On Sunday at approximately 6:30 p.m., a Spurger resident identified as Butch Fielder, age 35, attempted to outrun a Tyler County Sheriff sergeant on a four-wheeler, resulting in his arrest.
According to Tyler County Sheriff Department Chief Deputy Phil Ryan, the complainants had reported that Fielder had a Bar-B-Q pit lit in the back of the truck while driving around. The complainants also reported that Fielder appeared to be under the influence of something and had left the residence on a red 4-wheeler before deputies arrived.
Ryan said that the complainant also said she was afraid of Fielder, and was afraid if he came back he would damage property or do something to harm someone at the residence. While interviewing the complainant, deputies noticed a white male driving a red 4-wheeler that matched Fielder's description.
Fielder turned the 4-wheeler onto County Road 4550 in Spurger and the deputy activated the cars lights and sirens to attempt to pull over Fielder.
Fielder refused to stop.
"The pursuit went on for quite a while with Fielder changing directions and spinning around traveling in different directions to avoid capture," Ryan said. "The pursuit ended when the deputy positioned his car close to some trees when Fielder was driving toward him to prevent Fielder from using that avenue of escape, and Fielders 4-wheeler contacted the front end of the patrol car."
Fielder was then taken into custody and EMS was called to check on Fielder. He was transported to the Tyler County Hospital with a deputy travelling with him. Fielder refused treatment and was then taken to Tyler County Jail for Evading Arrest. Fielder is innocent until proven guilty.
The Tyler County Sheriff's Department, with the assistance of several residents in Colmesneil, were able to put a repeat thief behind bars recently and return several stolen items to their rightful owners.
According to Chief Deputy Phil Ryan and Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, the case began on September 10 when a deputy was dispatched to a home on County Road 3065. The complainant notified deputies that he had left his garage open and when he went into the garage he noticed several things were out of place, including a missing Stihl chainsaw. The complainant made a report and signed a desire to prosecute. Deputies began interviewing neighbors and residents in the area, and they reported hearing a loud vehicle in the area stop near the residence, and leave shortly after. Another neighbor said that they saw a white male driving an older model single cab red Chevrolet pickup in the area and that it was loud. They also reported the driver had stopped near the residence, acted like he was checking his tires, but was obviously casing the yard and acting suspicious, Ryan said.
Deputies took photos of the area that the items were stolen from, and collected serial numbers from the chainsaw.
"It is important to keep serial numbers on hand," Ryan said. "A lot of times people will steal items that are easy to sell, and if owners will keep serial numbers we can enter them into a international data system which gives them the opportunity to get their items back at some point."
On September 11, a Tyler County Sheriff's Department Corporal was investigating the burglary and located a witness who was able to name the man driving the red pickup. The witness told the corporal he knew the man as Jacob, and knew about the stolen chain saw. A third witness was able to provide a description of the man, telling deputies that he was a white male, approximately 5 foot 9 inches, and around 30 years old with black hair and a beard, and was able to get a license plate number from the red Chevrolet that the man was driving.
According to Ryan, deputies were able to find a place that Jacob may have been living on County Road 3160. Once deputies arrived at the home, a man identified as Tommy McKean, who owned the home, told deputies that a man named Jacob Wood, of Colmesneil lived at the home and drove a vehicle that matched the description of the witness statements. McKean also reported he had several items missing and suspected that Wood was the one who stole the items.
Meanwhile, the original complainants had put up a game camera and were able to capture a picture of Wood, his red truck and license plate number when he came back to the home to steal something else.
Later that night, the vehicle thought to be driven by Wood was located and the driver was identified as Jacob Wood.
"Wood stated that he had stopped at the residence to get some air in his tires, but since no one was home, he decided to go ahead and steal something," Ryan said. "He took the chain saw because he knew someone who wanted to buy a chain saw."
According to reports, Wood admitted to taking an additional tool set from that same residence, and some books from another home on County Road 140. Also found in his vehicle were the clothes Wood was wearing in the game camera photos.
