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Local man with children in car leads Deputies on extended chase

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man identified as Danal Ray Peterson, age 36, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of Abandon Endanger Child Criminal Negligence after leading police on an approximately five mile car chase with his two young daughters inside the vehicle without child safety seats or seat belts.

According to Bryan Weatherford with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, on April 25 at approximately 9 a.m. deputies were dispatched to a disturbance on Highway 92 South near Spurger.

The caller stated that her son, Peterson, was acting highly paranoid and very agitated and had just assaulted his girlfriend. He was making his two four-year-old daughters lay on the ground in fear that people were coming for them. Dispatchers advised deputies while they were en route that Peterson had said he was going to "take the children where they wouldn't feel any pain."
Before deputies arrived, Peterson left his residence in his car and the caller told deputies an approximate location that he might have been. Deputies were able to locate Peterson's vehicle on County Road 4415. Deputies attempted to block the vehicle from entering the roadway but Peterson went around the patrol cars and continued to travel toward FM 92.

According to Weatherford, as deputies attempted to stop Peterson's vehicle they observed a white male exit from the passenger door as the car was still moving with his hands in the air. Deputies continued pursuit of the vehicle that Peterson was driving because it had been reported that his two daughters were inside of the vehicle with him. Peterson turned the vehicle onto FM 92 and the Tyler County Sheriff's Department was assisted by the Woodville Police Department in the chase at speeds of approximately 70-75 miles per hour.

"Peterson kept putting his arms out of the vehicle and appeared to be waving and/or discarding items from the vehicle," said Weatherford. The items were later identified as several items of drug paraphernalia, including syringes and baggies.

Once Peterson arrived in Woodville he turned on County Road 4420, where deputies observed multiple items being thrown from the vehicle, the largest being a camouflage bag. The suspect then made it back to 92, drove through a ditch, and then traveled back to his original residence.
Peterson exited the vehicle with two small children in his arms. Officers approached and gave verbal commands for Peterson to put the children down, but he failed to comply. An officer was able to remove the children from Peterson's arms while other deputies secured him with handcuffs on the ground.

It was later determined that the passenger that exited the vehicle was Cory Barker, who said he was a passenger in the vehicle when it left the residence with the two children; but, Barker said he did not want to be part of the crime after a chase had ensued. Barker said Peterson was driving very erratically and speeding with the children in the car.

"There were no child safety seats in the vehicle and the children stated that they couldn't get their seat belts on," Weatherford said. "A lot of people may question if we should have pursued the vehicle or should we have not, but the thing is we were aware that these children were in danger no matter what happened. Officers were in constant contact via radio and we were monitoring speeds, traffic was light, and if it had gotten to the point that officers felt the children were in any danger we would have had to disengage the pursuit; but at that time, we could not let him continue on with the children that he had already made threats to."

Peterson was charged with Evading Arrest Detention with Vehicle, Tamper Fabricate Physical Evidence with Intent to Impair, two counts of Abandon Endanger Child Criminal Negligence, Resist Arrest Search or Transport and Terroristic Threat of Family/Household.

Danal Peterson will undergo a psychiatric evaluation at the Burke Center.

Undercover operation puts five local drug dealers behind bars

Drug Dealer Photosby Emily Waldrep

Five major Woodville and Doucette drug dealers are behind bars after an ongoing undercover drug operation by the Woodville Police Department was able to make several drug purchases from Derek Brooks, age 49, of Woodville, Kendrick Kirkwood of Woodville, Charles Releford Jr., age 23, of Woodville, Tony Gray, age 50, of Woodville and Ernest Williams, age 25, of Hillister.

According to Mike McCulley, the arrests are a result of a six month long investigation that included undercover officers making buys from some of the most prevalent drug dealers in the county, as well as undercover operations utilizing officers with the Police Department. McCulley said that Officer Borel and Officer Hicks of the Woodville police department logged in several hours during the past months to make the arrests happen. They also worked on obtaining information from the public about these drug dealers that assisted in making this operation a success.

"There will be more arrests coming," McCulley said.

In addition to the arrests, the Rump Shakers Club in Doucette could be seized after the proprietor, Derek Brooks, was caught selling drugs there.

"During our investigation we were able to make a case on Brooks, and he was subsequently arrested, and there has also been an affidavit of seizure presented to the prosecutor's office to seize the Rump Shakers property as a result of drugs being sold on that property," McCulley said.
According to police, the five men arrested are repeat offenders who have all seen either jail time or harsh probation.

"We hope this will make them stop selling; but if not, we will continue to make it difficult for them to sell drugs in these areas of the city and county," McCulley said.

