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Posts published in “Day: January 6, 2011”

Road design contributes to fatal FM 2100 bus crash

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
CROSBY – At about 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 28, a Mustang was turning left into the Tall Cedar Community at 19123 FM 2100 when a man driving a white Ford S.U.V. approached northbound and tried to pass the stopped vehicle by going into the oncoming lane as a Crosby ISD school bus filled with Crosby’s Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team was southbound, according to eyewitnesses.
It was a fatal mistake for the S.U.V driver which also injured numerous students. Six ambulances of two girls each and a bus driver were observed loading, parents arrived next to take others home.
Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept. rolled most of their units. Fire Chief Alan Kulak directing rescue operations said, “I hope the state will get busy putting in some turn lanes.”


The license plate on the S.U.V. indicates the vehicle belongs to “Mean” Gene Kelton. A guitar and amplifier was onboard the S.U.V. Kelton, 57, was said to be on his way to a charity gig in Porter. Deputy Hughes confirmed it was Kelton, one of the top blues guitar players in Texas.
The impact of the crash brought all of the debris including the bus to just in front of Pooky’s Tavern. The owner, although he did not see the wreck himself, heard it. With a fire extinguisher in hand he ran to the aid of the S.U.V. driver inside a heavily smoking wreck. That is when Lee Machala, that owner, realized the driver was pinned in the S.U.V. He then thought about how to help get the children to safety from the roadside.
“I am sick and tired of wrecks on this road. I have to watch 70 m.p.h. traffic on a road servicing all this side of Harris County with just two lanes. We have to take care of each other out here. I do what I can to keep my customers safe but we need some work on this road.”
Deputies at the scene determined that Kelton had died instantly and may have been operating a cell phone at the time. The Mustang was simply waiting on oncoming traffic to enter the Tall Cedar Community. Perhaps the best decision would have been to choose the ditch and go right but there is often little time to react.
Team members, the coach, the coaches daughter, and the bus driver left hospitals that day.
There are turn lanes on FM 2100, mostly at county roads but private drives have no such lanes and the rate of injuries have increased dramatically since last year. The count according to officials is 12 fatalities since school closed last year.
Although the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Department of Public Safety have increased patrols and are steady writing tickets on FM 2100 from U.S. 90 to Huffman’s FM 1960.
The conditions of the road remains hazardous for the amount of traffic. Two single vehicle roll-over accidents at Old Atascocita Rd. at FM 2100 occurred on Dec. 12 and Dec. 18.
In 1998 the state legislature considered widening FM 2100 and upon said that the roadway needed the changes but voted not one dime to make them.
Subsequent proposals have been termed “development driven initiatives.” Whatever that means, it seems that development in Humble, Atascocita, Crosby and Baytown merit consideration of widening that roadway.
Local property owners are not wanting to acquiesce another 8 to 16 feet of right-of-way but they do not want to endanger their families either. Jerry Eversole urged the community to demand of the state to widen FM 2100 two years ago.
This is not the beginning and it is certainly not the end. Currently, the state is to complete the Crosby Freeway in April of this year. Construction of the Overpass at the railroad pass is to begin in February. A traffic snarl begins at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. now on FM 2100.

New JP, Commissioner take oath of office

BAYTOWN— On Jan. 3, Judge elect Don Coffey was sworn in to become the new Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3. He is replacing the retiring Judge Tony Polumbo who did not seek re-election after having served for 20 years.
Congressman Ted Poe administered the oath of office at the courthouse on Baker Rd. in Baytown. “I am honored that Congressman Poe agreed to come swear me in on Monday. As a former Harris County District Judge and now my Congressman, he is the ideal person to start my career as a new judge.”
Coffey was elected in 2010 after receiving seventy-nine percent of the votes in the run-off election to serve as Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3, Place 2. He was born and raised in Baytown and has been married to his wife, Jenice, since 1978. They have one son, Stephen, who is attending Washington University School of Law.
Coffey has practiced law in Baytown since 1993 and is the past president of the local bar association. Prior to becoming an attorney, he worked in the Texas Senate while attending law school.



EAST HARRIS COUNTY–Deer Park resident Jack Morman was sworn in as the Harris County Precinct Two Commissioner Saturday morning in a ceremony at the county’s Civil Courthouse located at 201 Caroline, 17th Floor, in downtown Houston.
The lifelong Precinct Two resident was sworn in by Harris County Criminal Court Judge Natalie Fleming.
He was surrounded by family and constituents, including his wife, Andrea Moreno Morman and their children, daughter Jordan and son Jack III (ages 3 and 2 respectively).
“I will bring a positive attitude of cooperation and community involvement to Precinct Two,” Morman said following the oath. “We will continue to provide essential services while meeting the challenge of reducing spending and eliminating waste. Every resident will know that every tax dollar is spent wisely.”
Morman is a graduate of Baylor University and Baylor University Law School and is licensed by the State of Texas to practice before the courts of the State of Texas as well as the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Rotary rolls out 2011 Chili Feast Prize

Highlands Rotarians are busy preparing for their 36th Annual CHILI FEAST Raffle and Auction, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 4 at St. Jude’s Catholic Church on Main Street in Highlands.
$100 raffle tickets and $7 chili lunch tickets are being sold by all Highlands Rotarians and many local businesses.
The person who holds the last of the 600 tickets that will be drawn that Saturday wins their choice of a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro (similar to the one pictured, but color may vary) or a new 2011 Chevy Silverado Pick-up. Vehicles are furnished by Keating Chevrolet in Crosby.
There are also 13 other valuable prizes in the raffle, including computers, LCD TV, gift cards, iPod, Nintendo Wii, and much more.
The event starts at 11 am and concludes around 3 pm. There is also a silent and live auction, with many great gifts, music and refreshments. Monies raised by this Highlands tradition are used for community projects undertaken by the Rotary Club.