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  • Aircraft safe, after all (UPDATE)

    Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)Staff Sgt. Jordan L. McFarland (left), 2nd Operations Support Squadron air traffic control craftsman, and Senior Airman Hunter J. Maggard, 2nd OSS air traffic control apprentice (right), keep an eye out for an aircraft that is scheduled to land at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, August 22, 2019. While working eight hour shifts in a small tower, the 2nd OSS air traffic controllers are able to spend a lot of time getting to better know their wingmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

    From the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office

    On March 3, 2021, at approximately 2 PM, the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a military plane flying low to the ground, with smoke coming from the engine.

    The citing was reported near the Tyler and Polk County line. First responders concentrated search efforts around and near FM 1943, West of Warren, to Highway 190 West of Woodville, into Polk County.

    The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and Air units, Texas Game Wardens, Texas Forest Service, Warren Fire Department, Tyler County Emergency Management Office, Alabama Coushatta Fire Department and Air and Ground Medical units from Southeast Texas participated in the search.

    Approximately 2 hours later, responders received information that the aircraft had made a safe landing at the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

    Weatherford said, “Thank you to all our Southeast Texas Federal, State, and local first responders. To protect and serve is truly a team effort.”

  • Body found in Rocky Creek

    Lights and sirensFILE PHOTO Law Enforcement lights

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    The body of a 59-year-old man was discovered floating in Rocky Creek two weeks ago.

    Gary Earl Nash, 59, was found dead after he apparently drowned weeks earlier. His body was discovered on Jan. 27, and he was last seen Jan. 12.

    On Jan. 27, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area of Bent Wood Bend Subdivision due to a body discovered floating in the creek area. Detectives were able to identify the victim as Nash, who resided in the area.

    After further investigation into the death detectives learned from the son of Nash along with other relatives that on Jan. 12, Nash returned home from a family funeral and talked about going bank fishing behind his home. Detectives discovered a spot a short distance from where the body was discovered that Nash had recently found which had a deep embankment that he had to build a make shift ladder to get to the water.

    Fishing equipment identified to belong to Mr. Nash was located at the scene. It is suspected by detectives that Nash may have fallen from the embankment causing serious injuries.

    Detectives suspect no foul play to be the cause of Mr. Nash’s death.

    Justice of the Peace Jamie Richardson was requested to the scene where an autopsy was ordered to be conducted at the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office. The death is still under investigation at this time.

  • Jailer abuse under investigation

    logoDPS file photo

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    A Polk County jailer was put on leave last week after a complaint of excessive use of force was filed.

    On Feb. 22, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint where a jailer allegedly used excessive force on an inmate in the jail. PCSO administration notified theTexas Rangers and requested the Rangers’ assistance in conducting the investigation.

    The jailer was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.

  • Jasper man indicted on child rape charges

    MUGSHOT Anibal VillasanaAnibal Mauricio Villasana Courtesy of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department

    WOODVILLE –  A Tyler County grand jury handed down an indictment to a Jasper man on child rape charges.

    Anibal Mauricio Villasana, a 61-year-old Jasper resident, was indicted by the jury on two counts of Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact. Villasana’s indictment came after an investigation regarding incidents alleged to have occurred in Tyler County. The information was submitted by Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin and his staff following the investigation.

    Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said that the Texas Rangers worked on the case.

    Villasana, according to a news release, has worked for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department for more than 20 years. He has worked in various capacities within that county’s jail, including as head of kitchen staff, head of maintenance and jailer.

    A statement made by Jasper County Chief Deputy Scotty Duncan to Jasper-based radio station KJAS affirmed that Villasana had been places on leave with pay, pending the case’s outcome.

    Villasana reportedly turned himself in to the Tyler County Justice Center on Tuesday morning, and was released after making arrangements to post his bail, which was pre-set at $100,000, or $50,000 per charge.

    The charges handed down to Villasana are a second-degree felony, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 per charge, between two and 20 years in prison, or both.

  • PCSO seeks shooting suspect

    RamirezRalph Ramirez

    From the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

    The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect involved in a shooting early last week.

