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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pat Green, Charlie Robison in Town This Weekend for "Texas Country Woodfest"

     Pat Green                                       Charlie Robison
Big doings are in the works for country music fans this weekend, as the Lumberyard will host the “Texas Country Woodfest” with two of the genre’s big names—Pat Green on Friday night and Charlie Robison on Saturday.  Each will be preceded by an opening band.  On Friday, it will be Green River Ordinance from Fort Worth and on Saturday the Remains from Brownwood.

Pat Green, 41, a native Texan, got his start in Lubbock playing gigs while attending Texas Tech but didn’t commit to music as a career until 1997.  His first step toward national recognition came when he played at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic in 1998.  In 2001, his CD Three Days was released, followed by Wave on Wave in 2003, Lucky Ones in 2004, Cannonball in 2006, and What I’m For in 2008.

Top singles include “Wave on Wave,” “Don’t Break My Heart Again,” “Baby Doll,” “Feels Just Like it Should,” “Let Me,” and “What I’m For.”  His most recent singles (2012) are “Austin” and “Even the Losers.”

Charlie Robison, 48, also a native Texan, is probably best known for his single “My Home Town.” His musical career began in Austin in the late eighties when he played in various bands.  He went solo and released his first album, Bandera, in 1996, followed by Life of the Party in 1998, Unleashed Live in 2000, Step Right Up in 2001, Live in 2003, Good Times in 2004, and Beautiful Day in 2009.  His latest CD, Live at Billy Bob’s Texas, just came out last month.

Besides “My Hometown,” his best known singles include “I Want You Bad,” “Barlight,” “Poor Man’s Son,” and “Walter.”

Both acts will begin around 9:30pm.  Cover charge for Pat Green is $20 and for Charlie Robison $15.  Those attending both performances can get tickets to both shows for $27.  For more information, call the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



The 2013 Plowboys
Roscoe’s teenage baseball team, 13-15 year-olds, were eliminated from the State Tournament at Ennis last Wednesday by Ennis, who had earlier beaten Anson.  As with the first game, the locals were simply outmatched by teams from larger towns.

The final score was 11-3.  It was 0-0 until the fourth inning when a 3-run homer put Ennis up 3-0, and before the inning was over, they had scored another run to go up 4-0. They added two more in the fifth to make it 6-0, but the Plowboys came back with two in the top of the sixth to make it 6-2.  Ennis then got five more in the bottom of the inning, and it was 11-2.  The Plowboys could only get one more after that, making the final score 11-3.

However, even though the game was lost, the season has to be considered a roaring success.  The Plowboys went farther than any teenage Roscoe team ever has in the Mitchell County league, and the organizers and coaches once again kept baseball alive and well in Roscoe for all age groups from T-ball to teenage.

The Roscoe Little League has a number of sponsors who are deserving of gratitude.  These include Sweetwater Steel, CPS, West Texas Rock Resources, Stanley Ford, the Roscoe State Bank, the Lumberyard, Sweetwater Collision Center, and Debra Loven.



When Susan Dent, who lives in a ranch southwest of Maryneal, answered the front door Monday morning, she was surprised by a Hispanic male, who grabbed her by the neck and attempted to enter the house.  She managed to break free and slam the door without him entering and ran to her bedroom where she locked the door, called 911, and got her gun.  The intruder then escaped in a white pickup.  Police arrived shortly thereafter. 

Anyone with information about this incident or the identity of the intruder should contact the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office at 325-235-5471.



A head-on collision on the service road near Sweetwater Steel between Roscoe and Sweetwater on Monday morning resulted in the loss of both vehicles, but luckily no serious injuries.

Eric Ortega of Roscoe, who was driving a black Dodge pickup, hit an employee of Sweetwater Steel in a black Toyota pickup when one of the drivers attempted to enter I-20 and the other failed to yield.



Careless weeds, cooked and ready to eat.
The careless weed (Amaranthus Palmeri) is one of the most common weeds in this area.  To local farmers and gardeners, it is about as popular as mosquitoes or scorpions, and countless gallons of Roundup have been used in the attempt to get rid of it.  However, it always seems to come back, and, with the possible exception of Johnson grass, is probably considered in these parts about as worthless a plant as one could imagine.

I remember as a kid, however, one of my Hispanic friends mentioning that his grandparents liked to eat it as a green.  I assumed at the time they must have been pretty hard up to have to resort to such measures, but then didn’t think about it any further. 

Later, as an adult, I learned to cook and have always enjoyed trying out new recipes and foods.  You may remember that last year I wrote about yucca blooms and algerita berries and a couple of years ago about jujubes, all local foods that are worth a try. 

Anyway, when the big rains came a couple of weeks ago, careless weeds came out by the thousands in alleys, vacant lots, yards, and ditches all over Roscoe, and I remembered my friend’s saying they could be eaten. 

I did a little research on the Internet and found that the Aztecs regularly ate different kinds of amaranthus, not only the leaves, but, with some varieties, also the seeds.  I also found that the local Spanish word for careless weed, quelite, is just a generic term that means ‘wild greens.’  I also looked for some recipes, but couldn’t find any specifically for careless weeds. 

Nevertheless, one afternoon last week I went out and gathered a big coffee can full of the leaves of the young careless weeds growing next to my garden.  It didn’t take long since they were pretty thick back there.  I brought them back into the house and cooked them up the same way I cook up other greens like collards, spinach, or turnip greens.

They cook like spinach.  The leaves cook down quite a bit, and it doesn’t take long to cook them, just four or five minutes after the water starts boiling.  I added a little salt to the water, and when they were done, I put them in a bowl and added a little vinegar. 

I was amazed by the result.  They are very tender and tasty and are as good as or better than any of the greens you can buy in the supermarket. 

