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Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Friday, January 5, 2007

Officials think c-store assault linked to post-Christmas fight

A Pecos man was transported to Reeves County Hospital after an early-morning assault on Thursday that local law enforcement officers believe is connected to a pair of assault incidents that took place the morning after Christmas.

Police officers and Reeves County sheriff’s deputies responded to a disturbance at the Uncle’s Convenience Store at Third and Cedar streets this morning in response to a call of a possible assault.

“Apparently there was a fight at Uncle’s that stemmed from another incident that happened last week,” said Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez, whose deputies served as backups to the early-morning call, which resulted in 28-year-old Adam Michael Natividad of Lamesa being transported to the hospital.

Gomez said that the case was currently being handled by the Pecos Police Department. “They worked the first case as well,” he said, and Pecos Police investigators were still talking with persons connected to the assault early Thursday afternoon.

Gomez said that officers had responded to a disturbance on Tuesday, Dec. 26, at which time two people were arrested for public intoxication and a third on a possession of cocaine charge. A later press release by the police department added Natividad as a second person who was charged with possession of a controlled substance, as the result of a raid that took place several hours after the initial assaults.

Pecos Police Investigator Capt. Kelly Davis said officers received a call at 6 a.m. on Dec. 26 about the assault. He said the caller, Elizabeth Jimenez, 41, was one of the two women injured, and was taken to Reeves County Hospital by ambulance suffering from a bruise to the back of the head, along with bruises to her back and stomach.

Taken to the hospital at the same time was Redessa Jenkins, 27, 212 W. 14th St., who was found by EMS workers bleeding from the head when they arrived to treat Jimenez. Davis said Jenkins had been hit in the head with a blunt object, causing the bleeding.

The assault resulted from an argument that began at what police said was an overnight cocaine party at a nearby apartment.

“Apparently at that time Elizabeth was taken to the hospital for her injuries and this time it was in retribution,” Gomez said on Thursday.

The sheriff said that Jimenez had run into one of her assailants at Uncle’s Convenience Store early Thursday morning and had proceeded to “beat him up.”

“This time it was him (Adam Natividad) that was taken to the hospital,” said Gomez. “My officers just responded as backup, this case is being handled by the city police.”

Gomez said that Natividad had supposedly also been involved in the fight that occurred last Tuesday. “He was also one of the ones that was beating up on Jimenez,” said Gomez.

Natividad and a woman identified as Teresa Ann Hood, 31, of 1005 E. 11th St., Apt. A, were charged with possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) within 1000 feet of a school and possession of drug paraphernalia after officers received a search warrant for the apartment due to information obtained while investigating the assault.

Along with Jimenez and Jenkins, 18-year-old Adrian Lopez told police that he had been assaulted after going outside Jimenez’s apartment at 1006 E. 10th St. He said he was awoken by the initial fight and was then assaulted by a man identified as Ernesto Perea, 38, 1116 W. Fifth St.

“Perea said he was there because someone cut his tires at the party,” Davis said. “He thought Lopez had, that’s why he assaulted Mr. Lopez.”

Perea was arrested by police on a charge of public intoxication, along with possession of drug paraphernalia, after a crack pipe was found in his possession, according to Davis. He added that another person, identified as Bianca Lujan, 17, 2314 Cothrun St., also was arrested on a public intoxication charge.

Loving judge’s job changes hands after 32 years

Things tend to change slowly in Loving County, and that includes changes in some of the county’s political offices. But the nation’s least-populated county does have a couple of new faces in office to start 2007, and is hoping to finally bring something the county has been seeking for years - water - into Mentone in the near future.

Skeet Jones was sworn in as new Loving County Judge Wednesday morning, in the second floor courtroom at the county courthouse in Mentone. “It’s the first time in 32 years and nine months we’ve had a new judge in Loving County,” said Beverly Hanson the county and district clerk to gave Jones the oath, and later was sworn in to her new term in office by Jones, who won as a write-in candidate over Donald C. Creager in the November general election.

Richard Nixon was still president when Creager took over as Loving County Judge. He was seeking his ninth four-year term when he was defeated by Jones, who has served as county commissioner for Precinct 3. His first meeting as new county judge is scheduled for Monday, though he said at the start he plans, “nothing different. Just business as usual.” He added that he’s hoping to take advantage of the current boom on oil and natural gas drilling, which can be seen just to the west of the courthouse, where two big rigs are set up on the south side of Highway 302.

“Revenues are going to be up in the county, because the valuations are going to be up,” he said, adding that the jump may allow both a cut in property tax rates and funding for a couple of planned projects.

“We’ve got some water projects in the works. We’re planning to lay a line to finally get some water into here,” Jones said. Loving County residents have always had to truck their drinking water in from Pecos or Kermit, because the aquifer under the county had too many contaminants. The line will tap a water field between Kermit and Mentone in western Winkler County.

“We’re also looking at the renovation of the annex, which is the old school building. We’re going to try and get that done in the next few years,” he said.

Along with raising valuations, the drilling boom also has raised the number of land men doing title research in the Loving County Clerk’s office. “We’re in the same boat as Reeves County, Winkler County and Ward County. There’s not enough room in the clerk’s office for all the work going on right now,” Jones said.