    Polk County Sheriff Bryon Lyons said his office received a 911 call on Feb. 15, at approximately 12:03 p.m. of a gunshot victim at a residence on Plum Pudding Rd. off FM 2798 in the Votaw area of Polk County. Deputies along with Americare EMS and South End First Responders arrived at the location and found Gregory Basham, 37, with a single gunshot wound to the abdomen area who was later transported to an out-of-county Hospital.

    Polk County Detectives arrived at the location and identified the shooter as Ralph Ramirez, 44, of Liberty County. An altercation was reported to have occurred between Basham and Ramirez at which time Ramirez retrieved a 22 rifle from inside the residence and shot Basham.

    The firearm was recovered at the scene. Ramirez left the location prior to law enforcement’s arrival.

    Sheriff’s Office Detectives have obtained an arrest warrant for Ramirez for the offense of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon issued by JP 4 Jamie Richardson.

    If you know the whereabouts of Ralph Ramirez, Sheriff Lyons asks that you contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810 or Crime Stoppers at 936-327-STOP (7867).

  • Police pursue, apprehend nude car thief

    Tyler County Sheriff OfficeLOGO Tyler County Sheriff Office

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – A Jefferson County woman is in the custody of the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office following a police pursuit that began in Dam B and ended in Woodville.

    According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, on Monday, at approximately 7:25 a.m., a 911 call came in, reporting a nude woman standing on the side of the road. Deputies with TCSO and EMS headed toward the location, FM 92 North at county road 3715, as the caller had reported. The caller, who was a female passerby, told dispatch that she had stopped to check on the naked female subject, and in the process, a log truck driver had also stopped.

    While the deputies were heading to the location, the subject jumped into the driver seat of the vehicle and drove away with the caller’s two grandchildren in the backseat. The woman had reportedly offered the woman, who complained of thirst, a bottle of water, and when she went to open her trunk is when she took off with the car and children.

    Weatherford said that two minutes later, the deputies received word that the suspect dropped the children off at the Dam B Jiffy Mart at the intersection of FM 92 and US Highway 190. Weatherford said the two children were returned safely to their grandmother.

    The deputies were soon able to locate the stolen vehicle westbound on 190, and traveling at speeds of up to 95 mph.

    TCSO deputies and officers with the Woodville Police Department pursued the vehicle throughout the city of Woodville, and the pursuit ended on Wheat Street, right before 8 a.m.

    The suspect was identified as 28-year-old Lacie Cole, of Orange, and was taken into custody.

    During the pursuit, one eyewitness said the suspect was seen in the Walmart parking lot, where she backed into a patrol unit. Reportedly, she also traveled into opposite lanes of traffic during the chase.

    Cole was later evaluated at Tyler County Hospital, and according to Weatherford, the case is under investigation.

  • San Jacinto County law enforcement think fast in July stop

    San Jac SheriffsCOURTESY PHOTO San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers (center) presented Life Saving Awards to Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston (far left), deputies Stephen Countz (second from left) and Jonathan Cortez (second from right), and Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley for their bravery in a fiery rescue on July 23.

    From Staff Reports

    A quartet of San Jacinto County law enforcement officers were recently honored for their heroism and bravery during a traffic stop in July.

    San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers gave Life Saving awards to a pair of his deputies and two of the county’s constables for their fast action in saving the life of a suspect who was on the run from several law enforcement agencies. San Jac Sheriff’s deputies Jonathan Cortez and Stephen Countz, Pct. 2 constable Ray Atchley and Pct. 3 constable Sam Houston all received the life-awards.

    The suspect, who’s name was not released, had a known gang affiliation and was in pursuit of several agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Walker County Sheriff’s Office before he came into San Jacinto County while driving east on State Highway 150. The suspect was driving a stolen pickup truck and was suspected of human trafficking.

    The pursuit started in Montgomery County on IH-45 before traveling east on SH 150 through New Waverly and crossing into San Jacinto County. Once the pursuit reached San Jacinto County, the chase went on for 4-5 miles before the suspect lost control of the vehicle, which overturned and hit a tree before bursting into flames.