If you don’t believe me, try it yourself.  Bon appétit!



The rain on Monday evening.
On Monday evening, we got an unexpected shower.  In and around town, as well as Avenger Field and Sweetwater, it rained about a quarter of an inch, but farther west the rain was heavier.  Farms around Champion got an inch and a half, and there were reports that places around Colorado City got three and a half inches.

Otherwise, it was sunny and still more humid than usual.  Temperatures were slightly below what we normally get this time of year with highs in the upper eighties and low nineties.  Monday and yesterday were hotter, though, with temperatures reaching 94°F both days.

The outlook for the rest of the week is for hotter weather.  Temperatures for today and tomorrow should  to go up to about 98° with lows in the mid-seventies and stay that way through the weekend.  There is no rain in the forecast.



LeRoy Edward Pietzsch, 87, who passed away on July 25 in Lubbock, was buried privately in Lindale Cemetery in Bowie on Monday.

He was born on September 3, 1925, in Nolan County and married Glenna Mae Gilcrease on April 20, 1963, in Roscoe.  He was a member of the First Salem Lutheran Church, a veteran of World War II, and a member of American Legion Post 227 and VFW Post 2479.

He is survived by special loved ones Terry and Sara Sansing of Lubbock, Tara and Drury Buxkemper of Lubbock, brother-in-law Frank Gilcrease of Lubbock, brother R. D. Pietzsch of Amarillo, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Glenna, in 1999; his mother in 1998, his father in 1935, and one brother.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plowboys Lose to Breckenridge in First Game at State Tourney

The Plowboys had their eyes on the stars in their team photo but came up short in their first game at Ennis Monday when they lost to Breckenridge 18-4.  At the end of four they were still in the game, behind 9-4, but the game got away from them in the fifth inning. 

Their next game is today at 5:00pm when they take on the winner of the Anson-Brownwood game.


by Andy Wilson, Principal

Roscoe Elementary School will host the 2013 Meet the Teacher night on August 8th at 6:00 pm.  The event will begin in the cafeteria where we conduct our annual Title I meeting and introduce our faculty and staff.  Student class assignments will be posted at the cafeteria as well.  Students and parents will be dismissed from the cafeteria to visit their classes and meet their teachers.  Please bring all school supplies that evening as well.  We look forward to seeing you August 8th at 6:00 pm!



Traffic will remain open on I-20 West for the time being.
Reconstruction of the US 84 bridge east of Roscoe has once again been delayed, and traffic on I-20 west, originally scheduled for closing yesterday and today, will be open for the foreseeable near future.

The pouring of concrete on the bridge, which would have caused the traffic closure, won’t be possible until some of the bridge’s beams are adjusted.  Just exactly how long that will take is not known at this time.

This will set back the date of final completion once again.  Construction was expected to be done in about three or four weeks, but now they’re not so sure.



Why were all the girls wearing outfits, why were there clowns, and what could this group be representing?
High School Principal Edward Morales received a pleasant surprise this week when he got in his e-mail an old Roscoe school photograph.  Someone has numbered everyone in the group on the photo itself and has then written all the names on the back.  The girls are dressed in outfits something like hotel bellhops of the time, complete with little fez-like hats, and to compound the mystery, three of the girls are dressed as clowns, complete with painted faces.  The boys, however, are dressed in normal clothing, and in the front are three kids who appear to be mascots.

The donor of the photo is a man from Frisco, Robert Hood, who says he is a historian.  He noticed the Roscoe pennant and knew it must be a school photo from Roscoe High, but he didn’t know anyone pictured, nor did he know when the photo was taken. 

A little sleuth work by the school’s secretary, Christi Beal and TIEMS Co-ordinator Dianna Heady, solved the photo’s date.  By going back through the old school records, they were able to determine that the oldest students in the photo were ones who graduated in 1928, giving them a terminus ad quem, or final possible date for the photograph.  Of course, those older students were also seniors in the fall of 1927, so it might have been taken then. 

There are some familiar names and faces in the photo.  The boy (2) next to the teacher is Louis Kerby, and the boy (32) almost hidden behind the girls (31) and (33) is Talmage Wiman.  The little boy in front (46) is Billy Whorton.  Thelma Ater (34) and her twin sister, Velma (38), were Clyde Ater’s sisters, and Thelma, who married Ray Hendricks, lived in and around Roscoe all her life.  The boy in the white shirt (22) on the right side of the picture is L. G. Anthony, a son of long-time RHS teacher Vera Anthony, or Mrs. A, as she was known.  He later played basketball at McMurry.

You may recognize others.  Mr. Hood, who donated the photo, would like to learn as much as possible about it.  Like us, he would also be delighted to learn why these students were dressed as they were and what they represented.  My guess is that they may have been in a play, but that’s just a shot in the dark. 

If you can provide any information about others in the photo, please let the High School know.  The number is 325-766-3327.

A very large version of this photo along with the names written on the back may be seen at the Roscoe Historical Museum website.  It is this week’s Photo of the Week, and by clicking on the photo in the right-hand column of this page, you will be taken to a larger version.  Click on that one twice, and you will get the largest image available.


Water is still standing in some lake beds. This one is about 5 miles southwest of town.
The shower of about ½” that fell last Wednesday concluded a rare July rain spell for the Roscoe area that has changed the outlook for this year’s crops and has farmers smiling.

The rain, which for most area farmers totaled somewhere between 2¾” and 4½”, was just what the dryland crops needed.  It was a little late in some spots, which suffered under the previous dry conditions, but was a lifesaver for the greater part.  The area now at least has a chance for a decent crop.

