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Six dead in Wednesday Colmesneil collision

Colmesneil collision takes six lives

by Emily Walrep

An accident on US 69 near CR 3205 in Colmesneil at approximately 3:15p.m took the lives of six local residents and shut down the highway for five hours.

According to preliminary reports from Trooper Stephanie Davis, the driver of a GMC pickup, now identified as Brandon Simmons, age 30 of Colmesneil was traveling northbound and crossed over the center stripe into the southbound lane, hitting a SUV with four occupants head on.

There were four occupants in the SUV, who were later identified as Doris Rogers, age 62 of Warren, Sharon Morgan, age 68 of Kountze, Jewel McGowan, age 95 of Warren and Timberlee Gosset, age 22 of Kountze.

Several minutes later, before flaggers and emergency personnel could arrive at the scene, a log truck with J&H logging was unable to stop and avoid the wreck due to limited visibility at that part of the roadway and wrecked his truck in an effort to avoid hitting any other vehicles. The driver of the log truck was not injured.

Decision made to increase water release from Lake Sam Rayburn

The Fort Worth District Water Management team has decided to increase water released from Lake Sam Rayburn. Starting June 9, the release will include flood gate release as well as 24 hour power generation. According to Bart Dearborn, Natural Resource Manager at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, releases will be made through one generator and the flood gates at Rayburn, with release regulated to manage flows on the Neches River within 20,000 cubic feet per second below Dam-B.

Releases will begin at 20,000 cfs and will increase as the flow on the Neches falls. The generator at Sam Rayburn releases at a rate of 4,200 cfs and the flood gates will supplement the rest of the surcharge release.

The increased releases are expected to continue until further notice.

According to Dearborne, the Neches is continuing to decrease in flow rates so the gate adjustments are being made to accommodate those decreases.

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.

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."

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.