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June 23, 2017 - U.S. Highway 96 North of Center was the scene of a single-vehicle crash Monday, June 19, 2017.

When the driver lost control of a vehicle a collision occurred with a fixed structure, causing damage to the car.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 5:14pm a 2015 red Chevrolet Camaro 2-door driven by Jonathan Travis Kalafatis, 18, of Newton, Texas with passenger Kala Williams, 18,was southbound on U.S. 96.

The left front tire of the Camaro blew, according to witnesses traveling behind the Camaro, debris was seen emanating from the vehicle prior to loss of control. The Camaro then entered the northbound traffic lanes and struck a corner guardrail causing distributed damage across the drivers side of the car.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash and no citations were issued.

Jake Metcalf, Constable Precinct 4, assisted at the scene.

June 22, 2017 - Flooding alerts (Updated)

  • Notified by viewer at 6:23pm that FM 138 out of Center, upper and lower Arcadia has water across roadway. Bush Creek on FM 138 is impassable as of 7pm June 22.
  • 96 South coming out of Center at Southview Circle in front of Pentecostal Church. TxDOT on way to put out signs. ***Conditions have improved and Center PD is no longer diverting traffic at Nacogdoches and 96S. Water mostly across roadway but still passable.
  • 87 South around Borders Poultry and near CR 3012. Water mostly across roadway but still passable.
  • 87 North approximately 6 miles out of Center. Water mostly across roadway but still passable.
  • San Augustine Street and Field Street intersection. Water gushing out of manhole. Marked already by City of Center workers

Check back as this article will be updated as more flooded areas are reported. Call SCT at 936-591-9334 if you know of a flooded roadway not listed.

Vehicle in Wrong Lane Causes Single-Vehicle Crash Outside Tenaha

June 22, 2017 - A vehicle crash just west of Tenaha on Friday, June 16 was reported by the driver to have been caused by another vehicle traveling in the wrong lane.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 8:54pm a blue 2017 Hyundai Elantra driven by Ryan Whaley, 33, of Garrison was eastbound on U.S. Highway 84 near CR 4480 just west of Tenaha. At that time an unknown pickup truck or SUV traveling westbound crossed the center line into Whaley's lane of traffic.

Whaley took faulty evasive action, steering to the right and exiting the road before crossing over two culverts, going airborne and rolling over as the vehicle landed. The Elantra received major rollover damage and the unknown vehicle continued westbound.

ACE EMS arrived on scene and transported Whaley to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries.

Whaley's dog which was a passenger in the vehicle perished as a result of the crash. Whaley was issued a citation for failure to maintain financial responsibility.


Driver Fatigue Causes Vehicle to Leave Road on SH 7

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 5:04pm a maroon 2007 GMC Yukon, pulling a trailer of jet skis, and driven by Dakota Sanford, 17, of Timpson with a 16-year-old male passenger was eastbound on State Highway 7  in the Aiken Community.

Sanford fell asleep at the wheel and the Yukon traveled off the road to the left where it struck a tree with its front causing major damage. Additional major damage was also received on the rear of the vehicle when it was struck by a jet ski as the Yukon impacted the tree.

Sanford was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries. The 16-year-old passenger was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital in Nacogdoches.

Sanford was issued a citation for display expired registration.

June 22, 2017 - Emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene of a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 in the James Community which resulted in the death of a Center woman early Thursday, June 22, 2017.

Earlier in the night on Wednesday, June 21 the driver of an Isuzu involved in the crash had been traveling in another vehicle when she got stuck on CR 3215. She was returning in the Isuzu with help that was bringing a tractor to pull her own truck out when the crash occurred.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 1:10am a silver 1988 Isuzu pickup truck driven by Vicki Thomas, 70, of Center was traveling east on State Highway 7 just past CR 3134 when the Isuzu traveled on the wrong side of the road and struck a grey 2015 Dodge Durango left front quarter panel to left front quarter panel. The Dodge was driven by Rebekah Simmones, 20, of Shelbyville with passenger William Stutts, 30.

