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Lufkin DPS Seeking Identity of Evading, Crash Suspect - August 31, 2014
Press Release from David Hendry, DPS

On Saturday, August 30, 2014 at approximately 10:39 PM, a Lufkin DPS Trooper attempted to stop a 2004 Pontiac passenger car on Jim Stephens Rd. in Angelina County for a traffic violation. The operator of the vehicle initially stopped, then began evading the Trooper in the vehicle.

The vehicle then turned left onto FM 2497 and continued evading the Trooper southbound on FM 2497 until it drove off the roadway at Burkhalter Hollow Rd. and struck a tree. The operator of the vehicle was able exit the vehicle and evaded on foot while the vehicle caught fire and burned.

Officers with the Texas Highway Patrol, Lufkin Police Department and the Diboll Police Department were unsuccessful in locating the driver of the vehicle. The Texas Department of Public Safety is requesting anyone with any information in identifying the driver of the vehicle to please contact the TXDPS Highway Patrol at 936-699-7300. This incident and crash is still under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.

---Updated Information---
Suspect Description:
White Male 5’ 7’’
20 to 30 years of age
Stocky build
Short dark hair and thinning hair on top of head


Driver Falls Asleep, Crashes Outside of Tenaha - August 30, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

A single-vehicle crash outside of Tenaha occurred when the driver fell asleep at the wheel and lost control of the vehicle

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 1:45pm on Saturday, August 30, 2014 Richard Chappell, 87, of Gary was traveling westbound in a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla on U.S. Highway 84 .7 miles east of FM 2669 near Tenaha.

Chappell left the roadway to the left, traveling across the eastbound lane and into the eastbound barrow ditch where he overcorrected to the right. As Chappell traveled through the barrow ditch he struck a utility pole with the left rear quarter panel of the vehicle and continued back across the highway.

The Toyota rolled at least three times and came to rest on the westbound side of the roadway. Chappell was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Joey Ross Towing.

No citations have been given at this time, the incident remains under investigation.


Shelby County Sheriff's Department Investigates Shooting Death - August 30, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

Shelby County Sheriff's Investigator Chad Brown (foreground) Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell (hat) and Shelby County Investigator DJ Dickerson (background) are seen investigating the scene at the front of the house Saturday.

A residence located at 4110 County Road 1024 in Shelby County was the scene of a shooting death on Saturday, August 30, 2014. Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched at around 11:15am and began investigating the scene after the shooting victim was transported from the residence.

It was an emotional scene as deputies took Anderson into custody following the passing of Taylor Keele.

Evidence of the incident appeared to be being gathered from the front porch of the residence by Sheriff's Department investigators.

According to a press release issued by Sheriff Willis Blackwell, on August 30, 2014 the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call indicating that there had been a shooting accident at a residence on County Road 1024 in Shelby County.

The initial investigation revealed that Bret Anderson, 25, of Center and Taylor Keele, 21, of Center were handling a firearm, a 9mm pistol, when Anderson unintentionally discharged the firearm which struck Keele in the chest.

Keele was transported by ACE EMS to the hospital in San Augustine, TX, where he was pronounced deceased after arrival. Anderson was arrested on scene and transported to the Shelby County Jail on the charge of manslaughter.

At the time of the press release the incident is believed to be purely accidental but the case is still under investigation.

Shelby County Sheriff's Investigator DJ Dickerson (left) and Sheriff Willis Blackwell (right) closely examine the scene of the shooting incident Saturday afternoon.

School Bus, Car Meet on Narrow Road; Emergency Crews Respond Due to Rollover Risk - August 30, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

A school bus and another vehicle were forced to take evasive action at a curve on a narrow county road when they met on County Road 1024 on Friday, August 29, 2014 resulting in the other vehicle running off the road.

