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for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, September 19, 2008

Woman injured, man busted after downtown crash

A Monday night accident in downtown Pecos send the driver of one vehicle to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa with internal injuries, and the driver of the other vehicle to jail, on marijuana possession and other charges.

Pecos police have not yet completed their report on the crash, which occurred at 11:23 p.m. at the intersection of Fourth and Cypress Streets, but said the driver of a Mercury Tracer was injured when the car was knocked on its side by a Mitsubishi E-8, after the Mercury apparently ran a stop sign while southbound in the 300 block of Cypress Street.

Leticia Romero, 35, 2200 Hackberry St., was pinned under the side of the vehicle before being freed by Pecos EMS and volunteer fire department workers. She was taken first to Reeves County Hospital and then to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa suffering from internal injuries and bleeding from her ears.

Romero was one of five people in the Mercury, including a 1-year old girl and a one-month old boy. Neither the girl, identified as Mariah Garcia, nor the boy, identified as Matthew Romero, were reported hurt in the crash.

The other two people were identified as 22-year-old Lilah Rodriguez, and 23-year-old Eloy Jimenez, while the driver of the Mitsubishi was identified as Alberto Rodriguez, 23, of 316 S. Palm St. Pecos Police Capt. Kelly Davis said Rodriguez was the only passenger in his vehicle, which was headed westbound in the 100 block of West Fourth Street when it struck the Mercury on the driver’s side, causing it to come to rest on its side in the 400 block of South Cypress Street.

“I heard a big bang, and saw the car on its side when I looked out the window,” said Pecos Mayor Dick Alligood, whose apartment is above the crash site. He added that when he came downstairs and went outside, he found several bags of marijuana on the sidewalk and in the lawn outside his building. “We found at the scene a medium-sized bag of marijuana, and eight baggies of marijuana thrown about the area, and additional loose marijuana inside the Rodriguez vehicle,” Davis said. He added that more marijuana was found inside Rodriguez’s clothing when they were cut away after he was transported to Reeves County Hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Davis said Alberto Rodriguez was charged with traffic violations, along with felony possession of marijuana and tampering with evidence. A DWI charge also is pending.

Officials at the time of the crash were told some of the vehicles’ occupants might have fled the scene, but Davis said, “Only the mother (Lilah Rodriguez) and one baby left the scene.”

Davis added that they have gotten a statement from one of the passengers in the vehicle. He said none of the occupants were wearing seat belts, and additional charges could be brought in the case.

The accident was one of two late-night crashes investigated by police late Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Two people were also transported to Reeves County Hospital from a crash shortly after 2 a.m. at the intersection of Country Club Drive and Stafford Boulevard. One of the drivers was later transported to Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, but a full report on the crash was not available from police as of Thursday morning.

Auction option unlikely on tax sale properties

Different methods of advertising foreclosed property in Pecos will be considered in an effort to put all these properties back on the tax rolls. But an option to auction off those properties is unlikely to pass, following discussions before the local taxing entities.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Board members discussed the issue last week during the regular board meeting. Mark Flowers, attorney with Linebarger-Goggan, the tax collection agency used by the different entities in Reeves County, was on hand to discuss the options, after meeting with both Reeves County Commissioners and the Town of Pecos City Council on their options for delinquent tax sales.

“Mark (Flowers) had talked to us about possibly holding an auction, but that is out of the question,” said P-B-T ISD Superintendent Manny Espino. He said that the board approved advertising these properties out and accepting 25 percent of the appraised value or $500, whichever is greater for the properties in question.

City officials talked about the plan with Flowers in August, but said they wanted to try and recover some of the costs incurred by the city for building demolition and clean-up costs at the foreclosed property sites. The auction option was unlikely to result in those costs being recovered, council members were told.

“This is separate from the auctions that are conducted by the sheriff’s department,” said Espino. “These properties have already been through other methods in an effort to put them back on the tax roll.”

Espino said that they plan to advertise, put up signs and find other methods of letting people know that these properties are available.

“If someone bids on these properties and didn’t meet any of those criteria, they can present something and Lydia Prieto (tax assessor-collector) can put a package together about what they plan to do with the property and we will look at it,” he said.

Flowers had talked to the Reeves County Commissioners during their regular meeting and told them: “We do our best to collect all the back taxes,” said Flowers.

“You have your sales through the sheriff’s department, where they auction off property struck off to the county, city or hospital, but I was contacted by Mr. Espino about possibly having a foreclosure sale and accepting minimum bids,” said Flowers.

Flowers explained to the group how the minimum bid sales could be handled and stated that if the county wanted to join in the sales along with the city, hospital and school, they could offer a minimum bid as well.

School board members also listened to an update on the ongoing projects at the different campuses and were told that most of the projects are on schedule.

County still seeking to fill RCDC openings

Job openings at the Reeves County Detention Center range from mailroom clerk at $22,214.40 to operations lieutenant at $42,457.50, said Linda Clark, Reeves County treasurer.

Lack of housing limits the available work force, said Clark.

Clark has posted position announcements on a new bulletin board outside her office at the courthouse. Each posting includes the number of vacancies, major duties, qualification requirements and application procedures.

County Judge Sam Contreras said last month the prison currently is over 100 workers short of its full compliment of employees for all three units of the RCDC, which fully staffed can house up to 3,700 inmates for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

One of the current postings at the courthouse is for inside applicants only, but all others are open to outside applicants. Anyone who wants to apply should go to the main building’s executive office, Clark said. After an interview, applications are forwarded to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for background checks that take four to six weeks to complete.

“These jobs are in both RCDC I-II and RCDC III,” she said.

Openings at R-III include operations lieutenant, activities lieutenant, correctional officer, substance abuse counselor, case manager, recreation specialist, maintenance technician (plumbing) and mailroom clerk.

R-I and R-II need intake/booking/photo-ID clerk (inside applicants only); unit clerk, activities lieutenant, commissary clerk and unit manager. She will also post other county jobs on the bulletin board.

The treasurer’s office is the second door on the right as you enter the lobby from the front doors.

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