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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Tuesday, March 2, 1999

Trucker hurt in overpass accident

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, March 2, 1999 - Diesel fuel poured from the ruptured tank of a truck tractor that crashed into a guardrail on the I-20 overpass at Exit 38 early Monday afternoon. The driver escaped the crushed cab with a few broken bones and bruises.

Ignacio Rodriguez, 23, was driving the Winkles Truck Inc. 18-wheeler eastbound when he apparently exited I-20 at excessive speed and was unable to negotiate the curve onto the overpass, which has a posted 40 mph speed limit.

The truck and semi-trailer flattened about 100 yards of guardrail before the truck came to rest upside down near the top of the overpass, hanging halfway over the guard rail. The trailer flipped over the rail and rolled down the embankment on the south side of the eastbound lane of I-20.

Rodriguez was taken to Reeves County Hospital by Pecos Ambulance Service, then transferred to Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock.

Velma Dominguez, safety officer for Winkles, said this morning that Rodriguez suffered broken ribs, a broken hip and bruises all over his body. He is expected to be released in about two days.

"He is a walking miracle," Dominguez said of the relatively minor injuries.

Armando Gil, health inspector, said the diesel fuel contaminated some soil on the embankment, and he was to determine this morning who would be responsible for cleaning it up.

Texas Department of Transportation crews were at the site Monday to block traffic from the overpass and to assess damage. They were not available for comment this morning.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Richard Jacobs investigated the accident. His report was not available this morning.

Texas Independence Day receiving little notice

Editors Note: Today is Texas Independence Day across the state, but this years event has drawn little notice and a test commissioned by the Dallas Morning News found only a sixth of all Texans could name three defenders of the Alamo, and just 43 percent of those tested could name two.

Today marks the 16rd anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington on the Brazos. It came one week after this letter, written by Alamo defender William B. Travis, was dispatched:

William B. Travis Letter 1836

Commander of the Alamo

Bexar, February 24, 1836

To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World:

Fellow citizens and compatriots I am besieged by a thousand or more of the enemy under San Anna. I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword if the fort is taken.

I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walib.

I shall never surrender or retreat.

Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.

If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honor and that of his country.

Victory or death.

Colonel William Barrett Travis

Long day for Bunton handling court docket

By PEGGY McCRACKEN
Staff Writer

PECOS, March 2, 1999 - Senior Judge Lucius Bunton convened federal court at 8:45 a.m. Monday for a hearing on motion to suppress evidence in a drug smuggling case, presided for jury selection in three criminal cases and accepted 17 guilty pleas.

During the long day, which ended at 9:30 p.m., he issued warrants for two defendants who failed to appear for court, dismissed charges against three defendants and held a bench trial for three co-defendants in a marijuana smuggling case.

Jesus Aaron Flores, 20, of Fort Stockton, Edgar Enrique Flores, 21, of Fort Stockton, and Roberto Aguilar-Rodriguez, 20, of Terlingua, were found guilty of conspiracy, importing and possessing 221.04 pounds of marijuana on Dec. 29, 1998.

Sentencing is set for March 15 or April 5 on cases not sentenced this week.

Judge Bunton began this morning to sentence 14 defendants, and set trial to begin at 1 p.m. for four defendants.

Pair arrested in Seminole oil scam

By CHRIS NEWTON
Associated Press Writer

LUBBOCK For an oil well that wasn't receiving enough electricity to operate, records showed that A.L. Therwhanger's derrick was pumping out seemingly unprecedented amounts of crude.

So much oil was coming from the sometimes dormant well, that it drew the attention of the Texas Railroad Commission. After months of covert surveillance, investigators finally learned the shocking secret of the profitable well in the middle of the night, men were importing oil stolen from an EOTT Oil Company well near Cedar Lake.

A.L. Therwhanger, 51, and his son Eugene, 36, now stand accused of stealing more than 10,000 barrels of oil worth more than $59,000 in a crime that seems to be a throwback to times long past.

"This was a bizarre case," said Gaines County Sheriff Jon Key. "They were basically taking oil from one company's well and selling it as their own. We haven't seen anything like that....well, I'm not sure I ever have seen anything like that."

Both Therwhangers, longtime oilmen in Seminole, surrendered to authorities last week and are free on bond.

Key said further indictments could be filed soon.

Other oilmen near the town, nearly 70 miles southwest of Lubbock, said they had long suspected that the Therwhangers' well was a fraud.

"It didn't surprise anybody," said Gregory Williams, who owns several oil wells in Gaines County. "That well wasn't operating often enough to be producing that kind of oil."

In May, the Texas Railroad Commission discovered during a routine inspection that the Therwhangers' well hadn't been operating for months. Yet, records showed that the well had pumped nearly 10,000 barrels of oil over the past two years.

Key says a third suspect, who worked for EOTT Oil company, was helping drive the stolen tankers of oil to the Therwhangers' well in the middle of the night.

"This had been going on for over a year," Key said. "They had everything worked out and were pretty smooth operators."

Of course, in recent days the alleged scam was paying smaller dividends. In 1996, the Therwhangers sold oil for just over $20 a barrel. The last barrels they sold this year went for under $11.

STEP program office moved in courthouse

The STEP Program has been moved to the third floor of the Reeves County Courthouse.

Anyone who has questions regarding social security and retirement can go to the courthouse, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and contact Anita Baeza.

Baeza is the new liaison working with social security and other programs that assist the elderly.

For more information call 445-5418.

Cleophus Jackson

Cleophus Jackson, 75, died Monday, March 1, 1999, at the Pecos Nursing Home.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, March 6, at Faith Baptist Church in Kermit withk Reverend H.A. Bowens and Reverend Bill Tatum officiating. Burial will be Kermit Cemetery.

He was born Oct. 17, 1923, in Elkhart, Tx., was a transportation-truckdriver and had served in the United States Army.

Survivors include three sons, Mark Johnson of Kermit, Donald Jackson of Beaumont and Cleophus Jackson, Jr. of Tucson, Ariz.; two daughters, Grace Bryant of Peocs, Barbara Anderson of Dallas; one brother, Robert Jackson of Elkhart; one sister, Lola Bell Jackson of Kermit; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Cooper Funeral Chapel, Inc. of Kermit is in charge of arrangements.

Myrtis Heaton

Myrtis Heaton, 75, died Sunday, Feb. 28, 1999, at Permian General Hospital in Andrews.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 2, at Jal Cemetery in Jal, N.M., with Reverend Michael May officiating.

She was born Oct. 11, 1923, in Lorenza, Tx., was a housewife, a 36 year resident of Jal, N.M. and a Catholic.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Edward Heaton on Aug. 13, 1988 and one brother, Martin Kelly.

Survivors include one daughter, Barbara Moody of Jal, N.M.; one son, Randal Moore of Pecos; two brothers, Kenneth Kelly of Lyons, Kan., Edward Kelly of Pecos; one sister, Ellen Call of Gardendale, Tx.; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to the American Heart Association or a charity of their choice.

Cooper Funeral Chapel, Inc, is in charge of arrangements.

Weather

PECOS, March 2, 1999 - High Monday 83; low last night 53. Tonight, fair. Low in the lower 30s. Light and variable wind. Wednesday, mostly sunny. High in the lower 70s. South wind increasing to 10-20 mph by afternoon.



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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
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