Emergency personnel was dispatched to the scene of the incident as there was concern the SUV had the potential to roll over.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, on August 29, 2014 at 4:24pm a 2002 International School Bus owned by Center ISD was traveling eastbound on County Road 1024 when it failed to yield one half of the roadway to a 2011 GMC Terrain traveling westbound.

The Terrain was driven by Jenny Lee Anderson, 24, who also was traveling with passengers Aaron Dexter Broussard, 24, and two girls age four and five all of Center. In attempts to avoid striking the school bus, Anderson steered to the right causing the Terrain to travel up an embankment and to balance on the driver side wheels and against the incline of the embankment.

Rebecca Spann Harkness, 47, of Center was driving the bus at the time of the incident and there were three children including two boys and a girl all ranging in age from four to six within the bus.

When emergency crews examined the two vehicles they noticed the vehicles had not actually come into contact with one another. Representatives of Center ISD worked together with emergency personnel to extract the children from within the bus before attempting to move the vehicles.

Once they were clear, the school bus was backed out by Harkness and the Terrain was able to be righted once again and driven from the scene by Anderson.

Aaron Broussard was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. A citation was given to Harkness for failure to give one half of roadway.

Those that responded to the scene include members of the Center ISD Police Department and representatives, Texas Department of Public Safety, Center Fire Department, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden.



Single-Vehicle Crashes in Front Yard on Pine Street - August 29, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

The driver of a vehicle was involved in a single-vehicle crash which occurred in the front yard of a property located at 812 Pine Street in Center on Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Emergency personnel was alerted to the crash at 8:02am by an OnStar call to Center Police Department dispatch, at that time the driver was unresponsive to OnStar. Center Police Officer John Welch was first on the scene to locate the vehicle.

When he arrived at the scene, Officer Welch discovered a maroon Chevrolet Equinox LT had collided with a tree about 80 yards from the intersection of Pine Street and Terry Street.

Officer Maegan Wright, Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Dustin Ramos and ACE EMS arrived just after Officer Welch.

ACE EMS transported the driver, Tara Darlene Rash, from the scene to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment. She was responsive when she was transported from the scene of the crash.


Sheriff's Department Arrests Two on Child Endangerment Charges - August 28, 2014
Submitted by Shad Sparks

Sarah Hite

Michael Lee Smith

The Shelby County Sheriff's Department has made an arrest of two individuals for child endangerment. They are currently being held in the Shelby County Jail as the case continues to unfold.

The Sheriff's Department issued a press release with the following information, according to Sheriff Willis Blackwell, on August 27, 2014 Michael Lee Smith, 36, of Center was arrested on three felony warrants. The charges include Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and two counts of Endangering a Child.

Sheriff Blackwell advised that the charges were all linked to the use of methamphetamine's. Sarah Hite, 27, was also arrested the morning of August 28, 2014 in connection with the same investigation on two counts of Endangering a Child.


CFD Fights Suspicious Truck Fire - August 27, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

A suspicious truck fire on CR 3140 was the focus of the Center Fire Department on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 11:15am.

When firemen arrived at the scene of the fire they discovered a truck completely engulfed in flames and located behind a house belonging to Jeff Webster, according to Sheriff Willis Blackwell.

The firemen quickly got to work extinguishing the fire and were able to prevent its spreading to the home which was a mere six-feet away. The Center Fire Department contacted the Shelby County Sheriff's Department right away due to the suspicious nature of the fire.

Once the flames were extinguished, the pickup was able to be identified as a Chevrolet pickup truck, possibly black in color. A license plate was located but it was damaged by the flames and was unreadable.

The fire remains under investigation by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department. Anyone who may have information about the fire should contact the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 936-598-5601.


Cushing Man in Custody Following Bank Robbery in Chireno - August 25, 2014
Submitted by Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Department

Mitchell Garrett

A Cushing man is in custody after a bank robbery that occurred in Chireno, Texas shortly before noon today. Deputies with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff Office and Precinct 4 constable office were dispatched to the Captial One Bank in reference to a bank robbery. The suspect had fled in an unknown direction driving a blue car.

