MAY 4, 2006
MEMORIAL PARK SEVERE WEATHER
MAY 4, 2007
NEW CANEY WEATHER CLEANUP
MAY 4, 2007
WOODLANDS DEPUTY WALLIS HIT
MAY 4, 2010
PORTER METH BUST
PORTER – For the second time in less than two weeks, the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office has shut down an active methamphetamine lab. This time the lab was mobile.
Around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Deputy Boudreaux tried to initiate a traffic stop on a 1993 Dodge pickup near the intersection of FM 1314 and Hwy 59, but the suspect refused to stop. Deputy Boudreaux initiated a pursuit, which soon ended at an apartment complex on Partner’s Way. The suspect parked his vehicle in front of a multiple dwelling unit and fled on foot into a nearby wooded area. Deputies gave chase but were unable to apprehend the suspect.
When Deputy Boudreaux returned to the vehicle, he found what was later determined to be an active methamphetamine lab inside the truck. Deputies secured the scene and contacted a Houston-based Texas Department of Public Safety Methamphetamine Initiative Group (MIG) to process the chemicals and evidence inside the vehicle. A hazardous materials crew was contracted to dispose of the items and the Porter Fire Department responded to the scene to standby in case the volatile chemicals ignited. When the chemicals began to react, the residents of two nearby units in the complex were evacuated.
Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, who also responded to the scene, said the apartment complex is not a frequent location of calls for service and is considered “family-oriented.” Constable Hayden pointed out children playing in the courtyard of the complex and the presence of a popular daycare center less than a block away.
“This is a good example of why we are attacking this problem with every available resource,” Constable Hayden said. “Law-abiding citizens are trying to raise their children here, and they should be able to do so without being endangered by explosive chemicals or the criminals who use them.”
A suspect has been identified, and his name will be released after the initial investigation has concluded and the evidence is processed.
MAY 10, 2014
PLUM GROVE WILDFIRE
Saturday morning, Plum Grove Fire Department was dispatched to a grass and woods fire just east of the Plum Grove City Hall in Liberty County. They arrived on the scene to find a large brush fire quickly moving through a subdivision and threatening several homes.
Chief Trapp with the Plum Grove Fire Department immediately called for as much help as possible. The Texas Forest Service, Huffman, Crosby, Cleveland, Splendora, Tarkington, New Caney, Porter, and Caney Creek Fire Departments responded to assist.
Crews worked throughout the day battling the blaze, but with the high humidity and winds, it was a difficult fight. Things took a turn for the worst when winds shifted and started pushing the fire to the west, toward Plum Grove Road. Units responded there but were unable to access the blaze, due to freshly bulldozed piles of trees and brush. The fire was running across downed treetops and limbs left behind by the logging operation and soon moved into the wooded area along Plum Grove Road.
Residents watched as firefighters went in with hand tools and no water in an attempt to cut the fire off. Several years ago, and just a mile down the road the fire which had gotten into the woods jumped Plum Grove Road (FM1010) and threatened many homes on the west side of the road.
Just as the sun was about to set a private individual with a large dozer moved into the area and cut a fire line. The huge dozer easily dropping trees and brush in it’s path.
According to the Fire Chief, the blaze was started by several residents in the new subdivision who have yet to get water service hooked up to their property. “They light these fires and leave with no water source to extinguish them,” Trapp said.
MAY 4, 2015
HPD ROBBERY PURSUIT
Monday, just before 11:30 p.m., Rafael Pena had gotten off work at Metro Life in Houston and was on his way home in his Ford pick-up when he was rear-ended at the intersection of Canino and Airline.
Pena exited his vehicle to check for damage and make sure the other driver was okay. As he did so, a male from the other vehicle approached Pena with a screwdriver and attempted to rob him. Pena was stabbed in the arm twice before he was able to punch the perpetrator.
The passenger of the other vehicle then exited and approached Pena, changed his mind, then fled north on Airline with the driver.
Unbeknownst to the suspects, Pena followed them to West Road and Airline where they rear-ended another vehicle and attempted to rob again. After realizing Pena had followed them, they fled the scene at a high speed.
