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Trucker sued for $1.31 million

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Four persons who were injured in a truck-pickup wreck on
U.S. Highway 285 at the I-20 interchange February 10 have sued the
driver and owner of the truck for $1.31 million in damages.

Raul Gabaldon, 22, his wife, Teresa and preschool daughters Natalie and
Brittany were injured when their 1973 BMC pickup collided with the truck
tractor-trailer as it crossed the highway about noon.

They claim that the truck driver, Clyde Leroy Weeden of Colgate, Okla.
was negligent as he exited I-20 at Exit 42 westbound. He failed to yield
right-of-way at the stop sign on 285, causing the collision, the suit

Pecos Police cited Weeden for failure to yield right-of-way and Gabaldon
for failure to control speed to avoid an accident. Gabaldon has appealed
to Reeves County court-at-law.

The family seeks damages for medical expenses, pickup replacement, pain
and anguish and disabilities.

Attorney Roddy Harrison filed the suit Monday afternoon in 143rd
District Court.

Judge denies bail for suspected child killer

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MIDLAND, 1995 - Midland Judge John Hyde on Thursday denied bail after a
lengthy hearing for Henry Lopez Ortiz, 42, a former Pecos resident
charged with capital murder.

District Attorney Al Schorre opposed bond for Ortiz, who was indicted
February 15 for allegedly sexually assaulting and strangling a
10-year-old neighbor, Julie Ann powell, in his apartment.

Powell was found dead in a clothes hamper in a closet inside Ortiz's
apartment, which is downstairs from the Powell residence in a Midland
apartment complex.

Schorre said that the prosecution had to prove probable cause that Ortiz
committed the murder and that he likely will receive the death penalty.

Herrera claims Mexican
police kidnaped fugitive

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CHIHUAHUA, MEX., 1995 - Joey Herrera of Pecos has met with FBI agents,
and they said he is not wanted for violating United States laws, but is
wanted in Mexico, reported a Chihuahua, Mex. newspaper.

Mary Espino Melendez, a reporter for El Heraldo de Chihuahua,
interviewed Herrera last week.

Herrera said he has evidence to prove he is not involved in Sandra
Madrid's kidnapping, Melendez reported. He said that Mexican federal
police captured Madrid and turned her over to him for the $10,000 reward
he had offered.

If Mexican authorities will assure him that he won't be arrested,
Herrera will go to Mexico to give them the evidence, he said. His
attorneys in Mexico are working to get protection of the law for him.

"I need to know in which way I am guilty, because I only paid in full
the reward they asked me," Herrera told Melendez. He said he had nothing
to do with the way Madrid was captured for delivery to him.

Herrera expects everything to be resolved in a legal way. He will
demonstrate his innocence and give documents to help in the Mexican
authorities' investigation.

Besides other documents, he has bank records to show he made the
withdrawal for the reward payment and the payment receipt, but Mexican
authorities have not called to ask him for a statement, he said.

Herrera said he is not hiding from anyone, but the Mexican federal
police are trying to blame him for the kidnapping without proof because
they are stupid and don't know their own country's laws, Melendez said
in the article, which was reprinted in Contacto!, an
Ojinaga, Mex. newspaper.

While he denied calling the federales stupid, Herrera had no
further comment on the story this morning.

He has admitted paying a reward of $10,000 to four men who kidnapped
Madrid in Ojinaga January 22 and delivered her to Herrera at the
International bridge between Ojinaga and Presidio.

Madrid had lived in Mexico since disappearing during her trial on injury
to a child charges in Rankin Dec. 1, 1994. Herrera would have had to pay
$100,000 on a secured bond for Madrid if she were not returned to Upton
County authorities.

DNA test clears good name

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Ira Brooks of Pecos has more in common with O.J. Simpson
than skin color. Like Simpson, Brooks has undergone DNA testing in a
family dispute. Unlike Simpson, Brooks walked out of court this morning
with his good name cleared.

Brooks is just one of many men who have been named as the father of some
woman's child. In a court hearing prompted by an attorney for the state
of Texas, District Judge Bob Parks ordered testing to determine

More often than not, the test comes back positive and the alleged father
is ordered to pay child support. But in Brooks' case, the DNA test
proved he could not be the father, and the case against him was

Judge Parks handled 18 cases filed by the attorney general's office this
morning. Seven of those were suits to determine the father's identity.
Eleven involved non-support by the absent parent or a motion to modify
terms of support.

Two were filed by other states against local residents; one an inmate at
the Reeves County Law Enforcement Center.