Wood was read his rights and was allowed to give a statement in which he confessed to the crimes.
According to Ryan, Wood took a chain saw to a resident in Whitetail Ridge identified as Steven Weaver, also known as Weavo, and sold it in exchange for a gram of meth. Wood also let deputies know that he had stolen several items from McKean, including a cooler, bag of shotgun shells, chain saw, and a 4 way lug wrench. Those items were returned to McKean.
Woods was booked into the Tyler County Jail on two counts of Burglary of a Habitation at one residence and an additional count of Burglary of a Habitation at the residence the books were stolen from. Both were second degree felony charges.
"This department is vigorously pursuing the allegations against Steven Weaver and if he is using or dealing illegal substances in our county we will have him under arrest shortly," Weatherford said.
Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford also said that its imperative that the citizens of Tyler County team up with the deputies of the Sheriff's department in order to control crime in the area.
"We want to let these criminals know that they are not welcome here and we will use all means at our disposal to keep them locked up," Weatherford said. "We want to be partnered up with the hardworking citizens of Tyler County to do that and people can always call our office to leave tips of information."
Weatherford said that the Wood case and burglaries could not have been solved without the help of the citizens.
"It's important that the people team up with us," Weatherford said. "We couldn't do our job without them."
The City of Woodville appreciates all customers of the city water system for their cooperation during the troubleshooting and repair of our Carlow Road water well. You should be notified that the non-essential water use restrictions have been lifted once the well is repaired in the next couple of weeks.
Over four years ago the city began to consider options for expanding our water capacity without burdening the taxpayers in anticipation of Woodville's growth. One way this was done was to forge a Public/Private Partnership with East Texas Electric Cooperative at their Woodville Renewable Energy plant. The city provides the plant with treated runoff from the city sewer plant (previously being pumped into Turkey Creek) that is used for cooling purposes and in return, ETEC has funded a new well for the city.
In addition, the city was able to use a hurricane recovery grant for the second additional well. These alternative funding sources have saved Woodville's taxpayers approximately two million dollars. These wells should be operational within 12-18 months and will take care of our growing water needs for many years to come.
Any additional repairs to the Carlow Road water well and other wells on the system can be done once the city's new wells are in place.
by Kay Timme, Tyler County Heritage Society Education Committee
The Tyler County Heritage Society is pleased to announce that it has been approved by the Texas Education Agency to provide professional development sessions for teachers. During these sessions, to be held at the Heritage Village Museum, teachers will earn "continuing professional education" (CPE) hours. Heritage Village is already well-established as an outstanding educational field trip destination, hosting thousands of students from East Texas each year, and we are excited to add professional development for teachers.
The TCHS Education Committee will offer workshops throughout the year to assist classroom teachers in providing instruction that addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). The Heritage Village Museum is an ideal location for hands-on professional development, as the buildings and authentic artifacts provide an exceptional learning environment. In addition, our presenters and demonstrators, who are experts in pioneer skills, will engage workshop participants in a variety of activities that were necessary for survival in pioneer times.
Our first workshop, "Pioneer Skills for Living" will be held on Saturday, September 27th at Heritage Village, and will engage attendees in the skills of soap-making, butter-churning, and candle-making. Workshop participants can earn three hours of CPE credit that morning, and will have an opportunity to earn an additional three hours through follow-up activities. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $50, which includes lunch at the Pickett House and a ticket to the Harvest Festival. Visit our website at www.heritage-village.org for details, and for the workshop registration form.
For additional information about the upcoming workshop or to schedule a group tour, please call Heritage Village at (409) 283-2272.
A report to the Woodville Police Department last month led to the arrest of a benefit volunteer in Woodville who failed to pay salaries and fees to those involved in the benefit.
According to Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, after an initial report Woodville Police Sgt. Borel investigated the case.
The person who made the initial report, Stephanie D. Price, age 33, of Warren, stated that money was taken from concessions which was being collected for a benefit youth basketball tournament held at Woodville High School on the weekend of June 14-15.
Price said several volunteers were working with her during the tournament and she was concerned about the money being stolen because she was unable to pay the officials, building rent and security related to the tournament.
According to McCulley, Price advised police that two people working in the concession stand were responsible for the stolen money and the money collected for teams entered in the tournament totaled approximately $8,000.
Price said she had records of all receipts, required expenditures and monies collected throughout the tournament, which the police department requested to assist in its investigation.
After several weeks of waiting on that material to be provided, Price was unable to show any paperwork relating to the earnings and expenditures of the tournament.
According to the affidavit, Price also made a report to police stating that she had been in contact with the Woodville ISD personnel in charge of surveillance and that they had implied to her that there was existing video footage filmed during the tournament which would be helpful in the investigation, however after Borel contacted the school regarding the footage, it was learned that Price never actually spoke to the school regarding any video footage being requested, reviewed or otherwise.
Borel was also able to make contact with those who rendered paid services for the basketball tournament, such as referees and trophy providers, who confirmed that none of them had received any of the payment promised for their provided services as of September 1.
According to McCulley, the affidavit with all of the information was issued to City Judge Judith Haney for review and it was determined that Price had not contacted people she said she had and had failed to uphold payment to individuals who provided services at the tournament.
Based on interviews with witnesses, Borel believed that probable cause existed, and a warrant was issued for Price for Theft of Service, which is a state jail felony, of more than $1,500 less than $20,000.
In additional interviews by Sgt. Borel, people in the community observed Price spending large amounts of money at different locations and it is believed the initial report she made was a diversion so she could take the money herself. Price was arrested on September 9 of the felony charge of Theft of Service for not paying approximately $5,000 to different entities involved with the tournament.
On August 30 at approximately 5:30 p.m, a Tyler County Sheriff's deputy was dispatched to a location in Colmesneil regarding a child welfare concern.
According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, dispatch said that a young child had been locked out of the house for several hours. Deputies had also been dispatched to the same home before regarding similar complaints. When the deputy arrived, he noticed a young child in "less than appropriate outdoor attire," which consisted of just a T-shirt and underwear. The deputy reported the child had a disheveled look and severe bug bites.
According to reports, the child stated that punishment for being bad resulted in being locked out of the house. When asked how long the child had been outside, the child said since approximately noon, which meant the child had been locked out for approximately five hours.
The deputy then asked the child if the child had been given food or water, and the child reported that he/she was able to drink some water from the hose.
According to Ryan, the deputy was unable to locate the mother at the residence. When he walked around the house, he noticed decaying garbage piled up all around the outside of the house.
The child's mother, Tammy Jane Martin, age 47, of Colmesneil, eventually answered the door and told the deputy the child had only been locked outside of the house since 2 p.m.
"When asked if she thought the child was taking care of itself, she stated 'no, it's a child." Ryan said. "The deputy also let her know the child could have been kidnapped or hit by a car. Several things could have happened when she was not looking after the child."
The deputy then asked for permission to enter the residence, and Martin agreed.
"The odor of cat urine, cat feces and garbage almost made the deputy get sick," Ryan said. "Garbage and debris was scattered everywhere, along with roaches and fleas all over the home."
At that point, Martin was detained for endangering a child and placed in the patrol car.
Child Protective Services also arrived to assist with the investigation.
The residence was further searched and discovered that the child's bedroom had no bed, only blankets on the floor surrounded by garbage bags, cat feces and roaches on the floor and no air conditioning. It was noted in reports that Martin's room had both a bed and air conditioning.
"The whole house was unsanitary and not a safe place to live," Ryan said. "CPS had been there before and the mother had cleaned up only two months prior and the home had already gotten back into a bad state."
Deputies also interviewed surrounding neighbors that were concerned for the child's welfare. According to witnesses, the child often ran away and sometimes slept in a van parked outside of the house.
Martin was transferred to the Tyler County Sheriff's Office and charged with endangering a child.
"A lot of CPS complaints come through this department and we take them seriously, and investigate them thoroughly, along with CPS." Ryan said.