In a 3-1 vote during a special called meeting Wednesday morning, June 11, the Crockett City Council voted to appoint Precinct 2 Councilmember and Mayor Pro tem Robert Meadows as Mayor of the City Council. Meadows will serve the remainder of the term vacated by former Mayor Wayne Mask on Monday, June 2. That term will expire in May 2015. Precinct 1 Councilmember Chris Gunnels nominated Meadows for the position and Precinct 4 Photo by Lynda JonesCouncilmember Muriel Williams seconded the motion. Precinct 3 Councilman Larry Robbins cast the dissenting vote without comment. In addition to Gunnels and Williams, Precinct 5 Councilmember Mike Marsh voted in favor of Meadows. After the vote, Meadows said, "Thank you, Council, for your confidence. I'll do my best." After the meeting was adjourned, Interim City Administrator Mitzi Thompson administered the Oath of Office to Meadows in her office at City Hall. The city council will appoint someone during its regular meeting Monday, June 16, at 6 p.m. to fill the remainder of Meadows' term as councilman for Precinct 2.
(Additional action taken at Wednesday's meeting will be reported in the Sunday, June 15 Houston County Courier.)
After an insurance adjuster from Frankston made contact with high power electrical lines in downtown Crockett Wednesday afternoon, June 4, the Crockett Volunteer Fire Department sped to the scene with Ladder 1 and successfully brought the man down. The large view above shows the yellow arm of the elevated cage that contained the man. The inset shows three CVFD firefighters stablizing the man for transfer from the bucket down the ladder. ETMC EMS paramedics were waiting below with a stretcher. (Photos by Kim Duhon)
A Frankston man is in Parkland Hospital in Dallas recovering from a harrowing experience in downtown Crockett Wednesday afternoon, June 4.
Richard Watson, 63, is an insurance adjuster who was attempting to inspect damage to a roof when he made contact twice with a high voltage electrical wire above the building.
The insurance company reportedly no longer allows its adjusters to use extension ladders, so Watson was in an elevated cage above the roof. Witnesses said that as Watson stood up, his head made contact with the live wire that reportedly was carrying about 7,200 volts of electricity.
One eyewitness said she saw flames shoot up as Watson made contact. Another eyewitness reported the bucket actually made the first contact.
A third eyewitness reported she saw an orange and red glow, like the sun, around Watson and then he began shaking.
At one point Watson fell, drawing screams from the crowd of onlookers that had gathered on the east side lawn of the Houston County Courthouse. foot and lower leg apparently caught on one of the bars of the cage, preventing him from falling all the way down to the concrete ground below, but leaving him suspended upside down until Crockett volunteer firefighters could reach him and pull him back into the cage.
Before the firefighters could get to the man, the power in the live wire had to be shut off.
Personnel from the Houston County Electric Cooperative came and turned off the power while waiting for Oncor to arrive.
When it was safe to do so, three firefighters made their way up from Ladder 1. According to witness reports, Watson had received two jolts of potentially deadly electricity. It appeared that at least one jolt exited out the lower part of one of Watson's legs.
Onlookers said they feared for the man's life and they feared for the lives of the firefighters who rescued him. There was concern that any or all of them could fall out of the cage while they were stablizing Watson and securing him to the sled that would carry him down the ladder.
As they all reached the ground, onlookers cheered and applauded. Watson was transferred onto a stretcher and into a waiting ETMC EMS ambulance that took him to the helio-pad outside ETMC Crockett. He was flown directly to the hospital in Dallas for treatment of his burns.
Watson was upgraded from Critical to Serious Condition Thursday afternoon, but he remains in ICU. Current reports suggest Watson's injuries are not as severe as first thought, that there was no apparent muscle damage and the burns to his face are superficial. Sources say Watson is "progressing remarkably".
Ellen McCreight, who owns the business with the roof damage, has stayed in contact with Mark Taylor, who is in Dallas. Taylor is Watson's regional supervisor, she explained.
McCreight relayed a message from Taylor. She said Taylor wants to thank everybody in Crockett, including the CVFD, all other responders and the business owners for all of their work during the rescue.
Agencies, businesses and officials responding to the scene, in addition to the fire department, included the Crockett Police Department, the Houston County Sheriff's Office, ETMC EMS, Culpepper Electric, Houston County Electric Cooperative, Oncor, Constable Precinct 2, Houston County Judge Erin Ford and Crockett City Councilman Chris Gunnels.
As the crowd dispersed, onlookers declared the Crockett firefighters were true heroes during the crisis.
