miles from the intersection of FM 2694 in Huxley.

A yellow Thomas school bus owned by Shelbyville ISD (bus #2) and driven by Kenneth Gregston, 24, of Center was traveling north with 12 minor passengers. As the school bus and the 18-wheeler passed one another in a curve in the roadway two tires on the rear axle driver side of the 18-wheeler came of the hub assembly. Gregston attempted to avoid the tires and left the roadway to the right more than expected with the tires striking the front driver's side quarter panel. Gregston continued on a path through the ditch and came to a stop along the tree line.

Unaware the collision occurred, Hardaway continued to his destination. Once he was aware the collision occurred he returned to the scene of the crash. Students onboard school bus number 2 were transferred to school bus number 17 so they could be safely transported to school.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. No citations were issued as the crash was due to mechanical failure.

 

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Provisional Votes Change Timpson Election Outcome - May 12, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers


City of Timpson Mayor Debra Pate Smith is seen assisting City Secretary Leslie Leathers posting the new results of the Timpson city election.

Provisional votes are in for the 2015 City of Timpson election and they have altered the results. The ballots provided an additional two votes for both Janell Baker and George Grace. As a result Grace's gain of two votes put him over Kenny Walker by one vote and put him back in the council seat.

The new results are as follows:
City of Timpson: The three (3) council member positions were won by Kyle Allen, Janell Baker, and George Grace. Kyle Allen received 95 votes, Jannell Baker received 82 votes, George Grace received 78 votes, Linda Hancock received 74 votes, and Kenneth Walker received 77 votes.

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Neighbor Dispute Results in Shooting Death, Injury - May 12, 2015
Composed by JJ Ford

A dispute between neighbors ends badly with a shooting incident ending the life of one and sending another by Life Air Rescue to LSU hospital in Shreveport with a gun shot wound.

Shelby County Sheriff Department is on scene and Texas Rangers are on the way to investigate. Shelby County Today has been on scene and no additional information is available at this time. ACE EMS was on scene to provide emergency care and Joaquin VFD assisted with the landing zone and traffic control.

More information will be provided as it is made available.

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Three Transported to Hospital From U.S. 96 Crash - May 11, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

Three people were transported to the hospital following a single-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 96 North 1/2 mile north of CR 3765 which occurred at 1:35pm on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

Three passersby including two women and a man stopped to help the occupants and called 9-1-1. Once emergency personnel arrived, the Center Fire Department began working traffic control and assisting ACE EMS in loading the crash victims into an ambulance.

The vehicle, a black Chevrolet Blazer driven by Adrian Cordova-Caporali, 26, was heading southbound on U.S. Highway 96 North when the Blazer left the roadway to the right. The Blazer came back on the roadway and once in the inside lane made a hard right and began to flip. The vehicle then left the roadway again and rolled down an embankment where it came to rest facing north.

Caporali and his passengers Maria Angelica Poot-Dzib, 20, and an 11-month-old female child were all transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries.

The crash is under investigation by Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Daniel Dellenger. No citations have been reported at this time. Adam Renfro, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy also assisted at the scene.

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National Weather Service Short Term Forecast Issued at 12:41pm - May 11, 2015
NWS Hazardous Weather Conditions

12:41pm CDT, Monday, May 11, 2015

The National Weather Service has issued a short term forecast for Shelby County and surrounding area. A large area of rain and possible embedded thunderstorms will continue to move very slowly to the Northeast. Expect rainfall amounts to vary from a trace in some locations, to upwards of half an inch or more in isolated areas. People are urged to use caution as saturated grounds, along with additional rainfall could result in low lying flood or ponding on roadways.

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Cities, Schools Unofficial Election Results - (Update) May 9, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford

Ballots have been cast and counted and election results for cities and schools this May 9th election day are:

City of Joaquin: The new mayor of Joaquin is Bill Baker. Bill Baker received 58 votes and Pat Gray received 52 votes. (Mike Wood did not run for re-election.)

The two (2) at large City Council positions were won by Mike Adkinson and Joe Long. Mike Adkinson received 69 votes, Lee Vern Stotts Gilliam received 46 votes, and Joe Long received 55 votes.

Joaquin ISD: The two (2) board positions were won by Ronnie Belrose and Tom Harvey. Ronnie Belrose received 170 votes, Maggie Bowdin received 135 votes, Tom Harvey received 289 votes, and Jay Wilson received 152 votes. (Luke Garrett did not run for re-election)


Shelbyville ISD: The two (2) board positions were won by the two incumbents, Etola Jones and Joe Tom Schillings. Brad Hinton received 74 votes, Etola Jones received 151 votes, Chris Koltonski received 97 votes, Clint Norton received 34 votes, Joe Tom Schillings received 155 votes, and Latashia Thompson received 75 votes.


City of Tenaha: The three (3) council member positions were won by Michael Baker, Natalie Harris, and Claudine Howard. Michael Baker received 96 votes, Natalie Harris received 94 votes, Claudine Howard received 56 votes, and Larry Terry received 53 votes.

Tenaha ISD: The three (3) board positions were won by Joe Anderson, Robert Barton, and David Fallin. Joe Anderson received 153 votes, Robert Barton received 119 votes, David Fallin received 159 votes, Korey McClure received 89 votes, and Bo Morris received 87 votes.


City of Timpson: The three (3) council member positions were won by Kyle Allen, Janell Baker, and Kenneth Walker. Kyle Allen received 95 votes, Jannell Baker received 80 votes, George Grace received 76 votes, Linda Hancock received 74 votes, and Kenneth Walker received 77 votes.

Provisional ballots have come in and have changed the result of the Timpson Election, Click here to see the outcome.

Timpson ISD: The three (3) board positions were won by Dannie Hunt, Carlos Johnson, and Jim Rader. Linda Fraizer Todd received 77 votes, Dannie Hunt received 140 votes, Carlos Johnson received 136 votes, and Jim Rader received 164 votes. (Tracy Hooper and Beth Tipton did not run for re-election)

*Election results must be canvassed by the City Council or School Board before they are official.

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Seeking Information About Burglaries in Jericho Community - May 8, 2015
SCSO Press Release

Updated with more information

According to an updated press release, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department has discovered more areas which were burglarized.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Friday, May 08th, 2015, unknown suspect(s) forced entry into (5) residences in Shelby County.

The areas in which the burglaries occurred were (1) on FM 417 West, (2) in the Jericho Community, (1) on County Road 1234, and (1) on County Road 1510. Suspect(s) stole firearms, boots, clothing, a Sentry safe and money.


Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Friday, May 08th, 2015 between the hours of 9:00am and 10:00am, unknown suspect(s) forced entry into (2) residences located in the Jericho community on FM 711. Suspect(s) stole firearms, pair of Ostrich boots, a Sentry safe and money.

If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-598-5600 and ask to speak with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson or Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

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.

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Center Crime Stoppers Seeks Information on Chisenhall (Update) - May 6, 2015
Submitted by Investigator DJ Dickerson

Update: At approximately 6:04pm this evening, Investigator DJ Dickerson along with Investigator Kevin W. Windham apprehended John Robert Chisenhall on the Theft >=$1500<20k, SJF warrant.

Center Crime Stoppers is seeking information on the whereabouts of John Robert Chisenhall, 34, of Center who has a warrant for Theft of Property >=$1500<$20,000, a State Jail Felony. Mr. Chisenhall is described as being a white male, 5'11” tall, and weighing 165 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

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.

