Justin Dwayne Smith of Silsbee

At approximately 4:15 a.m., according to Sgt. Stephanie Davis of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), troopers responded to a multiple vehicle crash on US 96 in Hardin County, approximately 5 miles north of Silsbee.

Davis says preliminary information available indicates that that a Mack garbage truck was traveling northbound on US 96 when it was rear-ended by a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro operated by 25-year-old Justin Dwayne Smith of Silsbee.

James Westbrook of Atlanta, Georgia

UPDATE: May 24 around 3 p.m. deputies arrested and transported 35-year-old James Westbrook of Atlanta, Georgia, to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility. Westbrook is being charged with evading and felony evading arrest in a motor vehicle. Westbrook was caught on a residential security camera in Chambers County approximately 30 minutes prior to fleeing from JCSO Deputies. Items found in the bed of the truck are being checked as a possibility that they were stolen.


Water playground devices at seven different Beaumont parks will be turned on Saturday, May 26.

The parks include Chartlon-Pollard, Cottonwood, Halbouty, Liberia, Perlstein, Pine and Roberts Park. Unfortunately, Central and Roberts Park’s water playground devices are still under repair.


A fatal multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10, near FM 1135, in Orange County claimed two lives and left four with injuries Monday, May 21. 

Preliminary reports indicate that a Saturn passenger vehicle was disabled on the eastbound frontage road of Interstate 10. Pedro Jose Soza-Orozco of Groves, driving a Ford F-150, pulled in front of the Saturn to assist. Soza-Orozco got out of his vehicle to attach a tow chain to the Saturn when the Saturn was rear-ended by a Ford F-250 pickup truck.

Graphic courtesy of Texas Comptroller

Certain Water-Efficient Products and ENERGY STAR products will be tax free during the 2018 Sales Tax Holiday Saturday, May 26 through Monday, May 28. 

The Texas Comptroller’s office estimates shopperswill save about $10.7 million in state and local sales tax during the Memorial Day weekend sales tax holidays.

Frances Tortorice Coco

Frances Tortorice Coco of Beaumont died peacefully on Saturday, May 19, 2018, at the age of 90. The youngest daughter of Sam and Rosa Tortorice, she was born on Aug. 19, 1927, in Beaumont.

She is survived by her son, Rusty Coco, and daughter, Marian Broussard and her husband, Pat, all of Beaumont; seven grandchildren; as well as seven great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Coco is preceded in death by her husband, Vincent James "V.J." Coco; her parents, Sam and Rosa Tortorice; her brothers Johnny, Vic, Jake and Joe Tortorice Sr.; and her sister, Mary Tortorice Sanderson.

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft

A joint U.S./German space mission to track the continuous movement of water and other changes in Earth’s mass on and beneath the planet’s surface successfully launched at 2:47 p.m. Tuesday from the California coast.

The twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) mission, lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sharing their ride into space with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites.


Jefferson County Clerk candidate Bailey Wingate is free to concentrate on a contested race for elected post now that an allegation of criminal conduct has been dismissed against the Beaumont attorney running for his first political seat. The cloud of accusation has lingered for months, with Wingate denying any truth to the charge, and all lines of justice supporting his assertion along the way, most recently with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office calling for complete dismissal of all charges “in the interest of justice.”


A suspicious package was allegedly reported in the area of HEB grocery and Bay Bright car wash on Dowlen Road in Beaumont the morning of Tuesday, May 22, according to employees of nearby businesses. Traffic was being diverted in the area, with limited access to properties and stores.

Additional information from police at the scene detailed the scenario as first responders and bomb squad officers arrived to find an unattended box left in the median of the roadway between Alter’s Gem Jewelers and Delaware Street.


Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced May 21 that Christopher Bushnell, 28, and Rashanda Morris, 27, each entered pleas of guilty to first degree Injury to a Child. Bushnell was charged with intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury to the victim, a two-year-old child, by holding her feet under hot water. Morris was charged with intentionally or knowingly, by omission, causing serious bodily injury to the victim by failing to seek medical treatment after Bushnell injured the child.