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Long time Tyler County EMS employee dies in Colmesneil collision

by Emily Waldrep

A two vehicle crash in Colmesneil took the life of a beloved Colmesneil resident and Tyler County EMS employee who definitely made her mark on citizens in the area.

Sara IrvinSara IrvinAt approximately 5:50 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, a tractor trailer truck was driving southbound on US 69 and Sara Vaughn Irvin was driving a Chevrolet Cobalt car northbound on US 69. For unknown reasons, Irvin drifted into the southbound lane of traffic and struck the 18-wheeler. Irvin, age 67, of Colmesneil was pronounced dead at the scene by Judge Powers. The driver of the truck was Jackie Lanning, age 44, of Arkansas. He was not injured in the crash.

Investigation is still underway to see what caused Irvin to drift into the other lane.

Irvin made her mark in Tyler County as an Tyler County EMS employee that had a passion for her line of work. Those that knew her say she was an inspiration to anyone wanting to work with EMS or first responders.

"I met Sara in the mid 1980's when I first started my career and I will just say that she is someone I admired and really respected, and I knew she was a true public servant because she loved what she did and her enthusiasm for what she did was obvious because she always had a smile on her face, she was always upbeat," Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department said. "She was a tremendous inspirations to so many people in that line of work, whether it be police, fire, or EMS."

Irvin worked closely with all first responders in Tyler County, and was very well known and respected.
"All the guys always talked and agreed if anything happened we wanted Sara there to get us help. That was understood," McCulley said.

"On behalf of the entire Woodville Police Department and Tyler County Sheriff's Department, we want to say that Sara was a tremendous inspiration to anyone who wanted to get into this line of work. Looking back on all the calls of service we were at during the same time, every time we saw her work with EMS it was obvious that she cared about the people and she cared about what she did. We are all really going to miss her. She was a mentor to so many people and was very well thought of and respected by anybody in law enforcement that worked with her all these years. She was a fantastic person."

Sara Irvin's Funeral was held at Stringer and Griffin Funeral Home on March 16 and was well attended by all of Tyler County's first responders, friends and family.

"Sara made an impact on everyone," said one Dogwood EMS worker. "Everyone she met knew that she had a passion for what she did and she just genuinely cared about people, and that was obvious when you talked to her."

Kree Harrison to perform Friday & Saturday during Dogwood Festival Rodeo

Kree HarrisonThe 72nd Tyler County Dogwood Festival is rapidly approaching and Woodville Lions Club is announcing that American Idol Runner-Up Kree Harrison will perform both March 27 and 28, during the Rodeo. And to make the event even more fun, the are selling raffle tickets with a special prize: the winner gets to ride with Kree! The Rodeo starts at 7 p.m. Friday night and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Advance tickets are available at Sullivan's Hardware, Jarrott's Pharmacy, the Tyler County Chamber of Commerce and from any Lions Club member.

Don't miss the Bull Riding, Calf Roping, Goat Scramble, Barrel Racing, Team Roping and Calf Scramble.

Police pursuit in Woodville ends with vehicle crash

by Emily Waldrep

A police chase ended in an one car accident in the early morning hours of March 8 after officers with the Woodville Police Department received reports of a vehicle acting suspiciously in the Woodville area.

According to Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, just before midnight on March 7, Sargent Borel observed a vehicle driving through a neighborhood near South Magnolia Street with no headlights. Borel had also received calls from a Woodville resident stating that the driver of the vehicle was trying to create a disturbance at their house.

Due to the report and the fact the vehicle was driving with no headlights, Borel attempted to stop the vehicle.
According to McCulley, whenever Borel attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver turned on Cobb Mill Road and began accelerating while refusing to stop. The driver was not using signals to turn the vehicle and continued up Cobb Mill Road and took the sharp curve on that street near Wal-Mart at high speed and crashed into a yard on the corner. The vehicle struck a large rock and went thru chain length fence and came to stop, McCulley said.
Officers apprehend driver after vehicle was crashed and the driver was identified as Jimmy Lee Scott, age 34 of Woodville.

"A search of the vehicle revealed a usable amount of marijuana in the front seat," McCulley said. "Scott refused medical attention because he was only slightly injured, and was taken into custody and transported to the Tyler County jail."

Scott was charged with Felony Evading with a Vehicle and Possession of Marijuana, plus several traffic offenses.

"We have encountered an increase in drivers refusing to stop once the officers have initiated their lights and sirens," McCulley said. "These situations create a lot of uncertainty when our officers are put in the position to decide whether or not to pursue this person."

McCulley said that if at any point the chase becomes an extreme danger to the public and the person running is not a wanted person, they may call off the pursuit and pick them up later.

"These two pursuits were fairly short and didn't get up to speeds that were too excessive," McCulley said. "It's just something law enforcement is starting to see now and we don't know why."

Wanted felon captured in Tyler County

by Emiley Waldrep

On March 4, Jeff Mashaw with Tyler County Sheriff's Department was contacted by the United States Marshall Fugitive Task Force Team, who were working with Liberty county in an effort to located a subject identified as James Burnett who was wanted for several parole violations as well as two warrants including Felony Possession of a Firearm and Theft of a Firearm.

