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.
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.
According to Fran Rodda, Business Manager and Development Coordinator with the Mary Lee Foundation, the Sinclair Center in Woodville Texas is currently in the process of closing its doors. Rumors that the Sinclair Center would be shutting down have been surfacing for several weeks, but Rodda confirmed that the rumors were true.
"That is the case, the center is closing down but we would prefer not to comment on it as there is still staff working there and children being housed there," Rodda said.
According to Rodda, the Board of directors with the Mary Lee Foundation made the ultimate decision to close down the center. The Mary Lee Foundation is the parent company to the Sinclair Center.
In addition to Rodda confirming that the center would be closing, an administrative director at the center also confirmed the center is in the process of closing.
More information should be available on why the center closed after the closure is final.
On July 2 at approximately 1 a.m., officer Stephen Hoke with the Woodville Police Department observed a vehicle being driven on North Magnolia by a person he knew did not have a valid drivers license. The driver, identified as Christopher Deshawn Montoya, age 21, of Warren.
Officer Hoke made a traffic stop on the vehicle on the 200th block of Cobb Mill Road. While speaking to Montoya, Officer Hoke noticed marijuana stems and leaves on his shirt. Hoke gained consent to search the vehicle, and Montoya was immediately arrested for driving while license invalid.
According to Captain Mike McCulley with the Woodville Police Department, the female passenger in the vehicle also did not have a valid drivers license so a wrecker was contacted to tow the vehicle.
"During the inventory of the vehicle, Hoke observed a clear plastic baggy sticking out from behind the area where the center console and floorboard meet under the dash," McCulley said. "The baggy contained a white powder substance and white rocks that were expected to be powder cocaine and crack cocaine."
Officer Hoke also discovered a second baggy that contained a useable amount of marijuana and some pills that were later identified as hydrocodone. In addition, Hoke found a set of scales that were consistent with narcotics use.
The passenger of the vehicle was identified as Portia Winston, age 27, of Woodville. She was also placed under arrest for possession.
Montoya and Winston were both charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 1, Possession of a Controlled Substance Penalty Group 3, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Driving While License Invalid.
by Dale Freeman, Tyler County Emergency Management Coordinator
As we celebrate Independence Day, we celebrate Freedom and remember the sacrifices that have been made to give that to us. Through those sacrifices, we have created a Nation of People working together for the common good. Although I am not in agreement with everything our Government does, I do know that by standing together, we are all stronger.
As an example of how this works, I note that there are many among us in Tyler County that are still recovering from the disasters that have fallen upon us. We in Tyler County are very resilient and we get through things. However, we do have and need help in the process.
To review the situations, a year ago, (May 2015) we had a flood that pushed the level of the Neches River to an elevation of 73.50 feet at the Town Bluff River Gauge. This is the ninth highest level recorded and the sixth highest since the erection of the Town Bluff Dam. Again in March of this year, the river rose to 76.12 feet. This was the seventh highest recorded and the fourth highest since Town Bluff Dam has been in place.
Following that, in April, we had a line of windstorms that included several tornadoes pass through the County. Many homes and lots of property was damaged with some homes destroyed. Then again in May we had massive rains that caused the Creeks to swell from their banks invading homes and property that do not normally flood.
The rains caused the dam at Lake Amada to fail and resulted in the loss of their lake. Emergency Responders were making swift water rescues and evacuations by boat of persons from the flooded areas. The water rushed into the Neches River and Lake Steinhagen causing the River Gauge downstream of the Town Bluff to rise to 75.65 Feet. Although this is recorded as one event, the level fell to 69 feet in several days until the waters from like heavy rains on the headwaters of the Neches River brought it back up to almost 75 feet. That would be the fifth highest level of the river since the creation of the Town Bluff Dam.
In all of these situations, the American Red Cross was on scene working to help those affected by these disasters. Supplies were distributed and shelters were provided to those who needed a place to stay during the mandatory evacuations. We are very fortunate to have our friends at the American Red Cross working with us.
During some of these events, the County has declared a disaster and made appeal to the State for assistance. There were many Texas counties that suffered similar and worse damages even some with loss of life.
The State, on behalf of Tyler County and the other devasted counties, appealed to the Federal Government for assistance. The assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came sometimes in the form of "Public Assistance," where funds were given for the repairs of our roads and infrastructure. Some of the events received approval for "Individual Assistance" as well. This "Individual Assistance" is where FEMA provides help directly to the individual citizens. The assistance is given regarding the need and the ability to recover using our own resources.
When the disaster overwhelms our ability to recover, the government provides assistance to get back to the pre disaster condition. Sometimes the assistance is given in the form of a low interest loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Certainly, having a disaster should not be looked upon as a windfall to get money from the government.
Individual assistance was approved in the March flood and again in the latest flood event of May, both occurring this year. I was not in this (EMC) position for the March Event, but have been engaged for the windstorm of April and now the floods of May. Tyler County Emergency Management has worked in conjunction with FEMA to compile a list of victims and assisted FEMA in contacting these individuals to begin assistance efforts for them.
This past Friday and Saturday, July 1st and 2nd, we met with representatives of FEMA at the mailboxes at the end of County Road 4410 and the entrance to the Barlow Lake Estates Subdivision. The representatives were able to meet with victims and discuss their "Individual Assistance" claims. The representatives had the ability to access not only records of this latest event but also claims from the previous March flood event.
I heard some of the victims stating that they were just now receiving checks for the looses of the March Flood event. I also met with FEMA Representatives at the Emergency Operations Center. We are working toward setting up a temporary office where victims can come in to discuss their situations with FEMA. This is in the works.
Finally I will meet with the County Commissioner's and Colmesneil City Officials and FEMA Representatives this next week to verify the "Public Assistance" claims filed for the latest Flood Event.
There is a lot going on and it takes a lot of time to get through the processes. Please be patient and keep plugging away at the task. I have talked with a lot of the FEMA people and I am convinced they want to help. They do have perimeters in their assignments that they can't go beyond. However, if you have something that you think should be covered, keep presenting it to them in a respectful way and help them understand your need. Sometimes the same situation can be presented a different way that will work. They will try to find a way to get some help if possible.
Anyone having flooding losses during the May Flooding event, who has not already done so,should call the Tyler County Emergency Management Office to have your name added to our list. We will follow your claim to insure that you have been contacted and received the attention that is needed to help you recover. I am told that FEMA will be doing a "blitz" of Tyler County this next week to contact any persons not yet contacted.
As an afterthought, I want to thank all of the citizens of Tyler County who have offered support and help to your neighbors in their time of need. Your support through all of this is most important in surviving a Disaster.