Five stories that have North Texas talking: Texas isn’t great for motorists; a super PAC for Rick Perry; Blue Bell is back; and more.
Texas is a bad place for drivers. That’s according to Bankrate.com, which ranked drivers across the country. Texas ranks No. 3 on the list of worst states for drivers. Bankrate.com considered various factors, including fatal crashes, car thefts, commute times and insurance premiums. “Not only does the Lone Star State have the most highways in the country, it also provides one of the worst driving experiences of all states,” Bankrate.com declares. “Texas failed to have any better-than-average ranking in the six categories in the analysis.” Texas’ fatal crash rate is the worst (1.42 deaths per 100 million miles compared to a U.S. average of 1.11). Five-year average Insurance costs are also 15 percent higher than the national average. “Texas drivers also are 13 percent more likely to have their car stolen than the average U.S. motorist,” Bankrate says. “They spend $88 more on gas each year and shell out an additional $22 per job when fixing their cars. Proceed with caution.” California isn’t any better – it’s ranked No. 2. And our neighbor to the east, Louisiana, is No. 1 on the worst list. The best state for drivers? Idaho. Vermont, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Minnesota round out the top five.
- The death of a man in the Dallas County jail lobby has been ruled a homicide. WFAA-TV reports: “Joseph Hutcheson, the man who died in the main lobby of the Dallas County jail on Aug. 1, was high on cocaine and methamphetamine at the time of his death, the medical examiner said Monday. According to the medical examiner, the ‘combined toxic effects of cocaine and meth compounded by hypertensive cardiovascular disease [high blood pressure] and physiologic stress associated with struggle and restraint’ caused his death.” [WFAA-TV]
- A super PAC that supports former Gov. Rick Perry is gearing up in Iowa. The Texas Tribune reports: “A super PAC backing former Gov. Rick Perry is officially staffing up in Iowa as it comes to the aid of his cash-strapped presidential campaign. The Opportunity and Freedom PAC announced Monday it has hired Marshall Critchfield as its Iowa state director and Beth Hamilton as his deputy.” [Texas Tribune]
- An 11-year-old who killed Cookie the dog in Fort Worth has been sentenced to 18 months of probation. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports he was also sentenced to 30 hours of community service and family and individual counseling. The Star-Telegram reports: the boy “rushed out of the juvenile hearing Monday morning with a jacket over his head and his parents beside him. ‘I think it went well,’ Cookie’s owner Jennifer Knittel of Fort Worth said shortly after the hearing. … The boy [used a stick to kill] Cookie, a small Cavalier King Charles spaniel-poodle mix, on May 11 and left him dead on a porch across from where the dog lived. During the sentencing hearing, the boy read a brief letter apologizing to Knittel.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Blue Bell ice cream is back in parts of Texas. Blue Bell Creameries has resumed selling its products in select locations Monday, four months after the Texas-based retailer halted sales due to listeria contamination. Blue Bell ice cream is now available at stores in the Houston and Austin areas, including in the company's hometown of Brenham, plus parts of Alabama. Blue Bell is not available in North Texas stores -- at least for now. The company says it will service North Texas and other parts of the state once it can adequately serve Houston and Austin. It's not clear when that will happen. Learn more here. [Associated Press/KERA]