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Tyler County News - Breakout

A close call that was too close

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063022 too close a call" I jerked my head up to see an oncoming vehicle that had crossed three lanes and was headed straight for the front of our car."

By Rhonda Oaks

I was digging through my purse for my phone as my husband and I were headed into town for dinner a few weeks ago. I heard him yell and felt the car began to swerve.

I jerked my head up to see an oncoming vehicle that had crossed three lanes and was headed straight for the front of our car. My husband swerved sharply onto the shoulder and hit the curb where we came to a stop. The car barely missed us. The driver behind us swerved his vehicle to the center turn lane to avoid a crash. The driver behind him had no time to react and the out-of-control car hit him head-on.

The impact was deafening. Metal and dirt flew into the air as cars began stopping in all directions. I called 911 as we pulled into a nearby parking lot. I quickly went to the crumpled vehicles in hopes of helping someone. Other people were already trying to get the two driver’s doors open.

As I circled the SUV, I heard the driver who crossed the roadway begin to scream in pain.

He was crushed between the dash and the front seat and all I could see was the back of his head. As I looked in the back seat, I could see the headrest of a child safety seat in the floorboard covered with debris. We tried to get the wedged door open but could not. Welater discovered from family members who arrived on the scene that the driver had just dropped off a child that had been sitting in that seat.

The other driver who was hit was conscious, but in shock, eyes wide as saucers and never uttering a sound. I could hear the sirens in the distance. I felt as life flight helicopters left the scene with both drivers that the crash would result in at least one fatality. Their injuries were critical.

As we gave our witness statements to law enforcement, I learned the couple behind us who swerved into the turn lane has ties to TxDOT. The driver has recently retired from the Beaumont District. He knew safety protocol at the scene of a crash, and he and his wife worked to also help and gave witness statements to law enforcement. I put out alerts on our TxDOT social media pages so motorists would be aware of the lengthy delays as law enforcement began directing the long lines of traffic into the turning lane to get around the crash. It was more than two hours before the scene would be cleared.

I have been at the site of many crashes in my years as a news reporter, but it is very different when you are involved or witness one as it happens. It disturbed me so that I couldn’t get to sleep that night, knowing the heartache those two families must have felt and how easily my family could have been feeling that heartache. I said a thankful prayer that we were safe, and that my husband had been so alert behind the wheel.

TxDOT has determined that most traffic fatalities occur because of speeding, driving distracted, or driving under the influence. You never know what is going on inside the vehicles around you. Never take for granted that the driver you are looking at in the vehicle coming toward you is as alert as you are.

Most of us look away from the roadway for a second when we drive. Whether it’s to glance at something along the roadside, take in the scenery, or look down in the car for one reason or another. But in that second that we look away, any of us could be involved in a serious crash. One that could take a life.

I have looked back on this experience over the past three weeks and what sticks out most in my mind is how fast it happened. All within just a couple of seconds. There was no time to think about putting a phone down, buckle a seatbelt, or tell that person next to you that you love them.

I pass this crash site daily. The black marks are still on the roadway, and tiny bits of glass are along the shoulder and in the nearby grass, reflecting against the sun. A disaster can strike in the blink of an eye, and it can change a life. Please remember to keep your hands on the wheel, your seatbelt buckled, and the phone put away. Because life passes us by in a split second and this close call was just a little too close.

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Fake postings panic Facebook users

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063022 fake facebook postA recent fake facebook post stated a mentally ill man on the loose in Colmesneil.

By Chris Edwards
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TYLER COUNTY – Two recent posts shared through social media have been shared by many who have encountered them; posts which contain disturbing information. However, as Sheriff Bryan Weatherford has said, law enforcement has not been made aware of either situation.

The posts have appeared across the country in buy, sale, trade groups on Facbeook, and have created panic and fear among platform users.
One post, which appeared on Friday, warned residents of a “dangerous mentally ill man on the loose in Colmesneil.” The post, which depicted a mugshot of a Black male, and referred to him as “Mr. K Brendon,” stated the man to be “mentally ill and very dangerous,” and walking around with a pocketknife.

The post was forwarded to Weatherford on Friday, who said he was not aware of the scenario depicted and unaware of the name.

The “K Brendon” post appeared in a Tyler County-centric Facebook group, and was initially shared to the Booster by a Colmesneil resident, whose out-of-county daughter saw the post first, and shared it with her.

Another post, which surfaced Monday, stated that two Black males were suspects in a killing spree in the Dam B/Spurger/Fred area. The post implored residents to be “alert and vigilant,” and again, used mugshots to support the claims made in the post, and claimed that they are wanted for the murder of a 45-year-old man.

Weatherford issued a statement after that post circulated and said his office has received reports of “multiple false Facebook postings” referencing the situation depicted in the post.

The two suspicious posts are attributed to the names “Kudakwashe Nigel” and “Munyaradzi Njopera” A search on Facebook for the latter name revealed the same post, about the two murder suspects, published to a “For Sale in Aberdeen” group from Aberdeen, Maryland.

No names or location(s) were listed in the latter post.

