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July 4, 2019 - U.S. Highway 84 was the scene of a single-vehicle crash near FM 3343 Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department firemen along with Texas Department of Public Safety State (DPS) Troopers were dispatched to the crash. When they arrived an SUV was upside down in the westbound ditch and it appeared the vehicle had traveled approximately 100 yards in the ditch before crashing and coming to rest.

According to Texas DPS State Trooper Jonathan Stinson, at 9:10pm a brown 2007 GMC Yukon driven by Brittney Campbell, 29, of Center was northbound on U.S. 84 when the Yukon failed to drive in a single lane.

The Yukon traveled across the southbound lane of the highway and off the road before crossing a paved driveway and becoming airborne and crashing coming to rest on its top beside the roadway.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. Campbell was issued a citation for fail to drive in a single lane.

July 3, 2019 - Center Police Officers and Center Fire Department Firemen responded to the call when they received reports a man was dangling from a tree on Wheeler Street in Center Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

When the emergency personnel arrived at the house located at the 300 block of Wheeler Street they found a man suspended in the air by a rope above a pickup truck.

With the addition of EMS personnel, the crews worked together and freed the man from his predicament and safely lowered him onto the pickup truck.

After he was assessed by EMS, he refused medical treatment and appeared unharmed by the situation.

The man had been working to cut a tree branch when he became entangled in the rope, and reportedly dangled there for around 30 minutes before help was alerted.

July 3, 2019 - The Jury that has been summoned for Monday, July 8, 2019 for the 123rd District Court, Honorable Leann K. Rafferty presiding, has been cancelled. All cases have been resolved and/or settled. Anyone receiving a summons for this day is released from jury service until they receive a future summons.

The water on N.E.W. WSC no longer requires boiling.

July 2, 2019 - On June 27, 2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the N.E.W. Water Supply, #2030034, to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system, the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

N.E.W. Water Supply has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes. We have also provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of July 2, 2019.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the office: 220 West Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas. 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp 936-201-5001. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

If a customer, individual or employee wishes to contact the executive director, please call (512)239-4691.


June 27, 2019 - Due to a break in the line at Plant 4, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required the N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation PWS #2030034 to notify all customers on FM 353, Geneva, Sexton and Hawthorne Communities. Customers are to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the pub lic water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, or businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

July 2, 2019 - State Highway 7 East was the scene of a major two-vehicle crash Sunday, June 30, 2019. 

As emergency personnel arrived at the crash scene, one vehicle remained in the westbound traffic lane while the other one involved was disabled in the eastbound shoulder.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 9:28pm a silver 2016 Toyota Camry 4-door driven by Tristan Joe Hairgrove of Joaquin had slowed and stopped to turn left into a parking lot just before CR 3156.

At that time a white 2009 Lincoln MKX driven by Emma Grace Locke, 19, of Center was westbound behind the Toyota and failed to control speed causing the Lincoln to collide with the rear end of the Toyota.

The Toyota traveled off the roadway onto the eastbound shoulder where it came to rest facing the road. The Lincoln came to a stop in the middle of the westbound lane.  

Locke and Hairgrove were both transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of possible injuries.

July 2, 2019 - The Shelby County District Attorney's office reports on the following hearings or trials for the Spring and Summer of 2019:

Tracy Whitaker Sentenced to Multiple Prison Stints for Crimes Committed in Timpson

On June 13, 2019, Defendant Tracy Whitaker was sentenced to multiple prison terms in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division by the Honorable Judge LeAnn Rafferty of the 123rd Judicial Court. This followed a trial conducted by District Attorney Stephen Shires. Mr. Whitaker was convicted and received the following sentences on the following matters:

Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity: 50 Years in TDCJID
Burglary of a Habitation: 50 Years in TDCJID
Burglary of a Habitation: 20 Years in TDCJID
Injury to the Elderly: 10 Years in TDCJID
Possession of a Controlled Substance: 10 Years in TDCJID

DA Report: March 28, 2019

On March 28, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 130 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 68 cases. A number of individuals were sentenced to prison, including the defendant in State v. Anderson (19-CR-21044-19-CR-21048), who received multiple sentences to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for drug and firearm related crimes. Also sentenced was Defendant Jaron Foxworth, who received 10 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity for his part in the burglary of storage buildings in Joaquin.

