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June 21, 2015 - An incident involving a motorcycle and a truck Saturday, June 20, 2015 sent one driver by life-flight to the hospital.
First responders were dispatched to the two-vehicle crash on FM 2694 just over 1/2 mile from the intersection with FM 3172 in Huxley.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Anthony Lacount, at 8:50am a red 2003 Toyota Tacoma driven by Max Robertson, 44, of Center was in the westbound lane and was attempting to make a u-turn from a stopped position on the bottom side of a hill.
As Robertson attempted to cross both lanes of traffic a Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Curtis Cooper, 63, of Shelbyville was traveling behind the Tacoma and was unable to stop his motorcycle in time before striking the back left quarter panel of the Tacoma. The collision caused Cooper to be ejected off the motorcycle onto the roadway and spun the Tacoma around to face north on the south shoulder. The motorcycle also came to rest on the south shoulder facing east.
The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department and Shelby County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to the scene to assist and provide traffic control. ACE EMS transported Cooper from the scene to the Huxley Volunteer Fire Department where he was life-flighted to a Shreveport hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Robertson refused treatment at the scene and was issued a citation for turning when unsafe.
June 19, 2015 - Law enforcement personnel converged on the Best Western Plus Thursday, June 18, 2015 when it was brought to their attention an individual was contemplating harming himself.
Agencies including the Center Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and Texas Game Wardens arrived at 8:15pm and were all present during the standoff. Center Fire Department arrived at a later time to assist. Guests from within the hotel were gathered at different locations in and around the grounds such as the lobby, poolside and parking lot and could not leave by vehicle as the entry to the facility was completely blocked with law enforcement vehicles.
Witnesses who were at the scene later revealed the subject, who was in room 217 facing U.S. Highway 96 North, stated he would open fire on anyone that entered his room. Officers could be seen exiting the hotel and donning bullet proof vests as protection.
Center Police Officers used a second floor laundry room as a staging area and could be seen talking on the phone, possibly with the man inside. Guests, who became aggravated with being denied exit and entry as a result of the blocked driveway, could be seen getting into trucks and driving over curbs to do so and in some instances became stuck. At around 10pm any bloodshed had been averted as the officers exited the hotel with the man absent of cuffs on his wrists and escorted him away from the facility.
Witnesses on scene when the man was escorted out said they were informed the man was a constable from another county.
According to a press release issued by the Center Police Department, officers responded to a complaint of a very emotionally unstable white male locked in his hotel room at the Best Western located on Hurst Street. Upon arrival officers found a man who was refusing to come out of his room.
The man was also threatening to harm himself. Officers were engaged in a lenthy negotiation with the man, but finally Officer Steve Thornburgh was successful in talking the man out of his room. Officers escorted the man to the Police Department, where he was evaluated by mental health care professionals.
The man was released without charges to responsible authorities.
June 19, 2015 - According to a press release from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Marcus Hill, 33 of Shelbyville, was arrested Friday morning, June 19, 2015 and booked into the Shelby County Jail on two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, felony one and felony two, in connection to the shooting incident which occurred the day before on US 96 North of Center.
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Maxie Eaves set bonds of $75,000 each for a total of $150,000.
The victims in the shooting incident were a family from Burleson, Texas who were returning from visiting family in Hemphill when the incident occurred. Sean Micheal Arnold, 40, and Auston Micheal Arnold, 17, a father and his son, were both transported to ETMC in Carthage and then later transferred to ETMC in Tyler. Both are listed to be in stable condition. Two passengers in the back seat ages 12 and 7 didn't receive any injuries.
Hill allegedly pointed a shotgun at the Suburban and fired a single shot of bird shot inside the lower left corner of the driver side window. The wad from the shell was later located on the dash of the Suburban. Sean Arnold, the driver, attempted to duck away from the shotgun. He received bird shot wounds to his back, left shoulder, left arm, and back of his head. The 17-year-old passenger received bird shot wounds to the left side of his face.
The reason for the violent incident has not been released. Investigators for the case are Detective D.J. Dickerson and Detective Kevin Windham.
June 19, 2015 - Following hours of investigation, Hill was arrested around 7pm Thursday and transported to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department. According to the Shelby County Jail arrest log, Hill was later booked into the jail at 2:30am. The investigation of this case is under the direction of Sgt. Investigator D.J. Dickerson assisted by Investigator Kevin Windham.
The Shelby County Sheriff's Department was seeking the public's assistance in locating a suspect in a shooting incident on U.S. Highway 96 North.
At 11:38am Thursday, June 18, 2015 a black male wearing a black do-rag driving in a white 4-door car of unknown make was traveling north when he opened fire with a shotgun on the driver's side of a red suburban. The incident occurred north of Center, 2.8 miles north of the US 96 and SH 87 intersection. The suspect continued north on US 96.
Two individuals, one of which was a juvenile, were struck and have been transported by ACE EMS to ETMC Carthage for treatment of their injuries.
Marcus Hill, 33, of Shelbyville was arrested on Friday morning, June 19, 2015 on felony one and felony two aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.
Anyone with information who may have witnessed the incident or the shooter is asked to contact the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 936-598-5600.
June 17, 2015 - Center firemen responded to a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 West Tuesday night, June 17, 2015 for one of their own.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 10:30pm a 2015 black Dodge pickup truck driven by Wade Howell, 22 of Center and a volunteer fireman, was traveling west on SH 7 leaving Center. Howell reported seeing a ladder in the roadway and steered to the right to avoid it. The truck left the roadway and slid down the embankment into Huana Creek.