BurnettMashaw, who is also a part of the Task Force Team for Tyler County, assisted Liberty county in the search for Burnett. According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Liberty County officials had gained evidence that Burnett was hiding out in Tyler County and possibly living in a camper on County Road 4950.

"As officers pulled in the driveway they observed a white male and a white female in the yard and recognized Burnett from photos," Weatherford said. "Burnett ran into the woods and Seargent Mashaw gave chase through a very swampy wooded area."

Burnett was arrested approximately 200 yards from where he ran after a short chase.

Burnett was then placed under arrest for liberty county warrants.

Officers then identified the female at the residence as Crystal LaFrance.

LaFrance was in possession of drug paraphernalia and placed under arrest and transported to the Tyler County jail and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Weatherford said.

"Liberty county Deputies transported Burnett to Justice of the Peace precinct four, Jim Moore's office where he was magistrated and transported to Liberty County," Weatherford said.

After the arrest, Sargent Mashaw ran the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) on the travel trailer Burnett and LaFrance were staying and the travel trailer was reported stolen out of Trinity County.

The travel trailer was removed from the location and stored and Trinity County will be following up with that theft investigation with additional charges pending.

"This is a clear example of outstanding cooperative efforts between Liberty County Sheriff's Office and Tyler County Sheriff's Office working together in networking and sharing of information to accomplish a mutual goal," said Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Raider. "We sincerely appreciate the assistance of Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford and Sargent Jeff Mashaw."

Dogwood Festival Children of the Court, Trainbearers announced


2015 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Trainbearers­–Seated (left to right): Mckayla Pittman, daughter of Chris and Raven Rogers and J.R. Pittman (Colmesneil); Baylee Cooley, daughter of Chad and Christy Cooley (Woodville); and Mikayla Odom, daughter of Robert and Sherry Odom (Spurger). Standing (left to right) Emma Spurlock, daughter of Jason and Kim Spurlock (Warren); and Josey Sturrock, daughter of Billy Jack and Casey Sturrock (Chester). (Photo courtesy Bob Boykin Photography)


2015 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Children of the Court­—Seated (left to right): Hollie Jarrott, daughter of Cody and Joanna Jarrott (Woodville); Landry Barnes, daughter of Travis and Sheryl Barnes (Chester); Cadence Anthony, daughter of Denny and Ashley Loftin and Bobby Anthony, Jr. (Spurger); and Hayley Hoskins, daughter of Craig and Morgan Hoskins (Woodville). Standing (left to right): Jesse Bittick son of Calvin and Adrienne Bittick (Colmesneil); Easton Evans son of Michael and Sarah Evans (Woodville) and Slade Mashaw son of Phillip and Jolea Mashaw (Warren). (Photo courtesy Bob Boykin Photography)

Operation Litterbug - Get the trash off Tyler County roadways

by Emily Waldrep

A meeting was held on February 25 in the Tyler County Emergency Operations Center Meeting room to discuss possible actions to combat the garbage that has been dumped into Tyler County and littering that is occurring on the roadways. The meeting was requested by Bill Adney and Cathy Bennett, as they are addressing the problem in Ivanhoe and similar action needs to be taken in the rest of the county.
In attendance were Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Tyler County Commissioner Precinct 1 Martin Nash, Tyler County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Trisher Ford, Tyler County Constable Precinct 1 Dale Freeman, Tyler County Deputy Assigned to Ivanhoe Terry Riley, Ivanhoe Mayor Kathy Bennett, Ivanhoe resident Bill Adney, Ivanhoe Resident Judy Carriker and Tyler County resident David Clark.

"Deputies are figuring out who is dumping the trash and issuing citations," Weatherford said. "I've personally noticed the trash on the roads in the county getting worse."

Before the meeting, someone had thrown a large amount of household garbage on Seneca Road. According to Sheriff Weatherford, one of his deputies had investigated the crime and issued a citation to the individual responsible for the illegal dumping. Dale Freeman also found an additional bag of garbage on Seneca road and was able to identify that individual and issue a citation as well.

"We are expressing a commitment to investigate trash dumping violations and file them with the appropriate court," Weatherford said. "This is a county wide problem and deputies will file charges when appropriate throughout the county."

The charges for illegal dumping and disposal are much more serious that many citizens realize. Dumping five pounds or less is a finable offence and a Class C Misdemeanor, and quickly jumps to a jail able offence and Class B Misdemeanor if you dump more than five pounds or less than 500 pounds. The average household of four creates 124 pounds of garbage each week. Dumping over 500 pounds, or just a month's worth of garbage could easily land you a Class A Misdemeanor.

"We might start releasing the names of trash dumping offenders," Weatherford said.

"This is a criminal activity and its really shedding a negative light and a negative image on our county."

According to Dale Freeman, entities and individuals across the county are taking part in this movement and will be dedicated to prosecuting illegal dumpers.

"We have a collection center in the county as well as a scrap yard for trash to be legally dumped," Freeman said.

Freeman also said that even if you are dumping trash on your own property or a friends property without a commercial license, that is still considered an offense and all parties involved can be charged.

"We want to make the public aware of who is dirtying our county," Weatherford said.

"Even if you throw a little piece of garbage out of your vehicle, that's a $500 fine."