If a caller does not wish to remain anonymous or receive a reward, they may call the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 936-598-5600 and speak with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson or Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

If anyone is found to be hindering the apprehension, harboring or concealing, providing or aiding with any means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape or warns Mr. Chisenhall of impending discovery or apprehension will be arrested and charged in accordance with Penal Code 38.05 Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, a 3rd Degree Felony.

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Car Crashes on FM 415, Driver Arrested - May 6, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The driver of a vehicle on FM 415 was arrested after emergency personnel was dispatched to a car fire on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 where the vehicle crashed by the roadway.

When the Center Fire Department arrived the car was completely engulfed in flames. As the fire truck arrived the firemen quickly began pulling hoses and putting water to the fire. The flames were quickly quenched and the firemen prevented the fire from spreading into the woods where the vehicle had come to rest. While putting out the remainder of the flame the firemen discovered a canine passenger had perished in the vehicle.

ACE EMS, Texas Department of Public Safety and Kurtes Lawrence, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy, also arrived at the scene soon after the firemen. Once the driver was cleared by EMS, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper Jade LaVergne began her investigation during which the driver of the vehicle was placed under arrest.

According to DPS Trooper LaVergne, sometime just before 4:38pm a maroon 2001 4-door sport utility vehicle Hyundai driven by Ernest Young, 48, of Timpson was traveling on FM 415 toward FM 138 when he failed to maintain a single lane in a curve and left the roadway to the right before striking a tree and rolling the vehicle. The vehicle caught fire after it came to rest.

Young showed signs of intoxication once DPS Trooper LaVergne arrived and was subsequently arrested for driving while intoxicated due to poor performance on field sobriety tests provided.

The Center Fire Department and local passersby helped with traffic control and held the scene until the vehicle was towed.

Car #Crashes on FM 415, Driver #Arrested - Read the story on #ShelbyCountyToday at the following link - www.shelbycountytoday.com/sctNewsspecial.php#cf4

Posted by Shelby County Today on Wednesday, May 6, 2015
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Boil Water Notice Lifted For Sand Hill - May 5, 2015
Submitted by Randall Lout

The Boil Water notice that was issued for part of Sand Hill Water Supply has been lifted as of April 30, 2015.

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Firemen Respond to Volatile Barn Fire in Shelbyville Area, Livestock Perishes - May 4, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford

Firemen from Center and Shelbyville responded to a dangerous barn fire Sunday, May 3, 2015 due to explosive material in close proximity to the blaze.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department received a 9-1-1 call around 3:30pm for a barn on fire on CR 1092 in the Shelbyville area on the property of Mike Lout. The Shelbyville V.F.D. and the Center F.D. were both dispatched and advised several vehicles parked near the barn had already caught on fire and there were fuel storage tanks located nearby.

Shelbyville Volunteer Firemen were first to arrive on scene and began attacking the blaze as well as ensuring the safety of the fuel tanks to prevent an explosion. The Center Volunteer Firemen soon arrived and together the departments worked to extinguish the flames.

There was an added concern when the firemen were informed of the possibility of someone being located inside the burning structure along with livestock. Once the flames were knocked down enough, several firemen entered the structure to search. The person was located by family to be elsewhere and safe. It was confirmed during the search the livestock inside the barn perished.

Much of the building was destroyed along with farm equipment, several vehicles and trailers. The firefighters did save a portion of the structure which was a work shop area and they prevented the fire from spreading to any of the nearby structures. No one was injured from the fire.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell and Deputy Bradley Horton both responded to the scene of the fire as well.

Firemen Respond to Volatile Barn Fire in Shelbyville Area; Livestock Perisheshttp://www.shelbycountytoday.com/sctNewsspecial.php#u8s

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, May 4, 2015


 
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U.S. 84 Scene of Single-Vehicle Crash in Timpson - May 4, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers


Seen above is the path the Honda took as it left the roadway.

U.S. Highway 84 in Timpson was the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Monday, May 4, 2015.

According to Timpson Police Officer Michael Williams, at 3:15pm L'erin Brinson, 34, of Timpson was traveling west on U.S. Highway 84 in a silver Honda. Just under 1/2 mile from the U.S. Highway 59 intersection the Honda traveled off the roadway to the left and through a fence to a horse pasture. The vehicle continued to travel parallel with the roadway through the pasture until it struck another fence.

Once through the fence the Honda continued to travel the front yard of a residence beside the pasture where it struck several items in the yard and just scraped by a horse sculpture in the yard. From there the vehicle finally came to rest when it struck another horse pasture fence.

The Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service (TVAS) and Timpson Volunteer Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene.

Brinson refused treatment by TVAS and went home by private vehicle. The crash remains under investigation and no citations have been issued as of the time of this report.


The photos above show the path the Honda took as it traveled through the yard where it just scraped the horse sculpture before finally coming to rest
against a pasture fence.

 

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Center Man Arrested Following Shooting Incident Involving Huxley Vehicle - May 4, 2015
Press release

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Friday, May 1, 2015 at approximately 7:30am, Shelby County Sheriff's Department Deputy Roy Bailey responded to a reported shooting that occurred on State Highway 87, South of Loop 500 in Center, Texas.

An employee with the City of Huxley was traveling South on Highway 87, south of the Loop 500 in a City of Huxley work truck when a Ford F350 4-door dually pickup, red in color came up beside him and began yelling at the victim in a road rage incident. According to the victim, the suspect brandished a tan pistol and fired one shot in which the bullet was found to have traveled through the left side of the City of Huxley work truck and lodged in a new gas meter that was in the bed of the pickup. The victim provided a description of both the vehicle and the suspect.

During the course of the investigation, the suspect was found to be a Spencer Ryan Niedert, 25, of Center. Mr. Niedert was found to be in a red Ford F-350 4-door dually pickup and was positively identified by the victim. The pistol was also recovered. A warrant was issued for Mr. Niedert and he was arrested for one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Felony 2. Mr. Niedert was booked into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department jail.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Jenny Hicks arraigned Mr. Niedert on Saturday, May 2, 2015 and set bond at $45,000.

This case was investigated by Shelby County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

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Jury Summons For May 11th Canceled - May 4, 2015
Submitted by Lori Oliver

The Jury that has been summons for Monday, May 11, 2015, for the 273rd District Court, Honorable Charles R. Mitchell, presiding has been canceled due to the scheduled cases being resolved or passed.

Anyone receiving a summons for that day is released from jury service until they receive a future summons.

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Controled Burn Near Boles Field - May 4, 2015
Submitted by Marsha Cooper

Officials with the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Sabine National Forest, have advised a prescribed burn involving approximately 2,747 acres located around Boles Field Recreation Area off Farm Market Hwy 2694 on May 4, 2015. Winds are predicted from the Southeast, and long range drift may affect some of the areas.” Block A & B

We appreciate you helping us with public concerns when we burn.

*****

DETEC Crews Working to Restore Power - May 3, 2015

(Update): All power was restored at approximately 1:30. The cause of the outage was a green tree on the line. Approximately 400 members were affected by the outage. Thank you for your patience.

Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative reports currently a circuit served from our Center South Substation, located on Hwy 96 S just before the loop, is currently experiencing an outage. A crew is on site now to determine the cause and restore power as quickly as possible.

