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Wednesday, December 27, 2000, PECOS ENTERPRISE

Ice storm blamed for at least two area deaths

From Staff and Wire Reports

Tuesday's wintry weather is blamed for one fatal collision in the Trans-Pecos region, when two people near the 233-mile marker on Interstate 10 in western Pecos County.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the deaths occurred Tuesday morning when the 1993 Chevrolet Astro they were traveling in was struck head on by a 2000 model Ford Explorer that lost control in the icy conditions and crossed the median into oncoming traffic.

According to the DPS fatality report six people were traveling in the van.

Juan Carlos Garcia, a 40-year-old accountant, and Fernando Servin Garcia, a 75-year-old retiree, were both pronounced dead at the scene by Pecos County Justice of the Peace Lali Minjarez.

The driver, three other passengers and both occupants of the Explorer required medical attention.

"The van was traveling westbound on Interstate 10. The Explorer was traveling eastbound. Close to the 233 mile-marker, the Explorer lost control on the ice and crossed the median, striking the van head-on," investigating trooper Ernesto Velasquez said.

According to the report, the Explorer was driven by Aaron Brooks Pond of San Antonio. The passenger was Elizabeth Pond-Stover also of San Antonio.

The four survivors from the van were transported to Odessa Medical Center Hospital and were listed in stable condition, Velasquez said. The driver of the Explorer was treated and released at Pecos County Memorial Hospital while the passenger remained hospitalized at Pecos County Memorial in stable condition.

The accident was the most serious of several reported Tuesday morning along I-10 due to icy roads caused by the winter storm, which passed through the area. Two people were transported to Reeves County Hospital from a 6 a.m. accident at the 197 mile marker west of Balmorhea, while other accidents were reported on I-10 at the 191 and 208 mile markers in Reeves County, along with a one-vehicle rollover that occurred about 10 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. 285 near Orla in northern Reeves County.

Pecos escaped most of the icy conditions, as temperatures stayed closer to the freezing mark that at the higher elevations around Orla and Balmorhea. Today, most of the Permian Basin was sidestepped by the second storm front, which tracked to the north through the Texas Panhandle.

The storm, which dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the Panhandle, glazed parts of North Texas with a tree-toppling coat of ice and brought flooding rains to parts of East Texas could linger until Thursday afternoon, weather officials said.

The culprit? A storm system centered over New Mexico that has been slow to move out of the region.

"It's been some time since we've seen a prolonged weather event," said Chris Buonanno, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.

On Tuesday, the storm knocked out power to about 108,000 residents and caused numerous traffic accidents and flight delays. Authorities said rain-slickened roads may have led to a four-car accident in East Texas that killed five people and a wreck in San Jacinto County that killed four. At least one other death, in the San Angelo area, was blamed on Tuesday's storm.

National Weather Service officials said as much as a quarter inch of ice could create ice-rink conditions across North Texas, while snow 20 inches deep could bury the Panhandle before the storm pulls away.

Matt Ham, a security officer patrolling a truck stop along Interstate 40 in Amarillo Tuesday night, said snowdrifts already were up to his knees.

"It's real deep, messy. I wouldn't advise coming out here," he said. "I'm finding a lot of stuck vehicles."

State troopers and members of the National Guard were deployed to rescue motorists stranded on the snow-packed roads in the Panhandle.

Meanwhile, residents in northern areas of North and East Texas were without electricity after freezing rain and sleet snapped power lines and tree limbs. The outages stretched about 300 miles from Montague County to the Arkansas-Texas border.

Kay Bowling, a cashier at the Short Stop truck stop in Paris and mother of two, said her trailer home lost electricity and then telephone service early Tuesday.

"You can just sleep and hear limbs and trees crashing, and you're just hoping your roof's not gonna cave in," said Bowling, 21. "Everything in my trailer house is electric. We've got water but it's really, really cold."

Scott McCloud, a spokesman for AEP/Southwestern Electric Power, said crews were working repair transmission lines. He said the lines must be fixed before work can start on restoring service to homes and businesses to its customers in northeastern Texas.

