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February 25, 2015 - Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is diligently working to help keep the roadways safe. Local departments are reporting the current roadway conditions which can be viewed at the following link, currently shows most of Shelby County roadways to have ice and snow.

February 24, 2015 - A single-vehicle crash occurred just before 9pm during icy conditions on Loop 500 in Center on Monday, February 23, 2015. Center Police Department officers and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene of the crash on the bridge just before Few Ready Mix.

When the officers arrived they found a Ford Explorer SUV with the driver Saundra Harris, 52, of Center still inside. Officers, assisted by a Sheriff's Deputy at the scene, broke a window to gain access to the vehicle and provide help to Harris as well as assist EMS in moving her to a waiting ambulance.

Before the crash occurred, Harris was traveling westbound on Loop 500 in the Ford Explorer when the vehicle traveled over the bridge and met with a very icy roadway. She lost control of the vehicle due to the ice and struck a guardrail which caused the Explorer to roll onto the driver's side.

Harris was transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries. No citations were issued as of this report.

The investigation was handled by Center Police Officer Jeremy Konderla, assisted by Officer Jake Gross.

There were several other incidents across the county, and most notably at Huana Creek bridge on U.S. Highway 96 South where a sheet of ice covered the bridge, which could not even be traversed on foot safely. Deputies marked the roadway to slow travelers following two crashes which occurred just after the incident on the Loop 500 bridge. TxDOT, soon after, applied sand and salt to bridges across the county, including Huana Creek bridge.

Travelers should continue to use caution Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, February 25.

February 24, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioner's Court heard public comment on vehicles to be bid on which are possessed by the Precinct 4 Constable's office and approved seeking bids on the automobiles.

A new item recently introduced on the regular agenda is public comments and these were heard during the meeting held on Monday, February 23, 2015. Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, explained it is new and the commissioners will see how it goes. She asked the audience if there was anyone wishing to comment on any of the agenda items.

Tom Trussell, Huxley resident, took the opportunity to be the first person to address the court during the public comment portion of the meeting. Trussell asked Judge Harbison how the vehicles on item 6 of the agenda were being sold, if it was as one inclusive package or if they were being sold individually and he wanted to know where they came from.

Harbison explained the origin of the vehicles, "These are seized vehicles from Tenaha Constable Precinct 4."

Judge Harbison stated it was brought to her attention when the commissioners approved to pay rent for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 office, it was not approved to pay for the utilities as well.

Ann Blackwell, Shelby County Treasurer, spoke about the previous approval of the rent payment and why it was being brought up again in the meeting, "What you did, I believe in December, was approve the rent and I don't know that you meant rent and utilities but it wasn't specified and we felt like we needed to bring it back to you."

A suggestion was made by Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor, in regards to the rental agreement for Precinct 5, "I would recommend that some sort of contract be drafted with the individual that we're renting from in Precinct 5, to spell out not only the rent, but the utilities and whatever repairs or maintenance might need to be done by us on that building."

According to Harbison, a contract is being looked at by Gary Rholes, Shelby County Attorney, as there were some items in the contract with which she was not entirely comfortable.

With there having been discussion about other items beyond public comment Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, felt it necessary to outline the practices and procedure of public comment, "I want to talk about the public comment that we have on the agenda item we approved last week. It was my understanding, we discussed that and [Judge Harbison] wasn't here. That is not for public interaction with the commissioners, or the judge through the audience. That's for comments by the audience about something on the agenda."

McSwain addressed Trussell, and explained some of the questions he asked would be addressed at the time the commissioners reach that item on the agenda if procedure is handled properly. He stated he was clarifying the comment portion is strictly for comment and not discussion as discussion could go on without end.

The commissioners approved insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties for the policy year June 2015-June 2016. Porterfield provided some facts concerning the policy, "We have approximately 97 vehicles that the county covers through the Texas Association of Counties. Our annual cost is about $24,000 in total and that cost is distributed between each department that has a budget for a vehicle."

Porterfield also commented the cost of the policy decreased last year.

Advertisement for bids on five vehicles seized by the Precinct 4 Constable's office were approved by the commissioners. A sixth vehicles has been ordered returned to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, meanwhile five remain on City of Tenaha property. Judge Harbison stated the county was contacted by the city a week previous to the meeting requesting the vehicles be moved. Judge Harbison asked for three weeks to have the vehicles removed so the county would not have to move the vehicles more than once.

Bryan Gray, Constable Precinct 4, confirmed for Judge Harbison there is a judgment allowing for the sale of the vehicle, and he explained the Expedition available for sale is actually owned by the constable's office. A sealed bid on each vehicle is the method for bidding. Those interested in viewing the vehicles may contact Constable Gray to view the automobiles.

