OCTOBER 17, 2006

At 9:15 a.m. on October 16, 2012, Magnolia Fire Department responded to a reported major accident with a vehicle fire. When they arrived on the scene they found a Ford F150 fully involved in fire and had just exploded. Next to it was a 1993 International Flatbed loaded with sheetrock.

As the fire was brought under control firefighters discovered the burned bodies of Francisco Cantu, 28, of Rosenburg and Marshall Rebeles of Rosenburg. Rebeles was originally identified as Jonathan Candalaria,of Rosenburg, but after DPS Troopers made contact with the family they were informed he had been using a false name to avoid paying income taxes.

The driver of the flatbed, Wilson Alberto Avelar, 31, of 6310 Dumfries in Houston was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Woodlands. His passenger Danny Vladmir Rivera, 29., of Houston was also transported to the same location in stable condition.

According to DPS Sgt. Fountain, Juan Jose Carrizales, 60, of 28536 FM 2978 was southbound on FM 2978 and with his turn signal on was waiting on the Ford F150 which was northbound on FM 2978 to pass so Carnizales could turn into his driveway. At the same time another vehicle went to the right around Carrizales and passed. Behind that vehicle was the flatbed which applied his brakes and unable to stop swerved into the northbound lane clipping Carrizales vehicle and hitting the Ford F-150 head-on.

FM 2978 was closed for 7 hours as the investigation continued. It reopened just before 4pm.

The driver of the flatbed, Avelar, was arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on two counts of Criminal Negligent Homicide. Avelar had a standard driver’s license and has been cited numerous times for not having a commercial license.

The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation. DPS also dispatched their helicopter to the scene for aerial photographs.

On Tuesday Avelar plead to two counts of criminal negligent homicide and was sentenced to two years in the Texas Department of criminal justice.

According to Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Vince Santini the range of punishment for this charge ranged from probation to two years in State Jail. Santini said back in the ’90s the charge was a misdemeanor but was changed.

Santini said Rebeles was a former 15-year-police officer and also served in the military. Cantu was Rebeles cousin and was expecting his first child at the time he was killed.

OCTOBER 17, 2015
At 3 am Saturday morning a Toyota Tundra pickup was driving the wrong way on Interstate 10 and entered I-45 onto the Pierce Elevated heading south in the northbound lanes. As he got next to the Allen Center Parking Garage near the Memorial Drive Exit he slammed into a vehicle driven by a female who was northbound in the center lane. She was trapped in her vehicle. A Houston Fire Department ambulance which had been close by was on the scene almost immediately. The freeway was shut down. Medics and Police waited for help from additional firefighters and rescue trucks to arrive on the scene but they were unable to.

Motorists decided since the freeway was closed to try the shoulders which were also closed. But by doing this they blocked the only access for emergency vehicles. Fire Station 8 whose station is almost below the scene of the crash was first on the scene close to 20 minutes later. They were able to free the female and get her to the hospital. She suffered a broken leg, broken hip, and ankle. Police say if she had a passenger they would have been working a fatality.

The Hispanic male driver fled the scene on foot over the rail of the Pierce onto the grass below. However, his run was short-lived thanks to a homeless man living under the bridge who saw the entire event and the man leaving his truck. In fact, the male had run up to him with a bloody nose and tried to hide but then moved on. That homeless man was able to lead police to the driver and give a statement tying him to the crash.

Meanwhile, the freeway remained closed. Houston Fire Department Engine 19 and Ladder 19 sat for almost two hours, unable to move. Other drivers made a u-turn and started driving down the wrong side of the freeway looking for an off-ramp in which there are none. Other responding HPD units found drivers driving north in the southbound lanes of US 59 near the George Brown Convention Center. Other officers found motorists driving south on US 59 in the northbound lanes near SH 288 looking for an exit.

One woman sitting in traffic next to an HPD Tahoe who was at a dead stop in traffic started voicing her anger for them not turning on their overhead emergency lights and move through the traffic. The response she got was, “Madam, our Tahoe does not have a mode to put it on its side and travel the white lines between these cars like a motorcycle”.

The freeway reopened after 8 am.

One officer commented on how it would have been nice to have a lot of extra officers write every vehicle on the shoulder and going the wrong direction. At one point over 100 cars were in a line driving the wrong way.

OCTOBER 17, 2015
The suspect in last week’s deadly shooting on the campus of TSU is in custody after a SWAT responded overnight.
According to police, the suspect, Jartis Leon LeBlanc, Jr., got into an argument with his girlfriend shortly after 10 pm in a home in the 6300 block of Knox in the Acres Homes Area. Someone called 911 and police arrived.
They quickly determined that the person inside was the suspect in the last Friday’s shooting that left 18-year-old freshman Brent Randall dead and another person wounded.
LeBlanc reportedly hid from the police in the attic of the home.
A SWAT team arrived and surrounded the home. Using a PA police ordered LeBlanc to exit the rear door of the home. After close to 3 requests he complied and was taken into custody.  He is charged with murder. His family wants to know how he can be charged with murder as they are calling it self defense.