Often non-support cases arise out of a divorce. Three more divorces were
on this morning's docket.

Judge Parks reset three criminal cases and approved an amendment to
probation in a fourth.

Ray Bravo agreed to stiffer probation conditions after his probation
officer filed a motion to revoke.

Marylou Carrales and her probation officer worked out a modification of
restitution payments to the city of Pecos, and Judge Parks reset a
hearing to "show cause" why she had not met the original terms for March

Ismeal Varela pleaded not guilty to drug possession after having Scott
Johnson appointed as his attorney. Judge Parks set pre-trial for March

District Attorney John Stickels dismissed two civil actions against
Rapido Bonding, in which their clients, Jose H. Villa and Adolfo
Reynosa, failed to appear for court.

Hospital sues Dr. Anderson
for breach of contract

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Reeves County Hospital District has sued Dr. Eunice
Anderson for breach of contract, seeking to recover $104,062 paid in her
behalf while she practiced in Pecos.

Dr. Anderson signed a contract on September 19, 1992 in which she agreed
to practice for two years. The first year the hospital was to pay her a
guaranteed income plus office space, equipment lease and supplies.

On January 11, 1994, Dr. Anderson signed an amendment extending the
contract to Nov. 24, 1995, assuming the second year left on the contract
of her husband, Dr. Orson Anderson, when he closed his practice.

Under terms of the contract, if the doctors failed to complete the
agreed term, they must repay all amounts expended by the hospital to
them or on their behalf during the first year of practice.

Eunice Anderson closed her practice on Nov. 11, 1994 and moved to Big
Spring, where she works in a clinic.

Hospital records show that Dr. Eunice Anderson received $54,228 in
income guarantees, $13,465 equipment payment, $10,000 sign-on bonus,
$2,350 malpractice insurance premium, $4,000 wages, $647 uutilities,
$3,956 equipment, $6,341 for physician coverage in her absence and
$9,075 building rent.

The petition, filed by attorney Scott Johnson, also seeks $10,000 in
attorney fees.
Dr. Anderson was on vacation this week from the Family Health Clinic in
Big Spring and unavailable for comment.

Driver, shooter indicted

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Reeves County grand jurors on Thursday indicted four
persons, including two who allegedly endangered others.

David Lozano Natividad is charged with assault with a motor vehicle and
bail was set at $10,000.

Natividad allegedly threatened Tony Aguilar with imminent bodily injury
with a motor vehicle on January 1.

Sammy Lee Fitzgerald was indicted for alleged deadly conduct in shooting
a firearm in the direction of a habitation occupied by Jerry Lerey Clark
on January 20.

His bail is set at $5,000.

Rodolfo Carrasco Renteria is charged with driving while intoxicated, a
felony because he has twice before been convicted of DWI. His bail is

Jose Efrin Rodriguez is charged with possession of a controlled
substance, heroin, on Nov. 11, 1994. His bail is $10,000.

District Judge Bob Parks this morning placed three defendants on
probation upon their pleas of guilty to drug possession and burglary.

James Thomas Kelly pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana and was
placed on five years deferred adjudication probation, fined $1,000 nd
ordered to pay court costs of $314.50 and $140 restitution.

Aguedo Rubio pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation owned by Jessie
Allen. He was placed on six years probation, fined $1,000 and ordered to
pay $164.50 court costs and $500 restitution on Allen.

Herman Ortega Campos was placed on five years deferred adjudication
probation for possession of a controlled substance. He is to pay a
$1,000 fine, $314.50 court costs and $140 restitution.

Judge Parks also modified probation conditions for Marylou Corrales and
Jeffery E. Ephriam.

Nurse wins pre-court settlement

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Attorneys for Reeves County Hospital and a former nurse,
Kathy Simms, reached an out-of-court settlement agreement this morning
while potential jurors for the scheduled three-day trial waited in the
courthouse lobby.

Simms had sued the hosptial district, former administrator Joe Duerr and
former director of nurses, Connie Jones, for alleged unfair employment

"We are very pleased with the settlement and believe justice has been
served," said Simms' attorney, Eva Marie Leahy.

Scott Johnson, representing the defendants, said he could not comment on
the district's settlement offer until the board of directors has
approved it.

The board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, but the settlement agreement is not
on the agenda. Whether it could be added as an emergency agenda item
prior to the meeting had not been decided at presstime.

Simms was employed from Jan. 13, 1992 to April 6, 1993 as assistant
director of nursing at $42,000 per year. She claims she applied for the
position of director of nursing in July 1992, but Duerr hired Jones

In the complaint, Simms alleges she filed a grievance, and as a result
numerous actions were taken that undermined her position as assistant
director of nursing.

