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May 4, 2015 - Firemen from Center and Shelbyville responded to a dangerous barn fire Sunday, May 3, 2015 due to explosive material in close proximity to the blaze.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department received a 9-1-1 call around 3:30pm for a barn on fire on CR 1092 in the Shelbyville area on the property of Mike Lout. The Shelbyville V.F.D. and the Center F.D. were both dispatched and advised several vehicles parked near the barn had already caught on fire and there were fuel storage tanks located nearby.

Shelbyville Volunteer Firemen were first to arrive on scene and began attacking the blaze as well as ensuring the safety of the fuel tanks to prevent an explosion. The Center Volunteer Firemen soon arrived and together the departments worked to extinguish the flames.

There was an added concern when the firemen were informed of the possibility of someone being located inside the burning structure along with livestock. Once the flames were knocked down enough, several firemen entered the structure to search. The person was located by family to be elsewhere and safe. It was confirmed during the search the livestock inside the barn perished.

Much of the building was destroyed along with farm equipment, several vehicles and trailers. The firefighters did save a portion of the structure which was a work shop area and they prevented the fire from spreading to any of the nearby structures. No one was injured from the fire.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell and Deputy Bradley Horton both responded to the scene of the fire as well.


Firemen Respond to Volatile Barn Fire in Shelbyville Area; Livestock Perishes

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, May 4, 2015

Seen above is the path the Honda took as it left the roadway.

May 4, 2015 - U.S. Highway 84 in Timpson was the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Monday, May 4, 2015.

According to Timpson Police Officer Michael Williams, at 3:15pm L'erin Brinson, 34, of Timpson was traveling west on U.S. Highway 84 in a silver Honda. Just under 1/2 mile from the U.S. Highway 59 intersection the Honda traveled off the roadway to the left and through a fence to a horse pasture. The vehicle continued to travel parallel with the roadway through the pasture until it struck another fence.

Once through the fence the Honda continued to travel the front yard of a residence beside the pasture where it struck several items in the yard and just scraped by a horse sculpture in the yard. From there the vehicle finally came to rest when it struck another horse pasture fence.

The Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service (TVAS) and Timpson Volunteer Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene.

Brinson refused treatment by TVAS and went home by private vehicle. The crash remains under investigation and no citations have been issued as of the time of this report.

The photos above show the path the Honda took as it traveled through the yard where it just scraped the horse sculpture before finally coming to rest against a pasture fence.

May 4, 2015 - A Shelby County grand jury for the July term of the 273rd Judicial District Court met on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 and handed down indictments for 30 cases.

Danise Lashun Nobles was indicted for forgery, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 11, 2014 Nobles signed a check in the name of Derrick Carpenter on a Tyson pay check in the amount of $281.05.

Marcos Aguilar received an indictment for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, first degree felony. The indictment alleges, on January 5, 2015 Aguilar recklessly caused bodily injury to Florentina Rojas Gonzalez by stabbing her in the abdomen with a kitchen knife.

Margie Beatrice Estes was indicted for exploitation of child, elderly, or disabled person, third degree felony. According to the indictment, on June 24, 2014 Estes caused the exploitation of Carrie Marie Kidwell, an elderly person, by the illegal or improper use of identifying information of Kidwell by obtaining almost $10,000 credit in Kidwell's name without her permission.

Jessy Ray Hamilton received an indictment for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. According to the indictment, on May 22, 2014 Hamilton entered the home of Jody Jacobs' without Jacobs' consent and attempted to commit or committed the theft of a motorized tiller.

Marquel Dequan Ealy was indicted for assault on a public servant, third degree felony, with an enhancement - repeat habitual offenders, second degree. The indictment alleges, on January 11, 2015 Ealy knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to Randy Dickerson, a Shelby County Sheriff's Office Jailer, by fighting him and causing injuries to his face.

James Melvin Fleming received an indictment for theft, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on May 5, 2014 Fleming unlawfully appropriated cattle panels valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Larry Kay, the owner.

Ronnie Swindle was indicted for theft, state jail felony. According to the indictment, on June 4, 2014 Swindle unlawfully appropriated a 1939 Ford Coupe and a 1962 Ford Galaxy Station Wagon valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Linda Banton, the owner.

Ashley Elizabeth Porterfield received an indictment for theft, state jail felony. According to the indictment, on June 24, 2014 Porterfield unlawfully appropriated fuel valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Gena Gail Porterfield, the owner.

