CRIME & SAFETY
Texas bus driver previously accused in 2019 wreck involving train that killed student, injured another gets charges dismissed
ATHENS, Texas — The charges against an Athens ISD bus driver involved in a 2019 wreck that killed one child and injured another were dismissed earlier this month. John Franklin Stevens, of Mabank, who was driving a school bus when it was struck by a train in January 2019, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and injury to a child. That wreck caused the death of Christopher Bonilla, 13, a seventh-grader at Athens Middle School, and injuries to Joselyne Torres, 9, a student at Central Athens Elementary.
State not seeking death penalty for Tyler man charged with killing dentists
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – According to Smith County judicial records, the State of Texas has decided to not seek the death penalty for Steven Alexander Smith, a man accused of killing two Tyler dentists in 2022. 59-year-old Dr. Blake G. Sinclair and 75-year-old Dr. Jack E. Burroughs were both shot to death at Affordable Dentures & […]
Weekly Safety Report: Multiple Arrests and Charges Dismissed in Athens, Texas
Multiple arrests were made in Athens, Texas on November 29, 2023, at the Exxon Gas Station. Jonathan Losey, wanted on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance and Evading Arrest or Detention, was taken into custody. In another incident, charges were dismissed for a former Athens school bus driver involved in a fatal crash with a train in 2019.
DNA evidence leads to arrest of Smith County man in connection with two rapes in 2005
TYLER, Texas — DNA evidence has led to the arrest of a man accused of raping two women in Tyler nearly 20 years ago. According to the Tyler Police Department, Jimmie Earl Gamble Jr, 40, of Smith County, was charged Wednesday on two counts of sexual assault. He remains in the Smith County Jail on bonds totaling $600,000.
3 indicted for shooting death of veteran in his Tyler home
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Three people were indicted in the shooting death of a veteran in his Tyler home. Herbert Simpson, Stephanie Brasher and Anthony Taylor were indicted on Nov. 19 in a Smith County court for capital murder. In February, 61-year-old Warren Edward Rogers was found dead in his home on West Mims Street […]
UPDATE: 3 arrested in Henderson County for alleged theft of 500 pounds of turquoise worth millions
ATHENS, Texas (KETK) – Three people have been arrested in Henderson County for allegedly stealing 500 pounds of turquoise, valued at more than $2 million. According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, a report was filed in August concerning 500 pounds of turquoise that had gone missing. The owner had mined the turquoise himself, collecting […]
22-year-old woman sentenced to 5 years' probation in connection with 2021 wreck that killed Tyler High School senior
TYLER, Texas — Editor's Note: The above video aired in 2021. A 22-year-old woman was sentenced to five years' probation after pleading guilty to her involvement in causing a 2021 wreck that killed a Tyler High School senior student. Talia Janae Smith, of Tyler, entered a guilty plea on...
Tyler firefighters at scene of apartment fire on Old Bullard Road
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Tyler Fire Department is at the scene of a structure fire Friday night. The fire is at the Finley Apartment Complex in the 5600 block of Old Bullard Road. The call came in at around 10:20 p.m. Both Tyler Fire Department and Tyler Police Department are at the scene.
Can You Help Solve These East Texas Cold Cases?
Cold Case refers to a crime that has not yet been solved to the full and is not the subject of a recent criminal investigation, but for which new information could emerge from new witness testimony, DNA evidence, re-examined archives, retained material evidence, as well as fresh activities of the suspect. New technical methods developed after the case can be used on the surviving evidence to re-analyze the causes, often with conclusive results.
Sheriffs' Association of Texas executive director steps down amid accusations of misappropriating funds
TYLER, Texas — Sheriffs' Association of Texas Executive Director Steve Westbrook resigned from his position this week amid an investigation into allegations of him misappropriating funds from the group that he was charged with leading. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith, who is also president of the Sheriffs' Association of...
Wanted man arrested in Arp after police pursuit
ARP, Texas (KETK) – A man wanted in both Texas and Louisiana was arrested in Arp earlier this month after a pursuit with police. Arp PD announced on Wednesday that the Smith County Sheriff’s Office pursued a Chevrolet Camaro with a stolen license plate on Nov. 18 but were unable to continue their pursuit. Officials […]
Police: Tyler man pulls machete in argument over parking lot speed
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler man is in jail after allegedly threatening a group of women with a machete during a Wednesday argument. Christopher Michael Rockwell, 35, is charged with aggravated assault. His bond has not yet been set. He was arrested after Tyler police responded to a call regarding a fight at an apartment complex on the 2600 block of North Broadway Avenue. According to Rockwell’s arrest affidavit, officers arrived around 1:04 p.m. to find that the man had been involved in a “verbal screaming argument” with a group of women in the parking lot.
89-year-old dead after pickup truck and semi-trailer crash on State Highway 21
CROCKETT, Texas (KETK) – An 89-year-old man was killed after officials said his 2013 Ford pickup truck hit a 2019 Freightliner semi-trailer on Monday. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Fred Gunn Jr., 89 of Kennard, was driving southwest on State Highway 21 around 10:25 a.m. When he was about seven miles northeast […]
Police: Ex-Tyler ISD substitute teacher accused of touching student inappropriately in bathroom stall arrested
TYLER — An East Texas substitute teacher, accused of having an improper relationship with a minor, is behind bars. The Smith County Sheriff's Office confirmed Davian Isaiah Hunter, 29, has been arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between an educator and a student. He was booked into the Smith County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000.
Tyler man killed in Thanksgiving Day shooting
A Tyler man died after a Thanksgiving Day shooting in Harrison County, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. The man was identified as Anthony Diante Hampton, 28. The sheriff’s office said they received a call around 12:06 a.m. Thursday regarding shots fired on Milton Lane in the Harrison...
Coffee City residents claim more could have been done to save their house after fire
COFFEE CITY, Texas (KETK) – An early morning house fire in Coffee City on Monday left two residents without a home. They claimed authorities could have responded better. Cathy Rousseau and her partner James Dickerson said they believe the fire started in their shed due to a wood stove. “We’ve got to start our whole […]
East Texas Veteran Loses Home and Cherished Memories in Devastating Fire
• An East Texas veteran lost his home and cherished memories in a fire in Bullard. • The veteran's late wife had dreamed of owning a home with a pool, and they had finally achieved that dream.
East Texas veteran 'devastated' after losing home, memories in fire
BULLARD, Texas — An East Texas veteran says he was shocked to see his home in Bullard and cherished memories, including those of his late wife, go up in flames Tuesday night. Robert Sheppard said it was his dearly departed wife’s dream to own a home with a pool....
IN FOCUS: Head of FBI Dallas office discusses how they tackle issues facing Americans
TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Chad Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office, sat down with KETK’s Neal Barton to talk about some of the most pressing issues for locals. Watch “East Texas In Focus” on FOX51 Saturdays at 9:30 p.m., and use this...
Son of Smith County officials pleads guilty
TYLER – Our news colleagues at KETK report that the son of two elected Smith County officials pleaded guilty on Wednesday to evading arrest after running from officials in July. Lance Phillips, 40 of Tyler, was sentenced to 30 days in the Smith County Jail after he had turned himself into authorities in late July for fleeing them after being held in contempt of court. He is the son of Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Phillips and Smith County Clerk Karen Phillips. In addition to being sentenced to county jail, the state announced a dismissal for other pending charges against Lance including disrupting a meeting and three counts of legal process simulating. Authorities at the time of his evading arrest said Lance had contacted them to turn himself in a few days after he reportedly ran.