Terms and conditions of her employment became so intolerable that she
had no choice but to resign, and hence was "constructively discharged,"
the complaint alleges.

Hospital board chairman Raul Garcia, who was subpoenaed as a witness for
Simms, met with attorneys at the courthouse this morning as settlement
negotiations were underway.

When Leahy and Johnson announced the tentative settlement agreement,
District Judge Bob Parks dismissed the 48 jurors seated for voir dire
and told them to return Thursday for a one-day criminal trial.

In that case, Luis Enrique Avalos is charged with aggravated assault by
hitting Armando Navarette with a beer can on Dec. 4, 1994.

Flores sues over loan repayment

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - A local couple and their daughter have sued Commercial
Credit Corporation for $1.22 million in damages under the Texas
Deceptive Trade Practice Act in dispute over repayment of a home
improvement loan.

Elizer Flores, Consuelo Flores and their daughter, Glenda Natividad,
claim that an employee of Commercial Credit offered to lower their
payments but his supervisor refused to do so.

Two company collectors have insulted and harrassed them since July, 1993
over arreage on the loan, the plaintiffs allege, and on March 24,
another agent of the company told Flores and his wife to immediately get
out of the house.

Michele Hayward, Commercial Credit legal counsel, had no comment on the
allegations this morning.

Scott Johnson represents the plaintiffs.

Whistleblowers sue county prison

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Two employees of the Reeves County Law Enforcement Center
filed suit Thursday against Reeves County, alleging their rights were
violated under the Texas Whistleblower Act.

J.J. Garcia, at the time personnel and training director, and his
secretary, Pamela Bustillos, claim that then-warden Joe Trujillo accused
them of insubordination for reporting his actions that they allege were

Trujillo terminated Bustillos' employment and suspended Garcia for five
days, demoting him to shift lieutenant, the suit alleges.

Notice to both employees is dated March 17, but was delivered on March
29, the plaintiffs allege.

Those actions and a third eliminating the position of security officer
held by Jesse Baeza led to Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez firing Trujillo on

Bustillos claims that on July 27, 1994, she gave notice to Gomez that
Trujillo refused to hire the highest-scoring qualified person, a female,
for a position at the law enforcement center.

This information was given to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on March 9, and
after an investigation by BOP Monitor Tommy Duncan, Bustillos was
terminated, the suit alleges.

Garcia claims that on Dec. 29, 1994 he gave the chief deputy and sheriff
notice that Trujillo violated federal law by discriminating against an
individual with physical disabilities.

That viiolation was orally transmitted by Garcia to Duncan on March 17,
the same day his notice of suspension and demotion was dated, he said.

Bustillo claims she was terminated with a pre-termination hearing for
her alleged insubordination and without being advised of the reasons for
her termination or being given a right to defend herself on the charges
- all in violation of procedural and substantive due process rights
under the U.S. Constitution, she alleges.

Both plaintiffs seek damages for emotional distress, lost wages, court
costs and reasonable and necessary attorneys fees, plus exemplary

Scott Johnson filed the suit in 143rd District Court.

Accused killer to have mental exam

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Staff Writer
MONAHANS, 1995 - District Judge Bob Parks has ordered a second
psychiatric examination for Carlton Reed, 74, of Monahans who is charged
with murdering Monahans pastor M.E. "Gene" Stevens on Nov. 15, 1994.

District Attorney John Stickels said Reed has already been examined by a
psychiatrist appointed by the court. However, both the state and the
defendant have a right to have a psychiatrist of their choosing examine
the defendant because he intends to claim insanity as a defense.

"We made a motion to have him examined by a state psychiatrist and order
release of all prior medical and psychiatric materials," Stickels said.

Stickels choose Dr. Coons of Austin, "one of the most qualified forensic
psychiatrists in the state."

Dr. Coons was a member of the committee appointed by the state
Legislature to re-draft the penal code which changed the insanity
defense in the 1980s, he said.

"He has testified for both the state and defednants on many occasions
and his opinion is well respected by the criminal justice community
throughout the state of Texas," Stickels said.

Reed remains in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. Trial is tentatively set
for the first week in June.

Reed allegedly shot Dr. Stevens in the head with a shotgun as he sat in
the Reed living room counseling the couple. Mrs. Reed is a member of
Southside Baptist Church, where Dr. Stevens was pastor.