The vehicles include a 2000 Cadillac, 2004 Suzuki, 1995 Mazda, 2003 Ford, and 1998 Ford Expedition.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Approve and pay monthly expenses.
    Renewal of County vehicle insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties for the policy year June 2015 to June 2016.
    Record filing of Vehicle Inventory Tax Fund Audit for February 2015.
    Advertise for bids on five (5) seized vehicles for Precinct 4, Constable Bryan Gray.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:

    Purchasing a radio for Mike Crouch JP 5.


February 23, 2015 - According to TxDOT Flatfork Creek bridge on 7 east, bridges on U.S. Highway 96 north and the Tenaha overpass are confirmed to have ice. There is a high probability bridges in Joaquin are iced over as well. More updates will be posted on ShelbyCountyToday as they become available.

Updated 8:53pm - TxDOT crews are in route to 7 West bridge Huana Bridge to put some rock down. No road closures at this time.

Updated 9:10pm - Ice on Loop 500 has caused a single vehicle crash.

Updated 9:47pm - TxDOT has reported treating all the major roadways and bridges including HWYs 7, 96, 59, 87. Please continue to use extreme caution if out traveling the roadways. Go slow and don't follow anyone at a close distance. Bridges still have ice on them but the rock gives something for tires to grab on to. Several crashes have happened so be alert of emergency crews and law enforcement out working to help and to keep things safe.

February 23, 2015 - Center firemen were dispatched to a house fire just before 11:30pm on Sunday, February 22, 2015 located at 2227 County Road 3047.

The residence, owned by David and Shana Whitton, was fully engulfed in flames when the firemen arrived and a strong wind was increasing the fire by the minute. The firemen engaged the blaze with water in attempts of knocking back the fire and saving some of the home.

As the inferno raged, more water was requested from the Center Fire Department and the assistance of the Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department was requested, who provided an additional tanker truck of water by way of fireman Steve Dudley.

Although a large quantity of water was poured onto the fire in attempts of quenching the fire, the home was a total loss. The firemen were able to prevent the fire from traveling to a neighboring building housing hay bales.

David Whitton stated he was sitting on his couch when he heard a pop come from somewhere and then saw flames on his front porch. He evacuated his wife and children from their home and got them to safety before the fire engulfed the home.

The firemen cleared the scene and returned to their stations at 2am. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

February 23, 2015 - Reports of a house fire had firemen and other emergency personnel en-route to 87 South early Friday evening, February 20, 2015

The Center Police Department held the scene 5:05 pm until the Center Fire Department arrived to fight the fully involved fire at the residence of Judie Shields located at 1136 State Highway 87 South. Flames were shooting from the middle of the roof of the home and the source appeared to emanate from the back side.

Firemen raced to the back of the house with hoses and began applying water to the flames which were raging from the area of the kitchen. The firemen worked to extinguish the flames and were able to prevent some portions such as the garage and one bedroom from burning.

A Federal Express driver initially discovered the fire and called 9-1-1.

No one was home at the time of the fire and a cause is unknown at this time. The fire remains under investigation.

February 23, 2015 - A two-vehicle crash during rainy conditions on U.S. Highway 96 North proved to be fatal for a Tenaha man on Saturday night, February 21, 2015.

First-responders were dispatched to the crash scene in front of the Center Country Club, five miles south of Tenaha and six miles north of Center, where the two cars collided leaving one on fire. Other travelers stopped to help those involved in the crash and the good Samaritans pulled the driver from the burning vehicle as well as extinguishing the fire. CPR was administered by the helpful travelers until emergency personnel arrived.

The Center Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene with the Center Police Department and ACE EMS who saw to the treatment of the injured drivers.

Center firemen held the scene until Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Troopers Jade Lavergne and John Hallenbeck could arrive to investigate. According to the results of the DPS investigation, at 6:40pm Daurin Andres Chel-Sanchez, 23, of Tenaha was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 96 North in a red 2005 Ford Mustang when he lost control of the vehicle causing it to travel left and into the northbound traffic lanes.

A teal 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Eduardo Antonio Perez, 19, of Center was traveling on the northbound side of the highway when the Mustang traveled into the traffic lane, which caused the Pontiac to strike the Mustang on the passenger side inflicting major damage on both cars and igniting a fire on the Mustang.

Chel-Sanchez and Perez were both transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department where Chel-Sanchez was pronounced dead on arrival by Jenny Hicks, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4. Perez was hospitalized and was treated for injuries which were not life threatening.

The crash remains under investigation and no citations have been reported at this time.

February 19, 2015 - The Shelby County grand jury for the January term of the 273rd Judicial District Court handed down indictments on 22 cases on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.

Kenneth Wayne Boyd, received two indictments pertaining to a November 14, 2015 arrest. These indictments included unlawful possession of a firearm, third degree felony habitual; and possession of a controlled substance, second degree felony habitual.

