Around East Texas 07/09/07

Search Continues

The search continues for a missing Ft. Worth man. The 26-year old man's raft capsized on the rain-swollen Trinity River on Friday. Authorities say the search has shifted to a recovery mission and not a rescue. Sixteen people have died in Texas since severe storms began hitting the state in June.

Blood Donations

Blood shortage has been a problem around East Texas. The Stewart Regional Blood Center has been holding blood drives weekly to try to meet demands. Now, they're trying another tactic, free gas. When you donate blood during July and August you will automatically be entered in a weekly drawing for a twenty-five dollar gas gift card. One lucky donor will be chosen to win a $250 gas gift card. For locations in your area go to the KnowMore section of and click on "Gas for Blood."

Toddler's Death

At a news conference at 10:30 a.m., Tyler police said an East Texas mother confessed to them that she strangled her 2-year-old son. Authorities said the young boy later died at a local hospital from his injuries.  The incident happened last night (Sunday, July 8th) at a home in the 2500 block of Memory Lane. Police said they found the young boy at his home, unresponsive.

Authorities have charged the child's mother, 39-year-old Catherine Alana Stevens with capital murder. She remains in the Smith County jail under a $1 million bond. Detectives say in a news release, that Stevens was already undergoing psychiatric care.

An autopsy has been ordered.

Power Returning

Some Tyler residents are getting the lights turned back on today. Oncor tells us around one-thousand customers in southeast Tyler were without power after a tree feel on a powerline. Oncor reports all power was restored by 4:30 this morning.

Disaster Area

Smith County has been officially declared a "local disaster area." Smith County Commissioners say the damage suffered by this weekend's floods are estimated at more than 200-thousand dollars just to repair the county roadways alone. That number could rise when the water recedes. Commissioners say they hope to know in the next coupled of days whether the Governor will grant the state of emergency.

Texas State Railroad Accident

Some scary moments on the Texas State Railroad as one of the trains derails into the other. It was all caught on tape. The incident has been posted on The poster says one train coming from Palestine passed by, derails and then hit the train coming from Rusk. The poster says the accident happened on Friday and says there were no injuries.

Zoo Burglary

Lufkin police say the Ellen Trout Zoo has been hit by thieves. Several walkie-talkies and battery chargers were stolen from the Zoo. Police believe the suspect climbed the fence and entered the Zoo after it was closed. Police are still looking for the burglars.

Miss Texas Crowned

A new Miss Texas has been crowned and she was right here in East Texas all along. Miss Longview, 20-year old Molly Hazlett, has been named 2007 Miss Texas. Hazlett beat out 31 other contestants for the title. It was her third year in the competition. She is originally from Centerville and is currently a Junior at Sam Houston State University.