LIVINGSTON – A 71-year-old Livingston man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge.
Charles David Yeager was sentenced during a hearing before 411th District Court Judge Kaycee Jones in Livingston. Under current state guidelines, Yeager will have to serve half of his sentence or 12 years and six months vbefore he would become eligible for parole.
He had been arrested Aug. 1 and was released under a $100,000 bond later that day. Following Monday’s hearing, he was taken back into custody to begin serving his prison sentence.
According to Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports, on July 20 officers received a complaint after a 15-year-old child came forward with an outcry of sexual assault. The incident reportedly occurred when the child was 11 years old.
A forensic interview was conducted at the Childrenz Haven child advocacy center in the following days which resulted in a warrant being issued for Yeager’s arrest on the first-degree felony charge.
Yeager was subsequently arrested without incident.
CORRIGAN – Two juveniles are in custody and facing felony charges, while a third is at large following a high-speed chase in Corrigan.
The incident occurred on the night of Thursday, Jan. 4. At approximately 10 p.m., an officer with the Corrigan Police Department noticed a silver 2009 Buick four-door car with three occupants traveling north on North Home Street (U.S. 59). The vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed and had a defective driver-side brake light.
According to a news release from Corrigan PD, the officer initiated a traffic stop, but the vehicle increased its speed. The car continued north on U.S. 59 to Piney Creek, where the driver made a U-turn and proceeded south on the highway, refusing to stop.
The pursuit continued for two miles south of the Corrigan city limits, where the officer’s patrol vehicle collided with the Buick. All three occupants of the car fled into the wooded area on the west side of the highway. Despite subsequent efforts by law enforcement personnel from Corrigan PD, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Highway Patrol, the suspects were not found.
Shortly after the agencies’ search efforts concluded, a Corrigan PD officer who was working part-time at a plant in Corrigan notified police about the presence of suspicious individuals on the plant’s premises. Corrigan PD and Polk County Sheriff’s Office officers responded and found that plant personnel had already detained two of the suspects. The third suspect is still at large as of press time.
The two suspects who were taken into custody will be charged with felony evading and trespassing, but further charges may be filed, according to Corrigan PD. The case is still under investigation.
ONALASKA -- The body of a Huntsville woman reported missing Friday was discovered by a search team in Lake Livingston near Highway 190 Sunday.
Cheryl Lanett Hall, 51, had not been seen at her place of work since Wednesday, according to Huntsville Police. Hall’s 2014 Hyundai Sonata was discovered unlocked with items inside Friday on the San Jacinto County side of the bridge near Patricks Ferry.
The Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department performed a short search Saturday and Onalaska Police was later informed that Texas Equisearch would send two people for a preliminary scout.
Texas Equisearch arrived Sunday and met at the fire department around 9 a.m. At approximately 11:10 a.m., the body was located by a volunteer fireman near the causeway on the south side of the bridge.
Hall reportedly suffered from epilepsy. No foul play is suspected at this time.
LIVINGSTON — A motion to move the attempted capital murder trial of Derrie Derwin Scott out of Polk County was withdrawn Monday by his defense attorney and jury selection in the matter is now scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the Polk County Judicial Center in Livingston.
The 55-year-old Lufkin man is charged in connection with an Aug. 23, 2016, incident during which gunfire was exchanged between a Corrigan police patrolman and a driver during an early morning traffic stop in the 1600 block of U.S. 287 in Corrigan.
His attorneys had filed a change of venue motion asking that the trial be moved to another county due to the publicity surrounding the case. A hearing was scheduled Tuesday in the 411th District County in Livingston on that motion, however, minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin, the request was withdrawn. The incident began in August 2016 after the Corrigan patrol officer pulled over a Jeep Cherokee for traveling 77 mph in a 55-mph zone.
According to CPD reports, when the officer made contact with the driver, the suspect said his driver’s license was in a backpack on the backseat. The officer then gave him permission to retrieve his license.
After the driver got out of the vehicle, the officer reported the man seemed to be very nervous and then pointed a gun at the officer. The driver is alleged to have fired at least one shot at the CPD officer, who drew his own weapon and exchanged gunshots with the suspect. Neither the officer nor the suspect were reported to have been hit by the gunfire.
According to investigators, during the exchange of gunfire the driver realized he hadn’t put the Jeep into park when it started moving down the shoulder of the road. He then ran to and got inside the vehicle, making a U turn and then proceeded to sideswipe the patrol car, knocking off the mirror before speeding off towards Groveton. A Jeep, believed to have been used during the incident, was recovered on Sept. 15, 2016, in Trinity County by Texas Rangers and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office.
Scott was taken into custody on Sept. 17, 2016, during a multi-agency operation carried out in Montgomery County.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the arrest came after a warrant was issued in Polk County in connection with the shooting incident. It was carried out by United States Deputy Marshals, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office SWAT officers, Willis Police, state troopers and Texas Rangers.