Since the rains, temperatures have been a little below normal for July in Roscoe, but with every passing day, the highs have been consistently working their way up.  Thursday the high was 85°, Friday it was 87°, Saturday 90°, Sunday 91°, Monday 91°, yesterday 94°, and the forecast for today is 96°.

Tomorrow the prediction is for 97°, Friday 98°, with mid to high nineties for the weekend.  There is a 20% chance of rain on Friday.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jake Freeman, Greg Althof New Plowboy Football Coaches

                    Jake Freeman                                        Greg Althof
Two ex-Plowboys will be leading Roscoe High’s football team this year.  Jake Freeman, who has coached as an assistant at Sweetwater High for the past four years, will be the head coach, and Greg Althof, who was the offensive coordinator at Crane, will also be the offensive coordinator here. 

Jonathan Haseloff, the former head coach at Roscoe, has moved on to Morton, and former defensive coordinator Allen Steele, is also gone.

Coach Freeman, who graduated from Roscoe High in 1997, was a fullback and defensive end as a Plowboy.  He was on the team that played for the state championship against Thorndale in 1995 and played college ball at Hardin-Simmons. He was the defensive coordinator at Sweetwater and says he can’t think of a better place than Roscoe to begin his head coaching career.  

Coach Althof graduated from Roscoe in 1983 and was a tackle on the Plowboy team that played for the state championship against Union Hill.  He played his college ball at Angelo State and has 26 years of coaching experience. In that time he has been both a head coach and athletic director. 

Both coaches are glad to be back in Roscoe and ready to bring winning football back to the Plowboys.  They're happy with the pre-season predictions that put Roscoe at sixth in district and expect to do a lot better than that. We hope they’re right and wish them the best.



Frogs were heard happily croaking early this morning for the first time since 2007 as the Roscoe area received some much needed rain for a big part of this past week.  

On Thursday afternoon an unexpected shower seemingly came out of nowhere to drop .54” in my rain gauge in the middle of Roscoe.  That rain quickly came and went.  Even so, it was so dry around here I doubt there was all that much runoff.

However, last week’s hot summer weather continued on Saturday with a high of 101°F, and country singer John Anderson and his band—along with everybody else—endured the heat that evening at their outdoor performance at the Lumberyard.

Even so, all the weather forecasters were talking about a big low-pressure disturbance up in Kentucky that was headed our way with percentage chances of 80% and 90%, highly unusual for this area—and, sure enough, they were right for a change. 

On Sunday afternoon, the wind started blowing from the east, a front moved in, the sky clouded over, and temperatures quickly dropped from the high nineties down into the seventies.  Late that evening it began to rain lightly, and by midnight, my gauge had accumulated .14”.

On Monday, the high temperature was only 66°—very unusual for July—and the precipitation, most of it in the form of drizzle or very light rain, measured .48”.  Yesterday the clouds and rain persisted as about 1.2” fell in town, and early this morning about .2” more fell, making the total a little over 2½” for the week. 

As always, the total amount varied depending on location with some areas getting more and others less. But, in general, there was enough rainfall to please almost everyone and give the cotton crops new life.

The forecast is for another cool day of rain today with a 70% chance of precipitation and a 50% chance tonight. Tomorrow the chance drops back to a more normal 20% with temperatures rising to a more summerlike high 80s.  Friday will be similar with sunny skies and summer heat is forecast for the weekend with highs in the lower 90s and lows in the 70s.  No rain is predicted.



John Anderson at the Lumberyard
Parking spots downtown were hard to find on Saturday evening as folks from all over the Big Country were at the Lumberyard to hear John Anderson and his band put on a show that, despite the heat, pleased almost everyone. 

A crowd estimated at between six and seven hundred was on hand to hear Anderson sing some of his most well known hits: “Swingin’,” “Seminole Wind,” “I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday,” “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories,” “I Wish I Could Have Been There,” “Black Sheep,” and others, along with some new ones from his latest album. 

To see a video of some of his performance last Saturday night, click here.



Joe Ejem and Tim Tomlin grill burgers at last year's Plowboy Preview.
The annual Plowboy Preview will be held at Plowboy Field this year on Thursday, August 15, and fans will be introduced to the new football coaches, the team, the band, and the cheerleaders.  There will also be a cookout behind the east stands.


By Coy Roper

Pictured here are (left to right) Roddy Alexander, Marti Browne, Dan Boren, Coy Roper, Mirian Solis, Faith Boren, Austin Browne, Caden Smith, Kylee and Cheyene Smith (back).
Twenty workers from the United States, including ten from the Roscoe Church of Christ, are currently serving the Linda Vista Church of Christ near Guatemala City, Guatemala, July 11-20.  

They taught classes for adults and children in an area-wide seminar on Saturday, July 13, preached and taught in bilingual services at the Linda Vista church on Sunday, July 14, and worked the following week with the Theological Institute of Latin America, a program that trains preachers from all over Central America. Roscoe workers also helped in renovation of the Institute's facilities.

One highlight was a visit to a public hospital in Guatemala City on Sunday afternoon. The workers visited with patients and gave them care packages prepared by Guatemalan Christians. They also delivered more than 100 "Love Bears" to children in the hospital—teddy bears made by ladies of the Roscoe Church of Christ.

The trip is intended to build up the local church and encourage the members in their efforts to preach the gospel and help the needy in Guatemala and throughout Latin America.

The team of U. S. workers includes people from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, and Mississippi, as well as the participants from the Roscoe congregation: Roddy Alexander, Dan Boren, Faith Boren, Austin Brown, Marty Brown, Coy Roper, Caden Smith, Cheyenne Smith, Kylee Smith, and Mirian Solis.

The group will return on Saturday.