He said if the school is renovated for an annex building, “We’ll keep the clerk’s office here, and probably move some other offices over there; the appraisal offices, and possibly even the sheriff’s office.”

Loving commissioner’s race awaits court ruling

Loving County has a new county judge and will have a full commissioner’s court when the group holds its first meeting of 2007 on Monday in Mentone. But the make-up of the court could change, as a lawsuit remains outstanding in connection with the November 7 election for the Precinct 3 commissioner’s position.

Thomas E. Jones, ran for that seat in November, , seeking to replace his brother, Skeet Jones, who won as a write-in candidate for Loving County Judge. But Thomas Jones lost to Zane Kiehne by a one-vote margin, which has led to the lawsuit that is still awaiting review in 143rd District Court, according to Loving County Clerk Beverly Hanson.

Kiehne won by a 26-25 margin, but Jones’ suit claims over a dozen questionable votes in the race. His attorney, Randall B. Wood of Bee Cave, outside of Austin, cited violations of persons either giving false addresses, not living at their listed address or not even living in the county as reasons for either overturning the election and ordering a new vote, or for declaring Jones as the winner.

In response, Kiehne’s attorney, Susan Hays of Dallas, cites voting irregularities that boosted Jones’ totals. Those included persons living outside the county, persons who used driver’s licenses from outside the county or outside the state as voter identification, and persons suffering from Alzheimer’s who lived outside the county and were allowed to vote. The 2005 U.S. Census Bureau estimate put Loving County’s population at 62 people, and 51 votes were cast in the Precinct 3 race during the Nov. 7 general election. However, a total of 90 votes were cast in the county in the governor’s election, and between 65 and 85 votes in the other contested state races on the county ballot.

Hanson said while the case has been filed in 143rd District Court, she did not know if District Court Judge Bob Parks would hear the case. Parks recused himself last year from a lawsuit involving the contested runoff election for Reeves County Judge in the Democratic Primary, and the case was eventually heard by Visiting Judge Joseph Connally.

Woman dies in ice-related I-10 crashes

SIERRA BLANCA (AP) - One person was killed early Wednesday morning just east of Sierra Blanca, in one of series of accidents on an icy and foggy stretch of Interstate 10, a highway official said.

A nearly 30-mile stretch of I-10 was shut down in both directions for about 4 1/2 hours after the pre-dawn crash in the eastbound lanes, Texas Department of Public Safety communications officer Julian Nyda said. The accident was initially reported as a 25-car pile up on the highway, but later was changed to show a series of separate accidents in the same area.

According to the El Paso Times, DPS Lt. Luis Najera said the woman, an Austin resident whose name was withheld until her family was notified, was involved in a minor traffic collision. She had stepped out of the vehicle in which she was traveling when a passing vehicle struck and killed her.

The accident occurred about 4:14 a.m. CST near the Union Pacific railroad overpass at the 108 mile marker on I-10, about a mile east of the main Sierra Blanca exit. It was one of five accidents that occurred within 100 yards of each other, but Najera told the Times no one was taken to the hospital in connection with any of the other accidents.

Interstate 10 rises 1,000 feet over a 15-mile stretch from the upper Rio Grande Valley southeast of El Paso to Sierra Blanca. The area received a light dusting of snow Tuesday, and ice was reported on the interstate Wednesday morning by Texas Department of Transportation officials in El Paso. TxDOT crews reopened I-10 to traffic about 9 a.m. CST, after the ice on the highway had been removed.

Balmorhea preparing for annual stock show

Balmorhea ISD and local 4-H and FFA members are busy getting ready for their Annual Livestock Show and Sale scheduled for this weekend.

The event will be held beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, at the Ag Building in the Balmorhea School. The show is held annually the week prior to the Reeves-Loving County Livestock Show.

“Weight in will be held around 4 p.m., Friday,” said Balmorhea Ag Teacher Bob Bagley. Bagley said that the show will begin on Saturday morning with the hogs. “We will then take a break and eat a barbecue lunch,” said Bagley.

After lunch, the show will continue after lunch with the lambs, hogs, goats and then the steer.

There are eight lambs, 22 hogs, 30 goats and one steer entered in this year’s event. The barbecue lunch is sponsored by the Balmorhea Ag Boosters, will be held in the school cafeteria and plates will be $6 for barbecue with all the trimmings.

“We hope to make this show a really good one for everyone,” said Bagley.

Students who plan to participate include: Amber Cook, Dorothy Humprhis, Russell Garlick, Danny Estrada, Jeremy Baeza, Jose Rodriguez, Joe Able Rodriguez, Abraham Garcia, Mayle McElroy, Mia Roman, Allann Roman, Giselle Contreras, Anastia Contreras, Ryan Mondragon, Dora Estrada, Diego Estrada, Dailynn Mondragon, Teodoro Serrano, Joel Madrid, Brianna Rodriguez, Victoria Salcedo and Abby Salcedo.

Also, Anish Vasquez, O.J. Sanchez, Josh Matta, Alexander Mendoza, Lain Garcia, Casy Dutchover, Joseph Dutchover, Ryan Jurado, Mariable Rodriguez and Gabriel Salcedo.

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