Javoris Gatlin was indicted for burglary of a habitation, first degree felony. The indictment alleges, on June 19, 2014 Gatlin with intent to commit the felony offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon entered the habitation of Cindy Gatlin.

Clyde Francis Rutherford was indicted for assault bodily injury, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on June 6, 2014 Rutherford knowingly or recklessly impeded the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of Myra Durham by applying pressure to the throat or neck and or blocking the nose or mouth of Durham.

Christopher Ray Bolton received four indictments. According to the indictment for theft, state jail felony, on June 3, 2014 Bolton unlawfully appropriated a firearm from Billy Ray Bolton, the owner. Bolton was also indicted for the alleged June 3, 2014 unlawful possession of firearm, third degree felony. Two indictments were for theft, state jail felony. The first indictment alleges Bolton unlawfully appropriated two Snapper push lawn mowers, one Murayama string trimmer, and a Snapper/Briggs and Stratton pressure washer valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Randy Ballard. The second indictment alleges Bolton unlawfully appropriated a chainsaw, power tools, and tool sets valued between $1,500 or more and less than $20,000 from ACE Hardware.

Kaiman Deray Carter was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on May 1, 2014 Carter unlawfully appropriated two rims and two tires valued at between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Walter Barnes.

Olen Jamie Hamm received an indictment for theft, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on January 13, 2014 Hamm unlawfully appropriated metal construction materials valued between $20,000 or more but less than $100,000 from General Shelters of East Texas.

Steven Dennis was indicted for intoxication assault, third degree felony. The indictment alleges, on April 5, 2014 Dennis operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated and did by reason of intoxication cause serious bodily injury to Taylor Spinks by driving into Spinks.

Cody Williams received three indictments. Two of the indictments relate to June 2, 2014 and they include possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The indictments allege Williams was in possession of methamphetamine and during a traffic stop he threw a clear plastic bag with a small amount of a crystal-like substance. Williams was also indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on December 7, 2014 Williams unlawfully appropriated miscellaneous jewelry valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Mary Hodge, the owner.

Kevin Jacob Zamora was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges, on December 7, 2014 Zamora unlawfully appropriated miscellaneous jewelry valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Mary Hodge, the owner.

Filed on Information was a charge against Daniel Jacob Bonge for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, state jail felony. Bonge is alleged on November 27, 2014 to have an automobile without the consent of Michele Wagstaff, the owner.

(Dates in parenthesis indicate the date of the alleged incident)
Amanda Leann Jones, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (February 24, 2014).
Amanda Leann Jones, driving while intoxicated with child passenger, state jail felony (February 25, 2014).
Juanita Lee Briggs, possession of a controlled substance, third degree felony (June 28, 2014).
Jimmy Jack Turner, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (June 12, 2014).
Vicente Miguel Navarrete-Vazquez, driving while intoxicated with child passenger, state jail felony (June 29, 2014).
Robert Preston Chambliss, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (May 3, 2014).
Larry Wayne Cartwright, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (June 5, 2014).
Larry Wayne Cartwright, unlawful possession of a firearm, third degree felony (June 5, 2014).
Donald Ray Runnels, evading arrest, third degree felony (June 19, 2014).

Indictments and Information are not a conviction, and are a matter of public record. All individuals are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

May 4, 2015 - Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Friday, May 1, 2015 at approximately 7:30am, Shelby County Sheriff's Department Deputy Roy Bailey responded to a reported shooting that occurred on State Highway 87, South of Loop 500 in Center, Texas.

Spencer Ryan NiedertAn employee with the City of Huxley was traveling South on Highway 87, south of the Loop 500 in a City of Huxley work truck when a Ford F350 4-door dually pickup, red in color came up beside him and began yelling at the victim in a road rage incident. According to the victim, the suspect brandished a tan pistol and fired one shot in which the bullet was found to have traveled through the left side of the City of Huxley work truck and lodged in a new gas meter that was in the bed of the pickup. The victim provided a description of both the vehicle and the suspect.

During the course of the investigation, the suspect was found to be a Spencer Ryan Niedert, 25, of Center. Mr. Niedert was found to be in a red Ford F-350 4-door dually pickup and was positively identified by the victim. The pistol was also recovered. A warrant was issued for Mr. Niedert and he was arrested for one count of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Felony 2. Mr. Niedert was booked into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department jail.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Jenny Hicks arraigned Mr. Niedert on Saturday, May 2, 2015 and set bond at $45,000.

This case was investigated by Shelby County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham.

