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  • Pilot killed in Abilene crash was Air Force instructor pilot

    By Jeff Cramer, Weekend Anchor/Reporter, jcramer@ktxs.com
    John Grobe, News Reporter, jgrobe@ktxs.com
    Blane Singletary, Morning Producer, bsingletary@ktxs.com
    Published On: Aug 31 2014 07:15:13 PM CDT
    Updated On: Sep 02 2014 08:53:01 AM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -


    An instructor pilot assigned to Columbus Air Force Base died in a general aviation plane crash Sunday night at approximately 6:30 p.m. near Abilene Regional

    The pilot, United States Air Force Maj. Richard W. "Tracer" Schafer III, 35, and his brother, were pronounced dead by local authorities. Two other passengers were transported to a local hospital.

    Schafer was flying his private aircraft, licensed in Mississippi, while on vacation with his family in Texas. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

    "This is a tragic event that affects not only Team BLAZE, but our community partners both here and in Abilene," reflects Col John Nichols, commander, 14th Flying Training Wing. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj Schafer's family as they cope with this painful tragedy."

    Additional details will be provided as soon as they become available from the NTSB.

    MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATED:   The pilot, 35-year-old Ricky Schafer of Columbus, Mississippi, and his brother, 28-year-old Matthew Schafer, were killed when their small, experimental aircraft crashed into the trees and brush south of Industrial Blvd. just before 6:30 p.m. Sunday.   Their bodies were taken to Tarrant County for examination.  The two other passengers, Victoria Schafer, 31, and Wyatt Schafer, 2, were taken to Hendrick Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

    Hendrick officials have confirmed that Wyatt Shafer has been released from the Hendrick Medical Center -- Victoria is in fair condition.

    Abilene police have closed down the east end of Industrial Boulevard until the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration have conducted their investigation.

    Abilene Fire Lt. Mike Miller said there was a witness account of the plane crash.

    “The witness said that the plane took off from the airport, made a hard bank and returned towards the airport—then went down, “ Miller said, “it landed in the field behind us."

    NTSB investigators arrived to the crash scene Monday afternoon around 1:25 p.m. Tim Latson was the lead investigator and he said he will need to take parts of the plane to a lab for more research.

    "I will remove the engine, propeller and several pieces of electronic equipment," Latson said, "and I will take those for further laboratory examination."

    Latson believes the entire crash investigation could take from 6 months up to 1 year.  Dyess investigators were also at the crash scene Monday.

    Latson will present his final findings in front of a 5 person board -- the members of that board will determine the cause of the crash.

    ORIGINAL STORY: A small plane has crashed near Abilene Regional Airport near Diamondback Golf Club.

    The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

    According to emergency responders on the scene, two people have been taken to the hospital. They were responsive.

    No word yet on their condition.

    We are actively working to bring you more information.

  • Talk continues about closing state supported living centers

    Published On: Sep 01 2014 09:00:40 PM CDT
    Updated On: Sep 02 2014 08:30:19 AM CDT
    AUSTIN, Texas -

    A state advisory committee is recommending Texas shut down six of its 13 residential facilities for individuals with mental and developmental disabilities.

    The Abilene center has the biggest budget of all the facilities and houses 398 residents. It also employs more than 1,400 people.

    The recommendation comes from a Department of Aging and Disability Services report released last month. The recommendation was made by a state panel that suggests ways to improve Texas agencies.   

    The panel gives several reasons for its recommendation, including costs and ongoing controversies over the quality of care at the centers.

    The center in Austin is the first one on the chopping block. Other centers that might be closed are not named.  

    The centers provide care for about 3,650 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    A Department of Aging and Disability Services spokeswoman says the recommendations are not final.

  • 2 Tye women arrested after allegedly stealing DVDs

    By Christian Collins, Reporter/Weekend Producer, ccollins@ktxs.com
    Published On: Aug 31 2014 06:02:03 PM CDT
    Updated On: Sep 02 2014 08:30:01 AM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    The Abilene Police Department arrested two Tye women Saturday after they  allegedly stole $876.52 worth of DVDs from a local store in the 4000 block of Southwest Drive.

    According to arrest reports, 22-year-old Britney Dokey and 26-year-old Kelly Gregor were observed by loss prevention placing DVDs in a re-useable shopping bag.

    The report also states they were seen exiting the store without paying for the movies.

    Dokey and Gregory were arrested and taken to the Taylor County Jail.

    According to records, Dokey has no prior theft convictions, while Gregory has two.

    Dokey was charged with theft. Her bond was set at $2,500. Gregory was charged with a state jail felony theft. Her bond was set at $3,500.

    They have since posted bail and were released as of Sunday.

  • Kraft recalls more than 7,500 cases of cheese

    Published On: Sep 02 2014 08:40:24 AM CDT
    Kraft Singles cheese


    Kraft Foods Group has announced a recall of more than 7,500 cases of its popular single-slice American cheese.

    The company said it discovered that a supplier did not store the cheese at the correct temperature, which may cause premature spoiling or a foodborne illness. 

    The recalled cheese has an expiration date of Feb. 20-21, 2015.

    The 7,691 cases that were recalled include the 12-, 16- and 24-ounce packages.

    No one has gotten sick from the cheese, but Kraft is asking everyone not to eat it and to return packages to the store for a full refund. 

  • Abilene Police Department gets free Labor Day lunch from Olive Garden

    By Jeff Cramer, Weekend Anchor/Reporter, jcramer@ktxs.com
    Published On: Sep 01 2014 06:12:57 PM CDT
    Updated On: Sep 02 2014 08:30:09 AM CDT
    ABILENE, Texas -

    The Abilene Police Department was treated to a free lunch Monday by Olive Garden restaurants.

    It’s part of a Labor Day tradition from the restaurant chain.

    Olive Garden Culinary Manager Pat Glover says it’s all a big “thank you.”

    “We do it just as an appreciation,” Glover said. “The police are on the streets for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Labor Day, a lot of people are off from work, and for those who have to come in and do their jobs, we help them out and feed them lunch.”

    For the past 13 years, Olive Garden has delivered lunches on Labor Day in local communities.

    This year, more than 800 Olive Garden restaurants across the country delivered free lunches to honor firefighters, police officers and various hospital staff.

    Alex Bruce, a server at the Olive Garden in Abilene, knows how much this means to Abilene police.

    “It is just a big thank you,” Bruce said. “Lunch isn’t a big deal, but we do what we can to show appreciation. It’s just something to look forward too, break up the day a little, and just make their day better.”

    Police officers were treated to salad, bread sticks, lasagna and much more, but you could tell by the smiles and amount of food on their plates, the police department was so thankful for their free lunch on Labor Day.

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