Friday, July 12, 2013

City Council Approves Boerne Company's Bid to Build Water Treatment Plant

Scott Hay of eHT City Engineers addresses the Council at Tuesday's meeting.
At its regular monthly meeting, the City Council unanimously approved the low bid of $1,286,700 by Associated Construction Partners of Boerne, Texas, to build Roscoe’s reverse-osmosis water treatment plant.  The second lowest bid was $1,322,451 by Texas Water & Soil of San Angelo.

The bids were opened on Monday afternoon at City Hall and the results presented to the Council Tuesday evening.  In addition to the water treatment plant, the bid includes the installment of a new, computerized SCADA system to monitor and control Roscoe’s water and sewer lines, which will be a great improvement over the outmoded system currently in use.  The City will also replace 1800’-2000’ of existing water and sewer line. 

Scott Hay, Chief Engineer of eHT (Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd) City Engineers of Abilene, who are supervising the project, recommended awarding the contract to Associated Construction Partners and said eHT can have a contract ready in about two weeks with actual work beginning in four to five weeks.

The contractors will have 300 days to achieve substantial completion of the project (i.e., an operational water treatment plant) and 360 days for absolute completion. 

The winning bid was a little higher than hoped, but Hay explained to the Council that construction costs have rapidly escalated in the past couple of years because of the oil boom.

The Council also approved a service agreement with eHT for improvements to sewer lines between 8th Street and I-20 on Roscoe’s south side, where more manholes and other improvements are needed.



The 2013-14 school year at Roscoe is just around the corner.  Fall classes will begin two weeks earlier than usual—on Monday, August 12, and parents wishing to enroll their students in Roscoe schools this year should contact the district before August 1. 

School will also conclude two weeks early next spring, on Friday, May 16.  The early start will align the high school’s schedule with that of Western Texas College, which will help both with enrollment of students wishing to take collegiate classes and with the conclusion of those classes in the spring.  This year, many students taking all collegiate classes were through with them two weeks before the official ending of school but were still required to attend every day until school was officially over.   

Elementary students will also start at the same time.  The early start is primarily because of transportation and food services, but the students will also get in two extra weeks of school before the state assessment at the end of April and beginning of May, which is also a plus.  The new schedule will also allow for more holidays during the school year and will give students going to summer school a little break that they currently don’t get.

The school calendar for 2013-14 is available at the Roscoe Collegiate School website or by clicking here.  For more information, call the RISD office at 325-766-3629.



Landon Dodd & the Dancehall Drifters entertain the crowd at the street dance.
 From the morning parade on, a large number of people were on hand for Roscoe’s 4th of July celebration on Saturday.  The parade had more participants than ever, the Plowboy Mudbog had so many entries that it didn’t finish until 9:00pm, the street vendors were all pleased, as were those who enjoyed the free concert and street dance with country music stars Wayne Hancock and Landon Dodd—and an estimated crowd of 3,000 to 3,500 was on hand to view the fireworks show that concluded the celebration. 



Donny Scott won the Super Modified class with this run in his mud vehicle, "After Shock."
Since its inception, the Plowboy Mudbog has grown with each passing event.  As part of Roscoe’s Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, it had a record 80 mud vehicles competing in the various classes.  A large crowd was on hand to view the competition and Roscoe’s Little League made $2800 from the admission fees, the Plowboys baseball team brought in $1000, and the high school cheerleaders got $2,500 at the concession stand.

Street Class
1. Chad Pinkerton    Colorado City   166’ 8”    Blue & Silver Chevy
2. Lon Rhoudes        Big Spring            165’ 4”    Black CT5
3. Roland Matos      Colorado City    164’ 8”   Black/Yellow Toyota

Super Street Class
1.Terry Pillers           Odessa               182’             Orange CJ7
2. Marcelo Martinez    Roscoe          169’ 9”        Blue & Black Chevy
3. Matthew Hall        Sweetwater      167’ 8”        White GMC

1. Art Rivera             Colorado City    179’ 9”          Blue Dodge
2. Zach Welch             Roscoe              172’ 2”          Gray Chevy
3. Nick Pantoja           Roscoe              169’ 6”          Red Ford Bronco

Super Modified   
1. Donny Scott      Hobbs, NM      12.9 seconds    Silver Ford Ranger
2. Justin Davis       Hobbs, NM      16.7 seconds    Blue Toyota
3. Brian Robbins     Hobbs, NM      217’ 10”   Orange/White Bronco

1. Marc Macey         Hobbs, NM        8.9 seconds    Bug (Bug Nasty)
2. Jim Martinez        Ballinger          11.8 seconds    Green & Black

3. Abel Alvarez        Colorado City   15.6 seconds


Wreckers clear I-20 of overturned truck on Tuesday.
Yet another wreck at the overpass under construction east of town occurred on Tuesday afternoon when a westbound 18-wheeler carrying 40,000 apples lost control and overturned, sending two people to the hospital, one to Rolling Plains in Sweetwater and the other to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.

The westbound lanes of I-20 were closed and eastbound US 84 traffic diverted through Roscoe for several hours before the wreck was cleared.

“Destruction Junction,” where US 84 and I-20 merge just east of town, will obviously be just as dangerous as ever when construction is complete.  The most recent wreck before this one was just three weeks ago on June 24, when a trucker from Phoenix was killed, and there have been numerous crashes and fatalities at the site over the years. 

Darah Waldrip of the Texas Department of Transportation in Abilene told me that it would have cost too much money to make major changes in the configuration of the merger of these two major highways, so we can continue to expect accidents there in the future.  Just remember to be careful when you drive west through the I-20 underpass, and watch for slower traffic merging from US 84 just west of it.  Both points are hazardous.