OCTOBER 17, 2016
Just after 7 pm Montgomery County Precinct, 4 Constables spotted a stolen truck with another vehicle following it. They attempted to stop both which resulted in a pursuit. During the chase, the truck tried ramming several patrol cars. At FM 1485 and Mexican, John units were able to stop the vehicle that was tailing them and took the occupants into custody. The utility truck went north on FM 1485 to Firetower The driver then went north on Firetower. As he crossed SH 242 he slammed into a woman and her two grandchildren. They are being transported to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. She is the mother of a police officer whose children were in the vehicle. The male driver of the stolen vehicle fled into the woods. Deputies braved the thorns and took him into custody. An investigation showed deputies finding 2.1 grams of marijuana wax, 4.5 grams of Adderall, and .5 grams of methamphetamine in the stolen truck. He was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. His female passenger is being taken to the hospital for minor injuries. The driver of the Toyota Tundra who tried to cut police off from chasing the truck was taken into custody by a Precinct 4 Deputy on FM 1485 near Mexican John Rd.

OCTOBER 17, 2018
Houston Firefighters took to the streets of Kingwood Wednesday morning to meet with business owners and citizens. Most of the firefighters, riding in a wagon covered in signs asking Houston citizens for support on Proposition B. The wagon, pulled by Pat and Jane, both Mules drew many smiles and waves, many children simply amazed by the animals.

From Marty Lancton, president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association:
Houston firefighters cost-effectively protect countless billions of dollars of business and private property within the city of Houston. Our insurance rates are lower because of the strong rating of the fire service. And with an average of about 1,000 fire and EMS calls a day, we have one of the nation’s busiest and most advanced fire departments.

But a generation of neglect by city politicians has diminished the Houston Fire Department fleet, facilities, and our ability to retain experienced, HFD-trained firefighters. Hundreds of firefighters have retired or left for other departments recently. Big-city and suburban departments alike now target HFD.

During the past decade, Houston firefighters watched our pay dramatically erode. As city politicians found ways to increase pay for police officers by 37 percent since 2011, our pay has risen by only three percent in that time. In Dallas, however, a starting firefighter now makes $60,000 – about twice that of a new Houston firefighter.

By voting “YES” for Proposition B in the Nov. 6 election, voters can help take the politics out of public safety in Houston. Firefighters have asked the city for competitive pay and better working conditions for several years. This followed our giving the city major concessions after the economy collapsed in 2008. City promises of better pay when the economy improved were not kept. During that time, the city quietly spent hundreds of millions to make police pay competitive – without phony city budget crises or threats to layoff or cut city services.

Some suggest fire and police jobs are different and should not be linked by pay. In fact, fire and police are paid equally on a rank-by-rank basis throughout the U.S. – including in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and San Antonio. The five branches of the military also have equal-pay structures for hundreds of jobs. And in Houston, the pay of City Council members is linked with that of local judges.

The city’s claims of so-called offers of firefighter pay raise in recent years are mostly political smoke and mirrors. The proposed “raises” offer came with major workplace concessions, thousands of dollars of increased health insurance premiums per firefighter, and continuing threats of firefighters layoffs and station closures. In other words, the city demanded we fund our own pay raises.

OCTOBER 17, 2018
Just after 7 pm a DPS Trooper working traffic on US 59 near 1485 stopped a vehicle for a violation. The driver pulled to the left shoulder instead of the right. A second Trooper then pulled up behind the first, all with emergency lights on. The Troopers were still in their vehicles when a female driver in the left lane failed to slow down or move over. Her left mirror hit the first troopers’ tail light breaking it out. The second trooper pursued the female stopping her just north of FM 1485. There were no injuries. The female was given a field sobriety test and was arrested for DWI. All-day Wednesday Troopers in several counties around Houston worked enforcement of slow down move over law. The driver, Jo Nell Soto, 55, of Houston was transported to the Montgomery County Jail on a charge of possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.

OCTOBER 17, 2018
Just after 8 pm Woodlands and Spring Fire Department responded to a reported house fire on Hammock Dunes in the Villages of Creekside Park. They arrived with heavy smoke from a house which firefighters estimate to be close to 12000 square feet. With heavy fire inside a second alarm was pulled bringing in Klien, Magnolia and Needham Fire Departments. Several dogs were rescued from the home and seemed to be uninjured. The Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office is on the scene and will be investigating.

OCTOBER 17, 2018
On 10/17/2018 at approximately 10:15 pm, a delivery driver for Pizza Hut was robbed at gunpoint in the 2400 block of Keegan Hollow Lane (Spring). Upon arrival for the delivery, the victim was approached by a Hispanic male and black male who then produced a semi-automatic handgun and demand money and property from the victim. As they fled the scene on foot a call was placed to 911 and deputies from the Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office responded along with units from several other agencies.

Upon arrival on the scene less than 2 minutes later a white Cadillac was located on the next block over from the crime scene. Upon initiating a traffic stop, a male suspect later identified as Tommy Lemons exited the vehicle and fled on foot. He was later located a short distance away by a Conroe Police K9 unit and was taken into custody without incident. The other suspect Travis Perez was taken into custody at the scene of the traffic stop.

Both Lemons and Perez have been charged with Aggravated Robbery and booked into the Montgomery County Jail. A third male was also taken into custody on unrelated charges. The driver of the vehicle was detained but later released after it was learned that he got a phone call to pick the two robbers up, not knowing what had transpired. The property taken in the robbery was recovered along with the firearm used in the robbery. The Precinct 3 Constable’s Office is following up on the case with further investigation.

OCTOBER 17, 2019
Honorary Freeport Officer Abigail Arias is honored at the Brazoria County Fair Auction. Abigail passes November 5, 2019, after a long battle with cancer.




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