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New Loop Intersection Scene of Two-Vehicle Collision - April 30, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The new Loop 500 addition at the intersection of FM 699 was the scene of a two-vehicle collision on Thursday, April 30, 2015 requiring one driver to be transported to the hospital.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Anthony LaCount, at 2:30pm the crash occurred at State Loop 500 and FM 699 when a truck-tractor carrying a load of wet asphalt struck a gold Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Candy Broadus, 30, of Joaquin. The truck-tractor, a white Mack truck owned by Lone Star Location Services LLC., was driven by Michael Madison, 49, of San Augustine. As the Mercury was traveling north on FM 699 the truck-tractor was traveling west and entered the intersection where it collided with the right rear quarter panel of the Mercury causing it to spin around.

Trooper LaCount stated there is signage as far as the truck-tractors driving through on the state loop. The truck-tractors, according to TxDOT, all of them have been told they have to come to a complete stop at all of the intersections where construction is occurring on the new loop addition. The driver of the truck-tractor was coming from a road that has to yield right of way to an open road.

Broadus was transported to the Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries. Madison was cited for fail to yield right of way at open intersection.

When Shelby County Today was on scene, several truck-tractors which appeared to be hauling the same material crossed through the intersection.


Another truck-tractor is seen stopped at the road closed sign by the intersection
of FM 699
at the crash scene.

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Nigerian Witch Doctor Sentenced for East Texas Drug Trafficking Violations - April 30, 2015
Submitted by Davilyn Walston

BEAUMONT, Texas – A 58-year-old Lafayette, LA, man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Christopher Omigie, a Nigerian native and naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2014 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to information presented in court, Omigie presented himself to drug traffickers as a witch doctor and was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide supernatural protection from law enforcement. Omigie was consulted by drug traffickers in the Cesar Barrera and David Bazan drug trafficking organizations on a daily basis and before, during and after each drug transaction. The supernatural protections rendered involved card readings, massages (by Omigie) with magic ointments, cutting of the skin with razor blades and the topical application of magic powder, the use of magic amulets, magic belts, magic coconuts and magic rocks (that those being treated were required to talk to).

Drug traffickers were required by Omigie to go without bathing and intercourse for a period of time following magic treatments so as not to diminish the potency of those ministrations. Magic “law stay away” candles were also burned in order to protect drug traffickers from law enforcement detection. Omigie would regularly return to Africa, at drug traffickers’ expense, to re-new his supernatural powers. Omigie was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 5, 2013.

Cesar Barrera and David Bazan have since both pleaded guilty to schemes involving the trafficking of more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine each.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.

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Drivers Urged to Use Caution on Shelbyville Street - April 30, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

Travelers on Shelbyville Street in Center are urged to use caution as they travel across the railroad crossing located at Martin Luther King Drive on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

One arm of the crossing has been knocked off and the other arm is lowering at frequent intervals regardless of a train approaching or not. This is causing traffic delays and is making it difficult for drivers to know if a train is approaching. It's unknown how the gate reacts when a train does approach.

According to the Center Police Department, the railroad company has been notified as of 9am this morning; however, it is unknown from where a crew is traveling and when they will arrive.

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Sheriff Warns of IRS Scam - April 29, 2015
Submitted by Shad Sparks

(Updated 4/29) - A Shelby County viewer reported receiving a call from the IRS this morning with instructions to call (254) 304-8945 to pay taxes or they would be penalized or sued. Always use caution when receiving phone calls were the caller is threatening and demanding payment of money owed.

According to a consumer alert on irs.gov - Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.


Sheriff Willis Blackwell would like the citizens of Shelby County to be aware of several scams going around including an IRS scam.

The people are from the middle east and they call stating you owe the IRS some money and wanting you to send it to them by credit card or bank card and saying if you don't, you will be arrested.

The IRS does not operate this way at all. Do not send them anything. These people are very persistent. If they call; just hang up.

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Appraisal District Advise New Owners of Property Exemptions- April 28, 2015
Submitted by Robert Pigg, Chief Appraiser

When a property sells or ownership is changed for any reason, the new owner receives the exemptions and/or special use appraisal for the remainder of the calendar year. The next calendar year all exemptions and special use appraisals are removed. The new owner must submit a new application for any exemptions or special use appraisals that may apply.

Special use appraisals are appraisals based on an income approach for agricultural or timber use. Commonly misinterpreted as agricultural or timber exemptions.

Each year in late January or early February, the appraisal district sends a letter and an application to all properties where the exemptions and/or the special use appraisal have been removed. The appraisal district also sends an appraisal notice in mid-May of each year that reflects the removal of the exemptions and/or special use appraisal.

If a property owner ignores the letter/application or the appraisal notice reflecting the removal of the special use appraisal, when the appraisal roll is certified in late July, the property owner cannot receive the special use appraisal for that tax year. The appraisal district cannot go back and add this until the next year. The deadline for filing the special use appraisal is April 30th each year. Applications will be accepted, with a penalty, until late July when the tax roll is certified. It is critical that anyone who purchases or changes ownership to a tract of land, that has four acres or more, applies for the special use appraisal before July of this year.

If you have any questions, contact the appraisal district at (936) 598-6171.

*****

Tyson Works to Eliminate Use of Human Antibiotics by 2017 - April 28, 2015
Submitted by Anna Kimble-Roberson

Tyson Foods, Inc. said today it is striving to eliminate the use of human antibiotics from its U.S. broiler chicken flocks by the end of September 2017. The company will report annually on its progress, beginning with its fiscal 2015 Sustainability Report. Tyson Foods has already stopped using all antibiotics in its 35 broiler hatcheries, requires a veterinary prescription for antibiotics used on broiler farms and has reduced human antibiotics used to treat broiler chickens by more than 80 percent since 2011.

"Antibiotic resistant infections are a global health concern," said Donnie Smith, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "We're confident our meat and poultry products are safe, but want to do our part to responsibly reduce human antibiotics on the farm so these medicines can continue working when they're needed to treat illness."

"Given the progress we've already made reducing antibiotics in our broilers, we believe it's realistic to shoot for zero by the end of our 2017 fiscal year. But we won't jeopardize animal well-being just to get there. We'll use the best available treatments to keep our chickens healthy, under veterinary supervision," Smith said.

Tyson Foods is also forming working groups with independent farmers and others in the company's beef, pork and turkey supply chains to discuss ways to reduce the use of human antibiotics on cattle, hog and turkey farms. Those groups will begin meeting this summer.

Tyson Foods' international business is committed to taking similar measures on antibiotic use in its global chicken operations but has not set a timeframe.

Will Not Compromise Animal Well-Being; Need Alternatives to Human Antibiotics on Farm

Tyson Foods plans to work with food industry, government, veterinary, public health and academic communities, and provide funding, to accelerate research into disease prevention and antibiotic alternatives on the farm. The company is also getting input from its Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel, which is made up of independent advisors.

"One of our core values is to serve as responsible stewards of animals - we will not let sick animals suffer," Smith said. "We believe it's our responsibility to help drive action towards sustainable solutions to this challenge by working with our chicken, turkey, beef and pork supply chains."

Smith said today's announcement will not materially affect the company's financial performance

*****

Current Weather Related Outages of Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative - April 28, 2015
Submitted by Brittney Johnson

(Updated at 9:28am) Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is starting the morning off with less than 50 members remaining without power. These members are scattered throughout Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine and Newton counties. Crews worked throughout the night to restore power and continue to work until all power is restored.


