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Archive 2002

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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, May 13, 2002

Firemen keep blazes in truck, field contained

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 -- Pecos volunteer firemen had a busy 24-hour period  Sunday afternoon and early this morning, responding to fires on the east  side of Barstow and on the south side of Pecos that threatened at least  one home and a local motel.

The Barstow Volunteer Fire Department requested assistance from Pecos firemen in battling a grass fire along a canal on the west side of Barstow at approximately 1:30 p.m., on Sunday, according to Pecos Fire Marshall Jack Brookshire.

Brookshire said that the fire was a "pretty good sized" but was never a threat to any homes in the area.

"(The fire) was far enough away that it didn't threaten the homes," he said.

The firefighters did not have a hard time controlling the fire since it mainly burned in the canal that runs through Barstow, according to Brookshire. The fire was located south of the old Barstow Elementary building and just to the north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

No injuries resulted from the fire and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

This morning's fire call was to the south side parking lot of the Swiss Clock Inn just before sunrise after a road construction truck was reported to be on fire.

Fire personnel responded to the fire at approximately 6:20 a.m., this morning and were able to get the fire at the rear of the vehicle under control before it could spread to the more hazardous front sections of the truck.

Brookshire described the truck as one used by road crews repairing Interstate 20. He explained that that particular truck is used for striping.

The crewmember that works with the truck informed Brookshire that he started the truck at 5:30 a.m., and went back inside so it would warm up.

"A little while later he heard a pop, looked outside and saw that the back of the truck was on fire," Brookshire said.

He explained that the truck had propane tanks on it but luckily the tanks did not explode.

"It has some kind of propane heating system," Brookshire said. Firemen watered down the two propane tanks on the driver's side of the vehicle while other firefighters put water on the rear of the vehicle.

Brookshire believes that the heating system could have caused the fire.

"It probably had some kind of propane leak," he said.

The unit located at the rear of the truck was destroyed, however the truck itself was not damaged and no injuries resulted from this fire.

Area accidents over weekend leave two dead

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 -- Department of Public Safety officers are investigating two  fatal accidents that occurred on Saturday in Reeves and Winkler counties.

The first accident happened at 2:40 p.m., on Saturday 2.8 miles North of Kermit on Texas Highway 18 in Winkler County.

The accident report turned in by Trooper Jeffery Rickle out of Kermit said that the accident involved a 1988 Dodge four-door pickup and a man on a mountain bicycle.

The bicyclist, identified as James John Curry, 33, of Lake Wood, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene by Glenda Mixon, Winkler County Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2.

Jason G. Salazar, of Jal, N.M., was driving the Dodge truck North on Texas Highway 18, the same direction Curry was traveling on the shoulder of the highway.

"The Dodge struck the bicyclist from the rear causing the bicyclist to hit the windshield of the car," the report stated.

The report continued to say that the Dodge went into a skid into the southbound lane of traffic where it came to rest on that shoulder.

Curry's next of kin was notified and his body was taken to Cooper Funeral Home in Kermit.

The second accident, a one-vehicle rollover, occurred at 5:38 p.m., one mile west of Balmorhea on Interstate 10 in Reeves County.

Richard Liang Ching, 21, of Humble, was pronounced dead at Reeves County Hospital at 7:23 p.m., where he was taken after the accident.

According to the report, turned in by Trooper Larry Wilson out of Balmorhea, Ching, a college student, was traveling east on I-10 in a 1998 GMC when he veered onto the south shoulder.

"The driver over corrected to the left attempting to bring the vehicle back on the roadway causing the vehicle to go into a right broadside skid," the report said.

The vehicle then rolled over its top and landed facing west in the median on all four tires.

"The vehicle caught on fire after coming to rest," the report said.

A passing motorist stopped to assist Ching by cutting his seatbelt and removing him from the burning vehicle. The name of the motorist is unknown at this time.

Ching's next of kin was notified and his body from taken to Pecos Funeral Home.

Task force finds $77,000 in pot, cocaine seizures

Staff Writer

PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 -- Trans-Pecos Drug Task Force officers seized $77,000 in drugs  over the past week, arresting two people during the second of the two  drug seizures, which occurred on Friday west of Pecos. 

The incident occurred at 10:15 a.m., Friday, May 10, in the eastbound lanes of I-20 at mile marker 34, five miles west of Pecos.

Trans Pecos Task Force Officer Kevin Roberts uncovered the illegal drugs during a routine traffic stop on a 1982 red Chevrolet Baretta.

Arrested in the incident were two individuals from El Paso, Stanley Drennon, 29 and Jose Luis Mora, 21, for possession with intent to distribute.

The two were enroute to Oklahoma City from El Paso, according to Roberts.

Approximately 72.6 pounds of marijuana was located in a false floorboard of the vehicle. "Both sides, driver's and passenger's side, had false floorboards filled with the marijuana," said Roberts.

The drug was tightly wrapped and sealed with duct tape and was soaked in gasoline and coffee grounds to try and eliminate the smell of the marijuana.

Street value of the illegal drugs has been set at about $37,000.

Roberts, who also handles the department's drug dog, "Rex", was assisted by Reeves County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Natividad.

"I'm glad for the assistance," said Roberts, who had called in for backup and Natividad was in the area.

"We always get great cooperation from the other agencies, which really helps us," said Task Force Lieutenant Larry Arredondo. "We have some really great officers out there working the streets and making them safer for our community."

The local task force also works in other counties and provides great assistance in other places. "We have officers that work with us that are from different counties," said Arredondo.

No arrests were made in the first incident, but over $30,000 in drugs was discovered last Tuesday at about 3:30 a.m., a member of the Trans Pecos Drug Task Force, assigned to the task force from the Midland County Sheriff's Department uncovered a "brick" of cocaine left unattended and weighing about 2.2 pounds.

"We were doing a routine stop on a bus and the officer located an unclaimed duffel bag filled with the cocaine," said Arredondo.

Arredondo said that the officer found the bag abandoned and unclaimed inside an Americano bus, which was traveling eastbound in Midland. "They were stopped at a Burger King and the officer was doing a routine check, when he located the cocaine," said Arredondo.

Street value for the cocaine was set at about $32,000. "They can always make more money on it, once it is out in the streets," he said.

Arredondo said that the officers do random checks on the buses and in all the counties that they work with.

"We appreciate all the counties and the excellent work that they do in providing assistance," said Arredondo.

Gaines to speak at sports banquet Thursday at PHS

PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 -- Abilene Christian University head football coach Gary Gaines will be the guest speaker on Thursday at the annual Pecos High School All-Sports Banquet, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the new Pecos High School gym.

Gaines is the current ACU head coach and formerly served as head coach in Monahans and at Odessa Permian in the 1980s, and in Abilene and San Angelo during the 1990s before taking the ACU job.

All-district athletes for the Eagles from the 2001-2002 school year will be recognized at the banquet, and the Doc Lunday, Craig Woods, Joe Shoemaker, Norma Matta and Joe Bob Kelton awards will also be announced during the banquet.

Tickets for the banquet at $8 apiece and can be purchased at the Pecos High School office, or at Airlawn Furniture, Gibson True-Value and Dan's Music and Video in Pecos.


PECOS, Monday, May 13, 2002 -- High Sunday 94. Low this morning 56. Forecast for tonight:  Partly cloudy. Lows 50 to 55. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Tuesday: Partly  cloudy. Highs around 80. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Tuesday night:  Mostly cloudy. Lows around 60. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with isolated  showers and thunderstorms. Highs around 90. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a  slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows 60 to 65.  Highs around 95.


Elijia Zuniga

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