At the time of his arrest, Scott also was wanted on nine Angelina County chvarges that included two bond surrender warrants, a felony evading arrest or detention with a vehicle complaint and six probation violation warrants.
He has remained in the Polk County Jail since his arrest. While bond on the attempted capital murvder charge was set at $100,000, four of the charges pending in Angelina County required him to be held without bond.
FIRST BABY OF 2018 -- CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial hospital of Livingston welcomed the first baby of 2018 in Polk County. Jase St. John was born on Monday, Jan. 1, weighing in at 6 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20 inches long. The proud parents are Kayla Bland and Jeremy St. John.
LIVINGSTON – After falling to its lowest level in almost 17 years, unemployment in Polk County inched upward in November climbing to 5.1 percent, according to figures released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
The agency posted a 4.9 percent jobless rate for the county during October, which is the first time in almost 17 years that unemployment has dipped below the 5.0 percent mark. The last time this was reported was the 4.8 percent rate posted in December 2000.
While the November report saw unemployment rise, it was still the second lowest rate posted in 2017 and the second lowest in since a 5.0 rate was recorded in April 2008. TWC frequently revises the figures as it collects additional data so it is possible that the latest 4.9 and 5.1 percent figures could go up or down slightly in the next 30 to 60 days.
The new rate is down significantly from 2017’s high of 7.5 percent recorded in February.
In addition to being among the lowest jobless rates of the year, the 5.1 percent November rate is down 1.1 percentage point from the 6.2 percent rate recorded in November 2016.
The current 5.1 percent unemployment rate translates to mean that out of an estimated workforce of 17,324, there were 891 county residents looking for work during the month. One month earlier, TWC’s revised estimates put the local labor force at 17,194 with 843 people looking for jobs.
Statewide, November’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent set a new record for the lowest unemployment rate recorded in four decades. It was down from October’s 3.9 percent and down from the 4.8 percent jobless rate posted in November 2016.
The November seasonally adjusted U.S. rate of 4.1 percent was unchanged from October but down from the 4.6 percent figure posted in November 2016. According to TWC officials, the state added 54,500 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in November. Annual employment growth for the state was 2.7 percent during the month, marking 91 consecutive months of annual growth.
“The addition of 330,600 jobs over the year demonstrates the consistency with which employers in our state create job opportunities for the highly skilled Texas workforce,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “The Texas economy offers employers access to a competitive workforce and provides job seekers with career options in a variety of growing Texas industries.”
Nine of eleven major industries showed increased growth in November, including Professional and Business Services with 14,700 jobs added and Construction which added 8,200 positions. Leisure and Hospitality employment continued to grow by adding 8,000 jobs in November.
Employment in Education and Health Services increased by 8,200 positions. Over the year, this industry has gained 40,400 jobs. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment grew by 8,200 jobs, and Manufacturing industry jobs increased by 2,700 positions.
“Private-sector employers added 52,000 jobs in November and have accounted for the addition of 294,600 positions in Texas over the past year,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs. “I am encouraged by the growth across a variety of industries and commend our employers for their investment in our Texas workforce.”
“Employment demand continues to be high in well-paying industries such as Manufacturing, Construction, and Mining and Logging,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “I encourage career exploration in these and other industries that are growing in Texas. TWC’s labor market information tools and products are designed to inform, prepare and advance our Texas workforce. Visit a Workforce Solutions Office to find out more about the latest employment opportunities available.”
From among the 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) monitored by TWC, the Amarillo and Midland MSAs had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 2.6 percent, followed the Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Lubbock MSA at 2.7 percent and the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA at 3.0 percent.
The MSAs with the highest jobless rate in November was the Beaumont-Port Arthur MSA at 6.5 percent followed by the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission MSA at 6.2 percent. The Brownsville-Harlingen MSA recorded a rate of 5.8 percent.
Unemployment rates posted for other East Texas counties include: NOV. % COUNTY RATE CHANGE Anderson 3.0 +0.2 Angelina 4.3 +0.3 Cherokee 4.0 +0.3 Grimes 4.3 +0.2 Hardin 5.6 +0.2 Harris 4.3 +0.1 Houston 3.9 +0.2 Jasper 6.8 +0.5 Jefferson 6.7 +0.2 Leon 5.5 +0.3 Liberty 6.0 +0.3 Madison 3.9 +0.3 Montgomery 3.7 +0.3 Nacogdoches 3.6 +0.3 Polk 5.1 +0.2 Sabine 7.6 +0.9 San Augustine 6.7 +0.8 San Jacinto 5.0 +0.3 Shelby 4.3 +0.2 Trinity 5.1 +0.4 Tyler 6.4 +0.5 Walker 4.0 +0.3