The Isuzu came to rest on the eastbound shoulder facing south and the dodge came to rest on the westbound shoulder facing southwest.

Thomas succumbed to her injuries at the scene and was pronounced dead by Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1. She was transported from the scene by Mangum Funeral Home in Center.

Simmones and Stutts were both transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department where they were treated and released.

The Center Fire Department responded to the scene of the truck on CR 3215 where a brush fire had started along the roadside. They also helped to extricate Thomas from the Isuzu. Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies were on scene to assist.

2:57pm CDT Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 - National Weather Service, Shreveport, LA, has issued a Flood Watch. Topical Storm Cindy will bring heavy rainfall and the potential for flash flooding to portions of the region through Friday. (Click image to visit the National Hurricane Center)

The Flash Flood Watch remains in effect from 7pm CDT this evening through Friday morning.

The Flash Flood Watch continues for portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, including the following areas, in Arkansas, Columbia, Lafayette, and Union. In Louisiana, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, De Soto, Grant, Jackson, La Salle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Sabine, Union, Webster, and Winn. In Texas, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby.

From 7 PM CDT this evening through Friday morning widespread heavy rainfall of 4-6 inches is expected, with isolated higher amounts of up to 8 inches possible.

The flooding of roads, low lying areas, and areas with poor drainage will be possible. If encountering flooded roadways, remember to turn around, don`t drown.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions...

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

June 21, 2017 - The U.S. Forest Service is temporarily closing all recreation areas in the Angelina and Sabine National Forests as a safety precaution due to expected severe flooding from Tropical Storm Cindy.

All recreation areas and trails will be closed for the duration of the storm.

“Weather forecasters are predicting severe flooding and possible rainfall up to 10 to15 inches in some areas,” said Forest Supervisor Eddie Taylor.

“We encourage everyone to exercise extreme caution over the coming days; even without hurricane-force winds, high levels of soil saturation can increase the likelihood of trees falling,” he said.

During a flood, rapidly rising water can reach dangerous levels.  Rising flood waters carry a velocity strong enough to roll vehicles, tear out trees, destroy bridges and undermine roads. A low-lying area can become a death trap in a matter of minutes.

Forest visitors may contact the Angelina Ranger Office at 936-897-1068 or the Sabine Ranger Office at 409-625-1940 or visit the website at www.fs.usda.gov/texas for information on when recreation areas will re-open.

June 21, 2017 - From the Shelby County Office of Emergency Management:

With the impending landfall of Tropical Storm Cindy, we are reminded of how important it is to be prepared for any type of disaster.  There’s no time like the present to organize an Emergency Preparedness Kit for your home that could be utilized during weather related and non-weather related disasters.

Here are some recommended items you may want to include in a Basic Kit:
•    Water-One gallon per person per day for drinking and sanitation
•    Food-At least a three day supply of non-perishable food (include a manual can opener)
•    Battery powered radio with extra batteries
•    Flashlight and extra batteries
•    First aid kit
•    Moist towelettes for sanitation
•    Wrench or pliers- to turn off utilities
•    Plastic sheeting and duct tape-to shelter in place
•    Garbage bags and ties-for personal sanitation
•    Unique family needs-prescription meds, infant formula, diapers, important family documents (ID, insurance cards, medical records)

Keep in mind that hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th.

For more information on Disaster Preparedness, you can visit the following web sites:
www.ready.gov
www.cdc.gov
www.dshs.texas.gov

1:45pm CDT Tuesday, Jun 20 2017

June 20, 2017 - A Flash Flood Watch has been posted for the southern half of Northeast Texas and all of Northern Louisiana beginning at 7pm Wednesday and continuing through 7am Friday. (Click image to visit the National Hurricane Center)

Newly formed Tropical Storm Cindy in the Central Gulf of Mexico will continue to move northwest over the next 24 to 36 hours and is expected to make landfall somewhere near the Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast. The storm will then move inland across Northeast Texas or Northwest Louisiana and has the potential to produce excessive, flood producing rainfall before its remnants exits our area early Friday Morning.