Gas company blowup goes to court

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Trans-Pecos Gas Company Inc. has filed suit against a
competing gas company who has solicited business from area farmers it

El Paso Gas Marketing Company, dba Pecos Gas Services Co., and CNG
Engines Company are defendants in the suit filed Thursday in 143rd
District Court by attorney Scott Johnson.

The suit alleges that the defendants began on Sept. 23, 1994 to solicit
Trans-Pecos Gas customers to enter into a contract with Pecos Gas
Services Company - thus interfering with plaintiff's contractual
relationships with its customers.

Plaintiffs seek a temporary and permanent injunction to stop the
defendants' interference with their contrctual relationship, plus actual
and punitive damages in an unspecified amount.

In a letter included as an exhibit with the petition, El Paso Gas
Marketing Company vice president Thomas S. Jensen On Sept. 23, 1994
invited prospective customers of Pecos Gas Services Company to indicate
their interest in purchasing natural gas for irrigation engines on their
farms by outlining their needs executing a contract.

Pecos Gas Services Company is a project designed to expand natural gas
use among agricultural users in the Pecos area, Jensen said.

"The project requires a large amount of capital to construct the
necessary delivery system to get gas to widely-dispersed irrigation
wells, so Pecos is conducting a brief "open season" to see what interest
there is for this project," he said.

As part of the proposed project, Pecos Gas Company is working with CNG
Engines, a Midland-based distributor of Cummins natural gas-fired
engines, Jensen said.

"If you need to acquire natural gas-fired engines for irrigation uses,
you may contact CNG to discuss options for acquisition, including an
"energy based lease"-form of purchase, where you pay for the engine as
you use it."

"Pecos Gas Services is focussed on bringing competitive natural gas
service to irrigationc ustomers in the Pecos Valley," the letter states.

CNG Engines president Dan Crocker invited area farmers to a dinner and
business meeting with El Paso Gas Marketing, Cummins Natural Gas Engines
and CNG representatives on Sept. 24, 1994 at the Holiday Inn.

"This new company will provide the existing and future natural gas needs
of the Pecos area for agri-business and industrial markets," the
invitation reads.

Officials of the defendant companies did not respond to queries Friday
about the allegations.

Wal-Mart, shopper call it a draw

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Neither Wal-Mart employees nor a shopper were negligent in
causing an accident in the Cedar Street store two years ago, a 143rd
District Court jury decided this morning.

Hattie Bee Wilson was seeking $2,069 in medical costs and $2,719 in lost
wages for injuries she claimed resulted from a fall in the store where
she was shopping for shoe polish.

She said she slipped on a substance on the floor and hurt herself badly.

Her attorney, Kent Buckingham of Kermit, said that justice prevailed in
the two-day trial.

"I think it was the right verdict after all the evidence came in," he

Richard Bonner of El Paso, who represented Wal-Mart, said "I am pleased
it is over."

The jury deliberated 30 minutes before returning the verdict that
neither party was negligent.

District Judge Bob Parks presided for the trial, which was the only one
to go to a jury this week. Others on the docket were continued.

Hernandez claims
whistleblower protection

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - A former captain at the Reeves County Law Enforcement
Center has sued Warden Joe Trujillo and Reeves County under the Texas
Whistleblower Statute.

Rafael P. Hernandez, who transferred from the sheriff's office to the
LEC when it opened in May, 1986, said in the suit that Trujillo fired
him on January 4 after giving him the option of quitting or being fired.

The termination was upheld following a hearing on January 13, Hernandez
said in the suit, which was filed in Travis County District Court in

Hernandez alleges he was fired because he reported a violation of
guidelines to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which houses inmates at the
LEC (now Reeves County Detention Center).

An inspector general from the BOP would come to the LEC and inspect the
facilty once a month to ensure that the county was abiding by the
federal guidelines, Hernandez said.

During the inspection in November 1994, Hernandez said he reported to
Tommy Duncan, BOP site monitor, that the county did not have the
required number of weapons per guard.

Duncan said that Trujillo had represented to him that the county did
have the required number of weapons, and Hernandez said that was not
correct, the suit alleges.

After reporting the violation, Hernandez said he began to suffer
retaliation by having adverse-employment actions taken against him, in
that he was denied a promotion.

"The warden told plaintiff that he had received pressure from "higher
authorities" not to promote plaintiff," the suit alleges.

Hernandez said he reported the allegations of weapons violations to
then-county judge Mike Harrison.

"In the beginning of December 1994, the warden informed plaintiff that
he had received directives from his superiors to fire plaintiff," the
suit alleges. "The warden gave plaintiff the option of quitting or being
fired. The warden told plaintiff to go on vacation and make a decision.
After plaintiff came back from vacation, plaintiff informed the warden
he was not going to quit."