Pena, who was speaking with a 911 dispatcher, continued to follow them. The suspects stopped at Greenspoint Mall parking lot, pulled up next to a vehicle, and broke one of its windows. The five suspects — a female, male juvenile, and three adult males — removed property from the damaged vehicle.
Once again, the suspects spotted Pena and fled north on the I-45 feeder at Greens Road, only after doing several doughnuts around the parking lot.
A Houston police unit spotted them after they’d fled and attempted to stop the vehicle. In an attempt to flee, they reached speeds up to 120 mph.
Harris County Sheriff’s Officer entered teh pursuit as the suspects traveled north on I-45. When they reached Cypresswood, the suspects exited the freeway, made a U-turn, and headed south on I-45.
As they approached Richey Road, they exited and continued south on the feeder through the Richey intersection, only to be boxed in by police units with guns drawn.
The suspect driver hit a curb and ran into a patch of shrubbery. After a brief struggle in which one suspect was tazed and a Harris County Deputy broke his finger, all five were taken into custody. Cypress Creek EMS was dispatched to check the deputy and the tazed suspect.
It was later discovered that the suspects’ vehicle was stolen in a robbery the night before, and had been involved in two other robberies and one sexual assault.
MAY 4, 2016
CLEVELAND BENEFIT BUST
On Wednesday, May 04, 2016, the Cleveland Police Department obtained warrants for the arrest of the two suspects that stole a donation jar containing monies from Pa Ro’s Pizza in Cleveland, Texas on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016. The money was being collected for an 18-month-old child who passed away unexpectedly last week.
An investigation by the Cleveland Police Department led to the identification of these suspects. Local media played a huge role by getting the information out in a timely manner alerting concerned citizens of the theft.
Lyndsay Noelle Radabaugh (age 19) of Houston and Joseph Shane Horn (age 21) of Cleveland have been apprehended and are currently being held at the Cleveland Police Department Jail. With the assistance of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, we were able to quickly arrest these suspects.
Both have been charged with Misdemeanor Theft class “B”, which carries a fine not to exceed $2,000 and/or confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days (6 months).
We are very pleased we were able to resolve this case within a two-day period. Hopefully, these arrests will provide the family involved some solace. The Cleveland Police Department continues to extend our sympathy to the family
Monday evening there was a jar with $640 in it which had been collected for a Memorial Fund for 18-month-old Greyson Lane McCool Terry. At closing, it was gone. Greyson’s mother previously worked at Papa Ro’s Pizza in Cleveland. On April 22nd Kayla McCool took her son to Conroe Regional Medical Center with an earache. That earache turned into double pneumonia. Five days later little Greyson died. Ro Chea, owner of Papa Ro’s said he will continue collecting, however, folks can also donate at Wells Fargo Bank. Cleveland Police are now searching for the suspects. Both are known to Cleveland Police. What upset Chea most was the jar was sitting in front of a poster with little Greyson’s photo on it.
MAY 4, 2017
MARJORIE NANTA, MOTHER OF MELINDA SEDLMEIER AND GRANDMOTHER OF LITTLE HARLEY AND SOFIE TELL THE COURT ABOUT THE FAMILY
The Sedlmeier family, of Montgomery, got up for church one Sunday morning in the fall of 2015, never imagining it was their last day on earth. One of the most emotional and tragic cases ever to pour out before a Montgomery County jury ended with an 80-year sentence on Friday, handed down by 359th District Court Judge Kathleen Hamilton to 70-year-old Ronald Evan Cooper. Although Judge Hamilton decided the sentence, as requested by Cooper, it was a jury that found him guilty of all six felony charges in connection with the September 20, 2015 crash on SH 105 that killed a family of four and forever changed the lives of a pair of teens in a third vehicle. A spokesman for the deceased family called it a “hollow” victory.
Cooper was convicted of four counts of second-degree felony Intoxication Manslaughter and two second-degree felony counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Judge Hamilton sentenced him to the maximum of 20 years per count in the four deaths, to run consecutively. At 70, Cooper has already enjoyed 66 years more of life than his youngest victim, and 21 years more than his oldest.
