With inclement weather recently hampering travel conditions in north and west Texas, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to stay off roadways as much as possible during severe winter weather and use extreme caution when travel is necessary this holiday season. According to the AAA, more than 3 million Texans will travel by car this Thanksgiving season.
“Historically, the busiest travel days are the day before and the Sunday following Thanksgiving,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family and friends, so we want to make sure Texans get to where they need to be safely.”
Motorists who must drive during bad weather are reminded to drive to conditions – that means lowering your speed when it’s raining or if there’s snow and ice. Also, allow extra travel time to reach your destination and leave plenty of room between your car and the one you’re following.
Law enforcement arrests and reports released Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
Monday, November 25
*5:29 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 400 block of E. Commerce Street regarding a hit and run. According to the report, the complainant/driver of a Chevrolet Blazer stated that she had been turning into the drive of a business when her vehicle was struck in the rear by a tan pickup. The driver of the tan pickup stopped momentarily and spoke to the complainant, but left the scene prior to the arrival of officers and without exchanging information.
*A Brown County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a property on Parsons in regarding to the Burglary of a Building, where a generator was stolen. Two possible suspects were named during the investigation, the report states.
*Brown County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a burglary of a habitation located on CR 499. According to the report, the caller stated that his female neighbor, wearing only a towel, came to his house and asked him to call the police. A deputy met with the female who stated that her estranged husband had forced his way into the home and took her cell phone, which was reported to have photos of the estranged husband and another female, the report states.
A blinding sunset resulted in a multiple vehicle, chain reaction accident on Bangs Hill in Brownwood Tuesday evening, according to law enforcement officials.
Shortly after 5:00 p.m., four vehicles were involved in three chain reaction collisions. According to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Martin Molotsky, the driver of a Ford pickup was traveling at an extremely slow speed up the westbound side of Bangs Hill, (1200 block of West US Hwy 67), because he was blinded by the sun. A Chevy pickup pulling a large barbeque pit on a trailer came up behind him and rear-ended him in a very minor accident, according to Molotsky. Shortly after this accident, a small crossover vehicle came upon the scene and swerved, barely scraping her vehicle’s front quarter panel and hub cap against the side of the trailer that the Chevy pickup was pulling causing minor damage.
Brownwood City Council awarded a $2.2 million dollar bid to Ranger Excavating, L.P. for the construction of two cells to be added to the city landfill. The cells will provide an estimated 17 years of capacity, depending on the flow of waste, according to City Manager Bobby Rountree.
Rountree reported that seven bids were received ranging from $2,204,035 to $4,149,630. The lowest of these bids was submitted by Ranger Excavating, L.P., who also constructed cell 11 at the landfill.
On September 10, 2013, the council passed an ordinance authorizing the sale of a certificate of obligation for $3,870,000 to construct these cells. This amount was to cover all costs related to the project including construction, engineering and costs of issuance. According to Rountree, there may be a surplus of $1-1.2 million. The council also authorized Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes to execute a professional services agreement with Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd in the amount of $399,340 for Phase II of landfill cells 12 and 13 which includes bidding/contracting services; project management; quality assurance of leachate collection system, protective cover installation, etc. This amount is also considered in the certificate of obligation mentioned above.
Construction is expected to take approximately 10 months with final payment due to the contractor on October 27, 2014 according to the bid, which was based on engineering estimates of the amount of excavation that will be needed. There are contingencies in place for blasting and other costs. The city will be providing the contractor with the fuel for the project, which is an unknown final cost to be determined. Once those costs are in, the city will know the amount of surplus funds will be left from the certificate of obligation, according to a briefing sheet prepared by City of Brownwood Division Director of Public Works and Engineer Don Hatcher.
Reports released for the week of November 18-24, 2013 from the Brownwood Fire Department include 23 medical emergencies, 1 fire call, 3 motor vehicle accidents, 1 agency assist, and 1 lock-in.
Reports of interest include the following:
Monday, November 18
*12:00 AM – BFD was called to a fire in the 3900 block of Austin Avenue. Upon arrival, nothing was found.
*9:28 AM – BFD responded to a single vehicle rollover in the 3100 block of US 67. Firefighters extricated the vehicle’s occupant and assisted Guardian EMS with loading the patient for transport.
Tuesday, November 19
*8:26 PM – BFD responded to a motor vehicle accident in the 2700 block of Stephen F. Austin involving a single motorcycle.
*8:28 PM – BFD performed an agency assist by providing manpower for a funeral home.
Law enforcement reports and arrests released Monday, November 25, 2013.
Thursday, November 21
*5:27 PM – Brownwood Police met with a complainant at the Law Enforcement Center regarding terroristic threat. According to the report, the complainant stated that a known subject continually follows him in his vehicles and attempts to run the complainant off of the road. On this date, the complainant confronted the subject and was allegedly threatened with bodily harm, the report states.
Friday, November 22
*3:19 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 800 block of 5th Street regarding a domestic disturbance. According to the report, the complainant stated that her grandson had assaulted her by pushing her and that she did wish to pursue charges. The juvenile grandson was arrested and transported to the Brownwood Police Department, the report states.
*4:03 PM – Brownwood Police were called to the 1400 block of Austin Avenue regarding an assault. According to the report, dispatch advised that the suspect had trespass warning for the property and that the suspect had assaulted one of the store employees. The suspect, 21-year-old Charles Devlyn Dyess was being detained on the ground at the corner of Durham and Coggin Avenue, the report states. The store manager was on scene along with two other subjects who had Dyess detained. Dyess was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing.
*5:59 PM – Brownwood Police responded to the 300 block of N. Main Street regarding a hit and run. According to the report, the complainant stated that a white Ford pickup had backed into his van and drove away without providing the required information. An investigation is ongoing, the report states.
According to Early Chief of Police David Mercer, officers in his department made two unrelated traffic stops which resulted in the arrest of four people over the weekend on drug related charges.
At approximately 2 p.m. Saturday, Officer Michelle Sheedy stopped a vehicle in the 900 block of Early Blvd., in the Early Primary School parking lot, for a traffic violation. The occupants were identified as driver John Simon Armendarez (29) of Brownwood and passenger Marjorie Elaine Schneider (39) of Early. According to the report, when Officer Sheedy asked if the pair had anything illegal in the vehicle, Armendarez replied that he had a gun and that he was a convicted felon. Both Armendarez and Schneider were removed from the vehicle and it was searched, which led to the .380 caliber handgun being located, the report states. Sheedy also located numerous small Ziplock baggies, scales, $2000 in cash and methamphetamine, the report states.
Both Armendarez and Schneider were taken into custody. Armendarez was charged with manufacture delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1 greater than 1 gram less than 4 grams in a drug free zone, unlawful possession of a firearm by felon in a weapon free zone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Schneider was charged with possession of a controlled substance penalty group 3 less than 28 grams in a drug free zone and on a Brown County warrant for theft of property greater than $20 less than $500 by check. Armendarez was held in the Brown County Jail and released on bonds totaling $30,500. Schneider was also released on bonds totaling $6,000.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is encouraging Thanksgiving travelers to practice safe driving habits during the long holiday weekend to help keep Texas roadways safer for everyone.
“Holiday travel can be especially challenging because of congested roadways, added distractions and fatigued or drunk driving – all of which can lead to tragedy,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS will be working hard to keep our roads safe during the Thanksgiving holiday, and we’re also counting on everyone traveling throughout the state to do their part by driving responsibly.”
DPS troopers will be patrolling Texas roadways throughout the holiday weekend to promote safety and identify dangerous drivers.
During the Thanksgiving weekend in 2012, DPS troopers arrested 386 individuals for driving while intoxicated, issued more than 7,500 speeding citations, 875 citations for no insurance and more than 770 seat belt/child safety seat citations. DPS patrols also resulted in 258 fugitive arrests and 211 felony arrests during the same time period.
TxDOT crews throughout the Abilene and Brownwood Districts worked through the night to treat roadways and bridges and monitor conditions. Most counties are reporting that conditions remain the same as yesterday, with wet pavement and areas of patchy ice and black ice.
According to the National Weather Service, a significant storm is forecast overnight on Saturday and into Sunday. Adverse conditions are likely throughout a large region.
Drivers are strongly advised to avoid any unnecessary travel. Those who must travel should use extreme caution and be alert for emergency responders and TxDOT workers who are on the roadway responding to incidents. Drivers should slow down, increase following distance and remove all distractions to avoid wrecks or becoming involved in a secondary collision.