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Among the stories we are covering at 5PM:
Coming up at 5PM:  Friends of teen Kristin Paris are holding a benefit Saturday to help pay for her funeral.  Rockline Kennedy was in jail today, facing tougher charges in Paris’ death and a higher bond.  

Judge upgrades charge to Intoxication Manslaughter in case of man accused of driving drunk and killing teenage girl

BEAUMONT - Judge John Stevens has upgraded the charge to Intoxication Manslaughter in the case against a man accused of driving drunk and killing a teenage girl.

Watch Live at 5 and KFDM News at 6 for live reports and reaction to the change in status.

The judge made his decision during a Friday morning hearing in the case of Rockline Kennedy, 65. He's charged with a collision that killed Kristin Paris, 18, of Nederland. Judge Stevens set his bond at $200,000. Officers took Kennedy into custody immediately following the hearing and transported him to jail. Stevens set a number of conditions for bond, based on recommendations from the District Attorney's Office.

If convicted of the Second Degree Felony, Kennedy could face up to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Beaumont police responded to the collision at about 11 p.m. Monday on I-10 near Ford Park. Prosecutors say Kennedy was traveling the wrong way on I-10.

Police arrested Kennedy and charged him with Intoxication Assault but the charge is now upgraded to Intoxication Manslaughter.


TXDOT urges football fans to drive sober on Super Bowl day

AUSTIN -- With Super Bowl party plans nearing the goal line, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds football fans to drive sober or not at all.

"The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year and a great time for a party, but it'™s no excuse to be irresponsible and kill yourself or someone else,"; said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). "If your festivities include drinking, it'™s your responsibility to plan ahead for a sober ride. Don't put yourself and others at risk."

On Super Bowl Sunday 2014, there were 128 DUI alcohol-related traffic crashes in Texas resulting in eight fatalities and 12 serious injuries. Those crashes marked a 14-percent increase compared with 2013 and the lives lost were somebody's loved ones.

In 2014, there were more than 3,450 fatalities on Texas roadways. Of those fatalities, more than 1,035 involved alcohol.As impaired driving continues to be a major -- and often tragic -- problem in Texas, TxDOT remains vigilant in its efforts to remind drivers of the severe consequences of taking the wheel while under the influence. Drivers arrested for DWI can face jail time and up to $17,000 in court costs and legal fees.

As part of its annual Football Impaired Driving Campaign, TxDOT toured the state in the Fan Van -- a giant football on wheels -- to encourage fans to have a game plan for a sober ride. The van made appearances at more than a dozen college football tailgate parties, bars and restaurants during football season, and encouraged fans to make a sober-ride pledge. 

Those who make a sober-ride pledge by Feb. 1 have a chance to win a trip to pro football's Big Game in the San Francisco area on Feb. 7, 2016. Details and information about various ways to pledge can be found at

Public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing services are other alternatives to driving impaired and causing a crash. Visit for more sober-ride options and do your part to keep Texas roads safe.

For more information, contact TxDOT Media Relations at or (512) 463-8700.

I-10 West reopens at Highway 12; frontage road should reopen by about 1

ORANGE COUNTY - All westbound lanes of I-10 near Highway 12 have reopened following an early Friday morning accident.

The westbound frontage road near the crash site should reopen at about 1 p.m.



At this time, the status of the lane closures remains the same.  The reopening of Interstate 10 at Highway 12 in Vidor is not expected to occur until around 6:00 p.m.  These lane closures will possibly impact the evening commute for Vidor residents and other motorists traveling into Texas.  Motorists are urged to use alternate routes .  The cities of Vidor, Orange, Mauriceville, Bridge City and Port Arthur should expect increased motor vehicle traffic due to motorists utilizing alternate routes.

Currently, both drivers are undergoing treatment at St. Elizabeth hospital in Beaumont. The driver of the 2006 Nissan passenger vehicle, 24 year old Blake Morecraft of Dickinson, Texas, sustained injuries to his head and neck.  Morecraft was not wearing a seatbelt.  The driver of the 2013 Freightliner, 33 year old James Wilson of Tennessee, sustained back and neck injuries.  These injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

All law enforcement personnel, fire fighters, maintenance crews and wrecker companies are working as quickly as possible to reopen the roadway; however, the safety of all personnel at the crash scene is the number one priority.  Therefore, the time stated earlier could be delayed if other safety issues arise.



