Injured Marble Falls officer resolves assault case with meeting, mercy

A Marble Falls officer who was badly injured in an Independence Day crash with an intoxicated boater sought a meeting with the boater to thank him for his assistance after the crash, according to the Burnet County district attorney.

Still unable to work after suffering a broken shoulder, fractured vertebra, broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and bleeding in his brain, police Capt. Ted Young and his wife, Patricia, proposed a plea deal that means the boater will spend about four months in jail, instead of up to 20 years in prison.

On Oct. 19, Judge Allan Garrett sentenced the boater, James “Hank” Fry, to 10 years in prison, but ultimately suspended that sentence. Instead, Fry will serve 120 days in the Burnet County Jail and 10 years of probation, District Attorney Sonny McAfee said.

In the meeting, Fry apologized to Marble Falls police Capt. Ted Young and his wife, Patricia Young, who was also on the boat at the time, McAfee said. They approved the suspended sentence for Fry.

“Capt. Young has had several serious surgeries following the collision and has not yet been able to return to his full duties as police captain,” McAfee said. “However, those concerns were clearly secondary to their appreciation for assistance after the collision.”

The crash happened July 4, 2015, police have said. Fry ran over the police boat with his boat, striking Capt. Young, who fell into the water. The force of the collision broke Young’s shoulder, fractured a vertebra of his spine, broke several ribs, lacerated his spleen and caused bleeding in his brain.

Fry, along with his wife, drove back to the wrecked police boat, McAfee said. Fry pulled Young from the water and helped get the boat back to the dock.

Fry was found to be intoxicated. After the meeting with the Youngs, Fry accepted the plea deal and pleaded guilty to intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury to a peace officer, McAfee said.

“I certainly appreciate Patricia and Ted Young thinking of this solution, and I appreciate (Fry’s lawyer’s) willingness to not only allow, but to encourage his client and his client’s wife to participate,” McAfee said. “I believe justice was served when Judge Garrett approved the proposed agreement.”

Turn in unused medications to local police, federal agents on Saturday

From the Austin Police Department:
The Drug Enforcement Agency reprises one of its most popular community programs this weekend: National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. On Saturday, Oct. 22, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the public can dispose of their unused, unwanted prescription medications at one of 4,700 collection sites nationwide, operated by 3,800 local law enforcement agencies and other community partners. The service is free of charge, no questions asked.

POLITICS OF PAIN SERIES FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2010, file photo, a pharmacy technician poses for a picture with hydrocodone and acetaminophen tablets, also known as Vicodin, at the Oklahoma Hospital Discount Pharmacy in Edmond, Okla. Federal health regulators will bolster warning labels on the most widely used prescription painkillers, part of a multi-pronged federal effort to reverse an epidemic of abuse and death tied to drugs like Vicodin and Percocet, the FDA announced Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

America is experiencing an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs, particularly opioid painkillers. More than 6 million Americans age 12 and over — 2.4 percent of the population — abuse prescription drugs, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month, more than abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and methamphetamine combined. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, eclipsing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The majority of prescription drug abusers report that they obtain their drugs from friends and family, including from the home medicine cabinet.

Last April, during its 11th Take Back Day, the DEA and over 4,200 of its national, tribal and community law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds (about 447 tons) of unwanted prescription drugs at almost 5,400 collection sites. Since the program began six years ago, about 6.4 million pounds (about 3,200 tons) of drugs have been collected. That’s more than a quarter pound of pills for each of the 25 million children aged 12 to 17 in America, pills that won’t result in abuse or overdose.

The DEA Austin office, along with the local law enforcement and community coalitions will set up collection sites at the following locations:

Austin

  • Austin High School – 1715 West Cesar Chavez, Austin
  • Barton Creek Square Mall (parking lot) – 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin
  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility – 2514 Center Dr, Austin
  • Planetshakers Austin Church – 1101 Reinli, Austin
  • Travis County Constable – Precinct 2 – 10409 Burnet Road, Austin
  • Travis County Constable – Precinct 5 – 1003 Guadalupe Street, Austin

Other Central Texas locations

  • Buda Police Department – 100 Houston Street, Buda
  • Burnet County Courthouse – 220 South Pierce Street, Burnet
  • Cedar Park Police Department – 911 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park
  • Elgin Police Department – 202 Depot Street, Elgin
  • Jonestown Police Department – 18304 North Park Dr, Jonestown
  • Lakeway Police Department – 104 Cross Creek, Lakeway
  • Lampasas Police Department – 301 East 4th Street, Lampasas
  • Leander Police Department – 705 Leander Drive, Leander
  • Legacy Hills Park Pavillion – 200 Del Webb Blvd., Georgetown
  • Liberty Hill Police Department – 2801 Ranch Road 1869, Liberty Hill
  • Manor Police Department – 402 West Parsons Street, Manor
  • Marble Falls Police Department – 209 Main Street, Marble Falls
  • Round Rock Police Department – 2701 North Mays, Round Rock
  • Smithville City Hall – 317 Main Street, Smithville
  • Taylor City Hall – 400 Porter, Taylor
  • Tractor Supply Company – 441 Texas 71, Bastrop
  • Williamson County Sheriff’s Office – 508 South Rock Street, Georgetown

 

Collection sites across the nation can be found by going to http://www.dea.gov. This site is continuously updated with new take-back locations.

