The death of a Leander High School graduate from a fentanyl overdose has prompted state Rep. Terry Wilson, R-Georgetown, to file a bill that would require 10 hours of education annually concerning the dangers of the drug to students in sixth grade and up, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Tucker Roe, 19, bought what he thought was a Percocet pill on Instagram, according to his mother, Stefanie Turner. It turned out to be laced with a deadly amount of fentanyl, a powerful opioid responsible for more than 5,000 deaths in Texas last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“He was struggling with sleeping and stress, and he purchased a pill to help him sleep, and that pill took his life,” Turner told the Statesman. Wilson’s bill would allow a number of different types of organizations to provide the education, including public health agencies.
More arrests made in Austin ‘street takeover’
More than three dozen charges against 17 people were made last week in the takeover of several Austin intersections on Feb. 18 and 19. The Statesman reported those arrested face charges including evading arrest, obstructing a highway, reckless driving and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Video footage shot during the incidents showed cars spinning through intersections, fireworks exploding, and dozens of people running through the streets.
“The events that occurred disrupted our community, they garnered much of our attention. and they were clearly not good for our community,” Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon said.
Pedestrian, bicyclist fatalities on the rise
Pedestrian fatalities resulting from traffic crashes increased 34% from 2017 to 2021, while bicyclist deaths increased 58% during the same period. The Texas Department of Transportation has kicked off a pedestrian and bicyclist campaign this month to urge all Texans to follow the state’s traffic laws and reduce those fatalities.
“We have a shared responsibility to every member of our community – to every family and every individual – to help reverse these trends and reduce traffic fatalities in Texas,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams.
Texas law requires drivers to stop and yield for pedestrian and bicyclists in crosswalks, to yield while turning, and to pass bikes at a safe distance. Pedestrians, in turn, are urged to cross only at intersections and crosswalks, to obey all traffic signs and signals, and to use sidewalks when possible.
Bicyclists are required to stop at red lights and stop signs, to ride in the same direction as traffic, and to use bike lanes when available.
Nelson confirmed as Texas Secretary of State
Former state Sen. Jane Nelson was confirmed last week by the Texas Senate as secretary of state. Gov. Greg Abbott appointed her to the position two months ago.
Nelson served in that chamber for 30 years.
“I will work to safeguard honest and accurate elections in all 254 counties across our great state, while continuing to support business owners by ensuring that government moves at the speed of Texas business, not the other way around,” Nelson said in a statement after her confirmation.
Adjuster indicted after TDI investigation
A Texas public insurance adjuster has been indicted by a Kimble County grand jury after being accused of stealing more than $268,000 in insurance claims. An investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance alleges Andrew Joseph Mitchell signed the names of clients on their insurance claim checks and kept the money.
Mitchell, based in Clear Lake Shores, Texas, solicited clients across the country using the internet, according to authorities.
“We have other victims here in Texas we’re referring to prosecutors, but Mitchell is currently in jail in Louisiana, and we know of investigations in at least two other states,” TDI fraud investigator Mark Pardaen said.
Lawmakers want to legalize Sunday liquor sales
A pair of bills introduced in the Legislature would legalize the sales of ready-to-drink cocktails seven days a week, the Houston Chronicle reported. Under current law, liquor stores are closed on Sunday, and grocery and corner stores can only sell beer and wine.
State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, filed his version of the bill recently.
“As industries innovate and new products become staples in the marketplace, it only makes sense for us to take a look at ways government can reduce regulatory red tape," Hancock said. A twin version of the bill was filed in the House by state Rep. Justin Holland, R-Rockwall.
Liquor stores would still be required to be closed on Sunday under the bills.
TPWD seeks input on land and water plan
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is seeking public input to help the agency make future management decisions.
“In fulfilling our mission, TPWD is committed to delivering effective natural resources stewardship and outdoor recreation programs that exemplify the highest standards of quality, service and professionalism,” said David Yoskowitz, executive director of TPWD.
Public input can be made through April 14 by completing a survey being conducted by Texas A&M University. The survey can be found at: https://tinyurl.com/nhkcwmxw.
Gary Borders is a veteran award-winning Texas journalist. He published a number of community newspapers in Texas during a 30-year span, including in Longview, Fort Stockton, Nacogdoches, and Cedar Park. Email: email@example.com.