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NEWS STORIES FROM THIS DATE, JANUARY 22 OF YEARS PAST


JANUARY 22, 2009
MEMORIAL SERVICES FOR CHARLES MITTS
If Charles Mitts were still alive, his friends would have him smiling, his wife, Kristi Mitts, believes.
Mitts, 42, accomplished heroic feats during his life. He saved three people from flooding in Harker Heights in 1997. He was a decorated Gulf and Iraq war veteran. He helped with disaster recovery after Hurricanes Ike, Katrina and Rita and the space shuttle Discovery crash.
When Mitts was not overcoming extraordinary challenges, he reveled in spending time with his wife and three children.
He also delighted in watching the Discovery Channel show “Overhaulin.'” The show’s cast turns antique piles of junk belonging to ordinary people into state-of-the-art classic automobiles. He enjoyed seeing good things happen to deserving people, Kristi said.
Mitts died Jan. 14 after the Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was in crashed during a training exercise over Texas A&M University on Jan. 12.
Another passenger died and three others including pilot 1st Lt. Ellis Taylor, 31, suffered severe injuries. Taylor remains in physical therapy to recover from the accident. At the end of April, Mitts’ close friends, John and Liz Hernandez, owners of Headliner Custom Interiors in Fort Worth, plan to overhaul Taylor’s beat-up 1998 Land Rover but need more money to complete the project.
Mitts was a gearhead and an avid fan of classic cars and racing, his wife, Kristi, said.
Mitts and Taylor served together in Iraq during 2006 and 2007. Mitts teased Taylor about his less than top-notch backpacks because Mitts always had the latest gear. He bought the best technology he could afford, Kristi said.
Shortly before the fateful flight, Taylor showed Mitts a picture from a Web site of the newest tactical bag Taylor had just purchased. The picture made Mitts jealous because he didn’t have the gear yet.
The Hernandezes hope the project helps Taylor overcome the grief of being the pilot during the crash. They invested $4,000, but need several thousand dollars more to restore the engine, gut the interior, re-cover the leather upholstery, add a custom audio system and install off-road accessories.
“Charles would have been one of the main people trying to get funding or contributions,” Kristi said. “I think this would have really made him happy.”


JANUARY 22, 2010
MONTGOMERY COUNTY MOST WANTED


JANUARY 22, 2010
ROBBINS WRIT HEARING
Neil Hampton Robbins, 34, convicted of Capital Murder of a person under six years of age is getting a second chance 11 years later, thanks to the prosecution’s key witness in a case that will likely be discussed in and outside of the courtroom for many years to come.
Ironically, his family also has ties to the Clarence Brandley case, one of the state’s most infamous cases of wrongful conviction.
Robbins was convicted of killing Tristin Rivet, his girlfriend’s 17-month-old daughter who died on May 2, 1998. In February 1999, he was sentenced to life in prison.


JANUARY 22, 2011
INJURED NAVAL PETTY OFFICER GIVEN NEW HOME
Hundreds showed up Saturday morning to honor Petty Officer Anthony Thompson as he was presented a new home. The home near the shores of Lake Houston was built specifically for Thompson and his family by Homes for Our Troops an organization that has built almost 100 homes for our injured veterans and is setting a goal for another 100.

During Thompson’s second deployment he was stationed with a Marine unit near Fallujah, Iraq when a suicide bomber detonated almost 3000 pounds of explosives under the overpass. Thompson and seven of his group were all seriously injured. The only one that died was the suicide bomber.

Thompson was found unresponsive on a pile of concrete rubble. After being transported to Battalion Aid Stations, Thompson was transported to Landstuhl, Germany. Petty Officer Thompson suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, an incomplete spinal cord injury, and a punctured right lung. He was airlifted to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida where he spent nearly three years in rehabilitation.

“The Key Ceremony we held this morning for Petty Officer Thompson and his family is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together and show our appreciation for our servicemen and women, remember that we are bound by our love of country, and the act of our innate need to give back to our brave American heroes who protect our freedom,” said John Gonsalves, founder of Homes for Our Troops.

Homes for Our Troops specially adapted homes go beyond ADA compliance, featuring open floor plans, roll-in showers, roll-under cooktops and sinks, and other standard accessibility items. Depending on the severity of the injury suffered by the veteran, the home may also include specialized items including lift systems, keyless door entry and voice activation control. The Thompsons’ new 2400-square foot home will provide maximum freedom of movement.

“Given the challenges of Anthony’s condition, having four walls around us that are ours – a home instead of a hospital – is more than I could have imagined. We no longer have to separate ourselves at the end of the day, which I’m incredibly grateful for. Our little boy AJ is starting to understand the meaning of home,” said Ivonne Thompson, Anthony’s wife. “Words cannot to begin to express the love and support I’ve felt from Humble and the entire city of Houston. This experience, receiving a brand new home from Homes for Our Troops, shows that people are good-hearted and will lend a helping hand.”


