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Intoxicated driver with 4 year old in car found stuck in ditch off Railroad street

by Emily Waldrep

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on June 6, Sargent Hicks with the Woodville Police Department was dispatched to attempt to locate a possible intoxicated driver in the Woodville area. According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, dispatch advised that a female caller had contacted 911 and said that she was lost and stuck in a road ditch, but the caller sounded like she was intoxicated. The caller also had a four year old child as a passenger in the car.

McCulley said that officers attempted to locate the caller by tracking the GPS on her cell phone, and the initial tracking information led officers to look in an area just east of Woodville off of FM 1746. About 90 minutes later, the coordinates on the cell phone were updated and relocated the officers back into Woodville off of Railroad Street.

Sgt. Hicks began looking in the area where the coordinates stated the phone was last activated at and was able to find the driver and the vehicle in a wooded area just off of Highway 190 East. According to Hicks, it appeared that the driver turned onto an old railroad track right of way that runs north to south on the east side of Woodville. The driver apparently attempted to drive through the wooded area and ended up getting stuck in a deep ditch.

Hicks made contact with the driver, identified as Jynifer Michelle Moenkhaus, age 26, of Woodville. Upon interviewing the driver, Hicks observed several indicators that the driver had been consuming alcohol, McCulley said. The child was located and found to be unharmed in the vehicle.

The driver was arrested for Public Intoxication and was booked into the Tyler County Jail on that charge.

"In normal situations a DWI would be filed but due to the four to five hours it took officers to locate the driver, her level of intoxication would not be sufficient enough to file a DWI charge," McCulley said. "The child was released to a family member and the car was picked up by a wrecker service."

Officers also made a report to CPS regarding the welfare of the child being in danger due to the mothers intoxicated state, McCulley said.

"Cell phone GPS service is very helpful in emergency situations if we need to locate you" McCulley said. "If you are not sure if your phone is equipped with this feature you should contact your cell phone carrier to find out. A lot of people also do not know that you have to manually activate this feature."

Alabama-Coushatta, NFGT sign agreement with HRT to perform surveys

Alabama-Coushata Forest-Service-signing

Leadership of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas recently signed a Supplemental Project Agreement that will enable the Forest Service to contract with the Heritage Resource Technicians (HRT) to perform heritage surveys in the National Forest. Trained Tribal HRT will be able to take advantage of employment opportunities by contracting with the U.S. Forest Service around Texas and potentially throughout the country. Seated are, from left, Johnny Stafford, Tribal Council Secretary; Nita Battise, Tribal Council Chairperson; Mark Van Every, Forest Supervisor; and Pete Polite, Tribal Council Treasurer. Standing are, from left, Dedera Don Sylestine, Forestry Supervisor; Kerwin Williams, Tribal Forestry Aide; Carlene Sue Bullock, Youth Programs Director; Gesse Bullock, Forestry Technician; Jim Crooks, Operation Team Leader; Brian Townsend, Tribal Relations Program Manager; Juanita Garcia, Heritage Program Manager; Gerald Lawrence, Davy Crocket District Ranger; Mary Hughes Frye, Public Services Team Leader; Kimpton Cooper, Angelina and Sabine National Forests District Ranger; KK Langley, Forestry Technician and Vicky Gauer, Executive Assistant.

Man found on ATV in middle of CR 2100 with drugs and handgun

by Emily Waldrep

On June 5 Tyler County Sheriff's Department received a report from a caller that a suspicious man had walked up to their residence and was asking for gas for an ATV that had run out of fuel. According to the caller, the man appeared to under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The caller asked the man to leave, and after several request he left the residence.

The caller reported that he witnessed the man jump a fence and go to another residence.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Office, along with Constable Precinct 2 John Fuller, arrived and observed the subject, identified as Kenneth Allen, sitting on a four-wheeler in the middle of County Road 2100. When deputies made contact with Allen, the ATV was running and they could see the tracks where he had been riding up and down the roadway.

"While speaking with Allen, he appeared to be disoriented and under the influence of some type of narcotics," Weatherford said. "Deputies began searching the four-wheeler to get a serial number to identify the ATV, and subsequently found a loaded .38 Special pistol in a compartment on the ATV."

In addition to the pistol, deputies found two small plastic zip lock bags inside of Allen's wallet. According to Weatherford, the baggies contained a crystal like substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. The methamphetamine in the baggies weighed just under 1 gram, Weatherford said.

Deputies also discovered 14 unused syringes and one used syringe in the tool compartment of the ATV.

Allen was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance Methamphetamine (state jail felony), Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon (third degree felony) and he will also be charged with Operating an ATV on a Public Roadway.

