Court

Man sentenced to 15 years over attack on girlfriend

GALVESTON

A Fort Worth man on Thursday was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of choking his girlfriend and leaving her on the side of a League City road in 2016.

Jurors on Thursday found Jeramy Birchell, 40, of Fort Worth, guilty of two counts of assault, according to court records.

In December 2016, Birchell assaulted his girlfriend inside a car in League City, jurors found. During the attack, Birchell punched, kicked and choked the woman, before leaving her unconscious on the side of a road, according to the Galveston District Attorney’s Office. After the attack, Birchell drove to Fort Worth in the woman’s car, prosecutors said. A passerby found the woman and reported the attack, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors showed the jury the marks the attack left on the woman’s neck, as well as a letter Birchell wrote the woman, asking her to drop the charges. During the punishment phase of the trial, prosecutors told the jury about Birchell’s criminal history, which included three previous convictions for assaulting women over the past 20 years.

Birchell was sentence to 15 years for strangling the woman, and to five years for other aspects of the attack. He will serve the sentences concurrently and will be eligible for parole after serving a quarter of his sentence.

— John Wayne Ferguson

Police

Overturned trailer caused traffic jam

GALVESTON

An overturned trailer on an on-ramp to Interstate 45 caused traffic delays in Galveston on Friday afternoon.

The accident occurred near the intersection of Harborside Drive and Interstate 45 just before 3 p.m.

A trailer hauling two luxury SUVs fell onto its side when the truck pulling it attempted to turn on to the ramp, police said.

The truck didn’t roll and no one was injured in the accident, police said.

Wreckers and the Galveston Fire Department were at the scene to help clear the accident. Outbound traffic was diverted down Harborside Drive to a second on-ramp as the accident was cleared.

The accident was cleared at 3:46 p.m.

— John Wayne Ferguson

Man dies after being hit by truck in Kemah

KEMAH

A 22-year-old man died Thursday after he was struck by a vehicle on state Highway 146 in Kemah, police said.

Daxter Peel, 22, of Bacliff, was hit by a truck as he tried to cross the highway near Kemah City Hall about 4 p.m., according to the Kemah Police Department.

Peel was rushed to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, but did not survive his injuries, police said.

The driver of the truck stopped shortly after striking Peel, police said. No charges have been filed against the driver.

— John Wayne Ferguson

Increased drunk driving enforcement begins this weekend

GALVESTON

The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office will have more deputies on the road through Nov. 27 as part of an annual effort to curb drunk driving during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

The office announced Friday it would increase its traffic enforcement presence in areas around the county where drunken driving crashes are common, the department said in a press release.

Last year, 86 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated during a similar effort.

The overtime shifts are paid for through a grant to the county by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and the Texas Department of Transportation.

— John Wayne Ferguson

Utility

Major water leak repaired, but restrictions remain

Crews completed repairs Thursday of a leak in a major water line serving several county communities, a Gulf Coast Water Authority spokeswoman said Friday.

Cities including Galveston had called for water-use restrictions and switched to reserve supplies because of the leak.

The authority shut off the pipe Wednesday to conduct repairs, but expects regular services to be restored Saturday afternoon, spokeswoman Kathy Thomas said.

The leak was near the intersection of Interstate 45 and state Highway 146.

The line serves Tiki Island, Galveston, Bayou Vista, Hitchcock and Santa Fe, as well as parts of La Marque and Dickinson.

Galveston received some water through an alternate pipe, while other communities utilized well water, Thomas said.

Galveston has been under irrigation restrictions since Wednesday morning. Restrictions will remain until the city’s storage tanks are refilled to acceptable levels, city spokeswoman Marissa Barnett said.

— Keri Heath

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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