The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Houston police officers are recovering at a local hospital after they were injured while attempting to arrest suspected drug dealers Monday afternoon. Four of the officers were shot and a fifth sustained a knee injury during the narcotics operation. Ultimately, the two suspects were killed in the incident by return fire from officers, says Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo. At a press conference Tuesday morning, he identified those suspects as 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) January 29, 2019
Dr. Michelle McNutt is with Memorial Hermann Hospital where the officers are being treated. Due to patient privacy and family wishes, she only provided an update on three of the officers.
“One gentleman suffered a gunshot wound to the face, was taken to the operating room last night, is currently recovering and he will undergo multiple operations by our facial trauma team in the future,” McNutt says.
Another who was also shot in the face is expected to be released at some point Tuesday.
Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement calling the attack on police officers “horrific,” and offered state resources to the city of Houston and its police department.
Texas saw a decline in the number of traffic deaths last year – the first time the figure has dropped in nearly a decade. After a 34 percent rise in Texas traffic fatalities, from 2010 through 2017, deaths fell 4 percent in 2018.
Mark Hanna is with the Insurance Council of Texas. He says one reason for the drop in fatalities last year appears to be a state law enacted in 2017 that bans texting while driving.
“That law was enforced beginning at the first of the year,” Hanna says. “We’re not looking at just a huge drop in the number of traffic fatalities, but we are looking at a drop and certainly the distracted driving law had to have some type of impact.”
A 2017 statewide ban on texting while driving may have contributed to the first year-over-year decline in the auto fatality rate in Texas since 2010, but the number of fatalities in 2018 are still nearly 25% higher than 2010 levels. Read more here: https://t.co/4dOYVJiH1E
— InsuranceCouncilTX (@InsCouncilTx) January 28, 2019
The number of fatal auto pedestrian accidents also dropped in 2018 – down 12 percent from the year before.
Tuesday, two special elections are underway to fill seats in the Texas House vacated by Democrats.
One of the races is in Houston, to fill the seat left open by former State Rep. Carol Alvarado. Last month, she won her own special election to the State Senate. That term began when the state legislature convened for its 86th session on January 8.
The other special election is being held in El Paso. It’s to replace former State Representative Joe Pickett, who resigned due to issues related to a cancer diagnosis. A third special election is set for February 12 to fill a Texas House seat vacated by San Antonio Democrat Justin Rodriguez. Early voting in that race is underway.
An Austin brewery is poking fun at the electric scooters now dotting – or littering – the city, depending on your perspective.
Hi Sign Brewing recently released their “No Scooters Double IPA.”
The label features a red slash over a person on an electric scooter.
The local ABC affiliate in Austin, KVUE, caught up with the brewery’s owner Mark Phillipe. He’s tells the station the scooters can be a great mode of transportation, but they can also be dangerous.
Even if you’ve only been in Austin a short while you’ve probably observed at least two things. 1. People here love craft beer. 2. They also love to complain about scooters. That’s why @HiSignBrewing came up with their #NoScooters Double IPA. What do you think? @KVUE pic.twitter.com/LIpyz8yWrS
— Hank Cavagnaro KVUE (@HcavagnaroKVUE) January 27, 2019
“I would like to see less scooters on my line at 2 in the morning, I’ll tell you that,” Phillipe says.
As of last month, Austin was home to seven dockless mobility companies who own or operate more than 10,000 scooters in the city.