Flash Flood Watch in effect from Wednesday evening through Friday morning

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Shreveport has issued a

* Flash Flood Watch for portions of Louisiana and Texas, including the following areas, in Louisiana, Bienville,  Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, De Soto, Grant, Jackson, La Salle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Red River, Sabine, Union, Webster, and Winn. In Texas, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Upshur, and Wood.

* From Wednesday evening through Friday morning

* Tropical Storm Cindy will move inland across the Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana Gulf Coast sometime early Thursday Morning. As the remnants of Cindy move generally northward towards Northeast Texas or Northwest Louisiana, excessive, flood producing rainfall will be possible along and to the east of its track. Widespread 4-8 inch rainfall amounts will be possible with isolated higher totals across the Watch area beginning Wednesday Night and continuing through early Friday Morning.

* The flooding of roads, low lying areas, and areas with poor drainage will be possible. If encountering flooded roadways, remember to turn around, don`t drown.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

To read more on Tropical Storm Cindy - National Hurricane Center

June 19, 2017 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved the purchase of camera equipment needed for the Constable Precinct 4 office by way of the combination of forfeiture funds from the District Attorney's Office and Constable's office.

Jake Metcalf, Constable Precinct 4, explained for the commissioners that as a result of previous lawsuits involving Tenaha, it's a requirement for the Precinct 4 Constable's office to have camera equipment capable of time/date stamping within the vehicle for traffic stops. The camera is to record GPS coordinates and radar readings as well.

"The system I currently have is no longer working. We don't know what has happened to it, if it was so old it just quit working or what," said Constable Metcalf.

Metcalf presented the commissioners with a quote for $4,620 for the DVM-800 Complete kit camera system and VuVault software, which he said includes everything needed to comply with the lawsuit. The current system has used DVD for capturing video, and the new system will record straight to an SD card.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison explained the equipment is something that is required for Constable Metcalf to perform his duties. She said using money from the county contingency fund was being considered.

"You need to make sure everybody understands on court that this goes back to the Tenaha lawsuit that if you are to do any interaction with anyone, otherwise you go home and sit and draw you a check. You've got to have this," said Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner.

Constable Metcalf commented he didn't think it would be good for the county tax payers if he sat at home and drew a check. He explained he has to send in 10% of the videos of any of the interaction he has with the public to the federally court appointed monitor for review.

Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor, remarked the Constable 4 forfeiture account has a little over $3,000. He also referenced an opinion letter written by Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires in February 2017.

"In February of this year we purchased some equipment out of our forfeiture account. Mr. Shires was gracious enough to write us an opinion letter, which stated what the decree requires and doesn't require," said Porterfield.

In abiding with the opinion of Shires, the purchase of equipment was made by way of funds from the forfeiture account. In light of the opinion presented by the District Attorney, Porterfield proposed using the funds to purchase the equipment for the constable's office.

Shires was in court on the day of the meeting and he stated, "yes, absolutely," regarding the use of the funds for purchase of the equipment.

"I could use my forfeiture account to pay the balance as well," said Shires.

A motion was carried to pay for the equipment and its installation out of the Constable Precinct 4 forfeiture fund and the District Attorney forfeiture fund.

At a previous meeting of the commissioners tabled considering reimbursement of travel expenses to county employees. Judge Harbison said anything overnight is $40 a day and anything under 12 hours employees must submit receipts for their meals. Two options were presented with option 1 reimbursing up to $8 for breakfast; $14 for lunch; and $18 for dinner. Option 2 would reimburse up to $40 regardless of what meals it may goes towards.

A motion carried approving option 2.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:53am.


Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Minutes of the May 8 regular meeting and May 22 special meeting of Shelby County Commissioners' Court.
2. Pay monthly expenses.
3. Amend personnel policy by adding $40 a day travel expense for meals.
4. Patrol camera equipment for Constable Precinct 4 at a cost of $4,620.
5. Adjourn at 9:53am.

Items tabled include:
1. DETCOG Regional Mutual Aid Agreement.

