Archive for July, 2010

Gulf Freeway Accident
July 27, 2010

Freeway Reopens After Police Investigate Double Fatal Wreck
Michael Gregory Petty Charged With Intoxication Manslaughter

POSTED: Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HOUSTON — A freeway reopened after it was closed for about two hours on Tuesday to allow police to continue to investigate a double fatal collision.

Michael Gregory Petty

Michael Gregory Petty

The collision happened in the southbound lanes of the Gulf Freeway near El Dorado Boulevard at about 12:30 p.m. Monday.The driver suspected of causing the collision, Michael Gregory Petty, 28, has been charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter.Witnesses told police they saw a black Toyota Tacoma traveling at a high rate of speed and dodging in and out of traffic.Investigators said the pickup truck hit the rear left area of a gold Toyota Tacoma, causing that vehicle’s driver to lose control and the vehicle flipped several times.The 55-year-old driver of the gold Tacoma, Manuel Portillo, died at the scene.The 67-year-old passenger, who police said was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the vehicle and taken to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, where he died.The victims’ families said the men were good friends and neighbors.The freeway was shut down for nearly five hours Monday while police investigated the collision.

DPS: Website Upgrade
July 27, 2010

DPS unveils new design for Driver License website

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Driver License website has a new look and feel.

The redesigned Driver License website ( features easy-access links to the most-visited portions of the DPS Driver License website.

“The increased functionality of our Driver License website will help our fellow Texans to find the information they need, quickly and efficiently,” said Rebecca Davio, DPS assistant director. “We think many people will be able to conduct their driver license-related business on our website, when it’s most convenient for them, instead of having to follow our schedule.”

Viewer Email: N.Shepherd Ramp
July 24, 2010

A: Bob, the ramp was supposed to open a few weeks back, but rain postponed things. They can’t pour cement b/c of the rain. New target date is set for the weekend of the 30th. I hope that helps! – Jen

249 Accident (Wednesday)
July 21, 2010

A Precinct 6 Reserve Deputy is in Critical but Stable Condition after being involved in a Motorcycle Accident

A Harris County Constable Precinct 6 Reserve Deputy is in critical but stable condition at Memorial-Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center after being involved in an accident on the Tomball Parkway (State Highway 249) near Boudreaux Road this morning. According to Precinct 6 Cpl. Jarrel Caldwell, the deputy, Randall Turnage, 50, was traveling southbound on the Tomball Parkway when he crashed into a vehicle that had just rolled over at about 4:30 a.m. He was off duty at the time. As a result of the crash the deputy – who was in uniform – received multiple fractures and was flown by Life Flight to Memorial-Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center.

Slow Downs: Viewer Mail
July 14, 2010

A: Doris,

I understand. I have passed your message along to my contacts at the Texas Dept of Transportation (TxDOT). Most likely…you wont see change in the near future, but they’ll have gotten your message. Sorry for the frustration. Thanks for watching, Jennifer

Move Over or Slow Down
July 12, 2010

Learn about the “Move Over or Slow Down” law regarding emergency vehicles. Next week [Monday, July 19 – Sunday, July 25], HPD officers will be actively enforcing the “Move Over or Slow Down” law and citations will be issued.

Under Texas law, motorists approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its signals (emergency lights) on are required to either vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle (if a lane is available) or slow to a speed no more than 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. When the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less, the driver must slow down to five miles per hour.

A violation of the “Passing Authorized Emergency Vehicle” law is considered a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $1 to $200 fine or a Class B misdemeanor if someone is injured.

610 North Loop
July 12, 2010

(As of 4/13/10)

The IH 610 North Loop project limits are from Ella to IH 45. The project consists of three phases. We are currently in Phase Two which consists of rebuilding the north side of the freeway. Phase Three will consist of constructing the south side of the freeway. On Phase 4 contractors will construct both the eastbound and westbound frontage road and some intersections. Phase One moved the east and westbound mainlanes to the outside shoulders, allowing contractors to work on the inside and middle of the freeway.
Estimated duration of project: June 2011

The IH 610 eastbound entrance ramp from North Main was closed on November 16th. It will remain closed for the duration of the IH 610 project which will be about 3 years. It is a safety issue. TxDOT feels that by closing the ramp it will help prevent last minute crisscross traffic between motorists that want to go IH 45 N and motorists on IH 610 who want to go IH 45 south. The detour: use the Airline exit and continue north until you hit IH 45. To go IH 610 eastbound continue on IH 45 and u-turn at Calvacade.

Construction:146 @ 330
July 11, 2010

SH 146 Southbound to Spur 330 Westbound
Construct direct connector ramp from SH 146 Southbound to Spur 330 Westbound

Cost: $4.1 million project funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Economic Stimulus Bill)

Start date: April 12, 2010

Estimated duration of project: 11 months

This new direct connector will improve the flow of traffic traveling to Spur 330 and IH 10 and completes a primary regional hurricane evacuation route. Once complete, the ramp will have an 8-foot inside shoulder, 14-foot travel lane, and 4-foot outside shoulder. It will range in height from 20-feet to 80-feet above natural ground.

I-10/99 Construction Details
July 10, 2010


Construction has begun in far West Harris County: crews are building two direct connector ramps from IH 10 westbound to SH 99 southbound and from SH 99 northbound to IH 10 eastbound.  The addition of these ramps will significantly improve the mobility and flow of traffic traveling through the IH 10 West/SH 99 intersection.

Groundbreaking ceremony: June 4, at 9:30 a.m., to officially kick-off the start of construction.

Cost: The $29.1 million project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Economic Stimulus)

Estimated duration of project: 18 months to complete. (Dec 2011)

Pie Lady: Feature Story
July 7, 2010

I have gotten a lot of emails asking about my PIE LADY story that aired on Monday evening. It is scheduled to air again this coming Saturday, July 10th, during the 7:30AM half-hour show, if you’d like to see it. Plus, it’s on In the meantime, here’s more about my shoot:

I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Smith, a kindhearted woman well-known in Baytown for her baking. She’s completely mastered the art of making all types of homemade pies. My favorite was banana-blueberry, which I had never tried before this shoot. And a close second, was her fudge pecan – perfection! The name of her book is called, Helen’s Cookbook, A Collection of Famous Old Fashioned Recipes. Don’t bother looking for the it on Amazon or Google, though. I didn’t find it there. But, I can tell you that it was printed by Morris Press Cookbooks: . Now, if you would like to reach Helen Smith, please email her at

Helen Smith - "The Pie Lady" and Jennifer

James Perry (KPRC), Helen Smith, Jennifer

Streets Flooded
July 2, 2010

Good Evening,

Many of the Houston (& surrounding cities) side streets, feeder roads and ramps are under water . Local 2 has been showing Houston Transtar cameras all afternoon to keep you and your family informed. We encourage you to be patient and give your loved ones far extra time than normal to get home.

Here’s some of the recent info that I’ve gotten in about major closures. There are MANY more though.

(Fri, 6:20 pm)

All lanes at IH 10 East at Wayside/US 90 are now open.  TxDOT has restored all pumps in the vicinity of IH 10.

(Fri, 3:30pm)

HOUSTON AVE. UNDERPASS: The underpass is experiencing higher than usual water levers and has been shut down by ROW; METRO, HPD, HFD, and Transtar are being notified. Alternate routes have been marked. It will be re-opened once the storm water slow.

YALE & 20th: 12” WL break has impacted the traffic lanes of westbound 20th.  Public Works crews are on-site with support from Mobility Response Team for traffic control. 20th street is shut down from Heights to Yale/ re-routing as necessary. Until repairs are completed.

Highway 6 S and Beechnut