Christopher Rashad Martin, who was arrested with Boyd, also received two indictments for possession of a controlled substance, second degree felony habitual; and unlawful possession of a firearm, third degree felony habitual.

Tom Paul Chandler II was indicted on assault - prior conviction, third degree felony; and assault - family violence, second degree felony. Both indictments pertain to incidents on February 25, 2014 and September 25, 2014 for allegedly impeding the victim's breathing as well as punching and pulling their hair.

Daniell Roshundra Patton was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges Patton unlawfully appropriated currency in the amount of between $1,500 and $20,000 from Wal-Mart on March 14, 2014.

Thomas Justin Brown received an indictment for online harassment, third degree felony. Brown is alleged to have used the name of another individual on Facebook to post or send messages as that individual with the intent to harm or intimidate the person.

Craig Alan Borders and Emilee Sarah Champagne were each indicted for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony. They are each alleged to have exposed a child under the age of 15 to methamphetamine and not taking the child to an emergency infant care provider.

Thomas Justin Brown was indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges Patton unlawfully appropriated a Magnum Light Plant valued at between $1,500 and $20,000 from Larry O'Rear on September 7, 2014.

Morgan Magee was indicted for burglary of a building, state jail felony. It is alleged in the indictment Magee attempted to commit or committed theft of property of James Cheshire with items including a 4500 watt generator, Stihl chainsaw, impact wrench, 12" sub-woofers, 2500 lb winch, 3 gallon compressor, Stanley toolbox and wheels/tires.

Larry Gene Barrett Jr. received an indictment for theft, state jail felony. Barrett is alleged to have unlawfully appropriated a Kubota tractor L-3400 valued between $1,500 or more but less than $20,000 from Paul Amos.

Ray Howard Neuwirth received indictments on multiple counts. Neuwirth is alleged on August 2, 2013 to have committed forgery, state jail felony, by writing a check in the name of Jimmy Dale Metcalf, who did not authorize the act, in the amount of $50 on a Farmers State Bank account. He also was indicted on 8 counts of credit card/debit card abuse involving a Diesel Advantage Fuelman card in the name of Jimmy Dale Metcalf. The dates of the alleged unauthorized usage are July 12, 2013; July 15, 2013; July 17, 2013; July 17, 2013; July 18, 2013; July 19, 2013; July 21, 2013; and July 22, 2013.

(Dates in parenthesis indicate the date of the alleged incident)
Charlie McCowin, driving while intoxicated, third degree felony (March 28, 2014).
Keri Shanai Harkness, aggravated sexual assault of child, first degree felony (February 28, 2014).
Alvin Jerome Davis II, evading arrest, third degree felony (June 16, 2014).
Thomas Justin Brown, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (January 28, 2014).
Larry Gene Barrett Jr., possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (March 9, 2014).
Terris Lamone Scourton, evading arrest, third degree felony (February 8, 2014).
Mandel Roberts, driving while intoxicated with child passenger, state jail felony (March 21, 2014).
Arvin Taylor Mackey II, possession of a controlled substance, state jail felony (March 9, 2014).

Update: According to the Shelby County Jail arrest log, as of 7:32pm on Thursday, February 19, William Bryce Moore, 28, of Tenaha has been arrested on the charge of Capital Murder.

February 20, 2015 - The Shelby County Sheriff's Department reports the death of a 6-month-old infant occurred Monday morning in Tenaha.

According to a press release, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department received a 9-1-1 call on February 16, 2015 at approximately 3:49am regarding an infant who was unresponsive at a residence in the Kyle Parmer Trailer Park located on County Road 4356 in Tenaha. The 6-month-old infant was transported to the NMC - Center Hospital by ACE EMS and was pronounced deceased by Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1, who ordered an autopsy. This case is under investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department Criminal Investigations Division.

When asked by Shelby County Today why the death was under investigation, Shelby County Chief Deputy Shad Sparks reported, "All deaths, but especially infant deaths, are investigated as suspicious until evidence proves otherwise."

The infant, Ariana Moore, is the daughter of William and Angela Moore and services are under the direction of Mangum Funeral Home.

February 16, 2015 - An 18-wheeler overturned on Sunday, February 16, 2015 as it traveled south of Tenaha during inclement weather.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Brian Barnes, at 10:45pm Daryal Nelson, 57, was traveling southbound in a 2012 18-wheeler for Transport Service Co. out of Illinois hauling yeast on U.S. Highway 59 South traveling from Memphis, Tennessee to Houston.

As Nelson was in the outside lane he was traveling at an unsafe speed for the wet condition of the roadway as he left the roadway to the right and the 18-wheeler overturned, coming to rest in a ditch.

As of the time of the crash investigation no citations had been issued and no injuries were reported.

First on the scene of the crash and assisting with traffic control were Tenaha City Marshal Jimmy Wagstaff, Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department firemen and Shelby County Sheriff's Department Investigator John Pope.