Roscoe resident Silvia Treviño, 75, was killed on Sunday, June 30, at 12:20pm on US 84 five miles northwest of town when the 2011 Nissan she was driving crossed the center stripe and crashed head-on into a 2004 Ford pickup driven by Richard Anthony Ginn, 50, of Lubbock. 

She was pronounced dead at the scene while Ginn was hospitalized at University Medical Center in Lubbock.  The roadway was clear and the weather dry when the accident occurred.



Holy Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, July 3, for Sylvia T. Treviño, 75, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Sweetwater, followed by interment in the Sweetwater Cemetery.  She died on Sunday, June 30, west of Roscoe.

She was born May 4, 1938, in Eagle Pass and graduated from Edinburg High School.  She moved to Roscoe in 1961 and worked many years for Wall Industries and as a caregiver in home health. She was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Survivors include her son, Ruben Treviño of Snyder; sisters, Janie Cruz and Hilda Ramirez of Edinburg; brothers, Andy Torres and Elano Torres of Edinburg; five grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Eugenio E. Treviño, Jr., on Nov. 29, 2001; three sisters; and one brother.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Shootout at Wastella - July 11, 2003

Pre-dawn police photo of the shootout scene near CR 169 just this side of Wastella.
Published on occasion of the shootout's tenth anniversary.

The word shootout brings to mind the old west—legendary figures like Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, or Jesse James—and places like Tombstone, Dodge City, or Deadwood.  It’s not a word normally associated with modern times and generally quiet and peaceful places like the farm country around Roscoe in Nolan County, Texas. 

But in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, July 11, 2003, a classic wild west shootout played out next to US Highway 84 just east of the tiny community of Wastella as two men blazed away at one another at close range until one went down, mortally wounded, while the other, also hit multiple times, fell to the ground and lay there immobile until help arrived.

Officer Felix Pantoja in 2003.
Seriously wounded was Roscoe police officer, Felix Pantoja, 37, who would survive and go on to recover and return to duty.  Slain by shots to the head that blew out the back of his skull was Phillip Kellogg, a fugitive on the run from Georgia with his woman, Dana Livingston.  Those final shots brought to an end a crime spree of break-ins, robberies, and holdups that began six weeks earlier and spanned nine states.  The outlaw couple had vowed to live and die like Bonnie and Clyde, but in the end, the woman chose to live instead and surrendered. 

According to testimony Livingston gave later, the story began in Georgia a half-year earlier when she met Phillip Kellogg at a parole support-group meeting that both were required to attend.  He was 21, tall and skinny (6’0” and 145 lbs.) with short reddish brown hair, mustache and goatee.  She was 29, 5’5” and heavy set with blue eyes and light brown hair.  He was on parole from a Georgia penitentiary for robbery, and she was out after serving time in South Dakota and Florida for hot check offences.  The two started seeing one another regularly, and after a couple of months moved into an apartment together in McDonough, just south of Atlanta.

Phillip Kellogg from a mug shot taken two years earlier and Dana Livingston.
Life wasn’t easy for them.  Money was always an issue, and there were ongoing legal problems, especially after Kellogg was arrested in Florida for driving with a suspended license.  As time went on and frustrations mounted, they talked more and more about returning to a life of crime, and finally made up their minds to “just do it.”

They started close to home, committing a number of “smash and grab” break-ins in communities around Atlanta, preferring small towns with only one or two cops, which made escape and avoiding detection much easier.  Working late at night from her black 2003 Nissan Sentra, she watched out and did the driving while he did the breaking in, hitting closed businesses like auto parts stores, dry cleaners, and hair salons.  During the break-ins, both wore masks made from cut-up black t-shirts, and he wore gloves to keep from leaving fingerprints.  They also carried fake ID’s in the names of Dylan M. and Hailey M. Cooper, Michigan driver’s licenses purchased in the Five-Points district of Atlanta for $80 each.  

From the suburbs of Atlanta, they worked their way down I-75 to Macon, hitting small towns such as High Falls and Griffin along the way.  During this time, both received phone calls from their mothers begging them to stop and go back home, but they ignored them. 

After Kellogg forgot a screwdriver inside a store near Hampton, Georgia, the couple started running to keep from getting caught and drove north to Tennessee.*  There, according to Livingston, she and Kellogg got married, ostensibly on the weekend of June 13, or “maybe the 16th.”  She was as uncertain about the place as the date, saying that she didn’t “really know what city or county we got married in, maybe close to Gatlinburg.  I just don’t remember.”  As Deputy Mark Taylor remarked in his report of the interview, these remarks struck him as odd for “someone so in love with her husband and just recently married.”

* Livingston’s second version of events contradicted the initial one she gave to the police immediately after the shootout when she said the reason for their going to Tennessee was just to get married.  Her first statement contained denials of many holdups and break-ins that she confessed to in the second interview after being confronted with evidence.  After breaking down and crying, she said she was sorry for initially lying and wished to come clean.

In any case, the pair left Tennessee and drove through Kentucky to Indiana, where they stayed for a few days with Kellogg’s uncle Jerry.  They’d planned to continue their break-ins in Indiana but never managed to do so because, according to Livingston, they were always too stoned from smoking dope with Kellogg’s uncle.  

They left Indiana behind and drove into Illinois, where they resumed their burglaries around Rock Island in little towns along I-74.  They then continued on into Iowa doing the same thing, hitting communities off I-80 before reaching Council Bluffs, Nebraska, where Kellogg lost almost all their ill-gotten gains gambling in a casino.

Shortly thereafter, around June 23, they committed their first armed robbery, using a Hi-Point 9mm pistol Kellogg bought in Indiana.  After burglarizing some places around Gretna, Nebraska, where they were staying at a KOA campground, they held up a convenience store near the Courtesy Court Motel in Grand Island.  Then they hightailed it down Highway 128 into Kansas, travelling Highway 36 to Highway 81.  They spent the night at a motel in the small town of Belleville and the next day, June 30, drove on into Salina, Kansas, where they held up a Kwik Shop convenience store at a gas station. 

