Local News Headlines–7/17/2013

One person is dead and another is hospitalized following a head on crash on Highway 6 south of Hearne yesterday morning. D-P-S trooper Jimmy Morgan says the driver of the car, 39-year-old Charles Eric Wheatfall of Navasota, died at the scene while the trucker, 58-year-old Billy Ray Higgins of College Station, was taken to St. Joseph’s in Bryan. The trucker, who was hauling gravel, told investigators the driver of the car had his head down as the car crossed the center line. The highway was closed for more than two hours and wasn’t totally reopened for nine hours.

A small fire in the KlebergCenter at A&M yesterday morning resulted in closing the building.  University officials are investigating the cause of the fire and smoke which resulted in an evacuation and knocking out electrical service. Bart Humphreys of the College Station Fire Department says upon arrival, smoke was seen from the loading dock. Humphreys says the small fire was isolated to a basement mechanical room housing electrical equipment.  Humphreys says the fire was under control 20 minutes after the alarm was received. Another hour was taken to remove smoke from the five-story building that’s home to A&M’s animal and food sciences programs. No one was injured.  This building is open again today.

A Bryan man is accused of kidnapping and choking his estranged girlfriend. 35-year-old Lance Gentry is jailed in lieu of $300,000bond. Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk says the victim was able to get away from Gentry after driving her to property near Smetana.   Kirk says Gentry threatened the victim with a knife and told her he would kill and bury her.  Kirk says after being assaulted, the victim was able to get away from Gentry and drive off in his truck.  Deputies arrested Gentry at his home the next day.

And, Brazos County Commissioners yesterday voted against a burn ban on land outside of city limits.  That was after hearing from the county’s emergency management office, where staff wanted to wait for the possibility of additional rain this week before making a recommendation.  Through midnight last night, this week’s rainfall measured at EasterwoodAirport was one-and-a-quarter inches. Also taken into account was the 60 day period a burn ban is in affect.  Commissioners will consider a burn ban again next Tuesday.