Roland Sedlmeier, 49 and Melinda Sedlmeier, 42, died suddenly and senselessly, along with their 6-year-old son Harley, and their 4-year-old daughter, Sofie. Their vehicle was forced into oncoming traffic when it was struck from behind by a vehicle driven by Ronald Cooper. They collided with a Jeep Wrangler, driven by a 16-year-old who had a 15-year-old passenger. Neither of the young men sustained life-threatening injuries, but will no doubt carry the scars of that event for the rest of their lives.
Investigators assigned to the case in 2015 reported Cooper nodding off and having slurred speech, not to mention showing no concern for his victims. In fact, police said Cooper blamed the victims, saying their 2001 Toyota died suddenly in the middle of the road, which is why he struck them from the rear, sending it into the oncoming lanes. Cooper was discovered to have been abusing oxycodone and valium for an extended period of time leading up to the fatal crash, which may have accounted for his lack of emotion.
An unusual display of emotion was made by prosecutor Tyler Dunman, who responded to the scene of the crash and saw the carnage involving the two children, who happened to be the age of his daughters. Dunman said he also knew the teens in the Jeep, adding that there is always a fear of knowing those involved when he heads to the scene of a traffic fatality.
Dunman was in tears in court Friday, as he explained that it was “hard to put into words the impact the case had on the community,” and even on him. He spoke about what he’d learned of the pair of Christian missionaries to Africa.
“It’s one thing to call yourself a Christian,” Dunman said, “It’s another thing to live that life. This family lived that life.”
Roland Sedlmeier was a German national, who served in his country’s military special forces before becoming a missionary to Africa where he met Melinda, better known as “Mindy”.
During the sentencing phase of Cooper’s trial, Mindy Sedlmeier’s mother, Marjorie Nantz, bravely testified about those she’d lost. She said Mindy was the oldest of three children and was a girl who loved to read, to play tennis, and spend time with her friends. “She loved life,” Nantz said. Mindy attended John Brown University as an accounting major, on a full tennis scholarship after being a state of Oklahoma doubles champion in high school, she said.
Mindy earned her degree and began her career with a job at a prestigious accounting firm in Tulsa, but Nantz said her daughter “felt the Lord leading her” and as a single woman, it was the perfect time to be a missionary. She began in Nairobi Kenya and spent time witnessing and helping people in some very remote areas of Africa where she learned firsthand how dangerous the continent could be for an American Christian missionary, and particularly a woman.
“She loved the people of Africa,” Nantz said. “She shared Jesus with them.”
Mindy also shared tennis with them, sending home pics of herself with Africans holding tennis racquets she’d given them so she could share her sport. Mindy always put all she had into whatever she did. She was preparing to attend the funeral of the 10-year-old child of another missionary one day and went to an airport hangar to inflate balloons. She was returning to the compound by car when she was kidnapped by three men, armed with AK-47’s. They threw her in the back of the car, but before they could get her out of the driver seat, she grabbed the horn and honked it. They were shocked that she would do that, and asked if she realized that could cause them to kill her. She didn’t answer. She’d already begun to pray and call on the name of Jesus. In the end, she was released unharmed. Her mom said Mindy’s story was later published in Sunday School materials as a lesson about the power in the name of Jesus.
Mindy stayed in Africa after her kidnapping, and that’s how she met Roland, her husband and the love of her life. They were married in Las Vegas, not because it’s a tourist trap, but because they had family there. Even after marriage, the Sedlmeiers’ hearts led them back to Africa, which is where their son was born. They had moved to the United States, where they should have been safer, by the time Sofie was born. In another bitter irony, just before their deaths, Roland accomplished something extremely difficult. He obtained dual citizenship in his native Germany and in the United States and proudly received his certificate the Saturday before his death.
Nantz said she spoke with Sofie’s Sunday School teacher, who told her a story about Sofie’s reaction to her lesson on that fateful day. She told the children someday God would come and take them home to Heaven, and she said Sofie whirled around and said, “Well, what’s he waiting for?” That happened at 11:45, Nantz said.
“I found out later, at 12:45, she was walking into Heaven’s gates,” Nantz said. “I knew she knew Jesus. He wasn’t a stranger to her.”