Deputies were able to obtain a partial license plate number to the vehicle which was given out to surrounding counties. Deputies arrived on scene at the bank and started processing the crime scene and reviewing the video from the bank. Shortly after 12:00 pm an officer with the San Augustine Police Department spotted a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the robbery. The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the vehicle refused to stop. The vehicle turned onto Highway 96 and continued at high rates of speed into Shelby County.

Center Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff Office, and DPS joined in the high speed pursuit. Law enforcement officers chased the vehicle almost to Tenaha, Texas on Highway 96 until officers were able to stop the vehicle. The lone occupant of the vehicle was identified as Mitchell Garrett, 46, from Cushing Texas. Officers found evidence inside the vehicle that linked Garrett to the robbery of the bank, including money taken from the bank and clothing used during the robbery.

The FBI and Texas Ranger Brazil went to Shelby County and conducted an interview with the suspect. Garrett has given a confession to the robbery that occurred at the Captial One Bank. Nacogdoches County Sheriff Office Investigators have obtained a warrant for Garrett for the offense of Aggravated Robbery. Garrett is currently in jail at the Shelby County Jail on Evading Arrest charges

Sheriff Jason Bridges stated that the Nacogdoches County Sheriff Office will file the Aggravated Robbery Charges on Garrett and a hold will be placed on him. At some point he will be transported to the Nacogdoches County Jail on our charges.

Sheriff Jason Bridges stated that video footage from the bank showed Garrett approaching the teller and showing the teller a note that demanded money. Garrett had his hand in his pocket during this time and acted as though he had a weapon in his pocket while demanding money.

Money from the robbery has been recovered that was found inside of Garrett’s vehicle. Sheriff Jason Bridges stated that they are not releasing the amount that was stolen.


Shelby County Law Enforcement Captures Chireno Bank Robbery Suspect - August 25, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

Mitchell Garrett, the suspect in the Chireno bank robbery, is seen above after being taken into custody.

A suspect in a Chireno bank robbery has been apprehended by Shelby County law enforcement agencies just after 12:00 noon on Tuesday, August 25, 2014.

The vehicle, a light blue Chrysler 200, was finally brought to a stop by Center Police Lieutenant Jeremy Bittick on U.S. Highway 96 North near Tenaha at 7534 U.S. Highway 96 North.

When the Chrysler approached Center on U.S. Highway 96 South at Bounds Hill, San Augustine Police were already engaged in the chase, and Center Police Officers were setup to join the chase near Loop 500.

As the man in the Chrysler passed through Center on Hurst Street at high speed, patrol vehicles from all different agencies gave chase.

Once the pursuit neared Tenaha the Chrysler had slowed, and that's when Lt. Bittick took the opportunity to bump the Chrysler to the side of the roadway with his vehicle. The PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver worked and the Chrysler came to a stop on the northbound shoulder.

Mitchell Garrett, 46, was immediately placed in custody and was put in a Center Police Department vehicle for transport to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

When Hughes Wrecker arrived to tow the vehicle from the scene, it was out of fuel and would not start.

Law enforcement agencies which converged on the scene and participated in the chase in addition to the Center Police Department include: the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Tenaha City Marshal's Office, Timpson Police Department, Constables from Precinct 4, 5, and 3, and the Shelby County Probation office.


Three Receive Transport to Hospital from Tenaha Crash - August 22, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Friday, August 22, 2014 from which three were transported to the hospital.

According to Texas DPS Trooper Keith Jones, at 8:21pm a white 2001 Dodge Stratus driven by Alejandro Lira-Bustos, 26, of Center was traveling southbound on Center Street .1 miles south of U.S. Highway 59 North.

As Lira-Bustos was traveling in front of Barak Apartments a red 2001 Ford Taurus driven by Amber Leann Gibb, 21, of Shelbyville exited from a private driveway in front of the Stratus, causing the vehicles to collide.

