Kristen Westfall jury trial set on Aug. 9 in Brazo county

by Emily Waldrep

The jury trial for Kristen Westfall is set to begin in Brazos county on Wednesday, August 9. Jury selection began on Tuesday, August 8.

Westfall's last pretrial took place on Monday, August 7, where the state attorney from the Texas Attorney General's Office decided to allow witnesses to mention that Westfall had talked about being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood gang. In addition, the defense attorney made a motion that spectators at the trial would not be able to wear bright yellow "justice for Nathan and Krystal Maddox" shirts to the trial, to ensure Westfall receives a fair trial.

Westfall has been charged with capital murder after the victims, Nathan and Krystal Maddox, were gunned down in the parking lot of Mt. Caramel Baptist Church in Colmesneil on January 18, 2014.

Kountze man’s body found in Tyler County after extensive search

by Emily Waldrep

The body of an 83-year-old Kountze man was found in Tyler County on Thursday, August 4 in a hunting lease near Hillister.
The man was originally reported missing on Monday, August 1 by his family in Kountze. William H. Gant was found at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the same hunting lease that his truck, dog and clothing were found in on Tuesday night. As of this time, no foul play is suspected.
According to Gant's family, he suffered from dementia.
The Tyler County Sheriff's office was assisted in the search by about 50 searchers from the Texas Equusearch Team, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens, Constables and Justice of Peace, Woodville Police officers, Hardin County Law enforcement, Texas DPS, Warren VFD, Tyler County Search and Rescue, and about 25 citizen volunteers.

Pipeline replacement speeds through county

Kinder Morgan is replacing 11 sections of 24-inch pipe over 16 miles.  In the photo is section #5, a 2,600-foot section, seen on the left going north from Woodville on Hwy. 69, just short of Doucette.  The sections in Tyler County are part of the $165-million, 900-mile South System Flexibility Project for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., which is a Kinder Morgan company.Kinder Morgan is replacing 11 sections of 24-inch pipe over 16 miles. In the photo is section #5, a 2,600-foot section, seen on the left going north from Woodville on Hwy. 69, just short of Doucette. The sections in Tyler County are part of the $165-million, 900-mile South System Flexibility Project for Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C., which is a Kinder Morgan company.

by Michael G. Maness

As though a giant mowed a swath of trees 75-150 feet wide through Tyler County, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, a Kinder Morgan company, has been steadily working on replacing 11 sections of pipe along a 16-mile path.

Perhaps the most visible site is a few miles north of Woodville on the left of Hwy. 69, just before Doucette. The old is out and the new 24-inch pipe has been welded, inspected, and ready to bury. It will go through a sleeve under Hwy. 69 as the crews work from the southwest to the northeast.

Usually, a Tyler County Deputy Sheriff is parked there. According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, they received a report that someone wanted to shoot the workers, but it could not be verified. Weatherford felt it best to provide some security, and, given that the hill of Hwy. 69 slightly obstructs a view of fast-moving traffic, the deputy could also help with traffic as the unending loads of pipe and materials crisscross the highway.

Kinder Morgan is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, owning or operating about 84,000 miles of pipelines transporting natural gas, gasoline, crude oil, CO2 and other products ( The 11 sections being replaced in Tyler County begin about five miles to the southwest of Woodville near Hwys. 190 and 256, and, following the pipe in a nearly straight northeast line go under Hwy. 287 and further past Hwy. 69. In all, about 3 miles of total pipe will be replaced in the 11 sections along that 16-mile length.

The site seen on the left of Hwy. 69 just north of Woodville is Site #5, where they are replacing about 2,600 feet of 24-inch pipe.

Richard Wheatley, director of corporate communications for Kinder Morgan, said, "We seek to maintain amicable local landowner relationships and maintain a minimal project footprint." Working closely with landowners they will "re-route fence lines" or "provide alternative water sources for livestock." In restoration, Wheatley said, "We will ask landowners which type of grass they prefer to have planted (Bermuda, Pensacola Bahia, Argentina Bahia, etc.)."

The Tyler County work is contracted to PECI, which has about 100 men working steadily.

Local businessman David Emmons, who has leased the land the contractors are using for a lay-down area, recalled that some of the pipe was laid down in 1940 as WWII cranked up. Many of the contractors reside at Emmons' RV Park just a mile south of the Hwy. 69 work and lay-down areas.

According to Wheatley, the work in Tyler County is part of the $165-million, 900-mile South System Flexibility Project that will provide about 500 million cubic feet of gas per day for customers of TGPC. When complete, the flow will be reversed at the compressor stations, like the one just of north of Jasper on Hwy. 93, and the new route will pump gas north-to-south from Tennessee and Louisiana through Texas and to Mexico.

When finished, Kinder Morgan will retain a 50-foot permanent right-of-way to maintain its pipeline. The work in Tyler County should be complete by Oct. 1, 2016, and the remainder of the overall project should the pipeline to become operational in late 2016.

Two Woodville men arrested under influence of Synthetic Marijuana

by Emily Waldrep

According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, there is a type of Synthetic Marijuana being sold in the Woodville area that has severe effects, over the normal effects people would expect from the drug.

Officer Dees was dispatched to the 800th block of Cardinal drive on Monday, July 25 in reference to reports of a male subject walking around without any clothes on. According to McCulley, when Dees arrived on scene she observed the male subject walking down the street naked, obviously under the influence of some type of drug due to his demeanor and body language.