(Updated at 12:29am) As of 12 AM, DETEC is reporting approximately 1,000 members remaining without power:

Nacogdoches Co. – approx. 230
San Augustine Co. – approx. 260
Sabine Co. – approx. 300
Newton Co. – approx. 200

Crews are currently still in the field working to restore power as quickly as possible.


(Updated at 8:43pm) As of 8 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 4,300 members remaining without power:

Shelby Co. – less than 10
Nacogdoches Co. – approx. 1160
San Augustine Co. – approx. 1200
Sabine Co. – approx. 600
Jasper Co. – less than 60
Newton Co. – approx. 450

Crews continue to work to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.

DETEC would like to remind members to be safe - STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Consider them all to be live and dangerous. Call DETEC at 1-800-392-5986 to report downed lines and outages.

Please report all outages, by calling: 1-800-392-5986



Submitted by DETEC, courtesy of Stephanie Dodson of the Browndell area in Jasper County.
(Updated at 3:30pm) As of 3 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 8,000 members without power:

Panola Co. – less than 5
Shelby Co. – approx. 900
Nacogdoches Co. – approx. 1300
San Augustine Co. – approx. 1200
Sabine Co. – approx. 3000
Jasper Co. – less than 20
Newton Co. – approx. 500

Contractors are working alongside DETEC crews to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. Crews are reporting trees on the lines and broken power poles due to the high winds.

DETEC would like to remind members to be safe - STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Consider them all to be live and dangerous. Call DETEC at 1-800-392-5986 to report downed lines and outages.

Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is currently experiencing widespread weather related outages. Over 7,000 members are currently without power in the areas of Weirgate, Horton Hill, Pineland, Broaddus and Etoile. Scattered outages are being reported in the San Augustine, Shelby and Nacogdoches counties.

Crews are currently working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.

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Driver Sent to Hospital Following Collision South of Shelbyville - April 24, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The driver of one vehicle was transported to the hospital following a crash south of Shelbyville on Thursday evening, April 23, 2015,

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Dustin Ramos, troopers were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at 6:31pm on State Highway (SH) 147 at the intersection of County Road 1095. Upon arrival it was discovered that a red 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Ashton Battles, 17, of San Augustine was parked on County Road 1095 at the stop sign and was preparing to enter SH 147.

A 2005 white Toyota Highlander driven by Lakoha Davis, 27, of Center was traveling southbound on State Highway 147 when Battles failed to yield right of way at the stop sign and pulled out in front of the Toyota causing Davis to collide with the rear driver side of the Chevrolet causing damage to both vehicles.

Davis was transported to San Augustine Memorial Hospital by San Augustine County EMS for treatment of her injuries. Battles received a citation for no driver's license and failure to yield right of way stop sign. The owner of the Chevrolet was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive.

Assisting at the scene was Jamie Hagler, Constable Precinct 2.

*****

East Texas Under Tornado Watch Until 10:00pm Friday - April 24, 2015

Tornado watch outline update for WT103
4:45 PM CDT Friday, April 24, 2015

Tornado Watch 103 is in effect until 10:00pm CDT for the following locations in Texas.

Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Houston, Madison, Marion Morris Nacogdoches, Panola, Polk, Rusk, Sabine (TX), San Augustine, San Jacinto Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity Upshur, and Walker Wood

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U.S. 96 Intersection Scene of Two-Vehicle Collision - April 23, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

Two vehicles collided at what has proved over the years to be a dangerous intersection on U.S. 96 North Tuesday.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 1pm a maroon 2006 Ford Fusion 4-door owned and operated by Dory Alexander Hill, 65, of Tenaha was traveling northbound on U.S. 96 behind a white 2002 Chrysler Town & Country driven by Candy Vianey, 26, of Center.

As Vianey was turning left onto FM 2026 (Folsom Chapel Road) Hill failed to control the speed of her vehicle and collided with the rear of the Town & Country. The Fusion remained in the middle of the highway and the Town & Country pulled into the old Williams Propane parking lot.

Center Police officers Bobby Walker and Sgt. Duane Gordon, as well as Center firemen arrived at the scene to assist with traffic control.

ACE EMS responded to the scene. Vianey and her 3-year-old passenger were transported from the scene to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment. Hill refused treatment at the scene.

Hill was issued a citation for failure to control speed and Vianey was issued a citation for no driver's license.

Betty Mooney, a passerby at the scene, has property near the intersection and she has seen many vehicle crashes at the same location, under the same circumstances.

"They're coming so fast down that hill and then when one tries to jump over [from the inside lane] there's nowhere to go. I own this property right here I wish it was closer, I would have given the state the right-of-way for a turning lane," said Mooney.

Mooney explained her son had a crash further up the roadway toward the top of the hill and she believes the problem is travelers are going too fast and the speed is set too high, which at this time is 60mph. The greatest concern for Mooney is young inexperienced drivers who may be unable to make a quick decision to help prevent a crash and more importantly save their lives.

"I would like to say that this intersection is extremely dangerous. Going north toward Tenaha you are leaving the city limit sign [for Center] and going into a 60mph speed zone, where you're accelerating pretty fast coming downhill and making a left-hand turn onto Folsom Chapel (FM 2026) from 96 North, if you have someone behind you most of the time they don't have enough time to slow down due to already accelerating," said Mooney.

Mooney explains the two options available to drivers are not very safe and given the proper formula could cause a serious crash like what she says she has seen before.

"If they're able to stop they're probably going to slam on their brakes and they could hit you, otherwise if there's somebody on the other side of them [in the outside lane] they can't get over, so you could cause an accident that way and I've seen that happen also. I have deemed this intersection as a death trap."

According to information provided to Shelby County Today by the Texas Department of Transportation in relation to reportable motor vehicle traffic crashes related to the intersection of U.S. Highway 96 and FM 2026 from 2010-2015 there have been 16 crashes.

Reportable Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes Related
to the Intersection of US 96 and FM 2026 in Shelby County
Crash Year Fatal Crashes Incapacitating Injury Crashes Non-Incapacitating Injury Crashes Possible Injury Crashes Non-Injury Crashes Unknown Injury Crashes Total Crashes
2010 0 0 2 0 2 0 4
2011 0 0 0 1 4 0 5
2012 0 0 0 0 1 0 1
2013 0 0 0 2 2 0 4
2014 0 0 1 0 1 0 2
2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*****

Center Woman Arrested for Drug Possession - April 23, 2015
Press release

Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Saturday, April 18, 2015, Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Kurtes Lawrence, while on routine patrol on FM 417 West, noticed a vehicle parked on County Road 1042 facing oncoming traffic.

Lawrence approached the vehicle and saw a white female in the driver’s seat that appeared to be passed out. Lawrence checked the status of the female and identified her as Gena Cheshire, 36, of Center.

During the course of the investigation, Cheshire was asked to step from the vehicle. In the process of exiting her vehicle, she attempted to conceal an unknown item in her hand, later identified as drug paraphernalia.

Also discovered, was a clear plastic bag containing a white crystal like substance believed to be methamphetamine and a plastic bottle containing white oval tablets. A field test was conducted and turned a positive result for methamphetamine and the pills were discovered to be a prescribed narcotic.

