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  • Accident sends 1 to Houston via lifeflight

    Covid CrusaderFILE PHOTO Dr. Ronald Tolls is currently in a Houston Hospital after sustaining injuries in an automobile accident Tuesday afternoon.

    By Jason Chlapek

    A multi-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon sent two to the hospital, and one of them was flown to a Houston hospital that evening.

    Ronald Tolls, 80, is now in ICU at Memorial Hermann in Houston after flying out of a Gravely riding lawn mower that he sat in while it was towed by a 2002 Nissan Frontier pickup truck driven by Robert Strand, 55. A 2015 Hyundai Sonata, driven by 59-year-old Joyce Garcia, collided with the Frontier and threw Tolls from the lawn mower that he was sitting in.

    “The (Sonata) was traveling southbound, but the (Frontier) pulling the lawnmower was trying to cross (US) 59 through the southbound lanes,” Trooper Chris Cain of the Texas Department of Public Safety said. “The (Sonata) hit the (Frontier) in the left passenger side and it swung the lawn mower around the car.”

    Texan EMS arrived on the scene and transported both Garcia and Tolls to CHI-St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital in Livingston. The extent of Garcia’s injuries was not available, but Tolls was later flown to Memorial Hermann in Houston via Life Flight.

    “It looked as if he hit that pavement pretty hard with his head,” Cain said.

    According to Cain, Strand and Tolls were trying to pull the lawn mower across the highway to Livingston Lawn and Garden when the accident occurred. He said Strand failed to yield the right-of-way.

  • Former NFL player, Crockett native drowns at Rayburn

    Pete Lammons trading card as a New York JetCOURTESY PHOTO Pete Lammons trading card as a New York Jet

    By Chris Edwards

    A man who drowned in Lake Sam Rayburn on Thursday was identified on Friday by authorities as that of Peter Spencer “Pete” Lammons, Jr., a 77-year-old Houston man who was once an NFL athlete.

    Lammons, who was reportedly an avid outdoorsman, was fishing in the Major League Fishing’s Toyota Tournament when the incident occurred on Thursday. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, the drowning occurred near San Augustine Park, which is located on the east side of the lake, seven miles southwest of Pineland. The drowning in the second that has occurred in the region during this week. On Sunday, 18-year-old Richard Tyler Johnston, of Hemphill, drowned in Dam B.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens recovered his body by using sonar, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful, according to a press release from Major League Fishing. The accident occurred when Lammons fell overboard at the dock while preparing to fish in the tournament, according to MLF.

    Lammons was a native of Crockett and played football for Jacksonville High School in the late 1950s and early ‘60s before he matriculated to the University of Texas in Austin and played as a Longhorn. He was drafted as an eighth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 1966 AFL draft, according to ESPN, where he played as a tight-end through 1971. He finished his career as one of the Green Bay Packers in 1972.

    Pete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UTPete Lammons as UT Longhorn courtesy of UT

    Lammons was a starting defensive player on the Jets’ Super Bowl III championship team, and he was also a part of the UT 1963 national championship team under legendary coach Darrell Royal.

    Lammons also played for another legendary coach, Bum Phillips, as a high school freshman. Phillips was then head coach at Jacksonville High School. Years later, the two men met again on the sidelines of the 1967 AFL All-Star Game.

    According to Lammons’s nephew Lance, his uncle had been fatigued from two recent stent surgeries and tripped as he was about to board the boat, fell into the lake and could not be saved.

    After his football career, Lammons was involved in real estate and horse racing. He was also a professional angler, and had competed in more than 50 of the MLF tournaments.

    On a story about Lammons’s death on the New York Jets’ official website, his nephew is quoted as saying that “Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas.”

    Lammons also has a scholarship named in his honor for Jacksonville HS graduates.

  • Vehicle fire holds highway traffic 

    20210222 135229COURTESY PHOTO Vehicle fire holds highway traffic 

    By Brian Besch

    A large vehicle fire held traffic on the county's main thoroughfare for nearly an hour Monday.

    After rear-trailer tandem brakes overheated and ignited, the tires of a tractor-trailer caught fire around 1:45 p.m. The vehicle's driver was able to unhook the trailer, as it burned on a Highway 59 overpass across from Livingston Junior High.

    "All eight tires were involved and with all the heat, it caused the trailer to buckle," Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran said. "With all the tires on fire and some of the materials inside, it took a little time to get it all knocked out."

    An engine and two tankers responded from the Livingston Fire Department. Also on the scene were Livingston Police, Department of Public Safety, the Polk County Sheriff's Department, Texas Department of Transportation and City of Livingston Public Utilities.

    The trailer was hauling polyethylene plastic polymer resin, a non-hazardous material.

    "The packaging burned and also some of the product as the heat intensified," Cochran said. "We were delayed just a couple of minutes researching what was in the truck before we made any fire control attempt. We needed to make sure it wasn't something that was water reactive. When we got those doors open, you could immediately see about a third of the way into the trailer."

    Traffic was blocked for around 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze and a small grass fire that began nearby. Officers diverted traffic into downtown and the highway's feeder road.

    Livingston also assisted the Corrigan Fire Department with nine firefighters and two trucks around 9:45 a.m. Saturday at a residence just off Highway 59.

    On Collins Street, 11 Corrigan firefighters and three engines responded to the nearby house.

    "It was pretty significant," Corrigan Fire Chief Jimmy McDonald said of the damage. "It's a total loss. It had a good jump on us before we ever got there. We were all in the truck headed to hand out some water that day to the area. The call dropped when we were all in the truck. We didn't even need an address because you could see the smoke when we pulled out of the station. It had been burning for a little bit before someone called."

    No one was at the residence at the time of the fire and no injury was reported.

    McDonald took over the Corrigan Fire Department about a year ago and has several new members. The chief said they are looking for others to join.

    "We're always looking for people," he said. "Anybody interested in joining up can come by the fire station on Monday night at 6 p.m. and pick up an application."