Joyce Johnson, Council MemberKeith Byndom, Center Fire ChiefMay 1, 2015 - Keith Byndom and Council member Joyce Johnson each were appointed to boards during the Center City Council meeting held on Monday, April 27, 2015. Johnson has served as the city's representative on the Deep East Texas Council of Government Board and was once again elected to that position by her fellow council members.

The Center Housing Authority has recently had a vacancy on their board. Members of the board recommended Keith Byndom, Center Fire Chief, as a new member and the recommendation was presented to the city council. As a result the council voted to appoint Byndom to the Center Housing Authority as its newest board member.

Resolution 2015-18 Nomination of Project for 2015 TxDOT TAP for the development of facilities for pedestrians and bicycles within the city was approved by the council. Just previous to the meeting, a public hearing was held to explain the proposed project. Chad Nehring, City Manager, stated TxDOT had a new call for programs for public improvement projects in the communities.

"As they do every two to three years when they come out with these new program calls they change what their goals are and what they're looking for and how their scoring criteria work," said Nehring. "We've worked with our grant consultant and a project engineer, or at least a project consulting engineer to try to decipher TxDOT's latest call. It is called Transportation Alternative Program, or Transportation Alternative Projects."

According to Nehring, it is geared toward non-motorized safe access through communities, which would include bicycles and other wheeled transportation absent of a motor. These routes have different construction standards and are usually seen in larger metropolitan areas.

"We tried to put together a project based on the parks master plan, interconnecting parks, interconnecting school campuses and some other standard pedestrian sidewalk projects that either have already been programmed or have been prioritized by the council or Street Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) as high priority pedestrian sidewalks," said Nehring.

The proposed application for sponsorship by the city and application includes sidewalks on Martin Luther King Drive, which has already been planned by the SEDC, and was awaiting the second half of its funding in the next fiscal year. Another portion of the projected project would include a 10-foot pedestrian and bicycle pathway along the north side of Roughrider Driver all the way to the new softball complex.

The approval of this application is not an award of funds for the project; it is only approval to move forward with the application for possible project.

One activity which Nehring says would benefit from this project and has become a lot more common in Center are 5K runs, "You've seen more and more of the 5K runs I think now we're to the point of having about one a month. Even if they're not highly organized we're about having one a month and this will create a circuit that will not have them crossing any highways or back and forth traffic on the same pathway. It would keep you from having to close roadways and other things and still allow for those events and activities."

The council approved an addendum to the Center Municipal Airport lease agreement as the current lease agreement does not allow for septic or sewage at any of the airport hangar locations and are required to be self-maintained. Current construction at the airport is requesting the state approved septic system for a 64x16 area of land adjacent to the hangar structure outside of area 20 on the layout plan. This addendum is not to be included in the standard lease agreement and is not expected to impact future hangar locations.

During the items of interest portion of the meeting Mayor David Chadwick commended the City of Center staff for receiving recognition from the Government Finance Office Association as it shows the transparency of the budget and reflects the good job performed by the staff.

The John D. Windham Civic Center is reaching its 5th anniversary and Nehring mentioned to the council a small reception to commemorate those five years will be held on May 6 from 4pm to 5:30pm.

According to Nehring DETCOG awarded a partial grant of $20,000 to the City of Center for it's law enforcement grant application. The request was for $75,740 which is expected to provide for the purchase of a server, 12 computers and anti-virus software. He also stated the scoring was changed on the community development projects and the city missed the funding by one point on community development program applications this cycle.

TxDOT is planning $1million in handicap ramp and sidewalk improvements in the City of Center in areas which have already been prioritized by the council or SEDC. Nehring remarked that is much better than a grant as TxDOT is footing the entire bill, "We'll come back in and fill in some others with the downtown grant enhancement project that the council was notified of award of last year. We'll have to slow down our construction, but I don't think that's going to delay the award."

The meeting was adjourned at 5:20pm.

Items on the agenda receiving approval include:

   1) Minutes of the April 13, 2015 Regular Meeting.
   2) Resolution 2015-18 – Nomination of Project for 2015 TxDOT TAP.
   3) Addendum to Airport Lease.
   4) Drainage Improvement Construction Agreement at a cost of $36,000.
   5) Appointment of Joyce Johnson as Deep East Texas Council of Governments Board Member.
   6) Appointment of Keith Byndom to Center Housing Authority Board of Directors.
   7) Adjournment.