Cheshire was arrested for possession of a controlled substance (two counts) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Justice of Peace Pct. 2 Marla Denby set bond at $10,000 and $5,000 for both possession charges.

*****

Sand Hills Water Supply Boiled Water Notice - April 23, 2015
Submitted by Cathy Adams

Due to water line break, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required our water system, Sand Hills Water Supply, to notify customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption. This is for the customers that were out of water on April 23, 2015 on County Road 1168. This only applies to the customers that were out of water.

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 : Randall Lout @ 936-590-1599

*****

State Highway 7 West Scene of Two-Vehicle Crash - April 23, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

State Highway 7 West near the intersection of FM 711 was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Emergency personnel with the Texas Department of Public Safety, ACE EMS, Center Fire Department and the Shelby County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to the scene of the crash.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Anthony LaCount, at 5:45pm Gwendolyn Garcia, 49, of Center driving a red Chevrolet Malibu, attempted to pull out from a private driveway 1200 feet from FM 711 making a left-hand turn to the east.

As Garcia exited the driveway she failed to yield right of way to oncoming traffic and caused a collision between herself and a silver Honda Accord driven by David Castro, 48, of Nacogdoches who was traveling west on State Highway 7. Both vehicles received major damage.

Garcia was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of her injuries. Her passenger Pamela Reed, 61, of Center was not reported to have received injuries.

Garcia was issued a citation for failure to yield right of way private drive.

*****

Area Residents Seek Identity of Foul Odor - April 23, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The above photos are of the U.S. 96 (Hurst Street) and State Highway 7 (San Augustine Street intersection in Center.

Shelby County Today has been receiving reports for of all things a "garlicky" odor in Center on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. The Center Fire Department confirms a gas leak was reported Tuesday evening, April 21, 2015 from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and the fire department investigated a possible gas leak, which was not located.

CenterPoint Energy in the area investigating the possibility of a gas leak on Wednesday, and did confirm smelling the odor; however, it was not gas. The odor remains a mystery, but its origin was identified Wednesday evening, .

At the suggestion of viewer Karol Bogle and a post by Shawna Walker indicating a strong odor emanating from the area of U.S. 96 (Hurst Street) and State Highway 7 (San Augustine Street), Shelby County Today investigated the area.

Upon following the odor a substance was observed on the pavement. After scraping the substance from the road it was confirmed by another individual and it is the opinion of Shelby County Today the odor matches that which has been described in the area.

Anyone observing the odor in their area should confirm if the substance is visible on the roadway as it appears it spilled from some sort of transport vehicle.

One possible theory at this time is a vehicle traveling from as far as Lufkin to Logansport was leaking the substance. Reports from viewers who have traveled in these areas confirm having smelled the same odor in these locations.

The odor continues to remain an issue for some travelers a Shelby County Today has received more reports on Thursday morning of the odor.

*****

DPS Engages Driver in High-speed Chase Near Tenaha - April 22, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) attempted to stop a driver for a speeding violation on Monday, April 20, 2015 in Tenaha; however, the driver instead sped up and tried to evade the officer.

According to Texas DPS State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 10:20pm she was traveling U.S. Highway 59 through Tenaha heading toward Timpson when a black 2013 Ford Expedition passed by exceeding the speed limit.

Trooper LaVergne turned on the Expedition attempting to pull the vehicle over with lights and sirens when the driver accelerated and turned down South Center Street (Spur 157). The pursuit began and Trooper LaVergne, with Tenaha City Marshal Jimmy Wagstaff providing back up, followed the Expedition onto U.S. Highway 96 heading south toward Center at a high rate of speed, topping out at around 100mph.

The pursuit continued down County Road 4360 off U.S. 96 and then onto County Road 4293 where the vehicle left the roadway to the left colliding with a tree. The driver escaped the vehicle and ran. Center Police officers and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies, and DPS State Troopers from Panola County assisted in searching the scene for the suspect.

It was discovered the vehicle was stolen out of Carthage and a passenger remained in the vehicle. During interview, the passenger told authorities he had been hitchhiking when the driver picked him up. He did not know the driver's identity, and only identified him as wearing a white shirt.

Once it was determined the passenger had nothing to do with the theft, he was released at the scene. According to the Panola County Sheriff's Department, the Expedition was stolen on or about April 12th or 13th from the Yellow Dog area on County Road 455.

*****

Five Young Adults Unharmed Following Single Vehicle Rollover in Huxley - April 22, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford, Photos by Talia Matthews

Huxley firemen, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies, a Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper, and nearby residents responded to a single-vehicle rollover with five young adults Saturday, April 18, 2015 at 5:40pm in Huxley.

A white 2008 Toyota Solara driven by Khu Doh, 20 of Houston, was southbound on CR 2700 at an unsafe speed and failed to negotiate a sharp turn. The vehicle left the roadway on the right, over corrected crossing back across the roadway and a bridge, and exited the roadway on the left narrowly missing a large creek. The vehicle rolled onto its top coming to rest in the edge of the woods.

First to arrive on scene were nearby residents who called 9-1-1 after hearing the crash. The Huxley Volunteer Fire Department firemen were dispatched as first responders along with ACE EMS. The vehicle had five occupants including the driver none of which required transport by EMS. The four passengers ranged in age from 16 to 18 years.

Shelby County Sheriff Deputy Bradley Horton and Adam Renfro arrived on scene and collected information until Texas DPS State Trooper Brent Murray could arrive to investigate the crash. Doh was cited for driving at an unsafe speed.

Good Samaritans at the scene assisted transporting the youth to a nearby telephone to arrange for family to come and pickup those involved in the crash.

*****

Vehicle Crashes During Heavy Rain - April 22, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

Heavy rains on Saturday, April 18, 2015 contributed to a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 7.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Dustin Ramos, at 8am the Center Fire Department and ACE EMS were dispatched to a rollover on State Highway 7 East just west of CR 1656 in front of the Center Municipal Airport. The vehicle had come to rest upside down in a ditch filled with running water and the driver was reported to have been trapped.

Upon arrival, the driver had been removed from the vehicle by Cameron Copeland, of Watson & Sons, who was just across the street from the crash scene.

Justin Garrett, 22, of San Augustine was traveling eastbound in a white Lincoln Aviator when due to the high water on the roadway the Lincoln hydroplaned and landed upside down in the ditch on the westbound side.

Garrett was cited for unsafe speed and refused treatment from EMS.


Different locations along State Highway 87 South were covered in water on Saturday, April 18 as seen in the above photo. A pickup truck is seen traveling over deep water at high speed across from Sunoco Logistics just south of Loop 500 outside of Center.
*****

Texas Rangers Investigate Apparent Suicide - April 22, 2015
Submitted by Shad Sparks, Photo by Shelby County Today

Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on April 21, 2015 at approximately 5:26pm Sheriff's Deputies along with investigators were at 3239 State Hwy 84 East in the Tenaha area attempting to serve an arrest warrant for violation of an emergency protective order.

Entry was made into a residence when a single gun shot was heard from within the residence in an adjoining room. It was discovered that Allen P. Shoemaker 33 year old W/M of Tenaha was deceased from an apparent self inflected gun shot wound.

Sheriff Willis Blackwell contacted Texas Ranger Travis Brazel to the scene to conduct the investigation. An autopsy has been ordered by JP 4, Jenny Hicks. Sheriff Willis Blackwell would like to thank all law enforcement officers and agencies for their quick response to his officers calls for assistance

*****

Shelby County Family Loses Home to Early Morning Fire - April 21, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

A Shelby County family is without a home following the total destruction of their residence due to fire early Tuesday morning.

