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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Woman hurt in Third Street morning crash

Staff Writer

One woman was transported to an Odessa hospital this morning, after the pick-up she was driving collided with a trash-hauling truck on the east side of Pecos. Emergency crews and local law enforcement officers responded to the wreck, at the intersection of Pine and Third streets, at around 7:30 a.m., according to the police and eyewitness reports.

The police report states that Hector Ramos Valenzuela, 50, was traveling eastbound in a 1995 Mack dump truck owned by Duncan Disposal, in the 1200 block of E. Third St.

At the same time Asuzena Orona, 28, was traveling northbound in the 300 block of Pine in a 1999 Ford F-150 step side pick-up

According to the statement that Valenzuela gave the police, Orona did not seem to see him coming when she came to a complete stop at the intersection, but then proceeded to attempt to turn left onto Third in front of the dump truck.

The driver of the dump truck tried to stop his vehicle and swerve, but struck the left side of Orona's pick-up just in front of the driver's seat in the passenger's compartment. Both ambulance and fire crews were called to the scene, and the Jaws of Life had to be used to remove Orona from the truck.

EMTs transported the woman first to Reeves County Hospital, from where she was later flown by care flight helicopter to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa. An exact report on her condition was unavailable early this afternoon.

Police said the speed limit on Third Street where the accident occurred is 40 miles per hour. No citations have been issued yet.

Friday searches net drugs, three arrests

Staff Writer

Pecos Police Department officers were busy over the past two Fridays, executing narcotics search warrants in three different areas in the city.

Police said the first incident took place on Feb. 13, with the execution of a narcotics search warrant at 1118 W. Fourth St.

During the search of the residence, paraphernalia commonly used for the storing of marijuana and the smoking of marijuana was found inside the residence, according to Pecos Police Investigator Paul Deishler.

"Also during the search, a substance believed to be cocaine was found on the premises," said Deishler.

Adolfo Prieto, who resides at the residence was placed under arrest for the offense of possession of drug paraphernalia.

This past Friday, police said Juana Mendoza Prieto, who also resides at 1118 W. Fourth, was arrested for the offense of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

In another incident last Friday, officers executed a narcotics search warrant at 413 S. Mulberry Street. During the search, a substance believed to be heroin and a substance believed to be cocaine was found inside the residence.

"During the search, officers also found paraphernalia, which is commonly used in the packaging of heroin and with the injecting of heroin," said Deishler.

Officers completed their search of the premises and Don Wesley Barton was placed under arrest for the offense of possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Criminal charges are pending in reference to the suspected cocaine found inside the residence, according to Deishler.

The third home searched by warrant also took place on Friday, at a home located at 2121 South Alamo Street, Police said during the search of the premises, a substance believed to be cocaine was found inside the residence.

"Also found inside the residence was materials commonly used with the packaging of cocaine," said Deishler.

Officers completed their search of the premises. No arrests have yet been made, but charges are pending at this time for these offenses.

Early voting for primary starts strong

Staff Writer

Early voting began Monday at the Reeves County Courthouse and 196 individuals have already cast their ballots by personal appearance by late this morning for the March 9 Democratic primary election.

"Early voting is going really well and we had a great turnout yesterday," said Reeves County Clerk Dianne Florez.

Early voting is being held at the Reeves County Courthouse, and Florez said that they have also received 189 ballots by mail.

"March 1 is the last day to receive an application for a ballot by mail," said Florez, while the last day to vote early at the courthouse is Friday, March 5. Elections will be held Tuesday, March 9 and all the polling places will be open at that time.

This year's primary election is one of the most crowded ballots ever in Reeves County, with 20 candidates competing in five contested local races.

Five individuals are vying for the position of Reeves County Commissioner Precinct 1 including incumbent Felipe Arredondo, who is seeking a fourth term in office. The four challengers are: Rogelio "Roy" Alvarado, "Chel" Florez, Armando "Mondie" Granado and Robert C. Natividad.

Granado had issued a statement last month stating that he was dropping out of the race, because of a job conflict. However, after looking into the city rules, Granado was allowed to stay in the race.

