Around East Texas 06/21/07 - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Around East Texas 06/21/07

Former Teacher out of Jail

A former East Texas teacher, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with one of her 14-year old students, is now out of jail on bond. Shelby County Judge Charles Mitchell reduced the bond of teacher Janet Parker from 425-thousand to 75-thousand dollars. Parker was indicted Tuesday on all 23 charges against her. The charges included sexual performance by a child, sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography.

Woman Attacked at Work

An insurance sales person in Nacogdoches is recovering after a customer allegedly attempted to sexually assault her. The assault was reported Tuesday morning at Alamo Insurance in the 800 block of North Street. Wednesday, the woman's desk remained covered with fingerprint powder and showed signs of a struggle. According to the alleged victim's boss, the employee was alone when a customer became aggressive. The man allegedly forced the woman against a wall, got close to her face and tore her clothing. The woman told police that she fought her attacker. "Somehow she got to the phone, the computer was knocked off to the floor. I guess that's how it got knocked off. She grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1," explained Robyn Alamo, the owner of the business. Police are looking for a tall, thin, Hispanic man with gray green eyes and short spiked hair. He was last seen wearing a tee shirt with cars on it. Call Crime Stoppers if you have any information that might help police in this case.

Longview Kidnapping

A woman's car is stolen and then abandoned with her three year old daughter inside. Police say the woman was picking up her mother at the Village South Apartments in Longview when a man forced the woman into her car at gunpoint. Police say that's when he told her to drive to a nearby park, but before getting there, she stopped at a house, begging to let her daughter be dropped off. The gunman agreed, but before she could get the child out of the car, he sped off. The car was found at an abandoned car wash twenty minutes later with the toddler inside and unharmed.

Bicycle Accident Update

A sad follow-up to a story we first reported earlier this week...a seven year old boy, hit while riding his bicycle, has died. Caleb Weaver of Tyler suffered serious head injuries when police say he turned into the path of a car Tuesday. The car swerved to miss Caleb, but it was too late. No tickets were issued. Caleb was not wearing a helmet.

Vicious Dog Attack

An East Texas toddler is in the hospital this morning recovering from surgery after a vicious dog attack. It happened in the 11-thousand block of Hebron Road, or County Road 378. Neighbors say two year old Jacey was playing in the backyard when one of the dogs knocked her down and attacked her, reportedly her own dog. A five year old neighbor saw the whole thing and told his aunt. "What Michael said was Tikey jumped on her bit her on the face was stomping on her and like shaking her. That's about all he said. She was really bloody," said neighbor Leanette Miles. The dogs responsible for the attack are under quarantine. The girl's full name and condition have not been released.

Beating Death

An East Texas man is in jail this morning accused of beating a man to death. Thirty year old Travis Alonzo Lacy reportedly confessed to beating 36-year old Willie Earl Walker outside a Longview apartment complex. Witnesses told police they saw three men beating Walker, however, police say Lacy was the one who did the beating and the other two men will not be charged.

Electronic Police Ticket Books

No need for a pen and paper. The Tyler Police department has gone electronic with its ticket books. They say the electronic ticket books, which will be used by motorcycle officers, improve officer safety and citizen convenience. Now, when police make a traffic stop they have all the information they need right on the computerized ticket book. "If you get a ticket you can come by the court and that day you process it, especially for an out of towner. You can have the information processed on that day before having to wait a day or two. We have all the information from the police officer," says Information Officer Benny Yazdanpanahi. The city has purchased 15 ticket books for motorcycle officers, but says it plans to buy additional books for patrol officers and the parking patrol.

Tyler Philanthropist Remembered

Hundreds of people are gathering today at Lloyd James Funeral Home to remember a longtime Tyler philanthropist. Dr. Ben Fisch died Monday of natural causes at the age of 82. Both privately and through his foundation, Dr. Fisch contributed a significant amount of money to local organizations.

TAKS Cheating

The San Augustine Independent School District faces serious allegations of changing student test answers to bring up low TAKS scores. The alleged incident happened in 2006, and is today the inherited problem of an interim superintendent. Middle School math teacher Bernice Martin is facing an allegation that she changed answers on 17 math TAKS tests last year. The teacher denies any wrongdoing. This investigation led to erasure analysis and the gathering of handwriting samples. The teacher, a counselor and a retired principal could lose their credentials. Interim superintendent Harold Hagle says he can't understand why anyone would try to break the state rules. "There's no monetary value to it.  There's nothing, there's no incentive to do that, so I don't know." It could be months before Hagle knows whether or not to start hunting for new employees. He had been told he may have an answer this fall, but it may take longer than that. Wednesday, Education Commissioner Shirley Neely announced that she will step down July 1st after three years leading the Texas Education Agency. A plan that will tighten the state's test security measures is now awaiting approval from Governor Rick Perry. Education leaders have proposed a 14-point prevention and detection plan to help prevent cheating on student tests. Pending final approval of the plan, monitors will be assigned to campuses that have had security breaches on high school exams. There will also be mandatory seating charts at testing sites. Governor Perry recently signed off on a bill to phase out the exit level TAKS test by 2011. Instead, high school students will eventually have to take end-of-course exams for English, math, science and social studies.

Biggio's Hunt for 3,000

The Astros' Craig Biggio is in single digits now as he inches closer to three thousand hits. Biggio's chase to three thousand is a family affair. His two sons, Conor and Cavan, accompanied him on this week's road trip and they'll be joined by Biggio's wife, Patty, and daughter, Quinn, when the team plays in Arlington today. You can track Biggio's progress on the sports page of

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