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Traffic stop leads to foot chase, drug charges

by Emily Waldrep

A simple traffic stop in Woodville led to a foot chase and drug charges on March 16. Officer Zachary with the Woodville Police Department conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of West Bluff Street and Sutton Street, making contact with the driver, identified as Jarvis D. Barlow, age 22, of Woodville. Zachary immediately smelled the odor of burning Marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

According to Woodville Police Captain Mike McCulley, the driver showed noticeable signs of nervousness and was asked by the officer to step out of the vehicle. The passenger of the vehicle then opened his door and fled on foot. Zachary gave chase, caught up with and arrested the passenger about a block away. The passenger was identified as Christopher D. Montoya, age 19, of Woodville. Zachary was assisted by Sgt. Hicks and recovered a baggy of Marijuana that suspect Barlow attempted to hide during the foot chase.

After securing Montoya, Zachary noticed that the driver, Barlow, had also fled on foot. The vehicle was impounded and towed. A warrant of arrest has been issued out of the Woodville Municipal Court charging Barlow with Evading Arrest or Detention.

Montoya is charged with Evading Arrest or Detention, Possession of Marijuana, less than two ounces and several charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after Officers recovered other items including scales, baggies and tobacco-papers in his vehicle. Bond amounts are pending.

Multiple DWI offender sentenced to seven years

by Emily Waldrep

Tyler County Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt was prepared for trial Monday, but Charles Hadnot was not. Hadnot was facing a jury trial on a charge of Driving While Intoxicated 3rd Offense or More and but, instead, pled guilty and received seven years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Institutional Division.

According to Hunt, Hadnot was pulled over by Woodville Police Officer Lawrance Hicks on November 11, 2012, after a private citizen called 9-1-1 concerning a driver weaving all over the road. Hadnot was arrested and a blood sample taken at Tyler County Hospital. His blood alcohol content was 0.178, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.

In January, Hunt made Hadnot an offer of five years in prison, and he refused. Hadnot was facing up to 20 years if convicted.

Ruth Houston is 2014 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Parade Marshal

Tyler County Dogwood Festival Executive Director Buck Hudson, has announced that Ruth Houston will serve as Parade Marshal for the 2014 Dogwood Parade. Hudson commented, "The Board selected Mrs. Houston in recognition of her efforts and commitment to the education and development of the youth of East Texas."

Born Ruth Arlee Ratcliff, Mrs. Houston was raised in Polk County, Texas. She graduated from Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Music Education and did post-graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin and Stephen F. Austin State University. She married husband Melvin Houston and moved to Tyler County in 1967 thinking the move would be a wonderful springboard toward opportunities in "larger" cities. The couple fell deeply in love with the people of Woodville and Tyler County and before they realized it, had been here twenty-six years.

Ruth Houston served as a music teacher and choir director for 42 years, retiring from Port Arthur I.S.D. in 2001. She was employed by Woodville I.S.D. from 1967 until 1993, where her students consistently excelled in musical arts competitions. Over the years, she served as a board member for the Region X Texas Music Educators Association, Tyler County Teachers Association and Texas Conference of the United Methodist Choir. She directed countless school musicals and "After School Specials" and worked with many musical organizations throughout the county and region.

She and Coach Houston raised sons Melvin, Martin and Michael while living in Tyler County, and the entire family became involved in the Dogwood Festival, assisting with and participating in the parade, historical play and coronation ceremony. Mrs. Houston sang "Trees" during the opening ceremony of the coronation for many years and will return to the Amphitheater stage this year to sing once again.
Mrs. Houston currently resides in Port Arthur and serves as a consultant for school music programs. She serves as music director for McCabe Roberts Avenue United Methodist Church and co-director of the Port Arthur Area Children's Choir. She also spends time trying to keep up with and enjoy her four beautiful grandchildren.

Mrs. Houston will lead the 71st Annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival Parade Saturday, April 5, beginning at 2 p.m. Parade entry forms may be obtained via the Web at https://tylercountydogwoodfestival.org.

Can you buy drugs in Woodville?

by Sgt. Jathan Borel

Woodville Police Department will once again pay individuals to buy illegal drugs anywhere inside the City of Woodville. This unconventional program was originated several years ago when our officers saw an increase in illegal activity and has been very successful in identifying and prosecuting drug dealers. Some of the illegal activity included out of town drug dealers coming into our area to sell drugs, as well as the recruitment of our local teens to sell the drugs for them. We are again seeing an increase in illegal activity.

We will publish a series of articles that show the dangers of illegal drugs and the difficulties facing those who use and deal them. Also, we will provide updates on drug dealers who will be arrested throughout the duration of this program. To see if you are eligible to help us get these criminals off the streets, please call one of our sergeants at the Woodville Police Department, Lawrence Hicks or Jathan Borel, at 409-283-5262. You may qualify to earn some extra cash and improve our city.

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.