The heartbroken mother and grandmother buried her husband 15 short months before she had to say goodbye to her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. The matriarch gathered her strength and considered what would be best for her family, and then she spoke to the funeral director, telling him how much Harley and Sofie loved one another and how she thought they’d want to be together.
“I said I could not stand for them to go into the ground by themselves in a little casket, can we please put them together?” The funeral director told her they usually didn’t do that, but she pleaded with him until he agreed to place them side by side in a single casket that matched their parents’.
The mother of the 16-year-old driver of the third vehicle involved also testified, saying her son had “cried a million tears.” She said he was changed by the crash, that his grades dropped, he gained a lot of weight, and he never wants to “stick around and visit” with people now. He has even become distant with his friend who was in the passenger seat. Prior to the crash, the boys had been inseparable.
In addition to witnesses that explained what an amazing family was lost in one preventable instant, and witnesses who related the impact of the loss on surviving family members or the teen survivors of the crash, there was another kind of witness. There were recordings of calls Cooper made from the Montgomery County Jail. His own words might have been more damaging to his case than anything anyone else said throughout the trial. Cooper’s words and tone conveyed a coldness and cruel selfishness that was difficult for any listener to process, sounding as though he’d been inconvenienced by the deadly crash and had a right to be angry at someone… perhaps, the victims. He mocked the age of their car and said it was because they had no money, adding that now they had no lives.
Cooper’s stepdaughter, Angela Hoffman, tried to show him in a better light when she took the stand during sentencing. She talked about him being a good provider and portrayed him as a loving grandfather. However, upon questioning by the prosecution, Hoffman had to admit Cooper’s family had been so concerned about the mental state that they hid his guns from him. She also admitted when Cooper was detoxing from the meds he took regularly, he would become agitated and sleep with some under his pillow. Hoffman, who is a home healthcare provider, was emotional and was obviously in an extremely uncomfortable position testifying.
Dunman said he and fellow prosecutor Andrew James expected to see things that would “humanize” the defendant, but instead, they’d seen a “callused disregard” for the court, for the justice system, and worst of all, for the victims. Dunman said he never had another case where a defendant was “snoring while autopsy photos were presented.” He disputed the defense’s unsubstantiated claim that a medical condition was responsible for Cooper repeatedly nodding off, and said the defendant was simply bored.
According to Dunman and others, after Cooper’s conviction on Thursday, he not only failed to acknowledge any wrongdoing, he was laughing and joking.
“He jokes about the fact that he’s going to be sentenced,” Dunman said, “laughing and rolling his eyes at what the judge is going to do – I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Then again, the 2015 case was not Cooper’s first run-in with the law. In fact, during the sentencing phase, Dunman pointed out that Cooper had what many would have considered a wakeup call and a lucky break too. He was charged with Driving While Intoxicated in 2008 after a DPS Trooper stopped him for driving erratically in Walker County and Cooper blamed it on eating an ice cream cone, but then failed a standardized field sobriety test. Cooper was also in possession of multiple narcotics at that time. He had a prescription bottle of Valium, which also contained Soma, Viagra, and Vicodin. Despite the variety of scheduled drugs, Cooper managed to score a pretrial diversion and was able to avoid a conviction on his record simply by successfully completing probation. In 2009, police were called to deal with an issue between Cooper and his wife. He was initially arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge, but the charge was later dropped. MCPR was unable to find any record of additional criminal charges or another record of Cooper being held accountable for wrongdoing until 2015. Dunman pointed out some of the similarities in how the 2008 arrest began, to the day of the quadruple fatality crash. He was emotional as he talked about how it could have changed everything…
There were others on the road, swerving and reporting Cooper’s driving, just as there were when he struck the Sedlmeier’s vehicle that Sunday on Highway 105.
“In 2008, on I-45, there was a Sedlmeier family that made it home, luckily, and that was Mr. Cooper’s chance,” Dunman said, “To say, you know what? Something has to give here. I’m given an opportunity.”
Dunman said if there were ever a moment or an event that was going to change the path Cooper headed down leading to killing an entire family, it was that day in 2008.
“But it did nothing for him,” Dunman said.