DA Report: April 8, 2019

On April 8, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 108 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 19 cases on that date. A number of the other cases were tentatively resolved with a plea date to be set for a future time.

DA Report: April 18, 2019

On April 18, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 19 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 8 cases. This included State v. Cartwright, Cause Number 17-CR-19963, where the defendant received two years’ incarceration the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division on a revocation of probation.

DA Report: April 25, 2019

On April 25, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 15 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 3 cases.

DA Report: May 2, 2019

On May 2, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 18 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 12 cases. This included State v. Burr, where the defendant received multiple sentences, including 6 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for charges related to the theft of firearms.

DA Report: May 9, 2019

On May 9, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 37 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 15 cases. This included State v. Handlin, where the defendant received sentences on cases for Burglary of a Habitation and Hindering Apprehension for 10 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.

DA Report: May 13, 2019

On May 13, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 39 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 12 cases.

DA Report: May 16, 2019

On May 16, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 42 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 18 cases. This included State v. Joseph Aldaco, Cause Number 16-CR-19591 where the defendant received 15 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division.

DA Report: May 28, 2019

On May 28, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 9 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 5 cases. 

Robert Thomason Sentenced in Sexual Assault Case

On April 29, 2019, Defendant Robert Thomason was sentenced to 6 years incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division by the Honorable Judge LeAnn Rafferty of the 123rd Judicial Court for the offense of sexual assault. In addition, Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires, through his investigator, has filed charges against the victim’s mother, Tabitha Hammond, alleging that she is also criminally responsible for the act.

DA Report: June 3, 2019

On June 3, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 86 cases were on the docket for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 59 cases. Numerous other cases were tentatively resolved, pending a future plea date.

Shamus Ross Sentenced to 6 Years TDCJID for DUI and Drug Charges

On June 5, 2019, Defendant Shamus Ross was sentenced by the Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. of the 273rd Judicial District Court on multiple cases to 6 years (each) in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance case.

DA Report: June 6, 2019

On June 6, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 20 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 10 cases. Multiple individuals were sentenced the prison time, including, the defendant in State v. Macon, Cause Number 18-CR-20922 where the defendant received 10 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for drug-related charges.

Ashley Philips Sentenced to 8 Years TDCJID for Drug Offenses

On June 6, 2019, Defendant Ashley Phillips was sentenced by the Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. of the 273rd Judicial District Court to a term of 8 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division and 18 months in the State Jail Division for drug charges.

DA Report: June 13, 2019

On June 13, 2019, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge Leann Rafferty presiding, 69 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 34 cases. This included State v. Wilburn, Cause Number 17-CR-20235 where the defendant received 10 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division for drug-related charges.

DA Report: June 17, 2019

On June 17, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 90 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 53 cases.

DA Report: June 18, 2019

On June 18, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, 26 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 8 cases. This included State v. Thompson, Cause Number 18-CR-20925, where the defendant received 2 years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division for the charge of Felony Terroristic Threat.

July 1, 2019 - FM 147 about three miles from State Highway 87 was the scene of a single-vehicle crash Friday, June 28, 2019. 

The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the crash at 5:14pm for traffic control and a possible entrapment.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jonathan Stinson, at 5:20pm Albert Hemphill, 50, of Center was traveling northbound in a 1999 Ford F-350 owned by BC Operating.

Hemphill failed to drive in a single lane as he left the roadway to the right then crossed into the southbound traffic lane. The truck traveled back across into the northbound traffic lane and the Ford rolled over into the northbound shoulder and came to rest in a wood line facing south.

