Drunken driving July 4 puts Woodville man in jail

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man was arrested on Independence Day for drinking and driving, a huge problem on a holiday weekend and one local law enforcement has no tolerance for.

According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, deputies were on routine patrol in the Dam-B area when they observed a small red pickup truck traveling north on Highway 92 near the fire station. The vehicle was clocked at 10 miles over the speed limit, and the deputy turned around to make a traffic stop.

After turning around, the deputy observed the vehicle make a premature right turn onto County Road 4130 and veered onto the grass and up a hill before getting back on the pavement.

According to Ryan, the deputy activated his emergency lights and the driver attempted to evade, but after the deputy activated his siren, the driver brought the vehicle to a stop.
The driver, identified as Robert Ferguson, age 24, of Woodville, claimed to have insurance but no drivers license.

"The deputy detected the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle so he asked Ferguson to exit the vehicle for further questioning," Ryan said. "Ferguson was not steady on his feet and told deputies that he had drank 3 or 4 beers."

Deputies confirmed that Ferguson's license was suspended. He was placed under arrest for Driving while License Invalid.

Upon arrival at the Tyler County Jail state troopers conducted tests on the subject. A breath sample was taken and it was determined that he was intoxicated.

Ferguson was charged with Driving While Intoxicated and Driving While License Invalid.

Ivanhoe men arrested after reporting burglary

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by Emily Waldrep

Two Ivanhoe men were arrested July 3 when Sheriff's Deputies found drugs in their homes and vehicles. The deputies were there because one of the men had reported a burglary.

According to Phil Ryan with the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, several Tyler County deputies were dispatched to Dogwood Circle in Ivanhoe in reference to a burglary on July 3 at approximately 10 p.m. A white male identified as Gregory Haughton, age 31, of Woodville, met the deputies. He told them someone had broken into his house and stolen several items. Deputies walked through, looking for evidence, and observed a clear plastic bag commonly used for the packaging of illegal narcotics.

When deputies presented the bag to Haughton, he said he did not know where it came from. Deputies also observed two guitars that Houghton tried to report as stolen, as well as several other items suspected to be stolen from the Ivanhoe area.

"Haughton became increasingly agitated during the search and did not consent to a search of his vehicle, so deputies called in a drug dog," Ryan said. "But, before the dog arrived,

Haughton admitted to deputies that he had smoked marijuana and consented to the search."
Deputies uncovered a partially smoked marijuana cigarette from Haughton's vehicle, and he was placed under arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Haughton told the deputies that another person, identified as Kenneth Evans, was renting the home at the time.

According to Ryan, deputies made contact with Evans and he granted permission to search his vehicle. A white powdery substance that was believed to be an illegal narcotic was found in his vehicle. Evans also allowed deputies to search his residence, and when they got to the bedroom of the residence they found several drug paraphernalia items related to the use of marijuana and methamphetamine. Deputies also found two bags with a substance believed to be methamphetamine, pipes and syringes, and marijuana.

Deputies transported both Haughton and Evans to the Tyler County Jail. They will be charged once DPS lab tests come back to positively identify the drugs.

Big Thicket National Preserve prohibits use of unmanned aircraft

Big Thicket National Preserve Acting Superintendent Merrick Moody announced today that the Preserve will prohibit the launching, operation, and landing of unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Big Thicket National Preserve except as approved in writing by the Superintendent.

According to Acting Superintendent Moody, "The Preserve was created to preserve, conserve, and protect a significant portion of Southeast Texas. The launching, operation, and landing of unmanned aircraft within the boundaries of the Preserve have been determined to be detrimental to the values for which the Preserve was established as well as to the health and safety of those who visit the Preserve." In addition, the use of unmanned aircraft will cause undue conflict with our hunters and trappers as well as visitors who come to the Preserve for its peace and tranquility, to hike its trails, and to quietly sit by its many waterways.

Unmanned aircraft is defined as a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device, such as cameras, sensors, and communication links. This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quad copters, and drones) that are used for any purpose including for recreation or commerce.

For more information, contact Big Thicket National Preserve at (409) 951-6830 or (409) 951-6831.

Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy windows broken in daylight burglary attempt

by Emily Waldrep

Woodville Police are asking for the communities help in identifying the person or persons involved in a brazen burglary at the Medicine Shop Pharmacy that occurred in broad daylight.

According to Woodville Police Captian Mike McCulley, Officer Zachary Zachary was dispatched to a business alarm at the Medicine Shoppe on West Bluff Street on June 28 at approximately 3 p.m. When they arrived, officers observed several broken windows and the alarm had been activated.

The suspects were gone but it appeared that the suspects had broken the windows out by throwing a rock through the glass. Once inside, it appeared the suspects rummaged through the pharmacy in search of prescription medications.

"We think the suspect was trying to find a controlled substance that is commonly found on the streets," McCulley said. "It was a little brazen of them to commit this crime in the daylight. Most burglaries happen at night so they can use the cover of darkness to their advantage, this person was apparently pretty desperate to do something like this in the middle of the day."

McCulley said he thinks the suspects were scared once the alarm sounded and they left without stealing anything.

Officers interviewed witnesses in the area who observed a suspect exiting the building in a hurry after the alarm was activated. He was described as a black male with a black shirt, black shorts and white shoes. No other description was given. He was last seen running north on Kelley Boulevard.

Officers were able to lift fingerprints from the scene, which are being identified at this time.

"We are asking for the public's help in identifying anyone involved this particular burglary," McCulley said. "You will remain anonymous. We just need the information," he said.

Any tips can be called into the Police Station or Sheriff's Department.

Contact the Woodville Police Tip Line at 283-5262.

Another copper wire theft leads to Woodville man’s arrest

by Emily Waldrep

A Woodville man was arrested for stealing and selling copper wire from a Woodville business, an ongoing problem in the county.

On June 24, Officer Dees with the Woodville Police Department took a report involving the theft of copper that occurred in the 1100 block of West Bluff Street in Woodville. The property owner reported to Officer Dees that a fellow business owner had contacted him regarding the theft.
Officer Dees met with both parties at the location of the theft and talked to a witness who reported seeing a male subject acting suspicious behind a building next door. The witness observed the man coming from behind the building with something in his hand, then walked over to a truck and put the items in the truck.

The witness was able to take down the vehicle plate number and contacted the Police. During Officer Dee's investigation at the scene, it was determined that the suspicious man had stolen several pieces of copper tubing that were attached to a A/C unit. Officer Dees took down the suspect vehicles information and later confirmed that the vehicle was seen at Woodville Iron and Metal located on US Hwy 69 north of Woodville.

The vehicle's driver was identified as Kenneth Sontag, age 58, of Woodville. The next day Officers located the vehicle in Woodville and made contact with the Sontag, who was found to have a suspended driver's license.

Sontag was arrested for the driver's license violation along with the charge of Theft-State Jail Felony. Bond was set at $25,000.

"These metal Thefts continue to be a ongoing problem all over the area, this case was able to be solved by another citizen getting involved," said Captain Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department. "Officers need the citizens to be on the watch for suspicious activity and to report it when observed. Thanks also to the employees at Woodville Iron and Metal for their assistance in documenting these transactions as they are made. With everyone working to together, maybe this type of crime will be reduced."