One said she was going to go home and bake cookies to take to the CVFD on Thursday. She also suggested a fundraiser so the fire department can purchase an inflatable landing device to catch someone if they are not so lucky in the future and fall.
HCSO Thwarts Attempted Copper Wire TheftBy Lynda Jones
By Lynda Jones Editor-in-Chief
The Crockett Police Department and the Houston County Sheriff's Office report a busy week.
Most recently, CPD officers were dispatched to the 300 block of Spence St. at approximately 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, June 4, in reference to a disturbance that resulted in the arrest of a 70-year-old Crockett man.
Roy Earl Davis of Crockett was charged with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon.
CPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Clayton Smith reported that the victim told officers that she and the suspect were arguing about an ex-girlfriend when Davis allegedly held a knife to the victim's throat as he threatened to kill her.
Officers observed injuries to the victim's neck that confirmed her story, according to Smith's report.
Davis allegedly admitted to officers that "he placed a knife to the victim's throat but says it was only a butter knife," Smith stated.
HCSO deputies responded to a call regarding suspicious activity in the vicinity of the Weatherford-P Chem plant in Latexo at approximately 11:30 p.m. Friday, May 31.
Their investigation led deputies to believe the occupants of the vehicle allegedly were attempting to steal copper wiring and other items from the Latexo General Store.
"Tools that were used in the commission of the crime were also located," HCSO officials reported.
The occupants of the vehicle were identified as Taju Forward, 29, and Karlin Monroe, 30, both of Dallas, according to HCSO officials. They were taken to the Houston County Jail and both were charged with State Jail Felony Theft. Bond was set at $8,000.
On Monday, June 2, a Jacksonville man allegedly tried to toss illegal drugs out his car window when HCSO deputies initiated a traffic stop.
HCSO officials reported they were responding to a call about an allegedly reckless driver on SH 19 south of Crockett when they initiated the traffic stop.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Darrian Johnson, 24, of Jacksonville.
Deputies observed the driver throw items out of the window, an HCSO report alleges.
As the deputies gathered up those items, they discovered tthe items were illegal drugs, according to the HCSO report.
The items were identified as Xanax, Crack-Cocaine and Marijuana. Johnson was placed under arrest and taken to the Houston County Jail.
He was charged with: Tampering with physical evidence (bond set at $8,000); Possession of a Controlled Substance (State Jail Felony, bond set at $4,000); Possession of a Controlled
Substance (Class A Misdemeanor, bond set at $3,000).
Local cattle producers will have the opportunity to vote on a new $1 per head Texas Beef Checkoff in early June, according to Jack Fleming, George Crowson and Than Richburg, Houston County Farm Bureau Board members.
"The Texas Beef Checkoff is the cattleman's investment," Crowson said. "Texas cattlemen will decide how these additional Texas funds will be spent. No business thrives without investment, research and promotion."
He said 27 years of inflation and many challenges including an increasingly aggressive animal rights movement, hundreds of misleading claims about beef, and a declining number of cattle have eroded the capabilities of the original $1 per head investment.
Crowson said, "I'm voting 'yes' for an additional dollar per head to strengthen Texas beef in the marketplace for my future and future generations."
The Texas Beef Checkoff Referendum will be held June 2-6 at all county AgriLife Extension offices across Texas during normal business hours.
The Houston County AgriLife Extension office is located in the Houston County Senior Citizens Center building, adjacent to Davy Crockett Memorial Park in Crockett.
Eligible voters must have owned cattle between June 6, 2013 and June 6, 2014. Owners less than 16 years of age must have their ballot co-signed by a parent or legal guardian.
"Farm Bureau policy strongly supports self-help programs for farmers and ranchers," Fleming said. "A 'yes' vote on this Texas Beef Checkoff will extend and enhance programs the Texas Beef Council has developed and implemented over the last 27 years, as well as fund beef demand-building programs for the future."
For more information, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office or the Texas Department of Agriculture.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Photographs of area men killed during the Vietnam War are being sought as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation (VVMF) project "Faces Never Forgotten."
The VVMF is seeking to locate photos of all 58,286 soldiers listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The foundation plans to build a new education center near the existing memorial on the National Mall. Construction is expected to begin in 2016 and to be completed in 2019.
Included in the new center will be an electronic "Wall of Faces" corresponding to the names on the wall. So far, 34,000 photos have been collected and more than 24,000 are left to find.
