ET web ad

updated 3:21 PM UTC, Feb 15, 2019



Wreck claims three lives



By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – Three teenagers are dead following an early morning crash in Woodville. According to information provided by Woodville Chief of Police Scott Yosko, the three deceased are from Jefferson County.

They were later identified as Nicholas Breaux, 17, of Port Neches; Natalee Merriman, 17, of Nederland and Waylon Paul, 15, of Groves.

Two others, identified as Christopher Wedgeworth, 29 and Kristopher Kaye, 18, of Port Neches are injured.

According to Yosko, the five teenagers were in a vehicle that struck two telephone poles southbound on US Highway 287 near Woodville at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.

First responders to the scene used the jaws of life to remove the vehicle’s occupants. The three deceased were pronounced dead at the scene. Wedgeworth was flown by helicopter to CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth in Beaumont and Kaye was taken to Tyler County Hospital to be examined, where he was later released, according to Woodville PD Captain Mike McCulley.

Wegeworth is listed in critical but stable condition.

According to investigation notes from Woodville PD, Wedgeworth was driving a 2007 Hyundai along the 700 block of Pine Street (US 287) and lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle ran off the road and struck a power pole, and flipped, according to McCulley.

Two of the five occupants were partially ejected from the vehicle and some of them were wearing their seatbelts, according to McCulley.

The wreck is under investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety is assisting Woodville PD. McCulley noted that alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the accident; that excessive speed and fatigue along with an inexperienced driver may have been contributing factors.

  • Hits: 608

New mayor, councilmembers sworn-in; horse riding ordinance examined



By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WOODVILLE – Paula Jones took her maiden voyage on Monday night as the newly elected mayor of Woodville. Jones was sworn-in along with new councilmembers Kelly Dillard, who will serve as Alderman Place 2 and Robert (Tony) Greer, who takes the Alderman Place 4 position on the council.

One of the topics on the agenda for Jones’ first city council meeting as mayor concerned an ordinance establishing a prohibition against riding horses within the city limits.

The ordinance, penned by city attorney Brad Elrod, met with a lengthy discussion and several questions. Elrod said the ordinance was borne of concern and complaints the city has received about horses being ridden through the streets. The ordinance, if passed, would exclude Western Weekend events as well as special events such as trailrides.

City administrator Mandy Risinger said many of the complaints the city has received deal with horses being ridden up to storefronts and safety issues with horses among automobile traffic at night. The complains, Risinger said, have been ongoing for years.

Councilmember Herb Branch asked whether the city has the power to make such a ruling where US highways are involved. Elrod affirmed that it does and the ordinance falls under the purview of making decisions for the general welfare, health and safety of citizens.

The ordinance, if passed, would repeal an existing ordinance from 1966, which gives horseback riders the same rights as motorists, Risinger said.

Branch addressed the topic of horse owners leading horses down the streets, that this action would not constitute riding the animal, as the ordinance states. “I don’t think it’s inclusive enough to protect us from some of the things that may come up,” Branch said.

Greer added that buggies and wagons are not included in the ordinance.

If the ordinance is passed, violations would be treated as a class C misdemeanor, Municipal Judge Judith Haney said.

Elrod said he modeled the ordinance on similar policies from other communities, and in response to the questions, said it can be amended and be made more specific to Woodville’s concerns. The ordinance issue was tabled until the next regular council meeting.

Re-alignment of council, appointments made
Several nominations and appointments were made at Monday’s meeting. Joyce Wilson was nominated and approved to continue as Mayor Pro-Tem. Alan Gartner was nominated and approved to serve as chief of the Woodville Volunteer Fire Department. Judith Haney was re-appointed in her role as Municipal Judge and Courtney Broussard as court clerk.

Haney said that Broussard, who has clerked for her for about four years, was in Austin teaching court clerk training. “I’m very proud of her,” she said.

Another appointment that was made by Jones was for a City of Woodville representative for the Tyler County Appraisal Review Board. The spot has been vacant for some time, and Jones nominated Michael G. Maness to the position, which was approved by council.

Council also approved awarding David J. Waxman and Associates to act as the city’s grant administrator for the 2019-20 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program application cycle.

  • Hits: 1012

Head-on collision results in injuries



A head-on collision on US 287 resulted in three people being transported to hospitals with serious injuries.

On Saturday, the Texas Department of Public Safety received a report of a head-on collision at approximately 8:45 p.m. in Tyler County, according to a news release. The crash occurred one mile north of FM 256.

The preliminary reports indicate that a 2015 Nissan SUV was travelling northbound on 287. The driver observed an object fly off his windshield and turned around to identify it. 

The driver of the Nissan turned onto the shoulder of the roadway and proceeded to drive southbound on the northbound shoulder. As the driver of the Nissan continued traveling southbound on the northbound shoulder of SH 287, a 2006 Ford Mustang was traveling northbound on SH 287 and observed the headlights of the Nissan coming directly at him.  The driver of the Ford veered to the right to avoid a collision but struck the Nissan.

The driver of the Nissan, identified as 53-year-old Steven Hodges of Highlands, Texas, and his wife, Nora Hodges, 51, were both transported by medical helicopter to Conroe Regional hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the Ford, 33-year-old Carl Kennebrew of Jasper, was transported by medical helicopter to Hermann Memorial hospital in Houston with serious injuries.

  • Hits: 1516

Aggravated robbery suspect arrested minutes after incident

By Chris Edwards
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Calvin FearsCalvin FearsWOODVILLE – Quick thinking, experience and ace police work came together to result in the apprehension of an armed robbery suspect last Friday in Woodville.

At approximately 1 p.m., a man entered Security Finance, located in the 100 block of South Magnolia. The two employees working inside recognized him, despite the mask and gloves he wore. His voice and eyes gave away his identity, according to Woodville Police Sergeant Jathan Borel. “I believe he was a customer of theirs at one point.”

The man, who was identified by the witnesses as Calvin Fears, Jr., 53, of Doucette, also brandished a firearm and demanded the employees to step away from the desk. Fears is alleged to have emptied the cash register and then ordered one employee to give him her car keys.

When 911 dispatchers put out a description of the stolen vehicle and its license plate number, Woodville Chief of Police Scott Yosko happened to be out patrolling. The suspect had fled southbound and Yosko observed the vehicle near the corner of Cardinal and Bluebird streets. He also observed a suspect matching the description given by dispatch entering a residence near the 800 block of Bluebird, according to Borel.

Yosko promptly called for backup and when officers made entry into the residence, they found the suspect hiding in the attic, along with the clothing, handgun and gloves worn during the robbery.

Borel said it was approximately 10 minutes between the time the 911 call was logged and the suspect was seen. “Chief Yosko is really good at knowing where to be and what to look for,” Borel said. “He’s been doing this for 40 years and we’ve all learned so much from him in that regard. Chief was in the right place at the right time.”

The stolen money was also recovered. Borel said he didn’t have an exact dollar amount, but employees indicated it was about $500.

Fears was arraigned by Woodville Municipal Judge Judith Haney and a no bond was set. He is awaiting a mental health evaluation. Jail booking records show that Fears is not in custody of the Tyler County Jail as of Tuesday morning. He is charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Borel credited Yosko’s experience and the work of fellow officers for handling a potentially dangerous situation.

  • Hits: 933

Headline World News Feed




Humidity: 100%

Wind: 14 mph

  • 03 Jan 2019 45°F 37°F
  • 04 Jan 2019 55°F 34°F