A Facebook search of the name “Mr. K. Brendon” turned up the same post that mentioned Colmesneil in a variety of other buy, sale, trade Facebook groups around the country.

“The Tyler County Sheriff’s Office has received no emergency calls referencing an active shooter of any kind, or any other active, life-threatening situation requiring law enforcement response,” Weatherford said.

If anyone encounters a post that seems suspicious, and references criminal activity, they should contact TCSO at 409-283-2172 to verify the post’s accuracy (or inaccuracy) before sharing.

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Chester ISD board hears reports

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062322 chester isd hears report

By Chuck Davidson

CHESTER – The Chester ISD Board of Trustees vice-chair Wade Read gaveled the board’s monthly meeting of four trustees to order at 6 p.m. and adjourned the meeting at 6:34 p.m. after having an executive session of 20 minutes and an open period of 14 on Monday evening.

During the public portion, no public comments were made and items on the agenda were quickly handled, mostly by tabling them for next month. One, the campus safety and security update, another the SHAC recommendation concerning sex education.

The district’s business manager Austin Odom gave short overview of unusual expenses like over $20K spent on chrome books, courtesy of a federal grant, and it was mentioned that the district will have its triennial safety audit in September.

The district’s bills were all approved for payment, and Chester ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Drake asked the board to update a purchasing policy, which they did by increasing from $10K the amount for board to approve to be $25K. Excess funds currently in the I & S account were also approved to be moved to the general account so that they could be used.

The next meeting of the Chester ISD board meeting is expected to be held on Monday, July 18 at 6 p.m.

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Therapeutic items needed

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062322 theraputice items needed

By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – A recent study from UV University of Amsterdam suggested that touching stuffed animals help with a variety of anxieties and angst-y predicaments.

For children, the textures and comfort afforded by a stuffed teddy bear or a warm blanket can help them mitigate traumatic episodes. To that end, Tyler County Hospital and Citizens State Bank recently teamed up to collect both stuffed animals and blankets.
The drive to collect these items runs throughout August 1, and the items will be delivered to law enforcement agencies in the area

The items will then be delivered to children who have been exposed to trauma or traumatic incidents.

TCH and Citizens is calling the effort “Blankets & Buddies,” and donations can be delivered to either the ER Admissions Office at the hospital or at any Citizens location.

Only new items are being accepted, and the following is what is being collected: stuffed animals measuring 12 inches or less and blankets that are approximately 4’x6’.

TCH and Citizens is asking for no heavy comforters or blankets, for those who wish to donate blankets.

According to the Austin-based Center for Child Protection, all children who visit the Center, whether for a forensic interview, therapy or medical services, are given a brand new stuffed animal.

“The teddy bear not only provides comfort and a sense of safety during a difficult time, it also represents a new beginning,” according to a news release on the Center’s website.

The Tyler County Hospital District hopes that the community can “help our local law enforcment officers turn those tears into smiles,” for area children who have encountered traumatic incidents.

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Woodville Animal Shelter’s spay-neuter program

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062322 spay neuter program

By Kathy Taylor

Whether you love cats or loathe them, we all agree there are too many of them.

Each year, 3.4 million cats and kittens enter shelters and 1.4 million of those are euthanized. It costs taxpayers $2 billion every year to round up, house in municipal shelters, kill and dispose of unwanted cats. This tragedy is preventable. Spay now or pay later!

We can reduce the number of unwanted cats with sterilization programs which make spaying (for female cats) and neutering (for male cats) services affordable and available to everyone.

Spay-neuter programs significantly reduce shelter intake, saving both lives and tax dollars. These programs also improve the health and well-being of cats, the people who care about them and the entire community.

Animal-Friendly Grant – The Woodville Animal Shelter is one 11 non-profits in Texas to be awarded the Department of State Health Services Animal Friendly Spay-Neuter Grant for 2021-23. Our organization will receive $20,003 each year of the two-year grant cycle to provide no or low-cost spay-neuter services for Tyer County’s feline residents.

The Woodville Animal Shelter has been a grant recipient since 2007, longer than any other non-profit. The Animal-Friendly Grant has made it possible to sterilize 300 to 400 cats each year.

To assure spay-neuter services are accessible for all residents to have their feline family members taken care of, we transport cats once a week to Dowlen Road Veterinary Center in Beaumont with whom we contract for sterilization services.

Feline Fix by Five Months – Kittens can have their first heat cycle and become pregnant as early as four months of age. That means that a kitten can have a litter of kittens when she is only six months old.

Fixing by five months can prevent the first unwanted and unplanned litters, which make up the majority of kittens (an estimated 75%) relinquished to and euthanized by animal shelters.

Neutered is Nicer! – Neutering male kittens prior to five months and puberty significantly reduces the unwanted behaviors often leading to owner surrenders to shelters.

Fixing by five months reduces urine marking, fighting and roaming which can result in injury, disease and even death.

Neutering also extends the life expectancy of male cats by more than four years.

Help reduce the number of unwanted kittens and cats in our community. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information about no or low-cost spay or neuter.

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