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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, March 29, 1999

Pecos officer facing probe in Odessa

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 29, 1999 - A Pecos Police officer acting outside his own jurisdiction earlier this year may be facing charges after the incident in which he was involved was featured on an Odessa television station last week.

"At first we were going to run this incident on Robber's Row, which airs on Thursdays," said Susan Rogers, executive director for Crimstoppers in Odessa, referring to an incident that occurred two months ago and which involves Pecos Police officer Cosme Ortega. The incident at an Odessa convenience store was caught on videotape and aired on KOSA Ch. 7 last Wednesday.

Rogers said the incident began when Ortega went into a Kent Kwik in Odessa, located at 601 W. County Road.

According to Rogers, a couple was in the store at the same time as Ortega. The couple left the store and the young man turned to the young woman and told her, "I'll race you across the street."

"After the couple had gotten to the other side of the street, they noticed a vehicle had followed them and realized it was one that was in the parking lot of the store they had just left," said Rogers.

She said the "officer" then stopped them, pulled out a gun and flashed a badge at them, telling them that he knew they had been shoplifting. "The couple was frightened and just stood still. The officer then told them to give him the items and he would return them to the store," said Rogers.

The couple refused to give him the items, thinking if this was for real; if the officer really thought that they had shoplifted, he wouldn't just return the items, but would need proof. "The young man then told the officer that he would be happy to go back to the store with him, if indeed, he thought they were shoplifting, because they weren't," said Rogers.

Apparently the officer changed his mind and threw the items back at them and told them, "never mind, just go on your way."

The couple however, could not forget the incident and went back to the store to see if the clerk had actually sent someone after them. "At this point, the clerk says he didn't send anybody after them, because he knows they paid for their items," said Rogers.

"They look over the surveillance video and it shows this person and both the people identified him as being the one who was impersonating an officer and who accused them of shoplifting," said Rogers.

The video was then turned over to the Odessa City Police, who started working on the case.

"We didn't know who the man was so we decided to air it on Crimestoppers instead of Robber's Row," said Rogers.

The video was set to air several times, but Rogers said Crimestoppers was inundated with phone calls from individuals who recognized the officer. "We received numerous calls from Pecos, telling us they knew who this person was," she said.

According to Rogers, Pecos Police Chief Clay McKinney also contacted her to let her know that the officer had seen himself on television and wanted him to know that it was him they were talking about. "Basically, he saw the segment on this also, and wanted to let the chief know about it," said Rogers.

Rogers said that they have never come across something like this and that she didn't know if any charges would be filed.

"That's something that's being looked at right now," Odessa Police Officer Kevin Bagley. "We need to look into it and see if any criminal offenses have been committed."

According to Bagley the incident is still under investigation.

McKinney said that the Pecos Police Department is cooperating fully with the Odessa PD.

"It is under investigation and is still an allegation so therefore, the officer has not been placed on administrative leave," said McKinney. "When they get finished, we will proceed with an internal investigation," he said.

McKinney said that he had spoken to Ortega. "In his statement, Cosme, told me that it was 1 a.m., and he actually thought this couple was shoplifting or it had been a robbery, because they started running out of the store," said McKinney.

He added that Ortega was scheduled to speak to the Odessa Police Department today in reference to the incident. "We're definitely cooperating and doing our part in resolving this incident," said McKinney.

Saturday's rains provide short break

From Staff and Wire Reports
Friday and Saturday were days that a rancher could love. Slow, soaking rain fell throughout West Texas, refreshing the dusty desert and reviving some vegetation.

While it was not enough to end the drought, it at least raised hopes of more to come.

Pecos got .43 inch over the two days, while other areas reported heavier precipitation. J.C. White said that 1.15 inch fell on his ranch four miles west of Verhalen.

Jodi McElroy reported .70 inch at the Farm Service Agency office in Balmorhea, while the McElroy ranch recorded only .20 inch.

Fort Stockton residents enjoyed a 2-inch rain, and did other areas to the south and east of Pecos.

Fog hampered travel Sunday, though skies had cleared by late Sunday afternoon. However, moisture was still in the air this morning in West Texas, and drizzle, rain and fog were slowing the early-morning commute today across much of Texas.

A persistent upper-level low pressure system was expected to continue pumping precipitation into the state, after dumping as much as four inches of rain on areas north of Del Rio on Saturday.

Visibilities today ranged from less than a quarter-mile at Houston's Hobby Airport to 1/16 mile at Palacios. Fog also shrouded the Bryan-College Station area as well as Houston Intercontinental Airport and Port Arthur. Visibility was three miles at Abilene and Childress.

The storm system on Sunday brought record rainfall to some parts of the state. Brownsville's total of 2.51 inches established a new record for daily rainfall for the date. The previous record for the most rainfall on that date was 0.58 inch, set in 1921.

The National Weather Service said it's also the third wettest March day on record, beaten only by 2.73 inches dating from March 12, 1903, and 2.58 inches on March 10, 1981. March is usually Brownsville's driest month of the year.

Daily rainfall records were also broken at Corpus Christi and Victoria. At Corpus Christi International Airport, 2.10 inches of rain shattered the previous record of 1.25 inches set in 1897. Rainfall at Victoria Regional Airport totaled 1.60 inches, surpassing the previous record of .95 inches set in 1989.