Saturday fire destroys Woodville home

Saturday Fire

by Emily Waldrep

Woodville Volunteer Fire Department along with Whitetail Ridge Volunteer Fire Department responded to a house fire on Saturday, June 6. The home was located on HWY 190 West across from the Heritage Village.

There is no word on how the fire began, but the home was a total loss. The American Red Cross was called to assist the family's needs. No one was injured during the fire and no one was home at the time of the blaze.

Contact Dale Freeman with Tyler County Emergency Management at (409)331โ€“0874 if you would like to donate items or services to victims of house fires in Tyler County.

Congressman Brian Babin cuts ribbon for Woodville District Office

Brian Babin Distrct Office Ribbon Cutting (Jim Powers Photo)

Congressman Brian Babin cuts the ribbon Friday, May 29, for his Woodville District Office. The office is located in Room 100 of the Tyler County Courthouse. A large crowd gathered to get a look at the recently remodeled office, watch the ribbon cutting and enjoy cake and refreshments.

Governor Abbott adds Tyler County to 'state of disaster' declaration

AUSTIN โ€“ Governor Greg Abbott today declared a state of disaster in 24 additional counties, bringing the total number of counties under Texas' state disaster declaration to 70. The counties added to the declaration are: Angelina, Burleson, Cherokee, Edwards, Ellis, Fayette, Gillespie, Kaufman, Lamar, Liberty, Leon, Lynn, Madison, Milam, Real, Refugio, Rusk, Sabine, Travis, Tyler, Uvalde, Victoria, Waller and Wharton. Additional counties may be added as the situation develops.

"The large number of Texas counties currently experiencing a state of disaster is an indication of how severe this ongoing weather situation is, and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for everyone to heed local officials' warnings," said Governor Abbott. "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected, and I strongly urge all Texans to take all precautions to protect themselves and their families and neighbors."

To view Governor Abbott's disaster declaration, click here.

The following 70 counties have been declared in a state of disaster: Angelina, Archer, Bastrop, Blanco, Bosque, Bowie, Burleson, Caldwell, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Collin, Comal, Cooke, Denton, Dewitt, Eastland, Edwards, Ellis, Fannin, Fayette, Gaines, Garza, Gillespie, Grayson, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Houston, Jasper, Johnson, Kaufman, Kendall, Lamar, Leon, Liberty, Lynn, Madison, Milam, Montague, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Parker, Real, Red River, Refugio, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, Smith, Travis, Tyler, Uvalde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Wharton, Wichita, Williamson, Wilson, Wise and Zavala

Texans are encouraged to follow these safety tips during this weather event:

When severe storms threaten, the safest place to be is indoors.
Avoid areas already flooded and avoid any fast-flowing water.
Be extremely cautious of any water on roads or in creeks, streams, storm drains or other areas โ€“ never attempt to cross flowing streams or drive across flooded roadways and observe road barricades placed for your protection.
Remember that dangerous waters can seem deceptively calm, and if you encounter flooding, move to higher ground.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.

Keep in mind that flood dangers are even harder to recognize at night.
ยท Be mindful that rising and moving water can also threaten people on foot and individuals near recreational waterways impacted by significant rainfall.
Monitor weather radios and news broadcasts for updated information on current and anticipated severe weather in your area.
Stay informed and heed warnings by local officials.

For additional safety tips related to tornadoes, thunderstorms and flooding, see:

http://dps.texas.gov/dem/ThreatAwareness/weather_aware_severe.htm

The American Red Cross has established the following website for individuals in impacted areas: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php

The following resources are involved in the state's continued response to this weather event:

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS): Assisting with reconnaissance, search and rescue efforts, and providing personnel and resources as needed.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD): Conducting search and rescue missions during flash flooding/water incidents in affected areas.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS): DSHS have mobilized resources, equipment and personnel to provide medical assistance as needed.

Texas Military Forces (TMF): TMF has deployed aircraft and high-profile vehicles, and continues providing assistance with search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Task Force 1 (TTF1): Air and boat rescue squads have been deployed for search and rescue missions as needed.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): Continues to monitor dams and river levels in the affected areas.

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): Crews have deployed resources to address flooding conditions and debris cleanup impacting roadways.

Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC): Personnel continue to work with utility companies to resolve power/utility issues.

Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA): Assisting communities to apply for funds administered by TDA that will help with storm cleanup and rebuilding.

Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD): Organizations continue to provide shelter and other mass care needs as requested.

Additional partners and resources include: Texas A&M Forest Service; Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service; Civil Air Patrol; Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs; Texas Department of Criminal Justice; Texas General Land Office; Texas Health and Human Services Commission; Texas Department of Insurance; Railroad Commission of Texas; Texas Education Agency; Department of Aging and Disability Services; Department of Family and Protective Services; Texas Workforce Commission; Texas Animal Health Commission; Texas 2-1-1; and Texas Department of Information Resources.