Brooks, Kirkwood, Releford, Gray and Williams were all charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance and their bonds were each set at $30,000.

German Pellet fire suspends operations

Pellet-Mill-Fire

A fire in a sawdust silo at the German Pellet Plant in Woodville on Monday took almost 5 hours to put out, according to Woodville Fire Chief Tommy Shane. Woodville, Shady Grove, Colmesneil, Chester and Ivanhoe fire departments responded to the fire at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28. It is still unknown how the fire began, but the plant will be shut down for several days to investigate the cause. No one was injured in the fire. (Russell Hopkins Photo)

Garrison man charged with assault, kidnapping

by Emily Waldrep

Tyler County dispatch received a call on Saturday, April 19, that a vehicle, whose driver was acting suspiciously, had left Hardin County and was coming into Tyler County. According to the caller, a woman had exited a white Dodge pickup on F.M. 92 north of Biscamp Road in Hardin County, and a man exited the vehicle yelling at the woman, forcefully grabbed her and forced her back into the truck.

The pickup headed north on Hwy. 92, and the caller stayed back, advising dispatch of the location. The white Dodge was traveling at a high rate of speed into Tyler County, and deputies stopped the vehicle when it turned on Hwy. 1746 from Hwy. 92.

According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, a sergeant and two deputies approached both sides of the vehicle and tapped on the windows, which were too dark to see through.

"The passenger door flew open and a white female jumped out yelling, 'Just get him away from me, he is going to kill me, get him away from me'," Ryan said.

The male subject was identified as David Green, age 30, of Garrison, and he denied that anything was going on. The woman said that Green hit her several times and attempted to strangle her. According to Ryan, she had clumps of hair lose on her shirt and marks on her body that were consistent with the assault story that she gave deputies.

She also stated a gun and knife were involved, and deputies found both of those weapons as they were described. The woman stated that Green held the knife to her throat, and then to his own throat and threatened to kill himself. In addition to the gun and knife, deputies found additional knives and a set of brass knuckles.

Green had a warrant out of Lufkin and was taken into custody. The vehicle was searched, and a bag with several glass pipes, marijuana and methamphetamine were found.
Green was charged with Aggravated Kidnapping, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Harassment, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of a Prohibited Weapon Brass Knuckles.

The drugs will be sent to the DPS lab for investigation, and the woman involved did not need major medical attention.

TxDOT approves funding for turning lanes at German Pellet Mill

In an ongoing effort to improve safety, the Texas Transportation Commission, at its March 27 meeting, approved more than $500,000 for the installation of a two-way turning lane on U.S. 69 at the German Pellet Mill. Moore Brothers Construction Company was awarded the project that will extend the current southbound right turn lane to C.R. 1040N and add a left turn lane immediately after C.R. 1040N.

"Hundreds of trucks come in and out of County Road 1040 North from U.S. 69 every day," said Tucker Ferguson, TxDOT district engineer for the Beaumont District. "This will give them a safer way to enter and exit onto the main highway."

The project is approximately 0.5 mile long on U.S. 69. Construction is expected to begin in May and take approximately three months to complete.

Man caught stealing fishing reels pleads guilty, sentenced to 10 years

by Emily Waldrep

According to Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt, Vaughn Longino likes to steal fishing reels from Walmart.

On February 14, 2013, Heather Mullican, an Asset Protection Officer for Walmart, observed Longino select several fishing reels and place them in a blue cooler he had sitting on top of his shopping cart. Longino then went to the hardware department and cut open the fishing reel packaging, putting the reels in his pockets. He left the packaging and the cooler on a shelf in the hardware department and exited the store. Mullican had already called for help, and Megan Schofield, another Asset Protection Officer, confronted Longino just outside the store.

Longino forced his way past Schofield, injuring her in the process, and ran to his truck. Mullican was able to get a description of the truck and a license plate number.

On May 2, 2013, Longino carried out a similar theft at the Walmart in Jasper. In that incident, he drove away from the store in the same truck, and was pursued by Jasper Police, Jasper County Sheriffs, DPS Troopers, Angelina County Sheriffs and San Augustine Sheriffs. He was eventually arrested and charged with Theft, as well as Evading Arrest with a Vehicle. He was charged in Tyler County with Robbery, due to the injury to Schofield in the process of the Theft.

Dan Hunt, Assistant District Attorney, was preparing the case for jury trial. Hunt offered Longino 10 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. Longino was facing up to 20 years if convicted by the jury.

"Longino has a long history of Theft convictions, and has been incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on nine prior occasions," Hunt said. "He will add to that now."

He pled guilty in front of Judge Jerome Owens in Tyler County District Court on April 10, 2014 and was sentenced to 10 years.