Officers' report
Fees collected per office for May:

    Deborah Riley, Tax Assessor/Collector, office: Property: $200,043.31; Motor Vehicle: $27,605.26 for a total of $227,648.57
    Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk: $53,523.88
    Lori Oliver, District Clerk: $23,242.20
    Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1: $7,738.00
    Marla Denby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2: $2,080.10
    Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3: $5,954.00
    Jenny Hicks, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4: $3,692
    Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5: $2,296
    Zach Warr, Constable Precinct 1: $1,155
    James Hagler, Constable Precinct 2: $0.00
    Roy Cheatwood, Constable Precinct 3: $0.00
    Jake Metcalf, Constable Precinct 4: $180
    Robert Hairgrove, Constable Precinct 5: $0.00

Grand total: $326,174.75

    Interest and Sinking Fund generated $0.00 for a total book value of $34,886.72
    Insurance Fund generated $0.00 for a total book value of $25,507.00
    Money Market CD#1 generated $245.65 total market value of $427,205.76
    Money Market CD#2 generated $245.23 total market value of $426,469.24
    Money Market CD#3 generated $244.80 total market value of $425,733.98
    Money Market CD#4 generated $0.00 total market value of $485,287.00

Total CD Transactions $735.68 at a total market value of $1,764,695.98
    Shelby County Money Market value of $25,038.06
Total Interest earned on investments $61,166.73
    Total investments of $1,789,734.04
Interest Bearing Checking Accounts for May 2017
General Fund: 0.10% - $901.21
DA Forfeiture Non-Traffic: 0.05% - $0.82
DA Forfeiture - Traffic: 0.05% - $0.15
County Attorney Collections: 0.10% - $.70
County Clerk Account: 0.10% - $2.58
Tax Assessor VIT: 0.10% - $2.14
Tax Assessor Property: 0.10% - $23.81
DA Forfeiture Fund 37: 0.10% - $0.44
Total Interest Collected: $931.85

Jake Metcalf - Constable Precinct 4 May 2017 Activity Report - Click here to view

June 16, 2017 - A Shelby County couple accused of abusing their 4-year-old child each received bond reduction Thursday, June 15, 2017 as ordered by 123rd Judicial District Judge LeAnn K. Rafferty.

The pair each are facing a charge of injury to a child, first degree felony, and each had bonds of $200,000 set by Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, on June 8. Clay Thomas, the attorney of record for Randa Askew McMahon, 36, of Shelbyville and Reynaldo P. Morin, the attorney of record for Matthew McMahon, 29, each filed writs of habeas corpus seeking bond reduction for each of their clients.

According to court records, a conditional bond order reducing the bond to $20,000 for each of the McMahon’s was ordered by Judge Rafferty.

The case was investigated by Shelby County Sheriff’s Investigator Chad Brown and according to the affidavit, on May 30, 2017 Investigator Brown was informed by Lt. Kevin Windham of the alleged abuse of a 4-year-old child via discipline being administered in an inappropriate manner.

According to the affidavit, a 14-year-old child of Randa McMahon was interviewed at the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center where the child indicated several instances of alleged abuse to the 4-year-old. Sometime between November 2016 and March 2017 Matthew McMahon traveled for work and his family accompanied him through Arkansas, Georgia and Florida.

During that time the 14-year-old alleged the 4-year-old was occasionally forced to sleep in a large dog crate at times when the child had either urinated or defecated on himself. As a result of being left in the crate for long periods of time additional urination and defecation incidents would occur.

The 14-year-old also allegedly revealed the 4-year-old was forced to be locked in an enclosed cargo trailer on several occasions and some of those times would be without food or water for up to 24 hours. One allegation is that the 4-year-old was once forced to drink his own urine as punishment.

As a result of the bond reduction the McMahon’s both bonded out on Thursday, according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and are set to return to court July 27. An emergency order for protection of the child has been filed by Child Protective Services with County Attorney Gary Rholes. Attorney Lynda K. Russell appointed as representation for the child.

Related Article:
Two Arrested on Alleged Child Abuse Charges

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