First responders answer calls
Labor Day weekend
2005 MHS grad paralyzed after dive into shallow water;
two airlifted after car hits tree; dogs knock down cyclist
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Emergency medical technicians responded to three
incidents in the area over the Labor Day weekend.
First Responders answered a call offshore from Chamber Isle at the
border of Seven Points and Gun Barrel City around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
A young man and his friends had just launched a boat from Chamber Isle
and motored around to the back side of the island and decided to swim.
Justin Collier, 22, dove off the boat into shallow water, hit the lake
bottom and was unable to surface.
When he didn’t resurface, a friend went into the water after him.
Collier was unconscious and unable to move. Three more friends Luke
Toliver, Kenneth Givens and Damien Franklin, assisted in getting him
back into the boat, where he spewed up lake water without any further
He was airlifted from the helipad in Gun Barrel City to East Texas
Medical Center in Tyler, where he was diagnosed with three crushed
He is paralyzed from the chest down, with limited movement in his arms
and hands, a close family friend reports. A bank account has been opened
with Citizens State Bank. Donations may be made at any branch office by
specifying the Lynette Dugger for the Justin Collier fund account. The
funds will greatly assist the family with ongoing medical expenses.
In 1990, another young man was paralyzed from diving into shallow water
off Tom Finley Park.
Collier’s family want to publicly thank the emergency technicians who
helped Justin, especially Brian Miller.
Two helicopters were called to a car accident on East Main Street in Gun
Barrel City (State Highway 334) a few miles from U.S. Highway 175
shortly after 1 a.m. Tuesday.
There were multiple injuries, according to a preliminary police report.
Gun Barrel City police officer Jason Ramsey found a gray Volvo front end
collapsed around a tree, which it obviously hit head on.
The woman driver was identified as Yalanda Lorraine Fewell, 35, and her
passenger Clinton Lamar Fewell, 38. Both had one leg that was fractured
with the bone (femur) protruding.
Witnesses traveling behind knew the Fewells and identified Yalanda as a
bartender at the VFW in Athens, where they were leaving on their way
Witnesses told police it appeared that someone jerked the steering
wheel, causing the vehicle to exit the roadway and strike the tree.
Both were airlifted by helicopter to the emergency center in Tyler. No
other vehicles were involved.
Officers at the scene confirmed a strong odor of alcoholic beverages was
detected coming from both occupants.
No update on their condition was available by presstime.
A less serious incident Saturday morning, also put a helicopter in the
air to transport The Monitor editor Pearl Cantrell to a hospital
Courtesy Photo/Kerry Yancey
AT LEFT: Even while wearing a safety helmet (which split in two),
Pearl Cantrell suffered a concussion.
Good thing she was wearing one and landed on her head.
She was riding a bike from her home to the annual car show fire
department fund-raiser at Seven Points City Park when she was knocked
off by a pack of neighborhood dogs.
Her head struck the pavement, cracking her helmet in half and rendering
First Responders ordered an airlift from fire chief John Dobbs’ pasture,
which was nearby on Lakeshore Drive.
She was diagnosed with a moderate to severe concussion, scrapes and
She was later released into the care of her husband and was recovering
over the long weekend.
She returned to limited newswriting duties Tuesday.
Lake-area schools choose
not to air presidential address
Timing, not politics, at issue
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Area schools provided an alternative to hearing
President Barak Obama’s address to students across the nation.
The controversy over whether to hear the speech or not was not the main
issue with schools. Administrators said the timing of the broadcast
would be disruptive to the school day.
The speech was presented at 11:30 a.m. Texas time, just as the lunch
rush for students began.
“We’re not showing it live – it is during our lunch time,” Dr. Russell
Marshall, superintendent of Mabank Independent School District said
The timing would have resulted in confusion and presented a difficult
situation for food service staff, given the amount of time allotted for
lunch, he said.
“We are putting a link on our website to allow families the option to
handle it as they see fit,” he added.
Staff at Eustace ISD said they planned to record the speech, and
families could request copies for viewing.
Kemp ISD also did not show the speech during class time.
“We directed our staff not to show (the speech). It will be available on
our website after Tuesday,” Sam Swierc, assistant superintendent said.
A fierce controversy broke out concerning the speech after Education
Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to school districts urging them to
But some conservatives were suspicious of the motives behind the
Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Steve Russell claimed the action gave the
appearance of creating a personality cult.
“This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam
Hussein’s Iraq,” he said.
Many parents across the country have become involved in the controversy
saying they don’t believe the classroom is the correct place for a
But there are school districts in other states who have urged a
wait-and-see attitude. One Idaho superintendent, Murray Dalgleish of
Council, explained the speech tells students they are in charge of their
education. It’s the same message school districts everywhere are trying
to get across to their students, he said.
Man held on car, firearm thefts
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Several firearms stolen from Seven Points, along with vehicles
stolen in both Kaufman and Van Zandt counties, were recovered following
a Sept. 1 arrest in Tyler.
In a prepared news release, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reported
deputy Billy Jack Valentine got information on the location of Dylan
Brandon Long, who was wanted in connection with firearm theft and a
stolen vehicle in Kaufman County.
Valentine located Long, 34, at a residence off northeast Loop 323, just
outside Tyler, and arrested him without incident.
Long was originally arrested on an outstanding warrant for Unauthorized
Use of a Motor Vehicle out of Van Zandt County, and a misdemeanor capias
warrant out of Henderson County.
Following the arrest, Valentine and Investigator Kalon Rollins were able
to recover several stolen firearms, reportedly taken from a Seven Points
area residence Aug. 25, Nutt reported.
At the same time, the officers recovered the vehicle stolen from Kaufman
County, and also recovered a second stolen vehicle from Van Zandt
Investigation determined Long had evaded officers during a vehicle
pursuit with the Kaufman County Precinct 4 Constable’s office.
Long had ditched the vehicle involved in the pursuit just prior to
stealing another vehicle and fleeing the area, Nutt reported.
Precinct 4 Constable Bryant Morris and Deputy Constable Vanessa Clemmo
were able to recover that vehicle south of Kemp.
“Long’s arrest would not have been possible without the exceptional
assistance of officers from the U.S. Marshal’s service, the Tyler Police
Department and the Smith County Sheriff’s Department,” Nutt reported.
As of Tuesday, Long was being held in the Henderson County Jail.