The water was over 4 feet deep in the area the truck entered covering the bed of the truck with only a small portion of it and roof of the cab above water. Howell reported no injuries and was sitting atop the truck when emergency responders arrived on scene.
The Center Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department and the Center Fire Department all responded to the scene. The fire department used spotlights to illuminate the dark creek area. Jason Burch with waders on entered the water to assist with removing equipment floating in the water. Burch and Howell then attached the tow cable to the pickup. Hughes Wrecker winched the pickup full of water from the swollen creek.
As an added concern an alligator was visible a short distance away from the truck and driver; however, he never ventured over to the crash scene and remained as only a spectator to the event.
June 17, 2015 - TYLER, Texas – The former Chief Financial Officer of Shelby Regional Medical Center has been sentenced to federal prison in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Joe White, 68, of Cameron, Texas, pleaded guilty on Nov. 12, 2014 to making a false statement and was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider. White was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,483,089.09 to Medicare’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program.
According to information presented in court, White was the Chief Financial Officer for Shelby Regional Medical Center in Center, Texas, in addition to other hospitals owned and operated by Dr. Tariq Mahmood. White oversaw the implementation of electronic health records for the hospital and was responsible for attesting to the meaningful use of electronic health records in order to qualify to receive incentive payments under Medicare’s EHR Incentive Program. On Nov. 20, 2012, White knowingly made a false statement to Medicare falsely representing that the hospital was a meaningful user of electronic health records, when the hospital did not meet the meaningful use requirements. As a result, Shelby Regional Medical Center received $785,655.00 from Medicare. In total, hospitals owned by Mahmood were paid over $16 million under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. White was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 22, 2014.
“The granting of EHR funds to individual and institutional providers was intended to modernize medical record storage and access. Unfortunately, there are individuals and institutions like Mr. White and his hospital whose only intent for EHR funds was to enrich themselves,” said Mike Fields, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas region’s HHS – Office of Inspector General.
“I agree with SAC Fields,” said U.S. Attorney Bales. “The EHR Incentive Program was designed to enhance the delivery of excellent medical care to all Americans and especially for those citizens who live in underserved, rural areas like Shelby County. There is no doubt that Mr. White understood that purpose and yet, he intentionally decided to steal taxpayer monies and in the process, undermine and abuse this important program.”
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth C. McGurk and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.
Any individuals with knowledge of these or other health care fraud violations are encouraged to contac
June 15, 2015 - The entrance to a hunting camp off State Highway 7 West was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Saturday, June 13, 2015 when one vehicle turned in front of another.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Daniel Dellenger, at 2:25pm a maroon Toyota Tundra driven by Robert Temple, 54, of Katie was traveling east toward Center on State Highway 7 in the inside lane near CR 1234.
A red Chevrolet Colorado LS driven by Elna Benge, 77, of Lufkin was also traveling east in the outside lane when Temple attempted to turn right in to a private driveway for a hunting camp. This caused the Colorado to strike passenger side of the Toyota causing damage to both vehicles.
Benge received minor injuries and her passenger Anna Benge, 54, received possible head injuries. Both were transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial hospital.
Temple was issued a citation for turning when unsafe.
June 12, 2015 - The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a building on fire on FM 417 West at 10:00am Friday, June 12, 2015. While en route to the fire, Shelbyville VFD requested the assistance of Center Fire Department.
Upon arrival, Chief Chris Koltonski reported smoke coming from a storage building which was 100 feet away from the home of Burly and Carolyn Lamb. Koltonski opened the door and discovered a small fire on the concrete floor of the building and was able to quickly extinguish the flames.
Inside the building were chemicals for furniture restoration and paint supplies. Center Fire Department Chief Keith Byndom suspected the cause of the fire to be from rags soaked with chemicals which were inside the building and possibly ignited from the heat.
The building only received smoke damage from the fire. The firemen used fan to help push the smoke out of the building.
June 12, 2015 - If you have been impacted by flooding, downed trees, or any other property damage between the dates of May 4, 2015 and June 3, 2015 you may be eligible for assistance in repairing and/or replacing your property. You can pick up an application at the County Judge’s office on the 2nd floor of the Courthouse located at 200 San Augustine Street in Center. This applies to your individual property and/or business property.
The Texas Department of Agriculture is offering grants for Agriculture Relief for agricultures expenses related to the disaster during this time also. Application to apply for Agriculture Relief application can also be picked up at the County Judge’s office. You can find additional information at www.texasagriculture.gov . The information is under the STAR Fund program.
June 10, 2015 - Following the Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo held on Friday, June 5, 2015 Shelby County Sheriff's Officers were directing traffic from the event just before 11pm when an officer was almost struck by a vehicle .
Toward the end of their task with few cars remaining, Deputy Bradley Horton was almost struck by a silver Oldsmobile Alero which was traveling east on State Highway 7 as he was attempting to allow traffic to flow from the rodeo. When the vehicle passed by, Deputy Horton convinced the driver to bring his vehicle to a stop just outside the entrance to the Shelby County Expo.
Deputies Adam Renfro and Michael Griffin quickly responded to the aid of Deputy Horton and during an investigation it was determined the driver Julio Cuellar, 59, of Center was intoxicated. During an inventory of the vehicle several large cans of beer were located inside.
Cuellar was arrested, charged with public intoxication and transported by Deputy Renfro to the Shelby County Jail.