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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 12, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas New Braunfels THURSDAY June 12, .2003 16 pages in 2 sections mmmmm    pages    in    2    seeHerald-Zeitung .............>”"V...............’3 Vol. 152, No. 180 Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852 50 cents K. JESSIE SLATEN/Heratd-Zeitung (Above) New Braunfels paramedic Greg Patty (center) steadies one victim in front of the overturned van she was in. The van crashed along south-bound Interstate 35 shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday (Left) A Schertz paramedic carries an infant injured in the rollover accident. Witnesses said some of the children were not restrained, and two were thrown from the van. (Right) Patty and Marl* Tisdel (right) prepare a patient for transport after more critical patients from the accident in Schertz were flown to University Hospital in San Antonio. 9 family members in rollover accident By Ron Maloney Staff Writer SCHERTZ — Passersby fell to their knees and offered up prayers Wednesday for the nine victims of a singlevehicle rollover accident. A 5-year-old girl died and eight others were injured in the accident that closed southbound Interstate 35 for more than an hour Wednesday. Schertz Chief of Police Steve Cantrell said the girl was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival at University Hospital. Cantrell did not have the girl’s name or hometown. “We’ve just begun our investigation,” Cantrell said Wednesday afternoon. “About I p.m., the victims’ vehicle, a maroon Plymouth [Voyager] traveling southbound at about mile marker 179, was reported to have lost control,” he said. Mile marker 179 is just south of Schwab Road, north of the Schertz rest area. Witnesses reported the vehicle w e saw a man on the side of the road praying. We prayed with him. ? J MICHELLE MAY accident witness swerved — possibly from a flat or deflated left rear tire — and then began a series of rolls, coming to rest on its roof on the southbound side frontage road. There were nine occupants — two adult women and seven children ages 13 to infant, Cantrell said. “We don’t know for a fact, but we have preliminary indications that some of the children were unrestrained,” he said. Michelle May, who lives nearby, came onto the scene just after the accident. “My sister and I were coming home from work. We saw the van rolled over, and there were groups of people work ing to help the kids,” she said. “One group was doing CPR over a little girl. There were people everywhere.” May and her sister got out of their car. “We saw a man on the side of the road praying. We prayed with him,” she said. “It shows that its important to have your children buckled up, and it shows how precious life is. Maybe this could have been prevented,” May said. The vehicle, registered to a Floresville resident, was traveling from San Marcos to the San Antonio area. Schertz Public Information Officer Tbny Wilson said the two adult women were believed to be cousins. The children belonged to the women. Wilson reported in a news release that possibly five children were ejected from the van. Schertz EMS Director Dudley Wait said Schertz and New Braunfels paramedics treated everyone in the vehicle for some injury or another.See ACCIDENT/8A Lone vote cast against city tax increase, budget passes 2004 budget differs little from the current one By Dylan Jimenez Staff Writer A New Braunfels city council member Wednesday cast the first vote against a 19-percent property tax hike — the only opposition    the increase    faced through three readings of the ordinance. District 6 Councilman Ken Valentine wanted to amend the tax increase to include more money for river cleanup. The amendment died for lack of a second. Valentine supported the increase at previous readings. Approved 5-1, the new tax rate becomes effective with the next tax billing cycle. VALENTINE Council unanimously voted to approve the fiscal year 2004 budget, with District 3 Councilwoman Gale Pospisil absent. The new tax rate will be 37.11 cents per $100 assessed valuation. City Manager Chuck Pinto is the city's acting finance manager. He said he basically took last year’s numbers and transferred them to this year’s budget, adjusting for rising costs of things the city cant control, such as health insurance and gasoline. “It’s basically the same as last year minus 19 positions,” Pinto said Tuesday. The $25 million 2004 budget reflects about $21 million in revenue from the general fund and balances expenses with enterprise funds, such as the golf course and airport. Most of the major changes See CITY BUDGET/8A Trio arrested in drug investigation By Ron Maloney Staff Writer A 45-year-old New Braunfels man faces a possible life prison sentence in connection with his arrest in a drug investigation. Raul R. Herrera, of Marble Drive, was arrested at his home Tuesday evening and booked on an allegation of possession with intent to deliver betw<*en one and four grams of cocaine in a drug-free zone. Because Herrera was allegedly selling drugs within I,(XX) feet of a playground, the charge against him was enhanced to a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony Is punishable, upon conviction, by a $10,000 fine and between five and 99 years in state prison. His bail was $3,500. Herrera was one of three people arrested in connection with surveillance conducted at the Comal Farms subdivision off Interstate 35 north beginning after 4 p.m. Tuesday. ’The other two are Gregory S. Redd, 31, of Leesville, and Angela J. Turner, 32, of New Braunfels. Both were booked for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in county jail and a $2,(XX) fine. Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim my Ward said investigators of the Comal County Metropolitan Narcotics task force developed information that a cer-tain individual would be picking up drugs Tuesday evening at an unknown residence in Comal Farms. “The investigators had a descript ion of the vehicle that person would occupy,” Ward said. “'They went to the area and maintained surveillance until they observed t he vehicle come in and stop at the residence. Tile individual stayed a few minutes and then left.” Rudd, who was driving the car, was followed and stopped. He was booked into county jail. Detectives cont inued their investigation, watching the residence as another vehicle,See ARRESTS/8AInside Dear Abby...............5A Classifieds..............&3B Comics...............4B Crossword  ........4B Forum................6A Movies................SA Sports...............1-3B Today.................2A Stocks................5A a 56825 00001    1 Kunkel is crowned 2003 Wurstfest’s Grosse Opa By Ron Maloney Staff Writer The Big Man has been named. The Wurstfest Association board chose Larry Kunkel as Grosse Opa for the 43rd annual Wurstfest Get. 31 to Nov. 9. Wurstfest, which has named a Grosse Opa, or “Big Grandpa” every year since 1968, is no run-of-the-mill sausage fest — although it began as a tribute to sausage making. New Braunfels’ 10-day annual celebration of German heritage is attended by 125,000 people from around the world — including contingents from Braunfels, Germany, the city New Braunfels founders came from. “Our charge is to promote the local heritage and tourism,” said spokesman, HerbSkoog. • But Wurstfest isn’t only about sausage, bier and entertainment. Skoog said a big part of Wurstfest is fund-raising. With $2 million in receipts in 2002, considered a “soft” year, Wurstfest is this city’s biggest nonprofit and service organization fund-raiser. The majority of the 40 food concessions belong to social and service organizations. Kunkel, who was the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung’s Citizen of the Year in 1994, knows about fund-raising andSee GROSSE 0PA/8A Girl dies in van crash mar * K. JESSIE SLATEN/Herald-ZtMtungThe newly crowned 2003 Wurstfest Grosse Opa, Larry Kunkel. V I ;