He was identified as Jarvis Barlow, age 24, of Woodville.

"Officers are typically instructed to wait for backup if the person is under the influence," McCulley said. "Once backup arrived, Barlow was placed under arrest without incident."

According to a witness, Barlow was seen with a baggie of substance in his hand prior to officer's arrival. Officers were able to locate the baggie, which contained synthetic marijuana.

Barlow was transported the the Tyler County Jail and charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Public Intoxication.

After he arrived at the jail, he was very erratic and had to be isolated. In addition, complaints were made that children were in the area when Barlow was walking around Cardinal that may have observed him walking around without any clothes on. The complaints are being investigated and additional charges, such as indecent exposure, could occur.

In a second case that occurred on July 24, Officer Hoke with the Woodville Police Department was dispatched to the 300th block of South Magnolia, near the intersection of MLK. Hoke was dispatched to assist a state Trooper that was already at the scene of a motor accident.

According to McCulley, reports stated that the vehicle left the roadway and ran through a produce stand and then hit a pole near Tyler County Tractor. The Trooper advised Officer Hoke that they were trying to remove the driver from the vehicle but a struggle ensued.

"The driver struggled with officers, kicking and pushing away trying to avoid being placed under arrest," McCulley said. "Officer Hoke and the State Trooper were able to subdue the driver and take him into custody."

The driver was identified as Lamond Midkiff, age 38, of Woodville and deemed to be under the influence of synthetic marijuana after observing his behavior and interviewing him.

According to officers, immediately after the vehicle came to a stop a black male passenger fled the scene on foot and officers are attempting to identify the individual who left the vehicle, and any help identifying the man would be greatly appreciated. Tips can be called into the Woodville Police Department at 283-5262.

Midkiff was charged with a DWI and resisting arrest.

"We have talked about synthetic marijuana in the past but it seems to be more and more prevalent, and we want the public to know that there is some out on the street that people are selling that is laced with something," McCulley said. "We don't know what it is laced with, but its obviously giving much worse effects than synthetic marijuana alone."
If anyone has any information on where this substance is coming from, tips can be called into the Woodville Police Department at 283-5262.

Spurger woman jailed after stealing car, evading arrest and assualting deputy

by Emily Waldrep

On July 9, 2016, Tyler County Deputies were dispatched to a residence off of County Road 4560 in the Spurger area in reference to a stolen vehicle. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, deputies met with a man identified as Milton Ratcliff who told deputies that on his way home he passed a vehicle that resembled one that he owned, a maroon 2005 Chevrolet Impala.

Ratcliff called his son at home and Ratcliff learned that his stepdaughter, Summer Mcinnis, age 25, of Spurger came to the residence and took the Impala without permission.

"Ratcliff told deputies that he located the vehicle and when Summer recognized he was behind her, she began driving at an unsafe speed to get away from him," Weatherford said. "Ratcliff observed a young child in the front seat unbuckled so he stopped trying to get her to stop and contacted the Sheriff's Office."

Later that evening, deputies were patrolling County Road 4560 and located the suspect vehicle traveling westbound on 4560. Deputies activated emergency lights and siren. The suspect vehicle refused to stop.

"After traveling approximately 1/4 mile, the suspect vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed traveling approximately another mile and turning into the victim's driveway, where the vehicle came to a stop," Weatherford said. "Deputies gave verbal commands to Mcinnis, but she refused to comply. As Deputies were removing Mcinnis from the vehicle, she intentionally kicked one of the deputies in the chest."

Mcinnis continued to resist deputies as she was being handcuffed.

Mcinnis was transported to the Tyler County Jail where she booked in on three Felony Charges, including Assault on Public Servant, Evading Arrest and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle.

Mcinnis is also charged with Resisting Arrest and an Endangering a Child, and those charges will be presented to a Tyler County Grand Jury. Mcinnis remains incarcerated in the Tyler County Jail.

Stolen cellphone leads to drug charges, vehicle seizure

by Emily Waldrep

Officer Deshazo with the Woodville Police Department was asked to go to Walmart on June 28 to investigate a shoplifting case. After Deshazo met with the asset protection associates, it was learned that a cell phone was taken from a service desk after a customer accidently left it behind.
According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, surveillance video revealed the identity of the person stealing the phone. Asset Protection were able to cross reference time frames when the suspect was in the store and saw him taking out some money orders, and officers were able to get his name that way. He was identified as Roger Warren Silvers, age 26, of Marchville, Louisiana.

Officer Deshazo was able to obtain a warrant for Silvers arrest charging him with Class B Theft.

"After the warrant was issued, officer Deshazo summoned officers Sheffield and Dees to help apprehend the suspect on July 1 when he returned back to Walmart," McCulley said. "Silvers was in the parking lot area in his vehicle, and officers approached and made the arrest for the theft warrant."

During every arrest, a persons vehicle gets an inventory taken before it is towed. Officer Sheffield conducted the inventory and found a small, clear plastic baggy that contained a crystal substance. The substance was field tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed approximately 2.7 grams.

"Silvers vehicle was seized by the police department since a felony amount of narcotic was found in it," McCulley said.

Silvers was charged with Class B Theft and Possession of a Controlled Substance.