County Road 4293 was the scene of the house fire at the Jerry Lawhorn residence on April 21, 2015 at 4:12am to which the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched and Center Fire Department to provide support. When the firemen arrived at the scene, the house was engulfed in flames.

In addition to the home, three vehicles owned by the Lawhorns surrounding the home were on fire as well. According to authorities, when the fire was first discovered a dog within the home was barking and caused the residents to awaken to the sound of popping from the electrical breaker box of the house. The residents were then able to exit the home.

The firemen were able to prevent the further spread of fire to neighboring houses located close by, but were not able to save the home as the fire had progressed too far. While working to put out the fire the firemen discovered the dog, which had alerted the residents to the fire, had perished in the house.

At this time the cause of the fire is unknown, but suspected to be electrical in nature, and the Lawhorn family is in great need of any assistance as they have lost all of their belongings.

Both departments returned to their stations at 6:30am.

#ShelbyCounty Family Loses Home to Early Morning #Fire - Read the story on #ShelbyCountyToday at the following link - www.shelbycountytoday.com/sctNewsspecial.php#emf

Posted by Shelby County Today on Tuesday, April 21, 2015
*****
Jasper County Man Sentenced for Distributing Cocaine - April 21, 2015
Submitted by Davilyn Walston

A 28-year-old Jasper, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Shane Dwayne Hadnot pleaded guilty on Dec. 10, 2014, to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, on Nov. 7, 2013, Alfred Wright, of Jasper, Texas, was reported missing by his family after his truck broke down in rural Sabine County, Texas. Articles of Wright’s clothing were found on private land, approximately a mile from where Wright was last seen. After searchers initially failed to locate Wright, his body was found on Nov. 25, 2013 in brush near where his clothing had been found. An investigation into the cause of Wright’s disappearance and death revealed his involvement with Shane Hadnot. Phone records, witness statements, and drug evidence located during the search of Shane Hadnot’s car, indicated that Hadnot was selling cocaine to Alfred Wright.

During the two-day period before Wright’s death, Hadnot and Wright exchanged 20 text messages. The indictment alleges that on Nov. 7, 2013, Wright sent a text message to Hadnot at 12:36 pm requesting to purchase cocaine and other illegal narcotics from Hadnot. Wright went missing approximately five hours later. An autopsy was performed on Wright’s body and toxicology testing revealed that Wright’s blood contained cocaine, methamphetamine and Xanax. The final autopsy report, and other experts in the fields of pathology, toxicology, and anthropology concluded that Wright’s cause of death was an accident due to combined drug intoxication. Hadnot was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 6, 2014 and charged with drug trafficking violations.

This case was investigated by the Texas Rangers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brit Featherston and John B. Ross.
*****

Blue Bell Creameries Voluntarily Recall Products - April 21, 2015
Submitted by Jheri-Lynn McSwain

Blue Bell Ice Cream of Brenham, Texas, is voluntarily recalling all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”

The products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.

*****

Tornado Warning Issued by National Weather Service - April 19, 2015

5:45pm CDT Sunday, April 19, 2015

The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a tornado warning for Southeastern Rusk County in Northeastern Texas, Northeastern Nacogdoches County in Eastern Texas, and Northeastern Shelby County in Eastern Texas until 6:45pm CDT.

At 5:44pm CDT a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located over Garrison or 16 miles Northeast of Nacogdoches moving East at 30mph.

Hazard - tornado and quarter size hail.
Source - Radar indicated rotation.
Impact - Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

This dangerous storm will be near Timpson around 5:55pm and Center around 6:20pm.

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Stockman, Jericho, and Arcadia.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions

Take cover now! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.

*****

Sheriff's Department Arrests Three on Kidnapping Charges - April 17, 2015
Submitted by Sheriff's Department


Summer Danielle Wheless


Margie Nicole
Stahl

Cody Wayne
Denby

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on March 20, 2015 Deputy Kurtes Lawrence met with complainants at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department in reference to being assaulted. Significant injuries were observed to victim identified as a Nichole Rhoades, 27.

During the course of the investigation, it was found that a Margie Nicole Stahl, 26, of Logansport LA, a Summer Wheless, 30, of Center Texas, and a Cody Denby, 24, of Center Texas, held the complainants against their will and while holding Bryan Owens, 33, at gun point, duct-taped the wrists and ankles of Rhoades restricting her movement while assaulting her in the face and torso area.

Due to the complainants report as well as corroborating evidence, all three suspects, Stahl, Wheless, and Denby were arrested for two counts of Aggravated Kidnapping, Felony 1. Stahl, Wheless and Denby were booked into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department jail facility on Friday, April 9th, 2015 bond was set for $10,000 for each charge by JP 1, Maxie Eaves.

The case was investigated by Investigator DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

*****

City of Center Issues Safety Warning to Lake Pinkston Swimmers - April 17, 2015
Submitted by Chad Nehring

The City has received reports of kids accessing pump and intake platforms at Lake Pinkston for diving or jumping. Photos of young teens jumping from the shallow side intake pier along CR 1211 were obtained by the City this week. Signs are posted for the public’s safety from not only high voltage electrical equipment but also hazardous situations.

These platforms have piping and concrete structures below water level that are not readily visible particularly with the present water levels. Jumping or diving from these structures could result in serious injury or death and we request the assistance of parents and the general public in reporting any activity around these facilities to the Sheriff’s Office.

The City is not interested in prosecuting and has not documented signs of vandalism or criminal mischief but is interested in protecting area youth from dangerous situations.

*****

D.A. Florence Comments on Merino Conviction, Sentencing - April 16, 2015
Press release

I am pleased to announce that Child Abuse Prevention Month, April, has been capped by a jury verdict of Guilty for Juan Merino for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 years of age.

The jury, speaking on behalf of the community, has today sent a strong message that Child Abuse will not be tolerated in Shelby County, Texas. The jury sentenced Merino to 60 years' incarceration in prison, and assessed a $10,000 fine.

This trial, conviction and sentence was the result of a team effort of dedicated professionals, as well as the courage of one young girl who took the stand in the face of her abuser and was our victim.

I wish to thank Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell, his entire department, and child abuse investigator Chad Brown for their efforts to seek and ensure justice. The entire staff, past and present, of the Child Advocacy Center is to be congratulated on a job well done and for supporting our young victim. Further, the efforts of the Texas Rangers as well as the law enforcement officers of the Center Independent School District are to be commended and recognized.

Merino will not be eligible for parole for 30 years.

*****

Jury Returns Guilty Verdict for 8-Year-Old Aggravated Sexual Assault Cold Case (Update) - April 15, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford

A Shelby County jury came to a verdict of 'Guilty' following an hour and a half of deliberation time in the case of the State of Texas versus Juan Merino (Case Number 14-CR-19231) in the 123rd District Court with Judge Charles "Brick" Dickerson presiding. The trial lasted for three days. Merino was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, first degree felony, with a maximum punishment of 99 years which would require a minimum of 80% of the sentence before the 51-year-old Merino would be eligible for parole.

After being arrested on April 21st of last year, Merino was convicted today, April 15, 2015 at 5:30pm for the aggravated sexual assault of a then 9-year-old child which occurred on or about the date of March 25, 2007.