The crash that occurred this morning on Interstate 10 and State Highway 12 in Orange County has caused major structural damage to the roadway and the outside concrete wall of the overpass.  Due to this extensive damage, Interstate 10 westbound has only one lane of traffic open.  This crash has caused major traffic congestion in the area and it is expected that the three  outside lanes of the Interstate and a portion of the feeder road will remain closed for at least another 7-8 hours.

The Texas Department of Transportation has several crews on scene assisting with traffic control with the use of traffic cones and barricades.  At this time, the Texas Department of Transportation is utilizing their Dynamic Message Signs near the Texas-Louisiana border to warn motorists of the lane closures.

The Texas Department of Public Safety urges motorists to use alternate routes and to avoid this area.

Information will be updated as it becomes available.


ORANGE COUNTY - A wreck at about 6:30 Friday morning has closed Interstate 10 West and the service road near Highway 12 in Orange County, according to information first responders with Orange County ESD 1 have provided to KFDM News. The cab of an 18 wheeler is hangover over the guardrail while the trailer blocks the road.  Troopers have closed I-10 West and the westbound service road near mile marker 861 until workers can clear the wreckage. The inside shoulder remains open.

First responders tell us it could be noon or later before the highway is reopened.

The driver of the tractor trailer was taken to a hospital. His injuries aren't life threatening.

Another vehicle was also involved in the wreck. That driver was also taken to a hospital. That person's injuries aren't life threatening.

The tractor trailer was carrying paper.

The paper, along with fuel from the saddle tanks, and oil, spilled.

DPS, Vidor PD, Orange County ESD #1, Orange County S.O. and TxDOT are at the scene.


At approximately 6:40am, there was a two vehicle crash on Interstate 10 at Highway 12 in Orange County. One of the vehicles involved was an truck tractor semi-trailer.

A Nissan passenger vehicle was traveling westbound in the inside lane of Interstate 10. The Freightliner truck tractor semi-trailer was traveling westbound in the outside lane of Interstate 10 next to the passenger vehicle. For an unknown reason, the passenger vehicle drifted into the path of the 18-wheeler. The passenger vehicle struck the 18-wheeler and then struck the inside concrete barrier, coming to rest in the inside lane of Interstate 10. The 18-wheeler veered to the right striking the outside concrete barrier which caused the cab of the truck to actually go over the concrete barrier./ Both drivers were transported to St. Elizabeth hospital with unknown injuries.

The inside lane of Interstate 10 is the only westbound lane of traffic open at this time. Crews have also shutdown the westbound feeder road. It is unclear when the roadway will be reopened.

As more information becomes available, it will be released.  

Rare white dolphin spotted in California
MONTEREY, CA-- A white dolphin was spotted amongst gray dolphins gliding across the Monterey Bay on Jan. 25. The rare sighting of a juvenile Risso’s dolphin is believed to be either leucistic or albino. Red eyes would qualify the dolphin as albino, while blue would suggest leucism, another genetic mutation which prevents melanin and other pigments from being deposited on the skin. The dolphin was only captured with closed eyes when it surfaced, so it’s difficult to know for sure which condition is present until the eye color is identified. It is likely this was the same dolphin seen last August. 

Entergy Texas warns business customers: be wary of scam artists

BEAUMONT -- Scammers targeting Entergy Texas, Inc. customers appear to have shifted tactics, going after business customers in addition to residential, the utility says.

The scheme, however, remains the same. The con artist calls and tells the business owner or manager their electric bill payment is past due, and that service will be disconnected within the hour if payment isn't made. The scammer then directs the customer to transfer funds electronically, sometimes through a system known as "MoneyPak"; or "Green Dot."; Often the customer is a restaurant owner or other small business owner.

See infographic on how the scheme works here.