April 30, 2015 - The new Loop 500 addition at the intersection of FM 699 was the scene of a two-vehicle collision on Thursday, April 30, 2015 requiring one driver to be transported to the hospital.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Anthony LaCount, at 2:30pm the crash occurred at State Loop 500 and FM 699 when a truck-tractor carrying a load of wet asphalt struck a gold Mercury Grand Marquis driven by Candy Broadus, 30, of Joaquin. The truck-tractor, a white Mack truck owned by Lone Star Location Services LLC., was driven by Michael Madison, 49, of San Augustine. As the Mercury was traveling north on FM 699 the truck-tractor was traveling west and entered the intersection where it collided with the right rear quarter panel of the Mercury causing it to spin around.

Trooper LaCount stated there is signage as far as the truck-tractors driving through on the state loop. The truck-tractors, according to TxDOT, all of them have been told they have to come to a complete stop at all of the intersections where construction is occurring on the new loop addition. The driver of the truck-tractor was coming from a road that has to yield right of way to an open road.

Broadus was transported to the Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries. Madison was cited for fail to yield right of way at open intersection.

When Shelby County Today was on scene, several truck-tractors which appeared to be hauling the same material crossed through the intersection.

Another truck-tractor is seen stopped at the road closed sign by the intersection of FM 699 at the crash scene.

April 30, 2015, BEAUMONT, Texas – A 58-year-old Lafayette, LA, man has been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Christopher Omigie, a Nigerian native and naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2014 to conspiracy to distribute cocaine was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to information presented in court, Omigie presented himself to drug traffickers as a witch doctor and was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide supernatural protection from law enforcement. Omigie was consulted by drug traffickers in the Cesar Barrera and David Bazan drug trafficking organizations on a daily basis and before, during and after each drug transaction. The supernatural protections rendered involved card readings, massages (by Omigie) with magic ointments, cutting of the skin with razor blades and the topical application of magic powder, the use of magic amulets, magic belts, magic coconuts and magic rocks (that those being treated were required to talk to).

Drug traffickers were required by Omigie to go without bathing and intercourse for a period of time following magic treatments so as not to diminish the potency of those ministrations. Magic “law stay away” candles were also burned in order to protect drug traffickers from law enforcement detection. Omigie would regularly return to Africa, at drug traffickers’ expense, to re-new his supernatural powers. Omigie was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 5, 2013.

Cesar Barrera and David Bazan have since both pleaded guilty to schemes involving the trafficking of more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine each.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.

April 30, 2015 - Travelers on Shelbyville Street in Center are urged to use caution as they travel across the railroad crossing located at Martin Luther King Drive on Thursday, April 30, 2015.

One arm of the crossing has been knocked off and the other arm is lowering at frequent intervals regardless of a train approaching or not. This is causing traffic delays and is making it difficult for drivers to know if a train is approaching. It's unknown how the gate reacts when a train does approach.

According to the Center Police Department, the railroad company has been notified as of 9am this morning; however, it is unknown from where a crew is traveling and when they will arrive.

April 29, 2015 - A Shelby County viewer reported receiving a call from the IRS this morning with instructions to call (254) 304-8945 to pay taxes or they would be penalized or sued. Always use caution when receiving phone calls were the caller is threatening and demanding payment of money owed.

According to a consumer alert on - Note that the IRS will never: 1) call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill; 2) demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe; 3) require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card; 4) ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or 5) threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Sheriff Willis Blackwell would like the citizens of Shelby County to be aware of several scams going around including an IRS scam.

The people are from the middle east and they call stating you owe the IRS some money and wanting you to send it to them by credit card or bank card and saying if you don't, you will be arrested.

The IRS does not operate this way at all. Do not send them anything. These people are very persistent. If they call; just hang up.

April 24, 2015 - The driver of one vehicle was transported to the hospital following a crash south of Shelbyville on Thursday evening, April 23, 2015. According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Dustin Ramos, troopers were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash at 6:31pm on State Highway (SH) 147 at the intersection of County Road 1095. Upon arrival it was discovered that a red 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Ashton Battles, 17, of San Augustine was parked on County Road 1095 at the stop sign and was preparing to enter SH 147.

A 2005 white Toyota Highlander driven by Lakoha Davis, 27, of Center was traveling southbound on State Highway 147 when Battles failed to yield right of way at the stop sign and pulled out in front of the Toyota causing Davis to collide with the rear driver side of the Chevrolet causing damage to both vehicles.

Davis was transported to San Augustine Memorial Hospital by San Augustine County EMS for treatment of her injuries. Battles received a citation for no driver's license and failure to yield right of way stop sign. The owner of the Chevrolet was cited for allowing an unlicensed driver to drive.

Assisting at the scene was Jamie Hagler, Constable Precinct 2.