Around East Texas 05/21/07

Rising Gasoline Prices

Are you upset about the rising price of gasoline? It's a hot topic of discussion among local residents. "They need to drop it down to about $1.90, again. That would be nice, but what can we do about it? Nothing.," says motorist Vickie Jones of Lufkin. During a quick telephone check around East Texas we found prices ranging from $2.85 for regular unleaded to as high as $3.19. Across the country, motorists are experiencing more sticker shock at the pump as gasoline has hit another record high. The nationwide Lundberg Survey finds the average price of self-serve regular gasoline is now $3.18 a gallon. That's up more than eleven cents from the last survey two weeks ago. Nationwide, the lowest average price for regular fuel is $2.87 in Charleston, South Carolina, and the highest was in Chicago at $3.59.

Boats and Booze

This summer will be the first for Angelina County as a wet county. East Texas boaters and lake visitors are being reminded about the laws of drinking on the water. In Texas, boating while intoxicated carries similar penalties to driving while intoxicated. But the state's open container law does not apply to watercraft. It is not illegal to have an open container of alcohol on a boat in Texas. The law does require anyone under the age of 13 to wear their life jacket at all times while on the water. And, remember, you should have all necessary safety equipment on board including flares, fire extinguishers and a ship-to-shore radio.

Officers' Memorial Service

Hundreds of East Texans continue to mourn the death of two Henderson County officers who were killed in the line of duty last week. 61-year old Tony Ogburn and 63-year old Paul Habelt were killed Thursday when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. Many law enforcement officers from neighboring areas came out Sunday night to show their support at a candlelight vigil. Local pastors also encouraged and reminded the community that they are not along in this time of loss. Funeral arrangements have been set for Deputy Tony Ogburn for Thursday at 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Athens. Funeral services for Deputy Habelt are being finalized. Meanwhile, Deputy Kevin Harris, who was injured in that shootout, remains hospitalized in Tyler. He suffered injuries to his leg from a high-powered rifle. We're told he will be moved into rehabilitation soon and is expected to make a full recovery. Randall Mays, the alleged shooter, is hospitalized. Officials say they do not know when he'll be released. The 47-year old has been charged with one count of capital murder. Officials expect additional charges to be added this week. Authorities say Mays is held on a two million dollars bond. He is expected to be released to a neighboring county jail.

House Fire

An early morning fire has left a family homeless in Nacogdoches county. Around midnight a home on county road 720 caught fire. Two people were at home at the time, but were able to escape with no injuries. The home was a total loss. Five different fire departments responded to the scene. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Weekend Homicide

One person is in custody in connection with a weekend homicide. Smith county sheriff's deputies were called to the 7-thousand block of Indian Drive shortly after noon Sunday. They say it appears a fight happened at the house. The body has been sent for an autopsy. The victim's identity is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

Suspicious Fire

Investigators are still looking into a suspicious house fire. It happened Saturday night in the 16-hundred block of Timpson street in Longview. Fire crews were able to contain the blaze within minutes. Investigators say the owners were renovating the home and that no utilities were hooked up to the place.

Lufkin Shooting

An early morning shooting in Lufkin leaves one teenager in the hospital this morning recovering from surgery. It happened Sunday at Pinewood Park Apartments. 17-year old Eddie Canada from Diboll was shot in the back. Terrion Barnes of Lufkin is charged with aggravated assault.

Fatal Car Crash

An early morning car crash in Longview claims the life of an East Texas teenager. The crash happened Sunday morning in the 21-hundred block of East Loop 281. Officials say the driver, 19-year old Erik Kennedy, tried to pass a truck and was broadsided. Kennedy was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in Kennedy's car was hospitalized in serious condition. This is the seventh traffic fatality in Longview this year.