See the Spanish infographic on how the scheme works here.

How can you protect yourself and keep from falling victim to this scam?

  • While the company does place courtesy calls if you are at risk for disconnection, these are recorded calls, and are not calls from live customer service representatives. Entergy NEVER demands immediate payment.
  • While you may pay your Entergy bill by phone or credit card, it is ONLY through BillMatrix, a third-party vendor we use for this purpose.
  • You should never give your personal information to strangers. If a call sounds suspicious, call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak with an Entergy customer service representative.

Also, you can manage your Entergy account and review account alert options to stay better informed by downloading the free Entergy smart phone app or visiting to register for myAccount.

You should only use authorized methods and legitimate banking information to pay your Entergy bill. We offer several convenient ways:

  • Pay online -- For no additional charge, you may securely log in to myAccount at com to conveniently pay your bill online.
  • Pay by phone -- You may pay your bill by credit card, debit card or electronic check by calling Entergy's pay-by-phone provider, BillMatrix, at 1-800-584-1241. BillMatrix charges a $2.95 service fee.
  • Walk-in payment centers -- Want to pay in person? You may pay your bill by cash, check or money order at an authorized Quick Payment Center in your community. A convenience fee may apply.
  • Bank draft -- You can avoid late fees by having your Entergy payment automatically deducted from your checking account each month. Entergy will mail a monthly billing statement to you for your records, showing the bill amount and bank draft date.
  • Pay by mail -- You can send a check by U.S. Mail to the remittance address shown on your bill.

If you believe you are a victim of this scam, you should notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general's office. If you believe your Entergy account has been affected, call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-‘368-‘3749) to speak with an Entergy customer service representative.

BREAKING -- Mitt Romney will not run for president

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016.

Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering a third campaign for the White House, the former Massachusetts governor told members of his staff during a Friday conference call that he is out of race.

Romney jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he told a small group of former donors in New York that he was eyeing another White House run.

But in the days since, as Romney tried to rally support for another campaign, he discovered that several of his past supporters and major fundraisers had defected to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Said one this week in an interview with The Associated Press, "I have turned the page."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Three weeks after unexpectedly saying he was considering another run for president, Mitt Romney plans to update supporters Friday about his plans for the 2016 campaign.

The Republican Party's 2012 nominee will host a conference call with supporters at 11 a.m. EST, according to an email from Romney obtained by The Associated Press. Romney will tell staff members about his plans a few minutes earlier.

The former governor of Massachusetts jumped back into the presidential discussion on Jan. 10, when he surprised a small group of former donors at a meeting in New York by telling them he was eyeing a third run for the White House.

In the days since, Romney has made calls to former fundraisers, staff and supporters, and given a few speeches in which he outlined his potential vision for another campaign. "I'm thinking about how I can help the country," he told hundreds of students Wednesday night at Mississippi State University.

In that speech, and what amounted to a campaign stop a few hours before at a barbeque restaurant with Mississippi State's football coach Dan Mullen in tow, Romney sounded every bit a politician preparing to run for president.

"We need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class," Romney said. "You deserve a job that can repay all you've spent and borrowed to go to college."

But as Romney has sounded out his former team about putting together a third national campaign, several of his past fundraisers have told him they plan to support former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2016.

Several key former Romney donors told The Associated Press this week that in Bush they see someone who can successfully serve as president, as they believe Romney could. But they also think he has the personality and senior staff needed to win the White House, something Romney could not bring together in his two previous campaigns.

"I've got great respect for Gov. Romney, and I busted my buns for him," said Chicago investor Craig Duchossois, whose wife contributed $250,000 to a pro-Romney super PAC while he collected tens of thousands more for Romney's last campaign. "But I have turned the page."

Romney also lost one of his most trusted political advisers on Thursday when David Kochel joined Bush's team. Kochel, who led Romney's campaign in Iowa in 2008 and 2012, is in now line to play a senior role in Bush's campaign should he run.

Romney's inner circle was surprised to lose Kochel, whom a Bush spokesman called one of "the most respected strategists" in the country.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policyand Terms of Use.

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