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Teenager killed after getting off school bus

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Truck driver arrested, charged

By Emily Banks Wooten

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A 15-year-old Livingston High School freshman was killed, and a Texarkana truck driver was arrested and charged with criminal negligent homicide, a felony offense, following a crash that occurred on U.S. 59 just north of Livingston Thursday. Gregory Jackson, 41, who was uninjured, was transported to the Polk County Jail where he remains under a $250,000 bond.

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s investigation remains ongoing, but the preliminary crash investigation indicates that at approximately 4:17 p.m. a Livingston ISD school bus was northbound and stopped in the outside lane with its flashing red lights and stop sign extended to off load a child. Behind the school bus was a Toyota passenger vehicle. It is reported that a truck tractor semi-trailer was traveling north and struck the rear of the passenger car and then veered right, where he struck the teen in the driveway.

The driver of the Toyota, Autumn Witt, 28 of Lufkin, was uninjured. The teen, identified as a 15-year-old male, was pronounced dead at the scene by a Polk County justice of the Peace.

“At times like this, we are reminded how precious life can be and how fragile each life truly is. It is sad when our district loses a member of its family. It is even more tragic when such a young life is taken away from us. We extend our thoughts and sincere condolences to family and friends,” a statement from Livingston ISD said.

“All of our counselors are available to listen and help any students needing assistance. We are fortunate to have a team of experienced counselors who can provide much-needed comfort to our students and staff,” the statement continued.

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Livingston man charged with murder

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Toby FordToby FordOne man is dead and another has been jailed on murder charges after an incident Sunday in Livingston.

Around 9 a.m., the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of an unresponsive man lying in a driveway in the 2800 block of Duff Road. 

Deputies arrived on scene to find a deceased male subject, lying in a private driveway. Detectives also arrived on scene and began investigating the incident, which was quickly determined to be a murder. The victim was identified as Timothy Jacob Neal, 29, of Livingston.

Through the course of the investigation, suspects were located and transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Toby Wayne Ford, 24, of Livingston, was booked into the Polk County Jail on a charge of murder. 

Sheriff Lyons, contacted the local Texas Ranger, the Polk County Criminal District Attorney’s Office and Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, who all responded to assist the sheriff’s office in the investigation. Lyons would like the public to know that there is no threat to the surrounding community where the incident occurred.

Individuals who feel they may have information concerning the murder are asked to contact Lt. Craig Finegan at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810.

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Inmate receives maximum sentence

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Assualt STOCK

From Enterprise Staff

Michael Jackson, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmate in the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, was recently sentenced to 99 years and a $10,000 fine for the assault of a correctional officer at the Polunsky Unit.

A Polk County jury found Jackson guilty of the offense of aggravated assault of a public servant following a three-day trial in the 411th Judicial District. The sentence was handed down by 411th District Judge John Wells after Jackson opted to go to the judge for sentencing.

Jurors heard that on Aug. 25, 2016, Cheryl Whitesel went to work at the Polunsky Unit and was training new correctional officers. Jackson and another offender, Quincy Ford, began assaulting Whitesel after she had planned to write them disciplinary cases for trafficking and trading drugs, testimony revealed. Video evidence played during the trial showed Jackson striking Whitesel in the face and then stomping on her once she was unconscious on the ground. Testimony revealed Whitesel still suffers from her injuries today.

Jackson is serving a life sentence for murder out of Fort Bend County but is eligible for parole in 2038. The new sentence for aggravated assault of a public servant will run consecutively to his murder conviction.

The State of Texas was represented by Rachel Jordan and Greg Whitley.

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Suicide on Polk County highway

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One man is dead following a suicide on one of Polk County’s busiest roadways.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call last week from an elderly male, 93, stating he was on a golf cart on Highway 146 South with a firearm. The caller said he was going to commit suicide due to medical problems from which he was suffering and could no longer handle.  

EMS was requested to immediately respond to the area and stage at a safe distance until deputies and detectives could secure the scene.  

A 911 dispatcher talked with the subject for several minutes in attempts to keep him on the phone until law enforcement officers could reach his location. Officers and detectives quickly arrived on the scene and initially attempted to speak to the subject. However, the man sat down on his golf cart and took his own life with the firearm.  

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons would like to thank Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers, 911 Dispatchers, local EMS, and Justice of the Peace Precent 3 Robert Johnson for their assistance with the unfortunate incident.  

An autopsy was ordered by Johnson to be performed by the Jefferson County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

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Livingston man arrested on murder charges

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112323 man arrested

A Livingston man has been booked into the Jasper County Jail on a $1 million bond with the charge of murder. 

Jasper Police responded to a call at the Myrtis Village Apartments just off Highway 190 after 4 a.m. Saturday. 

Law enforcement found a woman dead, later identified as Rosalin Lewis, 24, of Jasper. Lewis was a cheerleading coach for youth and the mother of three small children aged 5, 3 and 2.

William Christian Thomas, 23, of Livingston, has been charged with the murder. Thomas was said to be Lewis’ boyfriend.

Thomas was charged with murder Sunday morning with the bond of $1 million. 

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