Continuing south to the suburbs of Oklahoma City, they burglarized businesses both there and in Edmond before proceeding on south into Texas and Dallas. 

On July 2, they drove to the small town of Mineola in east Texas, where they hit several places, among them the Southern Maid Donut Shop owned by the uncle of Livingston’s ex-husband.  They also committed an armed robbery there and then another one at the E-Z Mart at a  a RaceTrac service station in Grand Saline. While running away from the store, Kellogg lost the clip to his pistol.

They went on to Wills Point, where they held up another convenience store.  At this one, Kellogg forced the clerk to come out of hiding in the cooler and open the cash register.  They then drove to Dallas and stayed for a few days in a motel on Harry Hines Boulevard.  While there, they bought a white 1995 Chevy Beretta with Texas plates and then moved on, this time headed west on I-20 toward Abilene, with Kellogg driving one car and Livingston the other.

They got as far as Clyde, where they stayed at the Derrick Motel for the night.  The next morning, they took a couple of the motel’s pillows, but Kellogg forgot his 9mm pistol, which he’d put under the bed the night before.  They were back on the road before he realized what he’d done, so they turned around and went back to the motel.  However, they were unable to find the pistol and, when they inquired about it, learned that the owner had already turned it over to the local police.

Century Lodge, South 1st St., Abilene, Texas.
They drove on to Abilene and got a room at the Century Lodge on South 1st Street.  Then they went to a convenience store to buy some things and, while there, asked where they could find a pawn shop that sold pistols.  One of the customers heard them and asked whether they wanted to buy or sell a pistol and, when they said they were looking to buy one, he told them he had one he’d sell them.  They followed him to his house nearby and for $450 bought a black Llama Minimax .45 semi-automatic with a leather holster and three clips, one loaded with six shells, one with seven, and the other empty.

The same day they met a man who was staying next to them at the Century Lodge.  They were in room 127 and he was in 128.  He told them he was an unemployed oilfield worker named J. D., married but separated.  This turned out to be James David Doolan, a crack-smoking ex-convict from Abilene, 41 years old, 5’11” and 200 pounds, who had short brown hair and wore a cowboy hat.

He hung out with his new friends as much as possible, enough that the couple got tired of his constant presence.  Every time they left the motel, he saw them off, and when they returned, he was there to welcome them back.  They put up with him, though, because they hadn’t talked to anyone else for a while and figured they’d be gone in a day or two, anyway.  

That evening, they went back to work, hitting a couple of dry cleaners in Abilene before driving over to Hawley and burglarizing another place there.  They also attempted to break into a gas station outside Anson but were unsuccessful. 

The following night, Doolan went to their room and asked if they’d take him to the Flying J Truck Stop in Tye, a small town on I-20 just west of Abilene.  He got money there by telling unsuspecting people he was broke and needed money for gas.  Promising to return the money by mail as soon as he got home, he’d even write down their names and addresses. 

Kellogg and Livingston agreed and took him, arriving there around 11:30pm.  The couple went on into the restaurant while Doolan did his thing outside and, shortly thereafter, came in with some money.  He sat with them and they talked for a while.  Soon, the conversation turned to the fact that they all needed money.  When the idea of burglarizing came up, Doolan suggested they try Sweetwater, about thirty miles west, which he said was “a quiet little town” that he was somewhat familiar with.  That sounded good to Kellogg, so they all left the Flying J and drove to Sweetwater in the black Nissan.

As soon as they got there, they stopped at Skinny’s Fina station just off I-20 and went to the restroom.  Then they went to work.  First, they drove north on South Lamar and hit the closed Big Tex convenience store.  Livingston stayed in the car while Kellogg and Doolan kicked in the door and went inside.  However, they got little to nothing there and drove around for a while before stopping at the Quick Pantry, again kicking the door in, taking the two cash registers, and bringing them back into the car.  While Livingston drove around, the men broke into the registers and removed the money.  Then they dumped them and spent a little time settling down, calming their nerves before hitting the next place, the Check Mart on Lamar next to the car wash, followed by B & H Engine Repair on West Broadway.  The cash register was empty there, so they both grabbed tools, one of them a chain saw, before returning to the car. 

Their next break-in was at Bahlman’s Cleaners, just off Hailey on 3rd Street.  The cash register there was bolted down, so they popped it open with a screwdriver and took the cash.  As they were leaving, a patrol officer’s alley light lit them up.  They drove around some more and then headed west on the service road just north of I-20.  Livingston initially planned to get back on the Interstate but instead wound up driving all the way to Roscoe, a distance of about seven miles. 

They entered Roscoe from the east and proceeded down East Broadway toward town.  Just by chance they happened to pass Roscoe Police Officer Felix Pantoja, who was driving up Broadway in the opposite direction.  Alarmed, they carefully watched him, and when they got to the intersection where Business US 84 turns right to get back out to the highway, they noticed Pantoja make a U-turn and start back toward them. 

Kellogg told Livingston to “hit it,” and she did, crossing the railroad tracks and then speeding out of town onto US 84 toward Wastella and Snyder.  Officer Pantoja observed their actions, turned on his overhead lights and siren, and followed in hot pursuit.

Shortly before that, Pantoja had been at the restaurant of the Holiday Inn in Sweetwater quietly drinking iced tea with Nolan County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Johnson and Fabian Jimenez.  While listening to a hand-held police radio at around 12:35am, they heard reports of burglaries and a small black car that was seen leaving the location of one of them, heading west on the north service road off I-20 and Lamar.  At that point, Pantoja knew he’d better get back to Roscoe to watch for the car and check on the businesses there. 