He claims his termination was in retaliation for his report of
violations. He claims injury to his reputation, health and character,
along with lost wages and benefits in the past and future, for which he
seeks compensation and punitive damages in an unspecified amount.

"Ralph was a good public servant," said his attorney, Ori T. White of
Fort Stockton. "Fortuntely we live in a state where legislators had
enough foresight to protect employees in this type of situation."

He said he filed the suit in Austin because "we feel like the case needs
to be heard in Austin."

Salmonella notice puzzles citizens

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PECOS, 1995 - Local residents may be puzzled by an "Official Court
Notice" received in the mail last week regarding salmonella litigation.

The notice, sent by the Fourth Judicial District Court in Minnesota, is
addressed to all persons who became ill after eating Schwan's ice cream,
sherbet or frozen yogurt.

Schwan's sells ice cream and other frozen products in Pecos, so those
customers received the mailing even if they have not filed a claim.

Those who suffered any ill effects from Schwan's products are part of
"the settlement class." The purpose of the notice is to summarize terms
of the proposed settlement.

Value of the settlement ranges from $80 for symptoms but no visit to a
doctor to $4,800 for a four-night stay in a hospital, plus $80 for each
day of disability from work, school or housework up to 20 days.

Persons who submit claims which are determined to be untrue or incorrect
will not be entitled to any money.

Claims must be filed by September 15.

Boyfriend on docket in baby's death

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Staff Writer

RANKIN, 1995 - A former Pecos resident who is charged with murdering his
girlfriend's baby last year will go on trial in Rankin next week, said
Albert Valadez, 83rd District Attorney.

Gilbert Arevalo allegedly beat Alvaro Carrasco, the 18-month-old son of
Sandra Madrid. Carrasco died in Reeves County Hospital May 2, 1994 of
internal injuries allegedly sustained in the beating.

Madrid was convicted Dec. 1, 1994 of injury to a child by omission in
connection with the beating and is serving a life sentence in state

After hearing the "guilty" verdict and before sentencing, Madrid fled to
Mexico. Six masked men kidnapped her at a dance in Ojinaga, Mex. on
January 22, and she was returned to the United States for sentencing and

Bail bondsman Joey Herrera of Pecos said that Madrid was delivered to
him at the International Bridge, and he paid a $10,000 reward for her

The couple and the child were living in the Upton County town of
McCamey, where officials allege the fatal beating to Carrasco occurred.
During Madrid's trial, testimony indicated she failed to inform doctors
at Reeves County Hospital of her son's injuries, saying instead the boy
was sick after swallowing cigarettes.

County attorney out in civil suit

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Staff Writer
PECOS, 1995 - Reeves County's entry into a damage suit resulting from a
traffic accident lst year that killed its road department administrator
has forced a change in attorneys.

County Attorney Bill Weinacht had entered the suit in April on behalf of
two plaintiffs, Mark and Marilyn Ham. Along with Edith and Cody Ham,
they seek damages from Frankie Hernandez and the Town of Pecos City in
the death of their father, Mack Dee Ham on May 13, 1994.

Mack Ham, 59, was fatally injured in a collision between his
county-owned pickup and a city police car driven by Hernandez on April
19, 1994.

The Hams claim that Hernandez's negligence caused the accident; that he
driving faster than the speed limit and not using emergency equipment on
the unmarked police car.

Randall W. Reynolds filed the original petition in 143rd District Court
June 14, 1994.

Hernandez filed a counter claim against the plaintiffs in January,
seeking compensation for severe injuries, some of which are permanent.
Ham failed to maintain a lookout and to ensure that the intersection was
clear before entering, failed to apply his brakes and failed to yield
right-of-way, Hernandez said.

In April the city's attorney, Terry Rhoads of Midland, added Reeves
County as a defendant on behalf of the city and Hernandez.

They claim that Ham was operating the pickup in a negligent manner while
in the course of his employment.

Weinacht then withdrew as attorney for Mark and Marilyn Ham, and they
are now represented by Michael L. Crane of Victoria.

Depositions have been taken from several witnesses in the case, and
Hernandez and the city have answered interrogatories - questions posed
by attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Questions center around Hernandez's physical condition prior to the
accident, specifically seizures which other police officers had
witnessed, and three traffic accidents he was involved in while driving
a police car.

Hernandez said he was taking medication for seizures, and that one of
the three accidents occurred after he failed to take his medication.
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Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise
324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321