    Atchley and Cortez were first on the scene before Countz and Houston arrived, and the four officers devised a plan to get the suspect out of harm’s way and put the fire out of the vehicle. Countz held the suspect at gunpoint as he had a loaded weapon and Atchley, Cortez and Houston tried to open a door to the truck.

    As flames grew while waiting on nearby volunteer fire departments to arrive, Atchley jumped in his truck and turned it around Houston and Cortez, with great risk to their own personal safety, began to tie a tow strap to the door of the suspect’s truck as Atchley jerked the window section of the door away from the post so they could remove the suspect from the interior of the flaming inferno while Countz held cover for officer safety. All of this was performed in a matter of a few seconds as the fire then engulfed the interior of the truck.

    The suspect was taken to Conroe Regional Hospital for treatment before Homeland Security took him into custody.

  • San Jacinto Sheriff’s office makes moves

                                   From left, Larry Pohlmeyer, Tim Kean and Charles Dougherty all have new positions at the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office. Kean was promoted from lieutenantof the detective division to chief deputy, Pohlmeyer was promoted from sergeant of the detective division to lieutenant of the same division, and Dougherty moved from the Criminal Investigation Division to patrol.

    By Jason Chlapek

    SAN JACINTO COUNTY — A trio of deputies with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office moved into new positions earlier this month.Tim Kean was promoted to chief deputy to replace Dan Todd, who retired after a 35-year career in law enforcement, including the last five with the SJCSO.

    Sergeant Larry Pohlmeyer was promoted to lieutenant of the detective division — the same position Kean held prior to his promotion — and Charles Dougherty moved to patrol from the criminal investigation division.“It’s going from a piece of the pie to the whole pie,” Kean said of his promotion. “I never had a big aspiration to do that. It just worked out that way through the years.”

    Pohlmeyer, a 35-year law enforcement veteran, has been with the SJCSO for three years. He was previously with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office for 32 years.

    “It’s a fresh drink of water to be here (in San Jacinto County),” Pohlmeyer said.Dougherty has been with the SJSCO for two years and in law enforcement for seven. He’s split his time between patrol and CID.

    “There’s a good group of guys here and I’ve had the pleasure of working with all the shifts,” Dougherty said. “It’s a little different environment when I went back from CID. I’m back here on patrol and it’s good to be back working with these guys. They’re good guys. We have a lot of good plans and ideas that we’re going to try to bring forward and hopefully have a successful future for this county, this department and this agency.”

    Kean also has plans for SJCSO moving forward.“We’re going to try to bring a much better service here for the people who live in this county and make do the best we can with what we have because we don’t have a very large budget,” he said. “We’re going to squeeze every bit we can out of every dollar.”

  • Todd hangs it up after 35-year career

                                   Retiring San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Dan Todd (left) receives a plaque of appreciation from Sheriff Greg Capers during a retirement ceremony for Todd on Oct. 2 in Coldspring. Todd retired after a 35-year career.

    By Jason Chlapek

    SAN JACINTO COUNTY— When Dan Todd left the Houston Police Department after 30 years in 2015, he didn’t expect to get back in law enforcement.He had the opportunity a few months later to join the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Department. After five years with the department, Todd is riding out into the sunset — again.

    Todd’s 35-year career came to an end on Oct. 2. A reception for the Point Blank resident took place that day at Paradise Grille in Coldspring.

    “When I came up here and built a house thinking I was going to retire, but after six months, I missed it and went to work for Sheriff (Greg) Capers,” Todd said. “I believed ineverything they were doing.”Todd held the title of Chief Deputy at the SJCSO. Capers talked about his retiring Chief Deputy as well.“Dan was a real good officer,” Capers said. “He has the highest integrity and I trusted him. That’s the reason why he was my chief. I wouldn’t appoint anyone to be my chief if I didn’t fully trust them. I’ll miss his humor. He’s a cut-up and he brought a lot of laughter, fun and joy to the office.”Todd talked about his career as well. He did “a little bit of everything” during his 30 years with HPD and five with SJCSO.

