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Raid by DA, sheriff sends couple to jail

LIVINGSTON – The manager of a local bail bond company and her husband were arrested Tuesday, Dec. 16, on felony drug charges as the result of an ongoing investigation by the Polk County Criminal District Attorney's office.

Juana Barnett, 60, and her husband, Bradley Barnett, 39, were taken into custody at their residence in the Yaupon Cove subdivision near Onalaska after investigators received tips that Juana Barnett was involved in the illegal use and possible distribution of narcotics from the residence.

Tips also were received indicating Barnett, who was employed as the manager of AA EZ Bail Bonds of Livingston, had been issuing bonds in exchange for property which she was storing at her residence in Yaupon Cove.

According to Criminal District Attorney Lee Hon, on the morning of Dec. 16, investigators from his office and detectives from the Polk County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division executed a search warrant at Barnett's residence.

During the search of the residence, investigators located methamphetamine and prescription medication not prescribed to Barnett.

In addition, property belonging to individuals on bond was located at the residence.

Barnett and her husband were both arrested and charged with possession of controlled substance (methamphetamine). Juana Barnett was additionally charged with possession of controlled substance (penalty group 3) for the prescription medication and was issued a citation by Polk County Environ-mental Officer Darryl Oats for environ-mental violations.

Juana Barnett was subsequently released after posting bonds totalling $7,000 what Bradley Barnett was freed on a $5,000 bond.

Hon said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made in connection with the matter.
The district attorney asked that anyone who may have provided property to Juana Barnett, manager of AA EZ Bail Bonds, or who might have information which would aid investigators in this case to contact D.A. Investigator Christopher Lima at (936) 327-6868.

One hurt in highway work convoy collision

TRAFFIC BACKED UP — A wreck involving a highway work convoy on Tuesday, Dec. 16, tied up traffic for hours on both the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 59 near Moscow.  An 18-wheeler struck the rear of a work truck, sending it into a ditch where it overturned. The 18-wheeler ended up on its side in the grassy median (above). (ENTERPRISE PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO)TRAFFIC BACKED UP — A wreck involving a highway work convoy on Tuesday, Dec. 16, tied up traffic for hours on both the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 59 near Moscow. An 18-wheeler struck the rear of a work truck, sending it into a ditch where it overturned. The 18-wheeler ended up on its side in the grassy median (above). (ENTERPRISE PHOTO BY ALBERT TREVINO)

MOSCOW – A wreck involving a work convoy truck painting lines on U.S. 59 near Moscow made a mess and sent one person to the hospital.

The accident occurred at 11:55 a.m. Tuesday.

A 1995 Volvo truck-tractor driven by Wayne Darnell Daniels, 51, of Memphis, Tenn. was southbound in the outside lane and disregarded the traffic device arrow aboard the 1999 International truck being used to paint the highway lines, according to Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Darwon Evans. Daniels failed to control speed and struck the rear of the work truck, which was driven by 23-year-old Demond Frank McGowen of Lindale.

McGowen's truck left the road to the right and overturned, spilling paint and reflective material. Daniels' truck left the road to the left, overturning in the grassy median.

Daniels, listed with non-incapacitating injuries, was transported by ambulance to the Livingston hospital. He was charged with disregarding an official traffic control device and failure to control speed.

Edwards given 10 years for drunk driving deaths

LIVINGSTON – A 20-year-old Livingston man was sentenced to 10 years in prison last week after being found guilty of two counts of intoxication manslaughter by a Polk County jury.

Caleb Luke Edwards was convicted in connection with the deaths of Jacob Klein, 17, and Tiffany SeamonsEdwards Lewandowski, 33, both of Goodrich. The two were killed Dec. 8, 2012 during a collision that occurred on State Highway 146 south of Livingston.

During the trial that began on Monday, Dec. 8, before District Judge David Wilson, First Assistant Criminal District Attorney Joe Martin presented evident showing that Edwards had been drinking alcohol and was driving a friend's Dodge Ram 3500 truck northbound on SH 146.

A Chevrolet S-10 pickup with Klein and Lewandowski was traveling southbound, returning home from a Christmas party. At about 10:30 p.m., the two vehicles collided, killing Klein and Lewandowski instantly.
The jury heard from Arthur West, the adoptive father of both Lewandowski and Klein. West had arrived at the scene of the crash moments later and testified he heard Edwards admit he had consumed four or five beers and a mixed drink containing whiskey before the accident.

Containers of alcohol were found at the scene of the crash including beer cans and bottles, as well as a bottle of Crown Royal Whiskey.

Trooper Alan Stanton with the Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol also described the crash scene. He told the jury he made contact with Edwards shortly after the collision and was told by Edwards that he had been drinking.

A subsequent test of Edwards' blood, which was drawn almost two hours after the crash, indicated he had a blood alcohol level of .085, which is above the legal limit in Texas.