Shelby County Deputy Jim Ed Matthews escorting Merino back to the Shelby County Jail following
a guilty verdict.

According to the closing statement by State's attorney, Shelby County District Attorney Kenneth Florence, Merino sexually assaulted the victim who did at the time report the incident; however, the identity of Merino was unknown. In 2014, the victim who is now 17 years old saw Merino at the Center High School athletic track and recognized him. She ran from the field; however, before leaving she took a photo of the vehicle Merino left in and reported it to the Sheriff's Department. With the information of the license plate, law enforcement were able to identify the suspect to be Juan Merino.

The next phase of trial is the punishment phase which is scheduled for 9am tomorrow morning, April 16, 2015.

Shelby County Today has chosen to not release the name of the victim at this time.

(Update): The jury reconvened on the morning of Thursday, April 16, 2015 in the Shelby County 123rd Judicial District Court with Judge Dickerson presiding. At 11:22am the jury entered the jury room for deliberation once they were provided with the penalty instructions.

At 11:50am the jury returned to the courtroom and Judge Dickerson read their decision as well as giving his ruling. As a result, Merino received 60 years confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice System and a $10,000 fine.

He will be required to serve a minimum of 30 yearts of his sentence.


*****

Fatal Crash Occurs at Timpson Intersection (Update) - April 13, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers


The Ford Focus involved in Sunday's wreck is seen above
after Jaws of Life was used to cut into the vehicle.

(Update): The name of the driver who perished in the crash on Sunday has been released and is identified as Keri Roark, 30, of Louisiana.

A highway intersection in Timpson has been the scene of two major crashes this past weekend with fatal results for one driver.

When two vehicles collided on Sunday, April 12, 2015 emergency personnel was quickly dispatched to the scene at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and U.S. Highway 59 South.

First on scene were Timpson Police Officer Jake Metcalf and Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne. Upon arrival, the officers located a vehicle in the median of the highway with major damage and they both worked to try and help the driver, who was trapped; however, nothing could be done to help her.

According to Timpson Police Officer Jake Metcalf, at 2:30pm a witness at the scene stated a grey 2008 Ford Focus driven by, an as yet unidentified female, of Louisiana came to a stop at the stop sign and then drove into the intersection failing to yield to the 18-wheeler. This caused the red 2015 Volvo truck tractor owned by RJR Transportation Company and driven by Thomas K. Gisleson, 52, of Illinois
to strike the Focus on the driver side of the vehicle spinning it around and sending it into the median where it struck a light pole.

The Timpson Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene with Jaws of Life to extricate the driver from the Focus and the Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service was on scene to provide any necessary care. Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5, pronounced the driver of the Focus deceased at the scene.

Assisting Officer Metcalf with the investigation at the scene was Trooper Lavergne and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Kurtes Lawrence. Officer Metcalf expressed gratitude to all emergency personnel who helped at the scene.

The other incident which took place at the same intersection on Friday, April 10, 2015 had similar circumstances with different results.

According to Officer Metcalf, at 11:26am a maroon 2006 Dodge Ram dually pickup truck driven by Victoria Mendoza, 27, of Jacksonville approached the same stop sign yet failed to stop.

As the Dodge crossed the southbound traffic lanes it did so in front of a 2006 Ford F-150 driven by Isias Cruz, 52, with passenger Kimberly Leonard, 48, both of Timpson. The Ford and the Dodge collided causing major damage to the front of the Ford and to the driver side of the Dodge.

Leonard was transported from the scene by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of her injuries.

Mendoza was issued citations for fail to stop at a stop sign and no drivers license.

*****

NWS Issues Tornado Watch Until 10pm - April 9, 2015

NWS Storm Prediction Center, Norman, OK
3:05 PM CDT Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tornado watch 43 is in effect until 10:00pm for the following counties in Texas: Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, and Wood.

*****

Chicago Man Sentenced for Federal Drug Violations in East Texas - April 9, 2015
Submitted by Davilyn Walston

LUFKIN, Texas – A 43-year-old Chicago man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Frederick Mitchell pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2014 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and use of an interstate facility in aid of racketeering and was sentenced to 84 months in federal prison on Apr. 8, 2015 by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

According to information presented in court, on July 6, 2014, Mitchell and a co-defendant, Henry Korvette Bams, were stopped for a traffic violation by the Texas Department of Public Safety on US Highway 259 in Nacogdoches County, Texas. The officer conducted a search of the vehicle and seized approximately $253,341 in cash and a small quantity of marijuana. Both men were eventually released on bail on July 9, 2014. On July 22, 2014, Bams and Mitchell were stopped again for a traffic violation by Arkansas State Police in Hot Springs County, Arkansas, on Interstate Highway 30.

The officer received consent to search the vehicle and discovered approximately ten kilograms of suspected cocaine located inside a hidden compartment within the vehicle. Two bank deposit slips were also discovered within the vehicle. On Aug. 1, 2014, agents with the Internal Revenue Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration executed a seizure warrant on the bank account and seized approximately $135,015.14 in suspected drug proceeds. Bams is awaiting trial on pending charges.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham.

*****

Strong to Severe Thunderstorms Expected Thursday Evening - April 8, 2015

5:38 PM CDT Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Strong to possibly a few severe thunderstorms can be expected mainly during the evening hours Thursday.

A cold front moving into portions of Northeast Texas and Northern Louisiana will provide the focus for strong thunderstorm development along and ahead of this frontal boundary. Any thunderstorms that develop will have a potential for producing very strong to possibly damaging wind gusts, and hail to at least the size of quarters along with frequent and deadly lightning strikes.

One half to over one inch of rain can be expected area-wide through Friday morning with localized areas possibly receiving upwards of two inches, especially where thunderstorms may linger through the morning and possibility even afternoon hours on Friday before the cold front moves south of the area. Although at least a few thunderstorms may become severe, it appears that the best chance for widespread severe storms will remain slightly further to the north of the area.

Looking ahead from late this weekend into next week: The overall spring storm pattern, including a large and slow moving upper low pressure system to our west, will continue to bring the potential for thunderstorms with the possibility of very heavy rain and severe weather through much of next week as well.

*****

Cities, Schools Prepare for May Elections - April 7, 2015

Cities and schools in Shelby County are preparing for elections of council and schoolboard members in the May 9, 2015 election. The first day of early voting is April 28, 2015 and the last day for early voting is May 5, 2015.

City of Joaquin (Submitted by Amanda Willey) - Ms. Pat Gray and Mr. Bill Baker are both running for Mayor. Our two at large City Council positions are being sought by Ms. Lee Vern Stotts Gilliam (Incumbent), Mr. Mike Adkinson (Incumbent), and Mr. Joe Long. Polling will take place at 124 N. Preston Street Joaquin, Texas which is City Hall.

City of Timpson (Submitted by Barbara Hunt) - The following candidates signed up by the February 27th deadline for a place on the ballot for three (3) council member positions: Kenneth Walker, Linda Hancock, George Grace (Incumbent), Kyle Allen (Incumbent), Janell Baker (Incumbent).

City of Tenaha - 3 positions - Claudine Howard (Incumbent), Michael Baker (Incumbent), Larry Terry (Incumbent), Natalie Harris.