Photos also may be brought to the offices of the Houston County Courier in Crockett, Trinity Standard in Trinity, Groveton News in Groveton, Polk County Enterprise in Livingston or the Tyler County Booster in Woodville to have them digitally scanned.
The collection of the photos in Texas is being coordinated through the Texas Press Association. All local photos collected will be forwarded to VVMF.
Below is a listing of the men whose photos are still needed, their age at the time of their death, their branch of military service, the date they were killed and the location of their names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Family members of those not listed as being from any of these counties who have photos of men killed during the war also may submit photos and they will be forwarded to the VVMF.
Be sure to include the soldier's full name, his branch of service and the county where he had resided prior to entering military service.
HOUSTON COUNTY Crockett Pfc. Ruzell Gray, 20, U.S. Marine Corps, killed May 31, 1968: Panel 62W, Row 10. Spc. 4 Willie Craig Warren, 20, U.S. Army, killed June 22, 1967: Panel 22E, Row 52. Kennard Spc. 4 Johnny Franklin Richards, 24, U.S. Army, killed Sept. 5, 1968: Panel 45W, Row 44. TRINITY COUNTY Apple Springs Seaman John Edward Hollis, 24, U.S. Navy, killed Nov. 11, 1970: Panel 6W, Row 51. Groveton Sgt. Billy Mac Brister, 21, U.S. Army, killed May 11, 1968: Panel 65E, Row 5. Sgt. Albert C. Horace Jr., 21, U.S. Army, killed Aug. 29, 1967: Panel 25E, Row 63. Cpl. Ollie Curtis Freeman, 21, U.S. Army, killed May 11, 1968: Panel 58E, Row 20. Trinity Pfc. Tom Willis Simmons Jr., 20, U.S. Marine Corps, killed Jan. 22, 1968: Panel 35E, Row 12.
POLK COUNTY Livingston Pfc. Andrew Lewis Stephens, 22, U.S. Army, killed Nov. 21, 1966: Panel 12E, Row 106. Spc. 5 Marvin Ray Robinson, 23, U.S. Army, killed Sept. 11, 1969: Panel 18W, Row 72. Camden Lance Cpl. Johnny Clarence Spears, 22, U.S. Marine Corps, killed Jan. 30, 1971: Panel 5W, Row 70
TYLER COUNTY Woodville Cpl. Peter Louis Winter, 23, U.S. Army, killed April 1, 1971: Panel 4W, Row 100. Pfc. Leroy Wood, 18, U.S. Marine Corps, killed July 13, 1968: Panel 52W, Row 25. Hillister Staff Sgt. Arthur Lee Beaty, 25, U.S. Army, killed May 12, 1968: Panel 58E, Row 30.
The Crockett Police Department is taking part in the nationwide "Click It or Ticket" campaign for the Memorial Day holiday period.
The campaign began Monday, May 19 and will continue through June 1. "We are asking our local drivers to buckle up and make sure their children are buckled up for safety," said CPD Chief David Cross.
"We work numerous accidents each year where a seat belt could have made a difference in the severity of the injuries received by the occupants of the vehicles," Cross explained. "Our officers will be out looking for seat belt violators over this period. So buckle up for safety."
Motorists who don't buckle up in compliance with state seat belt laws face fines and court costs up to $200 as stepped up enforcement gets underway this month during the Texas Department of Transportation's 13th annual "Click It or Ticket" campaign.
"Seat belts save lives," said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. "That's a fact. Buckling up will keep you from getting a ticket, and more importantly, it could save your life. Whether you're the driver or a passenger, everyone in the vehicle is required by law to wear a seat belt for every trip. The cost of not using one just isn't worth it."
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is credited with motivating millions of motorists to always use their seat belts. Only 76 percent of Texans used seat belts when the campaign began in 2002. Today, 9 out of 10 Texans buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety estimates that since its inception, the "Click It or Ticket" campaign in Texas has resulted in 3,962 fewer traffic fatalities while preventing 66,823 serious injuries and saving more than $15 billion in related economic costs.
In 2013, there were 943 fatalities and 5,383 serious injuries in Texas resulting from crashes in which drivers or passengers were not wearing seat belts.
Wearing a seat belt increases the chances of surviving a serious crash by 45 percent. In pickup trucks, that number jumps to 60 percent as those vehicles are more likely than cars to roll over in a crash. In roll-over crashes, seat belts help keep occupants from being ejected from the vehicle.
Texas law requires everyone in a vehicle to be buckled up, including back seat passengers. Visit texasclickitorticket.com for more information.