Former Woodville Sonic employee arrested for Credit, Debit card abuse

by Emily Waldrep

A former employee of Woodville Sonic was placed under arrest for Credit and/or Debit Card Abuse after he gained access to funds on other Sonic employee's payroll debit cards.

"At Sonic, in lieu of a check, the company puts employees' wages on a debit card that they are assigned," said Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department.

The investigation began in May when one of the victims noticed that his balance on his debit card issued by Sonic was incorrect. According to McCulley, the employee questioned Sonic about what could be happening to his monies, and a regional manager was contacted.

"It was determined that there was someone accessing the employees debit cards and making unauthorized transactions," McCulley said. "Based on that information, we opened up an investigation."

Officer Deshazo with the Woodville Police Department headed up the investigation and was able to determine that a man identified as Geremey Deshawn Harris, age 22, of Woodville was responsible for accessing and spending money from other employees debit cards.

An arrest warrant was issued for Harris and he was subsequently arrested and charged with Credit or Debit Card Abuse, which is a state jail felony.

Harris is also being investigated on an additional charge of Fraudulent Use of Possession of Identifying Information, McCulley said.

"There were multiple victims effected by him using these debit cards so there may be additional charges to come," McCulley said. "If you have worked at the Woodville Sonic in the past two to three months and were issued a debit card and suspect some of your monies were taken off your card without authorization, please contact the Woodville police department so we can add your name to the list."

McCulley said that he feels there are additional victims that have not come forward.

Harris is presumed innocent until proven guilty and the investigation is ongoing.

Domestic disturbance call leads to drug arrest

by Emily Waldrep

On Friday, June 26 at approximately 4:10 a.m, deputies with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to domestic disturbance at a residence off of County Road 3945 in the Fox Landing area. According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, both parties involved had been separated when the deputies arrived.

Deputies were met by the complainant, who reported that a man identified as Ellis Beshea, age 37 of Colmesneil, had been drinking and firing off weapons throughout the night.

"Deputies made contact with Beshea on the side of a mobile home as he was trying to exit a window," Weatherford said. "Deputies also observed Beshea throw a bag out of the window."
Beshea gave deputies permission to search the bag, and their search revealed a prescription pill bottle that contained Tramadol, which is a pain medication. Beshea did not have a prescription for the Tramadol and it was learned that the Tramadol belonged to the complainant.

Beshea was placed under arrest for Possession of a Dangerous Drug and his bond was set at $3,500.

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."

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.

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