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Former Colmesneil ISD Athletic Director jailed after drinking, assaulting girlfriend

Former Colmesneil ISD Athletic Director Fancy Johnson spent a night in jail on February 24 after he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend following a drunken argument.

On February 23, Tyler County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the scene of an assault that reportedly occurred in Colmesneil. Deputies had been told by personnel at the emergency room in Lufkin that Tori McRea, age 33, of Colmesneil, was admitted after being assaulted by Fancy Johnson, age 34, of Colmesneil.

According to Chief Deputy Phil Ryan both McRea and Johnson had been drinking when the assault occurred.

"Mr. Johnson become upset after he and McRea had a heated discussion," Ryan said. "Johnson then struck McRea in the face and she was transported to the hospital where she received a CT scan and sutures on her cheek."

McRay did not have a concussion or any fractures, but suffered a badly swollen face and eye and a cut on her cheek.

According to Colmesneil Superintendent, the school board will accept Johnson's resignation at the next board meeting.

On February 24, Deputies arrested Johnson and transported him to the Tyler County Justice Center where he was released the next day.

Johnson was charged with Assault Causing Bodily Injury Family Violence, which is a Class A Misdemeanor.

Spurger man wounded in confrontation with officers

by Emily Waldrep

An 18-year-old Spurger man identified as Danny Lee Sirmons, Jr., is in stable condition in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont after being shot by an officer after Sirmons began shooting a weapon through the walls of his mobile home in close proximity to his family on March 6. After the call came in to the Tyler County Communications, the first on-scene deputy was met by a family member, and the situation was explained.

"According to family members, they had attempted to speak with Sirmons and were met by gunshots that came through the walls of the mobile home," said Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford.

While the deputy continued to speak with Sirmons' family, he observed Sirmons exiting the mobile home with a long gun. The deputy repeatedly asked Sirmons to drop the weapon and talk with him, but his requests were met with refusal.

"Sirmons then fired at the deputy and the family member, just missing both as a gunshot entered the family residence," Weatherford said.

Taking cover, the deputy made repeated attempts to get Sirmons to drop the gun. As other Tyler County deputies, officers from the Woodville Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers arrived, Sirmons began firing more rounds at law enforcement.

When Sirmons began advancing toward officers with the gun pointed at them and shouting threatening statements, he was shot one time in the upper left torso.

When the initial call was received, EMS personnel were dispatched to be on standby in case medical attention was needed, and arrived on the scene within minutes. Sirmons was taken by helicopter to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont.

As of March 7, Sirmons was listed in stable condition.

Four Westfall family members arrested in Maddox murders

Letha Westfall, center in photo, is escorted into Tyler County Justice Center by Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford (right) after being arrested, along with family members Paul, Kristen and Cameron Westfall, after being indicted for the Maddox murders.Letha Westfall, center in photo, is escorted into Tyler County Justice Center by Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford (right) after being arrested, along with family members Paul, Kristen and Cameron Westfall, after being indicted for the Maddox murders.

by Emily Waldrep

Letha Westfall, Paul Westfall, Kristen Westfall, and Cameron Westfall were arrested at approximately 8:20 p.m. March 11 after Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, assisted by Chief Deputy Steven Sturrock, performed a felony traffic stop on their vehicle at the same place that the shootings of Nathan and Krystal Maddox took place in January,  Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Colmesneil.

Their bond has been set at $1 million each.

Deputies went to the Westfall home Tuesday morning after receiveing four indictments Tuesday morning to arrest the Westfall's, but Westfalls had left their home.

"There was evidence that someone had left in a hurry," said investigator Bud Sturrock.

After an approximately five hour search, the four Westfall's were arrested at the church. Letha Westfall, Kristen Westfall and Cameron Westfall were transported to Tyler County Justice Center and Paul Westfall was transported to the Tyler County Hospital, then later transported to Tyler County Justice Center. The charges filed at this time are Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity, a first degree felony which carries the possibility of Life in Prison without the possibility of parole.

Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that the arrests are only the first of a wave of arrests expected to happen in the case.

"By no means is this where we are stopping, and our investigation will continue," Weatherford said. "We are just getting started."

Nathan and Krystal Maddox were fatally shot January 18 after leaving a supervised visitation with Nathan Maddox's five-year-old daughter at Mount Carmel Baptist Church on CR 3725, the same location that all four of the Westfall's were arrested on Tuesday night.

"The Westfalls pulled into the Mount Carmel baptist church," Weatherford said. "That is where they were arrested... at the Mount Carmel baptist church. It doesn't get any better than that."