Early-morning readings ranged from the mid-30s to lower 60s. It was degrees at Scholes Field in Galveston, 54 at Junction and Del Rio, 36 at Dalhart and 56 at Sanderson.

Eagle band nets $5,900 from auction

By ROSIE FLORES
Staff Writer
PECOS, March 29, 1999 - Guitars, stuffed bears, flower arrangements and more could be found at the 21st Annual Pecos Eagle Band Booster Auction held Saturday at the Saragosa Hall.

Over $6,000 was netted during the auction, which included a barbecue plate sale and bake sale.

"We did really well, it was very profitable," said booster president Bertha Natividad. "We've come up with $5,900, but are still waiting for a donation from Wal-Mart."

"It was a great auction and we appreciate all the help and the community for pulling through for us," Natividad added.

Monies raised are used by the band boosters to provide scholarships to worthy band students.

The barbecue plates were sold out, and all the cakes were also sold organizers of the event said.

"We had a little contest between the band members to see who could bring in the most cakes and the seventh grade band won," said Natividad. The seventh grade band members will receive a special treat for their efforts, she added.

Some of the cakes were put up for auction while others adorned tables and were sold.

Barbecue cooks for the event were Robert and Ruben Natividad and Cookie Fuentes. "They did a fantastic job and we're thankful to them," said Natividad.

She said the students themselves had put forth tremendous effort, along with the band directors and the community. "We're very proud of Pecos and they way they came through for us," she said.

"We want to thank everyone that helped us, like the cable company, KIUN, the Enterprise and anybody who donated, bought something or even just came in," said Natividad.

"We're just very excited that it was such a huge success," she said.

Officers for the band booster club include Natividad as president; Connie Levario, vice-president; Mike Stallard, secretary; Yolanda Rubio, historian and Abel Dominguez, secretary.

Herrera's date in court delayed

PECOS, March 29, 1999 - Pecos bail bondsman Joey Herrera Jr. said this morning that his court date in Nashville, Tenn. today was postponed because the judge is ill.

He was to have appeared in Davidson County Criminal Court for initial appearance and possible arraignment on charges of fabricating evidence, money laundering and conspiracy in connection with his bail bonding operation.

Herrera is free on $25,000 appeal bond set by Reeves County Court-at-law Judge Lee Green, following a habeas corpus hearing on March 18. Terms of the release provide for Herrera to report to Tennessee authorities as ordered.

Lotto

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Lotto Texas drawing Saturday night: Winning numbers drawn: 20, 25, 32, 36, 43 and 49. Estimated jackpot: $4 million. Number matching six of six: none. Matching five of six: 50. Prize: $2,348. Matching four of six: 3,311. Prize: $127.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Cash 5 drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-15-20-28-31. Number matching five of five: 2. Prize per winner: $47,532. Winning tickets sold in: Burleson, Dallas. Matching four of five: 279. Prize: $511.

***

AUSTIN (AP) Results of the Texas Million drawing Friday night: Winning numbers drawn: 7-22-29-86. Number matching four of four in Group One: zero. Number matching four of four in Group Two: zero. Number matching four of four in Group Three: one. Prize: $10,000. Number matching three of four in any group: 529. Prize: $300.

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Friday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-4-9 (nine, four, nine)

***

AUSTIN (AP) The winning Pick 3 numbers drawn Saturday by the Texas Lottery, in order: 9-8-2 (nine, eight, two)

Obituaries

Bill Dyer

Bill Dyer, 52, of McCamey, died Friday, March 26, 1999, at his residence. Graveside services were at 2 p.m. Sunday in Resthaven Cemetery, McCamey, directed by Richard W. Box Funeral Home.

Mr. Dyer was born May 3, 1946 in Pecos and moved to McCamey in 1987. He served in the Air Force from 1965 to 1969, was a self-employed contract pumper and a member of the First Christian Church.

Survivors include his wife, Cindy Dyer of McCamey; and one brother, David Dyer of Odessa.

LaVerne (Sims) Lewis Phares

Longtime Pecos resident and downtown merchant LaVerne (Lewis) Phares, 82, died Saturday, March 27, 1999, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Pecos Funeral Home chapel, with interment in Fairview Cemetery.

Phares was born March 16, 1917, in Childress. With her late husband, Bill Lewis, she owned and operated Lewis Shoe Store in downtown Pecos for more than 20 years. She was a member of the First Methodist Church and served as a Cub Scout den mother, assistant Girl Scout leader, and hospital volunteer. She was a founding member of the Brady chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and was active in the Pecos chapter as well. She was also a member of the Twentieth Century Club.

Survivors include a daughter, Karin Lee of Sandia Park, N.M.; a son, Lee Lewis of Austin; a stepdaughter, Cornelia "Sam" Arhelger, of Austin; a sister, Alie V Sessions, of Dallas; two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Weather

PECOS, March 29, 1999 - High Sunday 73; low last night 51. Rainfall .32 inch Saturday. March rainfall .43 inch. Year-to-date .48 inch. Tonight, becoming cloudy with patchy fog possible after midnight. low in the upper 40s. Light southeast wind. Tuesday, morning low clouds and fog, then becoming partly cloudy. high 70 75. Southeast wind 5-15 mph.



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