Thursday, September 10, 2009








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 assistance.
He was airlifted from the helipad in Gun Barrel City to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he was diagnosed with three crushed vertebrae.
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 home.
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 in Tyler.

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 her unconscious.
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 bruises.
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 Friday.
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 tune in.
But some conservatives were suspicious of the motives behind the address.
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 political agenda.
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 County.
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.

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