Safety improvements at Cameron Road, U.S. 183 frontage to start next week

News release from the city of Austin:

The Austin Transportation Department (ATD) will continue carrying out the city of Austin’s Vision Zero Program when it begins constructing safety improvements at Cameron Road and the U.S. 183 frontage roads next week. This is the second of five high-priority intersections that ATD and City Council selected for construction funding in September 2015 as part of ATD’s Safety Improvement Program.

City contractors will begin rerouting traffic on Sunday, Oct. 16, and begin constructing the project on Monday, Oct. 17, with anticipated completion in mid-November 2016.

The goal of this project is to reduce crashes involving both pedestrians and vehicles at this intersection by installing enhanced pedestrian safety features and a new traffic signal warning device. Improvements (see illustration below) include:

  • Constructing a new right-turn channelized island (also known as a pedestrian refuge island) at the northeast corner of the intersection.
  • Lengthening the existing raised median on the north side of the intersection to provide a pedestrian refuge space in the middle of the crosswalk.
  • Adding high-visibility “continental” crosswalks (see an example here) to all pedestrian crossing points on the north side of the US-183 overpass.
  • Installing an advance warning flasher on the eastbound US-183 frontage road ahead of the traffic signal at Cameron Road. The flasher, which has been constructed and will be activated upon completion of the project, will flash when the signal ahead is red in order to alert drivers to slow down.
Illustration provided by the City of Austin
This image is for illustration only – it is not to scale and not for engineering purposes. Artwork provided by the City of Austin

There will be no daytime closures to the main lanes of the U.S. 183 frontage roads at any point during construction. However, toward the end of construction, there will be limited nighttime lane closures to allow for final paving and striping work.

Other closures associated with this project (schedule subject to change due to weather and unforeseen circumstances):

  • During the first phase of construction (approximately two weeks), the right-turn lane for the US-183 westbound frontage road will be closed. Cars will still be able to make right turns onto northbound Cameron Road from the US-183 westbound frontage road, but large trucks will not be permitted to turn right.
  • After the first phase is completed, there will be closures to two travel lanes (one northbound and one southbound) adjacent to the median on Cameron Road, north of US-183, for approximately two weeks.

This project, estimated to cost $268,000, is a continuation of ATD’s Safety Improvement Program, which helps carry out the City Council-adopted Vision Zero Action Plan. Vision Zero is Austin’s effort to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries for all road users.

As part of these initiatives, ATD began constructing long-term improvements in September 2016 at the first intersection, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the I-35 frontage roads, and has substantially completed that work. Prior to that, ATD carried out interim improvements at most of the five high-priority intersections.

The schedule for commencing long-term construction on the remaining three intersections is as follows (subject to change):

  • Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane – November 2016
  • Lamar Boulevard and Parmer Lane – January 2017
  • Slaughter Lane and Manchaca Road – Spring 2017

ATD will continue to provide information about these intersections as they come nearer to construction.

Lanes on West 35th St. to close as Austin repaves at night, starting Oct. 9

From the City of Austin:

The City of Austin Public Works Department is scheduled to begin repaving West 35th St. between MoPac Boulevard (Loop1) and Jefferson Street on Oct. 9. This area is being repaved because the existing pavement is failing and in poor condition. The mill and overlay work involves grinding up the existing asphalt and base material, removing it, and then applying new pavement. The end result will be a much smoother driving surface. To shorten the duration of the project and to minimize disruptions to businesses and residences, most of the work will take place nightly between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The project is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Drivers can expect nightly lane reductions during this time with one lane remaining open in each direction. Drivers are encouraged to follow all traffic signs and to use caution while traveling near the work zone. Follow facebook.com/atxpublicworks for continued project updates.

See the affected area below:

City of Austin
City of Austin

What to Expect:

  • Nightly lane closures on W. 35th St between Mopac and Jefferson St. from Oct. 9 to Oct. 30
  • Cross streets and driveways closed intermittently when crews are working directly in front of the street or driveways
  • Possible uneven road surfaces in the construction zone
  • Crews and machinery around the project site, cones, and signs to help direct traffic