No injuries were reported resulting from the crash.

Hemphill was issued a citation for failure to drive in a single lane. 

July 1, 2019 - The intersection of Nacogdoches and Hurst Streets in Center was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Friday, June 28, 2019. 

Center Police Officers were first dispatched to the scene of the incident and when they arrived at 4:50pm a green Ford Mustang from Center and black Mercury from Missouri were left sitting in the middle of the roadway with apparent major damage to both.

Officers had the driver and passenger in the Mercury move the vehicle to a safe location out of the intersection and the officers then attempted to open the driver door of the Mustang to gain access to the driver; however, with no success.

EMS personnel were then arriving at the location just previous to Center Fire Department firemen being requested to utilize Jaws-of-Life to assist in extricating the driver of the Mustang.

Once the firemen pried the door free of the Mustang they assisted EMS in moving the driver to an ambulance to transport him to a hospital.

The cause of the incident is unknown; however, the Mustang appeared to have been traveling east on Nacogdcohes Street while the Mercury was northbound on Hurst Street when the collision occurred.

Center Police Officer Spencer Anderson was the officer investigating the crash at the time of the incident assisted by Sgt. Ricky King and officer Brian Wright and Robert Lee. Information on this incident remains pending at the time of this report.

July 1, 2019 - Hot summer temperatures often mean high utility bills. These bills often place a strain on household budgets and especially for those who are on limited income. Saving money on energy bills makes a huge difference for families on a tight budget. Greater East Texas Community Action Program is seeking home weatherization applicants for low income households in San Augustine, Sabine & Shelby counties. The work is free to eligible households. Weatherization addresses energy saving measures in homes to make them more efficient. Generally the end result is lower utility bills. Elderly, disabled, families with young children and the working poor are the target households. Proof of household income& citizenship is required. The condition of the home is also a major consideration in order to be eligible. 

The program does not provide rehab work such as roofs, plumbing, electrical and major home repair. U.S. Dept of Energy rules are followed and is research based. 

Kelsey Roberts, Program Coordinator commented, “We suspect there are a lot of eligible homes in this area and we want to encourage people to apply. This program does not cost the resident anything. It saves people money on utility bills. ” 

Karen Swenson, Executive Director commented, “GETCAP has been performing weatherization services since 1976. Common measures include adding insulation, assessing the efficiency & safety of heating & cooling units and air infiltration work. We know from our history weatherization works! It reduces energy bills at no cost to the resident. For those on a fixed income this is significant.”

For information call 800-621-5746 or direct at 936-585-7224. Information and the application are available on the website: www.get-cap.org. A list of GETCAP services by county is found on this website as well as more detailed information. 

Greater East Texas Community Action provides weatherization services in 30 counties in rural east Texas. All GETCAP programs are available regardless of race, color, creed or national origin.

July 1, 2019 - A 30-year-old Carthage, Texas man has been convicted of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.

Winfred Earl Ware, Jr. was found guilty by a jury on June 28, 2019, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, obstruction of justice and witness tampering following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone.

According to information presented in court, from 2014 through 2017, Ware conspired with others to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. The evidence presented in trial showed that pending trial for the drug conspiracy charge in August 2018, Ware created false Facebook entries purported to be from a government witness which would tend to exonerate the defendant. 

By submitting those false documents to the court to be used at trial, the government had to dismiss the pending drug charge against Ware to investigate these messages. Upon examination, the government determined that the Facebook entries were created by Ware in an effort to influence the testimony of several witnesses in the original trial and to corruptly influence the due administration of justice. Ware was then indicted in Dec. 2018, on the original drug conspiracy as well as the charges of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. 

Under federal statutes, Ware faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison for the drug trafficking and tampering charges and up to 10 years in federal prison for the obstruction violation. The maximum statutory sentences prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Panola County Sheriff’s Office. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Gaston and Michelle S. Englade. 

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