He returned on I-20 in his patrol car and drove around to several locations in Roscoe, checking to make sure everything was okay.  He drove north up Main Street and then turned east when he got to Broadway.  He went only a few blocks before passing a small black car going in the opposite direction. 

Immediately suspicious, he made a U-turn, and then sped up to catch up with it.  He saw the car turn right on Business US 84 and followed, turning on his red and blue lights as he crossed the railroad tracks.  When the car accelerated onto US 84 and sped away, he turned on his siren and radioed the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office to let them know he was in pursuit. 

A high-speed chase went on for the next eight miles with both cars hitting speeds of 110-115 mph.  According to Pantoja, the black Nissan slowed down to around 60 a couple of times before resuming high speed.  At least one of these slowdowns may have occurred when Livingston wanted to pull over and give up, but Kellogg responded with, “Nope, not going back to prison,” and the chase continued.  

As they raced down the highway, Kellogg decided that they’d have a better chance trying to elude one officer than continuing on toward Snyder, where more police would likely be encountered.  He told Livingston to try to find a crossover or country road to take.  Then he saw the CR 169 crossover just ahead and told Livingston to take it.  She slowed down to about 30 mph and tried to make a U-turn back to the eastbound lane but was going too fast and lost control of her vehicle, which nose dived into a culvert, putting it out of commission.  She and Kellogg threw open the front doors, jumped out, and ran across the highway into the darkness while Doolan also threw open his door and ran away in a different direction.

Meanwhile, Officer Pantoja came to a screeching halt right behind them, jumped out of his patrol car, and began chasing Kellogg and Livingston on foot, yelling for them to stop.  Livingston ran into a ditch, lost her balance, and fell face forward into the dirt.  Kellogg was just ahead of her, and she called out to him that she’d fallen, but he continued on since Pantoja was close behind.  Livingston started to get up, but Pantoja told her to stay down, and as she could see he had his pistol drawn and didn’t want to get shot, she did as he said. 

Pantoja then approached her with the idea of handcuffing her, but as she rose to get up, all hell broke loose.  Kellogg had stopped running and started back, and at a distance of about 25 feet, he began firing his .45, hitting Pantoja in the hip with his first shot, and grazing the side of Livingston’s head with his second.  She cried out, “Phillip, what are you doing?  You hit me.” 

Pantoja returned fire and got off two shots while the woman jumped away from him, trying to get out of the line of fire.  Kellogg again shot twice, hitting Pantoja in the right thigh with the first shot and in the right forearm with the second. 

Pantoja again tried to shoot back but couldn’t pull the trigger because the wound to his forearm had disabled his right hand.  By this time he was on the ground and lay over on his left side in the attempt to get the pistol into his left hand.  His right hand was completely useless, but he managed to pull the pistol out of it with his left hand and began firing again, getting off several rounds and hearing Kellogg yell when he got hit. 

Kellogg was also down and temporarily quit firing, and Pantoja took advantage of the pause to change his empty clip for a full one, but with only one working hand he had trouble snapping the clip into place. He managed, though, by shoving it in against his left knee. 

Both men were clearly visible to one another in the light of an almost full moon.*  After a moment Kellogg raised up and shot once again.  With a full clip, Pantoja returned fire and got off several rounds before Kellogg again went down.  There was another pause, and Pantoja spoke to Livingston, telling her to come toward him but not to run or he’d have to shoot her.  She asked him if she could put her hand to the side of her head where she’d been shot, and he said yes. 

* The full moon was two days later on July 13.  During the shootout, the moon was still fairly high in the southwestern sky.  It set about two and a half hours later at 4:16am.

Kellogg was now on his knees all balled up.  Pantoja told him to stay down and not to move, but he did, and Pantoja hit him with two more shots.  Kellogg cried out again and collapsed.  While this was going on, Livingston was pleading with Pantoja, imploring him to stop shooting Kellogg.  When he did stop, she asked him if she could go check on Kellogg.  Concerned that she might be going for the pistol, he told her no, that, if she did, he’d shoot her.  He told her to just stay still and wait for help. 

Pantoja tried several times to use his portable radio to call the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office but had trouble getting it to work.  When Livingston heard him saying into it, “Officer down, shots fired, send an ambulance,” it was only then that she realized Pantoja had been shot, too.  Not too long after that, Pantoja heard a siren in the distance and knew that help was on the way. 

First on the scene was Deputy Michael Johnson, who arrived at 1:55am.  He got out of his patrol car trying to locate Pantoja and calling out his name.  Pantoja yelled, “Help, I’m shot” and raised his arm.  As Johnson spotted him and started in his direction, Pantoja warned him that a male suspect was down but still had a gun.  Johnson then saw Kellogg, who was lying face down in a pool of blood but still moving slightly.  Johnson saw Kellogg’s pistol lying on the ground next to him and kicked it away before picking it up and handcuffing Kellogg.  Then at Pantoja’s directions, he got Pantoja’s handcuffs and put them on Livingston.  He then put the pistol in the patrol car, got a flashlight, and returned to Pantoja with a first aid kit.

Pantoja could feel his pants leg wet with blood and knew he’d been shot in the thigh.  He asked Johnson to pull his trousers off to see how bad the wound was and to see if they could stop the bleeding.  Johnson told Pantoja the bullet had gone all the way through and began dressing his wounds.

Paramedics treat the downed gunmen where they fell.
Pantoja had been hit four times—in the right thigh, the right hip, the right forearm, and in the right upper chest area.  The last one had hit his Kevlar body armor, which most likely saved his life because, although the shell caused a severe bruise and some bleeding under the skin, it never penetrated his body.