Three passengers were also riding in the Taurus including a 13-year-old girl; 2-year-old girl; and a 1-year-old girl. Gibb, the 13-year-old, and the 2-year-old were all transported by ACE EMS to ETMC in Carthage for observation. The 1-year-old received no injuries.

There were three passengers traveling in the Stratus including Anna Silvia Lira-Bustos, 23, and a 2-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy child. None in the Stratus were reported to have received injuries.

Gibb was cited for fail to yield right of way private drive and Lira-Bustos was cited for no driver's license.


Law Enforcement Respond to Two 9-1-1 Calls in Downtown Center - August 20, 2014

Officers are seen escorting Luis Acuna into a patrol vehicle after he was arrested
on Tuesday, August 19, 2014.

Law enforcement officers responded to multiple incidents near the Center Downtown square Tuesday, August 20, 2014.

The first 9-1-1 call was shortly after 10:30am and Center Police Department officers responded to San Augustine Street in front of Pizzeria for an unknown male who had fallen from a ladder. The male was later identified as Kenneth Verner, of Center, a local business man who makes custom signs. It is suspected his fall was the result of a health problem. ACE EMS responded to the scene and transported Verner to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. He was unresponsive at the scene.

Seen above is a handgun that was taken into evidence by officers at the scene where Acuna was arrested.

Later, at 4:15pm, all law enforcement responded to Austin Street near the intersection of Nacogdoches Street concerning a male suspect with a gun who was threatening to commit suicide. Center Police Department officers, Shelby County Sheriff's Department deputies, Texas Department of Public Safety, and District Attorney Investigator Robert Carlsen arrived on scene to find Luis Acuna, age 22, of Center, with a handgun in his possession. He was taken into custody and booked into the Center PD jail for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

A Chevrolet Z71 pickup driven by Luis Acuna was stopped at the red light on Austin Street at the Nacogdoches Street intersection.

CFD Prevents Spread of Fire at Apartment Complex - August 19, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

The Center Fire Department responded to a fire of unknown origin at the Center Place Apartments located on Clifford Street in Center on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 3:35pm.

When the firemen arrived, smoke was billowing from Apartment 16, the residence of Shaquanna Dock,
at the far end of the apartment complex. Residents of other apartments exited from their residences as the fire trucks arrived.

Firemen quickly dressed in their bunker gear and began entering the apartment, as well as ushering occupants from the neighboring apartment to safety.

According to Center Fire Chief Keith Byndom, once inside the residence it was determined that the origin of the smoke was a grease fire in the kitchen. Chief Byndom described some of the damage that was found in the apartment, "Kitchen damage to the vent hood and wall and smoke damage in the apartment."

The firemen ventilated the apartment to push the smoke out. Once that was complete they returned to the fire station.

A resident is seen exiting her apartment with a baby as firemen and apartment complex personnel make certain no one remains inside.



Center Police Department Responds to Reports of Abduction - August 19, 2014
Composed by Scott Flowers

Law enforcement officers from the Center Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff's Department responded to an abduction call on Monday, August 18, 2014 in Center which began on Tenaha Street.

Once law enforcement officials located the vehicle, Center Police officers immediately detained the driver and interviewed the passenger.

According to information provided by the Center Police Department, on August 18, 2014 at approximately 10:05am the Center Police Department responded to a call of a female subject being forced into a vehicle on Tenaha Street. A witness observed the male subject forcing a female into his vehicle and could hear her screaming.

Officers located the vehicle, a white Cadillac, on Hurst Street and initiated a traffic stop in the Walmart Parking lot. The male suspect was identified as Tom Paul Chandler of Center. The female victim stated to officers, that her boyfriend grabbed her and forced her into the vehicle.

Chandler was arrested for Assault Family Violence and was transported to the Center City Jail. According to the arrest log he was also charged with no driver's license.


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