Stanton also testified regarding an accident reconstruction that he performed after the crash. The evidence established that Edwards' vehicle entered the southbound lane Klein and Lewandowski's vehicle had been traveling in and struck passenger side to passenger side.

After returning a verdict of guilty, the jury proceeded to hear evidence in the punishment phase of the trial.
Testimony from several witnesses revealed that Edwards had repeatedly violated the conditions of his bond while awaiting trial, particularly by consuming alcohol, driving a vehicle not equipped with an alcohol breath detection device and by having sexual relations with an underage female.

After a day of punishment evidence, the jury sentenced Edwards to 10 year's in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on both counts with a $10,000 fine. As a result, Edwards will not be eligible for parole until he completes half of the sentence.

Following the trial, Martin expressed his thanks to the jury for their verdict and service, as well as all of the law enforcement agencies that made it possible to bring justice to the two victims.

Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon added that he "hoped that the jury's verdict would send a message to the community that the consequences of the irresponsible use of alcohol combined with the operation of a motor vehicle are just too great. The message is very simple: 'Just don't drink and drive.'"

Body of driver identified

LIVINGSTON – The body of a driver killed in a one-car accident on Dec. 4 has been identified as Shamel Donnel Baldwin, 22, of Camden.

The identity of the victim was confirmed last week by DNA testing and released Friday by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Baldwin died when the 1989 Ford Taurus he was driving struck a tree and burned. He was believed to have been northbound on Lyons Cemetery Road, approximately three miles east of Moscow, when the car left the east side of the road and collided with a tree. The vehicle caught fire and burned with the driver still inside.

Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Larry Whitworth pronounced him dead at the scene of the accident.
Although not discovered until later, the crash is believed to have occurred between 5-10 a.m., but because of the low volume of traffic on the road the exact time is unknown.

Investigation into the accident is continuing.

Body found in burned vehicle

LIVINGSTON – Authorities believe they know the identity of a man found inside a wrecked and burned vehicle Thursday, Dec. 4, but the name has not been released pending confirmation through DNA testing.

The car, a 1989 Ford Taurus, is believed to have been northbound on Lyons Cemetery Road, approximately three miles east of Moscow, when it left the east side of the road and struck a tree, according to Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Zack Lenderman. The vehicle caught fire and burned with the driver still inside.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Larry Whitworth.

Although not discovered until later, the crash is believed to have occurred between 5-10 a.m., but because of the low volume of traffic on the road the exact time is unknown, the trooper indicated.
Investigation into the accident is continuing.

Also investigated was a two-vehicle collision at 1:30 p.m. Friday on FM 2457, just east of Hoyt Eastepp Road.

A 2012 Toyota Scion driven by Harold Raymond Briggs Jr., 74, of Van Zandt was westbound and attempted to turn left and make a U-turn to travel east, according to Trooper Robert Akers. The car turned when unsafe and collided with a westbound 1993 Ford pickup truck driven by Ruben Aquirre Sr., 27, of Livingston, which had been traveling behind Briggs' car.

Both drivers were listed with non-incapacitating injuries and were transported by ambulance to CHI St. Luke's Medical Center in Livingston.

Christie Marie Holeman, 34, of New Caney was driving a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee northbound in the right-hand lane. The driver told Trooper Allen Stanton that she fell asleep.
The Jeep traveled across the left lane and into the center median, where it rolled onto it right side and top before coming to rest upright in the left-hand lane.

Holeman, listed with non-incapacitating injuries, was transported by ambulance to the Livingston hospital.

A passenger in the vehicle, 30-year-old Richard Glen Davis, was listed as uninjured.

The accident report indicated no charges have been filed.

Arson charge file in house fire

LIVINGSTON – A 35-year-old Goodrich man remained in the Polk County Jail this week under an additional $50,000 bond after being charged with arson with intent to damage or destroy a habitation.

Ervin Demond Harrell, who has been held in jail since Nov. 19 on other complaints, was charged by Polk County Sheriff's Office investigators in connection with a house fire that occurred on Rayon Road on Nov. 17.
HarrellSheriff Kenneth Hammack said sheriff's detectives interviewed several witnesses and, with the assistance of the State Fire Marshall's Office, conducted a very thorough investigation of the crime scene.
Harrell had been previously arrested Nov. 19 in San Jacinto County on two Polk County warrants stemming from a disturbance the day the fire occurred. The charges included injury to a child and assault causing bodily injury to a family member. There was also an outstanding probation violation warrant issued by the 411th District Court in Polk County.
He has been held in the Polk County Jail since his Nov. 19 arrest in lieu of bonds totaling $39,000. The warrant on the latest arson charge was served on Harrell in the jail on Dec. 3, increasing his bond total to $89,000.