Texas Digest: Harvey flood damage shuts Houston hospital permanently


Flood damage too much for hospital

A Houston hospital won’t reopen after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

Officials with East Houston Regional Medical Center say even though the facility was rebuilt after previous storms, they determined that it wouldn’t be safe to continue operating the hospital, which is in a low-lying area prone to flooding.

Although the hospital was equipped with floodgates, nearly 6 feet of water inundated it during Harvey, which dumped more than 50 inches of rain in the Houston area in late August.

Hospital officials said they’re working with nearly 500 employees to offer them jobs at other facilities run by HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division, which has hospitals in Houston, Corpus Christi and South Texas.

The 131-bed hospital had operated for more than 40 years.


Affidavit: Some got preferential treatment

A former top assistant to a Texas district attorney whose office is prosecuting dozens of cases stemming from a deadly biker shooting says the DA dismissed unrelated criminal cases for friends and campaign donors.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that former McLennan County prosecutor Greg Davis made the claim in a sworn affidavit filed Friday.

Davis was first assistant to District Attorney Abel Reyna until 2014, when he resigned, saying he objected to preferential treatment given to Reyna’s friends and political supporters.

The affidavit was filed as part of testimony for a man facing trial on charges stemming from the 2015 shooting at a Twin Peaks restaurant involving rival biker gangs.

The first trial resulting from the Twin Peaks confrontation ended Friday with a mistrial.

Reyna did not return phone messages seeking comment.


Grandmother charged with murder

A 68-year-old Rio Grande Valley woman has been charged with murder after authorities say she used her SUV to fatally run over her granddaughter’s former husband.

Elizabeth Guerrero, of Donna, appeared before a justice of the peace Saturday. She’s charged in the death of 20-year-old Gilberto Gaytan.

Bail was set at $1 million, and Guerrero requested a court-appointed lawyer.

Hidalgo County sheriff’s investigators believe the slaying Thursday in Mission stemmed from a custody dispute between Gaytan and Guerrero’s granddaughter, 22-year-old Elizabeth Morales, who has a 2-year-old daughter. Morales is jailed on a previous drug charge. Her daughter is in the care of child welfare officials.


Son charged with slaying of father

Authorities in San Antonio have charged a 19-year-old man with the fatal shooting of his father in July.

Jose Fernando Garcia was questioned initially in August after his father, also named Jose Fernando Garcia, was found inside his home with a fatal head wound. The victim’s wife told police at the time that the shooting happened during a home invasion, that she heard gunfire and saw a shadow leaving through the front door. But police said there were no signs of a break-in.

Detectives said the younger Garcia denied any involvement, but that his stepbrother told them there was an argument the night of the shooting and later that night Garcia told him he’d shot his father.

Authorities also said some details provided by the stepbrother were corroborated by a neighbor.


Remains of missing teen ID’d

Human remains found more than a year ago in a remote area of Huntsville have been identified as those of a missing suburban Houston teenager.

Huntsville police said DNA testing has confirmed that the victim is Noe Anael Espinal of Spring. His skeletal remains were found in September 2016 scattered along a power line easement. Police said the body also had been set on fire. His family had reported him missing.

Six people — five from Houston and one from Huntsville — have been indicted on murder charges in his stabbing death. Police told The Huntsville Item that all six are from El Salvador, are living in the country illegally and are members of the MS-13 gang.

Authorities believe Espinal belonged to a rival gang, which played a role in his slaying.

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