“In 2015, he was back on the roadway, taking the same medication, and the Sedlmeier’s don’t make it home,” Dunman said. “He showed a calloused disregard for the safety of this community, and the sanctity of human life, and I wish that I could say that I felt that he gets it now – but he doesn’t get it. He simply doesn’t get it – and he doesn’t seem to be affected by what he’s done.”
Cooper may never show any remorse and maybe as Dunman said, he simply “doesn’t get it” and isn’t “affected by what he’s done,” but the jury he chose to determine a verdict and the judge he wished to impose his sentence were obviously very affected. The 12-person jury found Cooper guilty and Judge Kathleen Hamilton gave Cooper the maximum sentence on each count. For each of the Intoxication Manslaughter charges, she sentenced Cooper to 20 years, to run consecutively, ensuring he will die in prison with no more opportunity to get behind the wheel and endanger lives.
Cooper’s attorneys said they plan to file an appeal.
5/4/21 UPDATE- COOPER NOW 73, REMAINS AT THE TDC PACK 1 UNIT -HE IS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR PAROLE UNTIL 4/5/2026
MAY 4, 2017
MONTGOMERY COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY TYLER DUNMAN CLOSING ARGUMENTS ON MAN WHO KILLED 4 INJURED 2 IN DWI CRASH
SEE ABOVE STORY
MAY 4, 2018
HOW SAFE ARE THE BRIDGES IN EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY
One of those bridges is a wooden bridge that spans Caney Creek on Millmac between FM 1484 and Waukegan. The bridge was built many years ago as a wooden bridge and maintained as a wooden bridge. The last time the bridge was inspected was in December 2015. That inspection described the bridge as a wood or timber bridge 145 feet long and 24.3 feet wide. It was estimated in 2014 that approximately 600 cars a day crossed that bridge and that truck traffic was 8% of that number. The substructure was rated as satisfactory with the wooden deck rated as good. The operating rating of the bridge was 39.6 tons (79,200 lbs.) with the inventory rating as 28.7 tons (57,400 lbs.). Since Harvey’s large logs are wedged up against the bridge structure restricting water flow.
Another bridge is on Millmac between Willis Waukegan and SH 105 in Cut and Shoot. That is a 36 -foot- long bridge that is 24 feet wide. It too was last inspected in December 2015. At the time of the inspection, it was a wooden bridge also covered in asphalt. It received a fair rating also. The report showed that in 2014 1,240 vehicles passed over that bridge a day with 5% of that traffic is trucks.The bridge was said to have an inventory rating of 16.8 tons (33,600 lbs.). With an operating range of 25.7 tons. It was recommended at the time that replacement of bridge or other structure because of substandard load carrying capacity or substantial bridge roadway geometry. The county currently has it posted for a maximum weight of 15,000 pounds (7.5 tons) per axle or set of axles. The total gross weight on a garbage truck is 54,000 pounds and a Conroe ISD School bus is 18,500 pounds empty and last but not least is a fire truck which weighs at least 40,000 pounds empty. The surface of the road is covered in cracks where the asphalt is sinking, Sinking into what on a wooden deck under it? One beam is lying in the creek bed. Looking at the sides, nails are coming out and several beams are visibly rotted.