    “In HPD, I was with the SWAT containment team, instructor at the academy, undercovernarcotics, I was everywhere. I moved all over,” Todd said. “At the sheriff’s office, I ran calls, I took complaints, I worked in the jail, in the streets, undercover — I did everything.”Todd enjoyed the multiple hats he wore during his career. He said it comes with the territory.“That’s what you’ve got to do when you come into a police job,” Todd said. “You’ve got to be almost like an actor. You’ve got to adjust and go with it and do it the best you can.”Todd had a viewpoint on citizens during his career. He plans on hanging on to that viewpoint in retirement.“There’s only two kinds of people — good and bad,” Todd said. “That’s the way I looked at it my whole career. I don’t care what color you are, just whether you’re good or bad.”

    Capers made a few promotions to fill Todd’s spot. Tim Kean moves from lieutenant of the detective division to chief deputy, Larry Pohlmeyer moves from sergeant of the detective division to lieutenant, and Charles Dougherty goes back to patrol.As for Todd, he has plans for his retirement. He’ll do a variety of activities.“I’m going to travel a little bit,” Todd said. “I want to travel to see my daughter in North Carolina and I have a bucket list of places I want to travel to. I’m going to mix it up. I also like running cows and I’ll do a little fishing. Last time I fished every day for six months and I got tired of fishing. I didn’t think you could get tired of fishing, but if you do it all the time, you do.”But, like last time, he might decide to go back.

  • Tyler County deputies make arrests in Spurger area

    Richard Lyles Scott Sanford 2MUGSHOT Richard Lyles and Scott Sanford

    By Chris Edwards

    SPURGER – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford reported that his office has been busy lately in the southeastern end of the county.

    Last week, TCSO made two arrests in two separate incidents, which resulted in multiple charges, including narcotics possession and stolen property.

    Last Monday, when deputies with TCSO were patrolling in the Spurger area in the late afternoon, they stopped a Ford Expedition on a traffic violation along County Road 4426. According to Weatherford, when deputies made contact with the driver, identified as Richard Lyles, a 40-year-old Kountze resident, they learned his driver’s license had been expired since 2012.

    When they searched his vehicle, they discovered a Remington 552 rifle and were notified that Lyles was a convicted felon, which, under statute, makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm. Also discovered in the search was a small, clear plastic baggie containing a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamines.

    The deputies took Lyles into custody, and transported him to the Tyler County Justice Center, where he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm; possession of controlled substance and no driver’s license. He later bonded out with his bonds set at $10,000 by Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe. Before Lyles left the jail, a Woodville woman was arrested when she arrived to pick him up.

    According to Weatherford, deputies saw Keiosha Rowinsky, a 29-year-old Woodville woman, drive into the Justice Center parking lot. They knew from previous encounters that she did not have a valid driver’s license and made contact with her. She admitted to the deputies she did not have a valid license and was placed under arrest.

    Deputies located two loaded syringes in her jacket pocket and purse, both of which field-tested postiive for methamphetamines.

    Several other items of drug paraphernalia were found inside her vehicle, Weatherford said, and she was charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving while license invalid. She later bonded out of jail on $5,000 bonds set by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.

    The second incident Weatherford reported about in Spurger happened the next day, when deputies were patrolling in the early morning hours along County Road 4420. When the deputies on patrol approached CR 4426, they discovered two sets of small lights shining throughout a clear-cut section of the woods, according to Weatherford.

    The deputies then made contact with two individuals, whom they identified as Scott Sanford, age 39, of Silsbee and Rusty Mathis, of Spurger.

    Sanford was holding a Remington pump-action 30-06 rifle, and both men had small spotlights. “While checking the information on the rife, deputies learned that the rifle had been reported stolen in a late 2020 burglary that occurred in Colmesneil,” Weatherford said in a press release.

    Sanford was taken into custody and charged with theft of a firearm. At press time, he remains in jail with a $5,000 bond set by Jobe. Weatherford said he could face additional charges.