All parties are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Grand Jury indicts four Westfall family members

The Crime Family

by Emily Walrep

According to Tyler County Chief Deputy Phil Ryan, a grand jury has indicted Kristen Westfall, Cameron Westfall, Letha Westfall and Paul Westfall for engaging in organized criminal activities, which holds the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sheriff's Deputies, Texas DPS, Woodville Police and other local and statewide agencies went to the Westfall's home in Colmesneil at approximately 2:30p.m. and attempted to make an arrest but according to Ryan, it appears the Westfall's are either trying to evade the police or had "left their home in a hurry."

"We have been attempting to locate the Westfall's and place them under arrest with warrants but we have been unable to locate them," said Investigator Bud Sturrock. "We aren't saying they fled the scene, but there was evidence at the home that indicated that someone had left in a hurry."

Evidence included a warm four wheeler engine in the yard and a pile of leaves that had began to burn.

Sturrock said that friends and families of the Westfall's are being located and both local and statewide agencies are assisting in the search.

Law Enforcement agencies involved in the case are asking for the publics help in locating the vehicle that the Westfall's are believed to be in. They are suspected to all be traveling in a Gold/Champagne color 2006 KIA Sportage with the license plate number BCL-3780.

"If anybody sees this vehicle anywhere contact local law enforcement or this agency and we will get somebody on that as soon as we can," Ryan said. "At this time it does look like they are trying to elude capture, but we are just speculating because they have done things to avoid detection. We need everybody to be on the lookout for that vehicle."

The Westfall's are not believed to be armed and dangerous.

"We are open 24/7," Sturrock said. "We won't quit looking for them."

Outstanding warrants lead to arrest

by Emily Waldrep

A wanted Tyler County man was arrested on five different outstanding warrants, as well as new drug charges, on February 22 after the Tyler County Task Force received information disclosing the man's whereabouts.

Deputies from the Tyler County Sheriff's Office were contacted by Chief Deputy Phil Ryan on February 22 in reference to the wanted subject in Warren.

"Tyler County Task Force knew the whereabouts of the subject, identified as Robert Key, Jr., age 37, of Silsbee, who was staying at a residence on County Road 4525 in Warren," said Ryan.
Sheriff's Deputies met with multiple officers and agencies, including Game Wardens, State Troopers and the Task Force, and gained entry into the residence where Key was reported to be staying.

Key was asleep in the master bedroom and was placed in restraints and escorted out of the residence. A small plastic canister was recovered from Key's pocket that contained several empty plastic baggies typically used to sell narcotics.

A consent to search the residence was granted and deputies found an eye glasses case that contained a glass pipe and a small plastic bag with a white substance that field tested to be methamphetamine.

Key admitted that the methamphetamine belonged to him, and he was transported to the Tyler County Justice center and booked on outstanding warrants from Liberty and Hardin Counties.
Charges included Theft Of Property, Possession of Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1, Theft of Firearm, Burglary of a Building, and Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon.

A large amount of stolen property was also found on the residence and further charges may incur.

Woodville parent charged after serving alcohol to minors

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville parent has been charged with three counts of Furnishing or Purchasing Alcohol to a Minor, a Class A Misdemeanor and a serious offense, after she served alcohol at a party meant for her underage teens.

Mike McCulley of the Woodville police department said that, while it is legal to serve alcohol to your own teens that are under 21 in your home, stiff fines and consequences could come from serving alcohol to underage friends.

According to McCulley, the Woodville Police received a welfare concern call regarding a 15-year-old walking down the road in Woodville who had almost completely undressed and was highly intoxicated. The minor was transported to the justice center, and further investigation revealed that he had been invited to a party thrown by a friend's parents, and while at the party drank for the first time and got highly intoxicated.

Officers interviewed several people at the party and discovered that the parent had planned the party for a while and had bought approximately 100 alcoholic beverages meant for her kids, but everyone at the party drank, including two 18 year old minors and the 15 year old minor.

The mother who had bought the beverages and served the minors was identified as Kelly Marie Smith, age 44, of Woodville.

"Nobody knew where this 15 year old went," McCulley said. "Here you have a kid wondering around the streets and at that point he had undressed himself. He could have gotten run over on the road, run over by a car, wondered off into the woods and who knows what. It is a huge liability for parents to serve alcohol to minors. There are all sorts of bad things that could happen."

McCulley said that while he understands the sentiment of well meaning parents who want to have parties for their kids safe at home, alcohol should always be left out.

"If a parent is making the decision and taking responsibility of having a party at their house, I say they need to reconsider," McCulley said. "There are all sorts of liabilities. Realistically you cannot watch teenagers when they are intoxicated."

Thankfully, the minor in this case was not injured, but Smith now has a potential criminal record.
Three warrants were obtained for Smiths arrest. Her bond was set at $7,500 and she could face community service, no drivers license, stiff fines, and alcohol awareness classes if charged.
According to McCulley, if the minor had been injured, Smith could have been charged with Endangering a Child, which is a charge no parent should risk just to host a party.