JANUARY 22, 2014
RV BURNS ON FM 2090
Around noon Wednesday Caney Creek Fire Department was dispatched to a recreational vehicle on fire just down the street from their station on FM 2090. As crews arrived the RV was fully involved.
The owner who had been working on it said some insulation caught fire and it erupted into flames.


JANUARY 22, 2015
GRAND VIEW 2 ALARM HOUSE FIRE
At 415am Thursday morning Montgomery Fire Department responded to a reported house fire on Grandview Lane. When they arrived they found a large home with fire through the roof. a second alarm was called for bringing, Needham, Conroe, Lake Conroe, North Montgomery County, Plantersville and Magnolia Fire Departments. Firefighters were up against high winds fanning the flames as they raced from the rear of the home to the front. A female resident was home at the time of the fire but got out safely. The fire was brought under control close to 6 am. Tankers had to shuttle water from hydrants throughout the area as there were none within close proximity. The Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.
ORIGINAL STORY WITH PHOTOS


JANUARY 22, 2016
HIGH WINDS HIT MONTGOMERY COUNTY
High winds moved into Montgomery County this afternoon. the highest recorded gust was recorded at 203pm near Lake Conroe at 47mph. Lt Cade with the Montgomery County Precinct 1 Constable Office Lake Patrol was on duty today in case of any emergencies on the lake. He advised people to stay off the lake as it is quite dangerous. At times 6-foot waves have been recorded. Other areas of the county suffer power outages. A tree on FM 2090 in Grangerland knocked out power to several hundred Entergy customers. As TxDOT worked to reopen the road Entergy worked to repair the lines. There are several of the same situations playing out across the area as trees are falling with the high winds and saturated ground.


JANUARY 22, 2018
TRIAL IN DEATH OF PATTON VILLAGE OFFICER
After jury selection, the trial of Garrett Nee of Kingwood started just after 2 pm in Montgomery County District Court 9 with Judge Grant presiding. Several witnesses were called in this afternoon including the manager of the Corner Store at SH 242 and I-69 in Patton Village. Also, Officer Pitts who in 2016 was an officer with Wood branch Police. He is now on the Lone Star College Police Force. On June 19, 2016, about 7 p.m. a regular customer was on the picnic tables on the east side of the Corner Store which is now owned by Circle K. While he was there he witnessed a vehicle pull up in the side parking lot, back in a parking spot along the freeway feeder. He then exited the vehicle and began to urinate reportedly exposing himself. The customer went into the building and reported the incident to the manager who called the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line. As she was talking to dispatchers Nee got back into his vehicle and pulled to the front of the store. That is when Patton Village Sgt. Baumgartner arrived after getting the call from dispatch. Baumgartner parked behind Nee with his overhead lights on and approached the Nee who was in the driver’s seat. After getting his license and insurance, he returned to the front of his patrol car to speak with a witness. At the same time, Officer Pitts who was on a traffic stop pulled into the Corner Store to back -up Baumgartner. As he did he realized he had a flat tire on the Woodbranch patrol car. He spoke briefly with Baumgartner who then returned to his patrol car. As Baumgartner was sitting in his vehicle running
Nee’s driver’s license put the vehicle in reverse almost striking Baumgartner’s patrol unit. He then fled west on SH 242. Baumgartner called dispatch and advised them of the pursuit and also that his dashcam had just failed. The pursuit continued west on SH 242 at speeds of up to 100 mph. Several times Nee traveled head-on with vehicles as he passed vehicles. When they reached the intersection of FM 1485 and SH 242 dispatchers lost communications with Baumgartner and GPS tracking. Seconds later calls began to come in regarding a two-vehicle crash with rollover. A police vehicle and a Suburban were reported in the crash. Units arrived shortly after and confirmed Baumgartner was involved in a crash and was entrapped. According to court records, Nee who was involved in the pursuit got to the intersection just as the light changed to red. Baumgartner was said to be 3-car lengths behind when he entered the intersection with lights and siren. A family who had just finished a Father’s Day dinner was traveling north on FM 1485. The Suburban they were in slammed into the driver’s door of Baumgartner’s patrol car. Both vehicles flipped. Baumgartner who had jumped into his patrol car to stop Nee was not wearing a seatbelt. The Suburban had been modified with different seats. None of which had seatbelts. The seats were ripped from their mounts in the crash ejecting most of the 7 occupants. The occupants included 3 boys and 2 girls. One of the children who was 11-years-old did not make it. Records also show Nee continued on but saw the wreck in his mirror. A short time later he raced back to the scene passing EMs and even DPS Troopers. When he arrived on the scene he was recognized and arrested. He was put in the back of a Roman Forest patrol car. While in there he attempted to kick the back windows out. Baumgartner died at the hospital. On Father’s Day, he left behind a wife, a 6-year-old daughter, and a 21-year-old son. Nee, who has been in the Montgomery County Jail since June 19, 2016, stands charged with two counts of evading arrest detention causing death and 2 counts of evading arrest and detention causing serious bodily injury. He is also charged with DWI with blood alcohol over .15.

The trial is expected to last at least one week and will continue Tuesday morning.