The third bridge has been in the news for at least 10 years. On October 25, 2008, a young lady driving down Old Houston Road just south of SH 242 ran off the side of the Dry Creek bridge. The bridge is actually not really a bridge, but an old railroad car covered in asphalt. That is not a bad thing as many of those were used many years ago. That bridge was inspected in November 2015 and had an operating rating of 40.6 tons (81,200 pounds) and an inventory rating of 27.7 tons (55, 400 pounds). At the time it was reported that an average of 840 vehicles a day passed over it of which 1% were trucks. Since that time Old Houston has been put on many truckers’ GPS units as a cut through to get to the Walmart Distribution Center on Gene Campbell and the traffic has drastically increased. Even once the 18-wheelers make it over the bridge they still need to contend with the sharp curves just before FM 1314 which many motorists have come into with an 18-wheeler in their lane. Several weeks ago the edges of the bridge began to break away, the asphalt began to crumble. A vehicle going over the bridge and hitting the wrong spot could easily put it off in the Dry Creek which is about 4-feet deep currently. Commissioner Clark sent his truck used to repair potholes to the bridge on April 27th to make the repairs. The only thing done was to dump piles of loose gravel over the holes. It has now caused motorists to move onto the oncoming lanes to avoid the piles of rock. Remember the bridge is only 24.6 feet wide. Two vehicles passing each other is tight but passing an 18-wheeler is worse. There has already been one death on the bridge over the years and at least 3 vehicles over the edge in the water. In one of those scenes, Grangerland and Bennette Firefighters (now Caney Creek Fire) had to enter the water to remove the female driver, the railings of this bridge are made up of 2×2 angle iron holding a piece of guardrail. One piece of the guardrail has already broken away. Where the bases of those pieces of angle iron are welded to the rail car are twisted and almost broken off. The rail would not hold a vehicle and probably wouldn’t even hold a person who would sit on the guard rail. As far as flood control, a mattress and a box spring are in the water blocking part of its passage. If you note the Google image of the bridge is dated 2008 this is the same year of one of the vehicles ended up in the water. Montgomery County Precinct 4 arrived on the scene and set up cones where the rail had been. A few days later they came back and erected the same rail and a few days later welded a guardrail to the angle iron supports. Almost 10 years and not a thing has changed.
MAY 4, 2018
FATAL CRASH PATRIDGE AT SH 249
Just before 11 p.m. Friday night the Montgomery County Hospital District Station 41 crew heard a loud crash outside their ambulance station on Patridge Drive at SH 249. Going out they saw the aftermath of a crash and went into action. They were on the scene within a minute, but it was still too late. The driver in a Cadillac sedan was deceased. Magnolia and Tomball Fire responded to the scene as did Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and DPS. The preliminary investigation shows a Cadillac was westbound on Patridge Drive and failed to yield right of way to the northbound traffic on SH 249. As a result, as the Cadillac entered the intersection, the male driver was t-boned in the driver’s side of the vehicle by a 2008 Jeep which was northbound on SH 249. According to a witness, the Jeep was traveling at highway speed when the vehicle just came out. The driver of the Jeep had no time to even take evasive action. With the large bumper and the height of the Jeep, it ripped into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The right wheel of the Jeep came to rest inside the vehicle. The driver of the Jeep was not injured but extremely distraught. He was cleared of impairment on the scene. Montgomery County Justice of the Peace Trey Spikes ordered Eickenhorst Funeral Directors to transport the victim to the Montgomery County Forensic Center for autopsy. Magnolia Firefighters were tasked with having to remove the Jeep and the doors and roof of the vehicle to remove the victim. As the crash was being investigated the road was closed. Several motorists decided to make a U-turn and travel over 1/2 mile southbound in the northbound lanes going head on at northbound traffic. MCSO deputies issued several citations. In addition, one such motorist was almost struck head-on at Decker Creek as a vehicle topped the hill. That driver crashed into the guardrail with only minor damage and no injuries. This is not the first crash at this intersection as residents try to get out of their subdivision and cross 3-lanes of northbound SH 249 traffic.
MAY 4, 2019
FLOODING IN WEST MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Several locations is now becoming passable along Spring Creek on the Harris/Montgomery County Line. According to Harris County Flood Gauges, some water is still rising. This was Sanders Cemetery Road. Earlier today Magnolia and Rosehill Fire Departments responded to a man in a johnboat who tried to leave his subdivision and the water carried him downstream he was located and safe., Several vehicles made it through the floodwaters at Sanders Cemetery where this was shot.
MAY 4, 2019
HELICOPTER CRASH IN NEW CANEY
Just after 2 pm a pilot from Anahuac Texas had flown to Cleveland. He was on the return trip to Anahuac when he lost the engine to his gyrocopter at 1500 feet. He attempted an autorotation into a church parking lot but saw he was heading for a mobile home community and overcorrected causing him to crash in front of Embrace Fellowship Church on Antique Lane just off US 59. in New Caney. The pilot suffered a groin injury from the control stick but did not require medical attention. The pilot who is 76-years-old said this is his second crash, the first was in a single-seater 40-years ago.