Woodville man arrested for multiple drug charges, firearm possession

by Emily Waldrep

On June 21 at approximately 2:30 a.m, Deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department were on routine patrol on County Road 4485 when they conducted a routine traffic stop on a vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Rebecca Brownell, age 39, of Woodville and the passenger was identified as Willie McNeil, age 24, of Woodville. There were also two juvenile passengers in the back of the vehicle.

According to Weatherford, deputies observed the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle and a driver's license check revealed that McNeil had arrest warrants out of Tyler County. Deputies received consent to search the vehicle and deputies discovered a rifle, several packages of synthetic marijuana, and a large amount of money.

Willie McNeil was arrested and charged with a warrant out of Tyler County District Court for Possession of Controlled Substance Withdraw of Bondsman. Judge Trisher Ford set a $15,000 bond on that charge. McNeil was also arrested for a warrant out of Tyler County Court for Possession of Marijuana and a bond of $3,000 was set for that charge. In addition, he was charged with Possession of Controlled Substance and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, and Judge Ford set a $3,000 and $10,000 bond on those charges.

Deputies questioned Brownell and learned that she had three small children at home. She reported that one of the children was autistic and that a babysitter was with the children, but she had no way to contact the babysitter, Weatherford said.

Deputies traveled with Brownell to her residence to check on the welfare of the children.

"There was not an adult supervising the children and the oldest child was ten years old," Weatherford said. "Child Protective Services was contacted and made aware of the situation."

Deputies will be seeking a warrant for Brownell for the Possession of Synthetic Marijuana as well as Child Endangerment.

Lumberton man arrested for Multiple DL suspensions for no insurance

by Emily Waldrep

On June 25 at approximately 10:30 p.m, a deputy with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department was on routine patrol on FM 1492 south of Fred when he checked a vehicle by radar travelling 83 in a 75 mile per hour zone and conducted a traffic stop.

According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, the driver was identified as Forrest Ronnel Lee, Jr. from Lumberton. Lee advised the deputy that he did not have insurance on his vehicle, and a computer check through the dispatch revealed that Lee's drivers license was currently suspended multiple times for no liability insurance.

Lee was placed under arrest for Driving While License Invalid and Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility.

"It is important to remember that these deputies are responding to calls of all nature, and our officers do investigate traffic violations," Weatherford said. "These traffic stops can lead to arrest for bigger and more major things such as narcotics or wanted subjects in our county."

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.

County Clerk’s office to issue same-sex marriage licenses in Tyler County

The U.S. Supreme Court Friday, June 26, cleared the way for same-sex marriage in all 50 states in a 5-4 decision. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton subsequently issued an opinion. While Paxton's opinion stated that County Clerks have the right to refuse to issue same-sex licenses if they have personal, religious objections, he also made it clear that the State could offer them no immunity from lawsuits and fines if they chose to not issue them.

Tyler County Clerk Donece Gregory said that her office is issuing the licenses. According to Gregory, they had issued one license as of Tuesday, and had several other inquiries. She also released the following statement of her position on the issue of issuing the licenses.

"Although I do not agree with the mandate of the Supreme Court, and believe that God defines the union of marriage as being between a man and a woman, I will perform the duties of my office, that include issuing a marriage license to a same sex couple, as long as I serve in this elected position, in order to keep the taxpayers of my county from the cost of law suits.

"The oath of office that I took was to faithfully execute the duties of County Clerk and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State.

"I retain my personal, religious freedom, recognizing that on November 8, 2005, the voters of Tyler County voted 2332 FOR and 181 voted AGAINST the Texas constitutional amendment providing that marriage consists only of the union of one man and one woman."

Donece Gregory
County Clerk for Tyler County, State of Texas

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.