New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 7, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
SATURDAY, MAY 7,2005
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The Canyon baseball team saw its season come to an end Friday with a loss to Medina Valley. Page 5A
ELECTION 2005 VOTE TODAY
See a complete list of polling places for the NB, Bulverde and Comal ISD elections. Page 8A
Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852.
Vol. 154, No. 146 14 pages, 2 sections
www: herald-zeitung.com I
Details .... 1B
DEAR ABBY 3B CLASSIFIEDS 3B COMICS 2B CROSSWORD 2B FORUM 4A OBITUARIES 3A SPORTS 5A TV GRIDS 3B
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Teenager dies after being struck by train
Witnesses: Boy was walking on tracks
By Ron Maloney
An unidentified teenage boy died Friday night of injuries that occurred when he was struck by a Union Pacific freight train off banda Street.
New Braunfels police Capt. John Villarreal said the identity and precise age of the victim were not known. Witnesses at the scene said he appeared to he in his mid- to late teens.
“We don’t have much information at this point,” Villarreal said after the 4 p.m. incident, which closed banda Street at the banda Drive intersection just below hoop 337.
“I Ie was apparently on the railroad tracks and was stmck by the train."
Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Gene I linkel said F riday night he had no information on the accident.
"We defer to the local investigating police department and its investigators,” he .said.
Villarreal said paramedics reported the victim sustained major injuries.
After being treated by paramedics on the scene, lie was flown by Airbife to University Hospital in San Antonio, where he was treated in the trauma center.
lust after 8 p.m., New
Braunfels Fire Department Battalion Chief John Robinson said hospital officials confirmed the death. I Ie released no other details.
New Braunfels police Sgt. John McDonald said at 8:30 p.m. police were still working to identify the youth.
“We’re trying to find out who he is and notify his family,” McDonald said.
Shannon behmann and Melissa Batey were driving across the hoop 337 overpass Friday afternoon and reported seeing the teenage boy walking southbound in front of the southbound freight train — with his back to the approaching engine.
They reported he was walking on the left side of the tracks — the side away from banda Street.
“I just saw the kid walking on the railroad tracks as we were coming over the bridge," Batey said. “When the train hit him, he bounced off the side of it, down the bank and rolled.”
As Lehmann turned otf the loop onto banda Drive, the train came to a stop with its engine close to 200 yards past where the teenager was seen.
“I heard the train horn and the man wearing that vest came off the train yelling,” she said. “I couldn’t hear what he was saying.”
behmann said he couldn’t see the train when the boy was hit, but ran around the hack of the train to the boy, who was a few feet from the tracks. He said the boy appeared to have major injuries.
Lehmann estimated the age of tile victim as between 15 and 17 years old.
Police officers searched the area of the accident for identification, but found none.
banda Street and banda Drive were closed at the accident scene for about half an hour.
New Braunfels ISD finally releases school discipline report
By Leigh Jones
New Braunfels Independent School District administrators finally released a report on middle school discipline problems after withholding it for several weeks because it contained sensitive student information.
Acting on the advise of Mark Goulet, the district’s attorney, administrators at first refused to provide copies of the document, a
61-page spreadsheet analysis of students sent to in-school suspension between Aug.
18, 2004, and March 9,
2005, despite requests from concerned parents and the Herald-
Charles Daughtry, attorney for Southern Newspapers Inc., the owner of the I lerald-Zeitung, challenged the district’s claim the entire report was protected under
■ Check the Herald-Zeitung for a complete explanation of the data with implications for the middle school's disciplinary action plan.
the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act and worked with Goulet to find a compromise.
The released information appears to be intact, minus student
...................... names, dates of birth
and times and dates of the inschool suspension assignments.
In columns spanning the length of a legal-sized sheet of paper, the spreadsheet contains information \
about each student’s grade level, gender, ethnicity and “at i isk ’ status.
It also includes Texas Assessment of Knowledge and .Skills and core curriculum class performance.
The document does not contain any summary information, making analysis a lengthy process.
After reviewing the information in the report, the Herald-Zeitung will release a full report Wednesday.
New Braunfels mayors race too close to call
New Braunfels City Secretary Michael Resendez puts padlocks on the ballot box for Saturday's election.
By Scott Mahon
The second favorite in Sunday’s Kentucky Derby is Afleet Alex, whose trainer, Tim Ritchey, said “to win the Derby, a horse needs to have a good, clean trip and a little luck.” The same could be said about New Braunfels’ mayoral election today.
Both mayoral candidates — incumbent Adam Cork and his opponent, Bruce Boyer — have run a good, clean race; now it may be just a matter of a little luck.
Today’s election is the first city election since 1999 that voters won t be distracted by a controversial proposition on the ballot, although voters have the daunting task of sorting through
39 charter amendments.
In 1999, there were 22,607 registered voters in New Braunfels; as of April 7 of this year, there were 29,498 registered voters.
The total votes
cast in the 1999 election were 3,094, or 13.69 percent of the registered voters. About 1,500 early votes were cast in 1999, or about 6.63 percent of registered voters.
If the same percentage of registered voters turn out today, then about 4,000 voters will show up to the polls. However, 2,247 more early voters turned out for
For more coverage of the election, see pages 4A and 8A.
this year’s city election than in 1999, or about 7.61 percent of the registered voters.
As City Secretary Michael Resendez has pointed out, the mayoral race must he won by a “plurality,” or by only one vote.
Some local pundits have said today’s mayoral race could be that close.
“I think it s going to be die closest election Ive ever seen in New Braunfels,” said Jim Rice, who has spent IO years in local politics. “I don’t see any major differences between the two candidates, so it may end up being a popularity contest.”
Former Mayor Stoney Williams said Cork’s experience as mayor would be to his advantage.
See ELECTION Page 8A
Canyon Lake man guilty of soliciting boy
By Ron Maloney
SAN ANTONIO — It was to have been a sick and perverse New Year’s Eve party.
What happened instead was a celebration by FBI agents who arrested a 44-year-old Canyon Lake man and San Marcos school teacher — who thought he was meeting a 14-year-old boy for sex.
T hursday, David Franklin Benner pleaded guilty in Federal District Court for the Western District of Texas to soliciting a minor for sex over the Internet, a violation of Title 18, Section 2422b of the U.S. Code.
In exchange, federal prosecutors promised him a 10-year sentence. If convicted at the end of a trial, Benner, a former second-grade teacher at Crockett Elementary School in San Marcos, faced up to 30 years in federal prison.
Benner has been held without bond since he was arrested in front of a Giddings coin laundry. On Jan. IO, a federal magistrate ruled there was probable cause to believe he was a “dangerous sexual predator."
FBI Special Agent Kristina Sheppard launched a months-long investigation into Benner that
See CRIME Page 3A
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Photos by DAVID INGRAM Herald-Zeitung
New Braunfels Fire and Air Life personnel load a teenage boy into a waiting helicopter after a Union Pacific train struck him as he was walking along the tracks near the Loop 337 overpass Friday afternoon. Below, New Braunfels police officers John Wells, left, Capt. John Villarreal and Steve Hanna discuss the accident scene.