Sunday, December 9, 2012

Houston area flu cases spike!

THE CHRON: If you've been putting off your annual flu shot, don't delay any longer: Texas is already being hit hard this flu season.
Houston-area hospitals have seen a spike in the number of emergency room visits for flu-like symptoms, said Porfirio Villarreal, spokesman for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. During the week of Nov. 18, about 1,580 visits to emergency rooms were attributed to flu-like illnesses, compared with just 249 visits during the same week last year, Villarreal said.
Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization or even death, the CDC says.
Every flu season is different, and even healthy people can get very sick from the disease and spread it to others. From 1976 to 2007, estimates of U.S. deaths each year due to flu ranged from 3,000 to 49,000.
"Flu is predictably unpredictable," said Dr. Gail Demmler-Harrison, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Texas Children's Hospital and pediatrics professor at Baylor College of Medicine. "There's no cause for alarm but cause for action. People should get themselves vaccinated so it doesn't get any worse."
National Influenza Vaccination Week, a campaign established in 2005 to counter the notion that December is too late to get a vaccination, ends Saturday. Once a vaccine is administered, it takes about two weeks to develop immunity.
Although the influenza season usually peaks in February, 48 states and Puerto Rico have reported cases, with rates rising quickly nationwide, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week.
Along with Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are also reporting high levels of activity.
In Houston, Texas Children's Hospital has seen an early start to the season with 123 confirmed cases of Type A influenza and 32 cases of Type B, compared with just two Type A cases in the same span last year, Demmler-Harrison said.
Everyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccination, but the CDC says it's especially important for these groups:
» People at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get the flu, including those with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
» Pregnant women.
» People 65 years and older.
» People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Man arrested in Friendswood on child porn and drug charges

FRIENDSWOOD — A Houston man was arrested at a Friendswood grocery store and charged with possession of child pornography as well as methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana and Valium.
Officers from Galveston County Precinct 8, Texas Department of Public Safety and Friendswood Police Department served a Galveston County arrest warrant to 27-year-old Jesse Andrew Burton in the parking lot of the Kroger store on North Friendswood Drive.
The Friendswood department said police were tipped off that Burton was in North Galveston County and possibly working for United Parcel Service. Police surveillance units spotted a United Parcel Service truck in the grocery store parking lot as well as a man matching Burton’s description, the Friendswood police department said

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Traffic violator turned into drug informant for Friendswood police

It's the story of a way out of a traffic ticket that seems hard to believe. A single mom stopped by Friendswood police for a bad lane change ends up changing into a confidential drug informant.

It was dinner time and this single mom from Friendswood wanted to pick up some KFC. She didn't signal a lane change and soon was pulled over.

"This is the first time I've been pulled over and the first time I've dealt with anything like this in my life," the woman said.

The traffic ticket would've cost a couple hundred bucks, at the most, to get out of. The reason we're telling her story is because her traffic ticket turned into a secret undercover deal to buy drugs for the Friendswood police.
"I was agreeing to do three buys for him to get out of my insurance and inspection citations," she said.
"You were agreeing to become a drug snitch?" we asked.
"Yes," she said.

During the traffic stop, Friendswood police officers found a brand new glass pipe in her car with a price tag attached and they returned it to her. They also found a bottle of her prescription medication Suboxone, an anti-addiction medication. She was prescribed Suboxone after getting off Vicodin for dental pain.
After the stop, officers took the woman to a Friendswood police station, put her in a holding cell and strip searched her.

"She made me bend over, she looked everywhere, she didn't find anything," the woman said.
It'd been four hours since she left her son without adequate supervision while she went to get dinner. She was only supposed to be gone 15 minutes.

"I actually begged and begged and begged and begged for them to let me call my mom to go get my son," the woman said.

Police offered her a deal.

"I had two choices, that they were going to either arrest me, or I could agree to do some controlled buys for him," the woman said.

From single mom without a stain on her record to drug snitch in just a few hours. The next day she made that undercover buy alone, nervous, scared for her safety, and, she says, without any way to communicate with a police officer outside in case something went bad.

"I was scared for my safety," the woman said.

She got $100 worth of meth, turned it in to cops and then called a lawyer to get her out of a deal she now knows she never should have made in the first place.

But when the lawyer started pushing to get that woman out of the undercover deal, the Friendswood Police Department pushed back, essentially threatening to give her name to the drug dealer.

"He would make sure to get an affidavit and the warrant to arrest the girl. He would try to bust her and he would make sure to tell her that I was the one who ratted her out," the woman said.

It's hard to believe, but a text message from the Friendswood detective says it would be up to the Brazoria County DA if they would have to name their source. He said it on the phone with the woman's defense attorney as well. The lawyer recorded that call and gave it to us.

"We can go ahead and just file a warrant, based on the one controlled buy that she did and name her in the warrant," said Friendswood Police Chief Bob Wieners on the recording.

Police officers haven't yet and now say they won't. But they do say this is a common practice in Friendswood, turning traffic tickets into drug informant deals.

"We work plenty of Class C contracts," Wieners said.
They do about one a month, the chief told us on the phone, deals his city prosecutor knows nothing about. Chief Weiners confirmed the deal he made with this woman but said we don't know the whole story.
"But please don't think that you telling me you have a side of the story without divulging any of it is somehow clearing the air," we told Weiners.

Since he wouldn't share it with us, we reached out to the Friendswood city manager and the city attorney, asking them to share any facts we should know before reporting the woman's concern. They both said this is an ongoing police investigation matter and they weren't going to tell us, or you, anything about how or why their police department turned a ticket into a trip into the underworld.

"I feel like because they knew I had so much to lose that I'd want to agree to it. I just thought that's why they were doing it," the woman said.

We've already heard from another driver who was offered a similar deal just weeks ago in Friendswood. When we checked with area prosecutors and a few other law enforcement agencies, this apparently is not a widespread practice.
(Copyright ©2012 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pearland Walmart robbers sought

Pearland police are still looking for a man who robbed a Walmart.

Officers responded to an armed robbery at the Walmart on Main near FM 518 last night. The officers spotted a vehicle matching the description of one used in the robbery and started chasing it.

There were two men in the car. They ditched it and ran into an apartment complex on Broadway.
One of them has been caught. Police are still looking for the second man.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Houston woman caught stealing from purses in Friendswood nursing home.

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas—A Houston woman was caught August 9 going through an administrator’s purse at a nursing home in Friendswood. Treatha Robinson Johnson, 45, was arrested and charged with theft.
Friendswood police said Robinson was reported to have walked into an open office at the Heritage Nursing Home, located at 213 E. Heritage Dr., at about 9:40 a.m.
The administrator walked into the office and found Robinson going through the purse and holding a small make-up case behind the desk. Inside the make-up case was $250 worth of prescription medications and other items.
Robinson told the staff that she was at the facility to get information about the home for her mother.
While at the scene, officers discovered that Johnson had five outstanding warrants. There were four counts of credit card abuse from Montgomery County, each with a $1,500 bond and one count of credit card abuse from Galveston, with an $80,000 bond. Her bond was set at $1,000 for the theft.
This story comes to us from our media partner, Clear Lake Today. Click here to read more…

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