Shelbyville ISD (Submitted by Debbie Gilchrist) The polling place will be the Shelbyville ISD Board Room, including early voting. Candidates are: Chris Koltonski, Etola Jones, Clint Norton, Latashia Thompson, Brad Hinton, Joe Tom Schillings. Etola Jones and Joe T. Schillings are incumbents. (2 positions open)

Tenaha ISD (Submitted by Brenda Lucas) 3 positions - Bo Morris (Incumbent), Robert Barton (Incumbent), David Fallin, Joe Anderson, Korey McClure.

Timpson ISD - 3 positions - Linda Fraizer Todd, Dannie Hunt (I), Carlos Johnson, Jim Rader (Not running Tracy Hooper and Beth Tipton)

Joaquin ISD - 2 positions - Maggie Bowdin, Tom Harvey, Ronnie Belrose (Incumbent), and Jay Wilson. Not running is Luke Garrett.

*****

Roughrider Drive Scene of Single-Vehicle Crash - April 1, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford and Scott Flowers

Roughrider Drive was the scene of a single-vehicle crash which left the roadway partially blocked and initial reports were that an occupant was trapped inside.

According to the report from Center Police Officer Jake Gross, at 6:48pm on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 a silver 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by William Brandon Smith, 19, with passenger Jahir Garcia, 20, was traveling east on Roughrider Drive just after transitioning from CR 1000 when Smith stated the vehicle began to drift onto the shoulder of the roadway. Smith over corrected onto the roadway causing the vehicle to roll twice and come to rest onto its top.

When the Center Fire Department and Center Police officers arrived on the scene it was discovered the passenger was not trapped; however, he did have a difficult time escaping from the wrecked Tahoe.

ACE EMS was on scene to check those injured in the crash and both the driver and passenger refused transport.

The fire department assisted with traffic control and washed glass debris off the roadway. Smith was issued a citation for failure to drive in a single lane.

*****

Three-Vehicle Collision in Joaquin at U.S. 84, SH 7 Intersection - April 1, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

The intersection of State Highway (SH) 7 East and U.S. Highway 84 was the scene of a three-vehicle collision in Joaquin Wednesday.

As the intersection was blocked by one vehicle involved in the crash, the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department initiated traffic control to keep traffic flowing. Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers were investigating the crash scene as many Center Police officers arrived to check on their comrade.

One driver was injured in the collision and it happened to be Center Police Sgt. Scott Burkhalter, who was off-duty at the time. ACE EMS was on scene and was seeing to Burkhalter's injuries.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper Keith Jones, at 3:41pm a black 2010 Ford Edge SUV owned and operated by Scott Brandon Burkhalter, 34, of Joaquin was traveling east on State Highway 7 East and was attempting to make a left turn onto US Highway 84.

A white 2015 Peterbilt owned by Pinnacle Propane LLC. hauling propane canisters and driven by John Reagan Moore Jr., 28, of Longview was traveling on U.S. Highway 84 toward State Highway 7. Burkhalter stated he had a green arrow and at the tine he turned left Moore stated he had a green light, and the Peterbilt struck the right side of the Edge.

As the Peterbilt continued through the intersection and into a parking lot beside State Highway 7, it struck a maroon 2014 Ford F-150 owned by Kenneth Weeks which was parked in the lot.

Burkhalter was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of his injuries. The crash remains under investigation at this time. Trooper Jones was assisted at the scene by DPS Troopers Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner and Anthony LaCount.

*****

Honorable Rick Perry Visits Shelby County Residents at Luncheon - April 1, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford, Album

The Honorable Rick Perry stopped by for a visit in Center, Texas today, March 31, 2015 and spoke to a crowd of over 230 people at a luncheon hosted by local friends.

Prior to Perry taking the stage, Rick Campbell introduced Tim Norman who in turn introduced 12 Center High School Seniors who were recognized Monday night at a dinner. Due to technical difficulties with the stage microphone, Perry carried his wireless microphone to each student allowing them to introduce themselves to the crowd.

After recognizing several local individuals one of which was James Campbell who was attending the luncheon, Perry spoke about several current issues including giving praise to the State of Texas. He addressed the Texas education system stating it has the 2nd highest graduation rates in the country, the 1st highest for Hispanics and African Americans.

He addressed job creation in Texas and the United States; the passing of legislation to help stop the rationing of healthcare which has increased the number of doctors and healthcare facilities across the state; the dangers of over regulating, over litigating, and over taxing; how the United States should be the energy capital of the world; and addressed the international conflicts in the world including ISIS.

Perry ended his speech stating, "The Best Days in America are in front of us."

Honorable #RickPerry Visits Shelby County Residents at Luncheon - Read the story on #ShelbyCountyToday at the following link - http://www.shelbycountytoday.com/sctNewsspecial.php#hrs

Posted by Shelby County Today on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
*****

Shelbyville Man Loses Life in Fatal Crash in San Augustine County - March 30, 2015
Composed by J.J. Ford

According to a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) press release, Isidro Castillo, 61 of Shelbyville, Texas lost his life in a single vehicle fatal crash Sunday evening.

On Sunday, March 29, 2015 at about 7:04 PM, DPS Troopers were dispatched to a one vehicle crash on FM 353 approximately 4 miles North of San Augustine in San Augustine County.

The preliminary crash investigation indicates that a 1996 GMC Sierra pickup was traveling northbound on FM 353 when it left the roadway to the right. The driver of the vehicle then over corrected to the left, crossed FM 353 and struck a tree. The driver of the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene by a San Augustine County Justice of the Peace at 7:30 PM.

*****

U.S. 96 South Scene of Single-Vehicle Crash - March 30, 2015
Composed by Scott Flowers

U.S. 96 South was the scene of a single-vehicle crash Friday night which resulted in the arrest of the driver.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 8:10pm on March 27, 2015 a green 1998 Honda Accord driven by Eddie Lockey II, 46, of San Augustine was traveling north on U.S. Highway 96 South 1.6 miles south of Loop 500 outside of Center.

Lockey failed to drive in a single lane and the Honda skidded off the side of the roadway to the right. The Honda traveled across a large culvert skirting before striking a fence owned by Wheldon Boles and a telephone box as it overturned onto its top.

It was determined Lockey was intoxicated and he was transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of injuries. Lockey was later released to the custody of Trooper Faulkner and he was arrested for driving while intoxicated - 3rd.

The vehicle was towed from the scene by East Texas Towing and Storage.

*****

Amnesty Ends Friday! Center Municipal Court Warrant Roundup - March 25, 2015
Submitted by Edna Boykins

Update: Center Municipal Court is offering Amnesty starting Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. If you have a 'Failure to Appear,' the $235 fine will be dismissed, if you pay before the police come for you. Must pay full amount of the fines!

Center Municipal Court will be holding a Warrant Roundup with participating agencies. Pay your outstanding warrants before they come for you.

Payments must be paid in full, contact the court at 936-598-3080. In order to pay your warrant on line you will need your citation # before you call traffic payment.com or call 1-800-444-1187. You can come to the court to pay; you must bring the exact amount. NO CREDIT CARDS AND NO PERSONAL CHECKS.

If you feel like your name is on the list in error, contact the court and we will get the matter resolved. Disregard if you have paid and we have not taken you off the list. We will try and update the list as often as we can.

Outstanding Warrant List: (Click the letters to view the lists)

A | B | C | D, E, F | G | H | I, J | K, L | M | N, O, P | R | S | T, U, V | W, Y, Z

*****

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