Others arrived on the scene.  Deputy Fabian Jimenez came first and others shortly after that, including emergency personnel with an ambulance.  Jimenez and Johnson got Pantoja’s pants down and treated his thigh wound, and then the medical personnel took over.

Meanwhile, other officers took pictures and secured the crime scene.  Upon examining Kellogg’s .45 handgun, they found one round still in the chamber and an empty clip.  They also found the other clip with seven full rounds in the black holster that Kellogg was wearing.  This meant that of the six rounds in the other clip Kellogg had put in the pistol, five had been discharged, four of them had hit Pantoja, and the other had grazed Livingston.

Paramedics place Kellogg on a gurney.
Kellogg had serious head wounds and was still alive but unresponsive.  The paramedics placed him on a gurney, put him in a helicopter at around 2:40am, and airlifted him to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.  At 3:00am they did the same for Pantoja.  A female officer was put in charge of Livingston, whose wound was not serious.  Nevertheless, she was put in an ambulance and taken to Rolling Plains Hospital in Sweetwater for treatment.

It was not until Deputy Mark Taylor interviewed Livingston at the hospital that they realized a third person had been in the vehicle, whom Livingston identified as J.D. and said that he’d stayed in room 127 at the Century Lodge in Abilene.  With that information, police made a phone call and quickly learned that J. D. was James David Doolan.  Then someone called the Sweetwater Police to report that a white male, who appeared to have been involved in an accident, was walking along US 84 near Roscoe, trying to hitchhike.  Law officers were immediately sent to the area, and the search for J. D. was on. 

After responding to a couple of false leads in Roscoe, police learned that Doolan had walked to the office of a highway construction site a mile away from the shootout and told someone there he’d had a wreck up the road and needed a ride.  Someone took him to the Truck & Travel restaurant on I-20 just west of Roscoe.  Then at 7:00am, officers were told that someone fitting Doolan’s description had just left the Truck & Travel with a black family in a motor home on their way to get gas at the Town & Country service station on I-20 about a mile east.  Officers went there and saw the motor home at the gas pumps.  They found Doolan inside it and arrested him.  

Shortly before that, Dr. Lehnert of the Hendrick Medical Center emergency room notified police that Kellogg had died of his wounds at 5:48am. His body was taken to Avalon Mortuary Services, where it was learned that he’d been shot in seven places: the lower abdomen, the right elbow, the upper right shoulder, above the right eye, below the right eye, beside the left eye, and in top of the head. 

Upon learning of Kellogg’s death, Deputy Mark Taylor called the police in Gwinnette County, Georgia, and had them send an officer to the home of Kellogg’s mother and stepfather to give them the news.  Shortly thereafter, Taylor received a phone call from Kellogg’s mother.  He read her the death notification and gave her the details leading to Kellogg’s death.  He then started telling her how she could claim the body, but she interrupted him and said, “You can keep that body.  I don’t want it.  He’s been nothing but trouble ever since he was a kid.”  Later, however, Taylor did get a call from Kellogg’s brother, who requested and received information on getting the body. 

In the days following, the police were able to solve several robberies and burglaries in the Abilene and Dallas areas with information that Livingston provided them in her confession.  They also notified law enforcement in Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states and were able to do the same in many places there.

Officer Pantoja spent four days in the hospital recovering from his wounds.  The shots to the thigh and lower abdomen were not life-threatening since both bullets had gone through his body without hitting bone or any vital organs.  Similarly, the shot to his right upper chest caused a severe bruise and some internal bleeding but wasn’t critical because it didn’t penetrate his body armor.  His most serious wound was the one to his right forearm because it shattered bone.  He wore a cast on it for six weeks, and, although the bone mended and he recovered full use of his right hand, the wound left some lasting effects and aches.  

Dana Livingston, whose only injury was the graze to the head from Kellogg’s second shot, was released from Rolling Plains Hospital and taken to the Nolan County Jail in Sweetwater, where she stayed for almost two months.  Then on September 2, she agreed to a plea bargain with a sentence of ten years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, along with court costs, fines, attorney’s fees, and restitution to the businesses burglarized in Sweetwater.

On October 27, J. D. Doolan, after 109 days in the Nolan County Jail, also agreed to a plea bargain.  His sentence was four years imprisonment along with similar court costs, fines, fees, and restitution.

Felix Pantoja displays the Medal of Valor from the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas.
In the weeks following the shootout, Pantoja was showered with honors and awards for his devotion to duty and bravery under fire.  In a formal ceremony, Roscoe Police Chief Lance Richburg awarded him an honor pin, and he also received plaques of appreciation from the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, the Roscoe Lions Club, and the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office.  The Sons of the American Revolution awarded him a law enforcement commendation medal, and the Texas Law Enforcement Association presented him its version of the Purple Heart as well as the Medal of Valor, its first.  The Kevlar Survivor’s Club made him a member, Governor Rick Perry wrote him a letter of commendation, and President George W. Bush sent an autographed photo. 

“I’m very proud to wear the medals on my uniform,” Pantoja said. “I’m even more proud to serve as an officer in Roscoe.”

The following year when Chief Lance Richburg left, Pantoja was promoted and has served as Roscoe’s Chief of Police ever since.  In that time, he’s served the city well and been in some serious scrapes and tough situations.  None, however, have been quite as spectacular or as deadly as the shootout in 2003 with Phillip Kellogg.

© 2013

Edwin Duncan

This narrative was compiled from the official police reports coming from all of the involved parties—police officers, sheriff’s deputies, the Texas Ranger in charge of the overall report, the female fugitive, who survived the shooting and was interviewed twice after being taken into custody—as well as from Officer Pantoja’s official report and from subsequent discussions with him.  It has been placed on file in the Roscoe Historical Museum.

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