In the race for Precinct 3 commissioner, two-term incumbent Herman Tarin opted not to run for another four-year term, and nine candidates are seeking to fill that position. They are Abel Baeza, Lisa Lopez Boicourt, Rosendo Galindo, Jimmy Gallego, Saul Herrera, Manuel "Manny" Lopez, Joel Madrid, Joseph Peter Rodriguez and Bailey Wheeless.

Precinct 3 voters will also be casting ballots in a contested race for constable, where incumbent Tomas "Tommy" Martinez is being challenged by Alma Fleenor.

In the only county-wide local election that is contested, Jeffrey P. Baeza will challenge current Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo "Andy" Gomez, who has been the sheriff for the past 11 years.

All county voters will also be deciding the nomination for 143rd District Attorney, along with voters from Ward and Loving counties. In that race, two-term incumbent Randall Reynolds faces former district attorney Hal Upchurch. All local candidates in Reeves County have filed to run in the Democratic primary.

Rains cause chemical reaction, start tank fire

Staff Writer

Monday night's thunderstorms that dropped about half an inch of rain in the Pecos area is being blamed for starting a tank fire off of the Balmorhea Highway that kept firefighters busy for about an hour.

"It happened at about 9 p.m., at a location across the street from Winkles Trucking," said Town of Pecos City Fire Marshal Jack Brookshire.

Brookshire said that there are some 55 gallon tanks being stored at that location and that every time it rains it causes a chemical reaction that sets the tanks on fire.

"It's something left over from the R&R Battery Recycling," said Brookshire, who added that those items had been abandoned there for some time. "The emergency management coordinator is working on getting rid of all that stuff," said Brookshire.

"Every time it rains, the metal, when it gets wet, self-ignites," said Brookshire.

One fire truck was sent out to the location and it took firefighters about an hour to contain it. "They had to put it out with sand, because they couldn't use water," said Brookshire. "And they couldn't use wet sand."

The storms that passed through the area were part of a front coming in from the Pacific coast that will continue tonight, with a chance of snow in areas to the north and east of Pecos.

The National Weather Service said there was a chance of rain mixed with snow this evening in the Pecos area, with temperatures dropping down to near 30. However, temperatures are expected to be back in the mid-50s with clearing skies by Wednesday afternoon, and temperatures are predicted to climb into the mid-60s by Thursday.

DA report shows criminal cases up in 2003

Staff Writer

Criminal cases handed by the 143rd Judicial District were up about 5 percent last year, according to a report released last week by 143rd District Attorney Randy Reynolds.

The total referred by area law enforcement agencies was almost evenly divided between Reeves and Ward County, with 163 cases coming out of Reeves County and 166 from law enforcement agencies out of Ward County.

Reynolds' office provided a summary of the findings has been provided by their office, but said as with any statistical gathering action, some errors may have occurred.

For the year 2003, the 143rd District handled 493 cases, up from 469 in 2002. That included 366 new cases and 127 probation cases, Reynolds said.

Out of the 366 new cases, 109 were from the Pecos Police Department and 44 from the Monahans Police Department. There were 73 from the Ward County Sheriff's Office, 19 from the Reeves County Sheriff's Office, 21 from the Trans Pecos Narcotics Task Force, three from the West Texas Narcotics Task Force; and 46 from Texas Department of Public Safety, with 32 from Ward County DPS and 14 from Reeves County DPS.

The Trans Pecos Narcotics Task Force is based out of the Reeves County Sheriff's Department office, while the West Texas Narcotics Task Force is based in Odessa, but operates in Ward County.

Of the remaining cases, a total of 51 were referred from other agencies, such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Department of Health and Civil Seizure cases. The 127 cases were filed for Motions to Revoke or adjudicate against probationers.

Felony cases were formally filed by Indictment or Information in the District in 2003 and included 158, Reynolds said. Of that 79 defendants were placed on probation for felony offenses in the district and 82 defendants were sentenced to penitentiary time from this district.


High Monday 67. Low this morning 48. Rainfall last 24 hours downtown at KIUN Radio .4 inch. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy. A chance of rain mixed with snow in the evening. Lows near 30. North winds 15 to 25 mph. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Highs near 55. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 30. Light and variable winds. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Light and variable winds becoming southeast near 10 mph in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s to the lower 40s.


Emma Johnson, Robert Montgomery, Anita Orosco and Era Williams

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