McCloud said about 60,000 customers did not have electricity, and it could be as long as 10 days after the transmission lines are back up and the weather clears before customers can again turn on their lights.

TXU Electric and Gas spokesman Phillip Roth said 35,000 customers in North Texas counties along the Red River were without electricity. About 8,000 Grayson Collin Electric Co-op customers north of Dallas were in the dark.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Tuesday, 738 American Airlines and American Eagle flights were canceled Tuesday.

Council again

to discuss jail,

cattle loss case


Staff Writer

Town of Pecos City Council members will discuss plans for the new Criminal Justice Center with Police Chief Clay McKinney and will discuss a new fire protection contract with Reeves County and a claim by John Clark for cattle loss during their regular meeting Thursday morning.

The council will meet at 7:30 a.m. at City Hall, in what will be the first official meeting for Carlos Yerena as City Manager for Pecos. Yerena attended a council meeting earlier this month, before officially taking over as city manager on Dec. 18.

Among the items he and the council will review are plans for the Criminal Justice Center, which would house both the Pecos Police Department and serve as a 100-bed jail for both city prisoners and U.S. Marshal's Service prisoners awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in Pecos.

Council members are looking at sites on the southwest side of town, near Reeves County Hospital, as the likely location of the new facility,

The fire protection contract with Reeves County for 2001 calls for a payment of $90,530 by the county to the city for services, with $10,000 of that total going towards the purchase of a new fire truck for the department.

The Clark dispute has been the subject of two previous council discussions and involves the loss of cattle due to a leak from a city water line back in February. The council has yet to take any action on the situation.

Also on Thursday's agenda, council members will discuss annexation of land in the city limits; discuss a program for contracting manufactured home installation with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs; discuss/consider a request to purchase the old Buster's Barn building at 313 S. Oak St. by Euilio Baeza; approve tax and ambulance reports and accounts payable and hold an executive session on the duties of public appointee Oscar Saenz to the Pecos Economic Development Corporation.

Following the executive session, the council will take up the same item in open session on Thursday.

Robert Garrett

Robert "Bob" Garrett, 72, of Sacramento, N.M., died Thursday, Dec. 21, 2000, at his home.

A memorial service has been rescheduled from this afternoon to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, 2000, at First United Methodist Church in Pecos, where Garrett formerly served as pastor.

He was born March 2, 1928, in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, was a minister for 35 years and a veteran of the U.S. Army. He served the Pecos church from June of 1991 until his retirement in 1995.

He was preceded in death by a sister, Marylee Ellisor.

Survivors include his wife, Joy Garrett of Sacramento, N.M.; three daughters, Beverly Basford of Grand Ridge, Fla., Barbara Lynn of Panama City, Fla., and Jennifer Schild of Chicago, Ill.; one brother, W.A. Garrett of DeFuniak Springs, Fla.; three sisters, Jeanette Lindsay of DeFuniak Springs, Fla., Avie Stewart of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Virginia Moody of Ponce DeLeon, Fla; and four grandchildren.

Ramona G. Munoz

Funeral services will be in Mexico on Friday for Ramona G. Munoz, 78, who died Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2000 in Reeves County Hospital.

She was born Sept. 30, 1922 in Manuel Benavides, Chih., Mex.

Survivors include her husband, Marcelo M. Galindo of Pecos; two sons, Israel H. Galindo of Ojinaga, Chih., Mex., and Marcelo H. Galindo, Jr. of Pecos; two daughters, Ramona G. Munoz of Ojinaga, Chih., Mex., and Felipa G. Rubio of Pecos; three sisters, Hermenegilda Acosta of Lovington, N.M., Manuela Baeza of Jal., N.M. and Trinidad H. Alvarado of Ojinaga, Chih., Mex., 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

High Tuesday 33. Low this morning 32. Forecast for tonight: Mostly clear and cold. Low near 20. Light northwest wind. Thursday: Mostly sunny and warmer. High near 50. West wind 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower to mid 20s. Friday: Partly cloudy. Lows in the 20s. Highs in the 50s.

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