Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, March 2, 1999
Trucker hurt in overpass accident
By PEGGY McCRACKEN
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, 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, 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.
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.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise