Waiting Continues For East Texas Clean-Up

In East Texas, Cherokee and Anderson counties are still waiting for someone to handle their shuttle debris. With hundreds of locations in each county, security is stretched thin, even with volunteer help.

Worse still, some public crash sites were turning into tourist attractions. One location, a piece of wreckage in the middle of Highway 155 outside Palestine, backed up traffic on both sides of the road for almost forty-eight hours.

DPS troopers removed that problem Monday by covering the piece of wreckage with a tarp. The cover will keep the location secure for the federal authorities, and also keep it from distracting highway traffic.

"We had people cursing, and stopping in the middle of the road taking pictures," DPS trooper Dennis Redden said. "They were even driving by hanging out the window taking pictures, causing a big distraction and almost wrecking."

"Since we got the tarp," he says, "Traffic has moved on at a more expedient pace."

Also Monday, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department continued to work over three hundred reports of debris. One piece, found on a county road outside Rusk, was the size of a door.

While searching all over the county, the Sheriff's Department did find one piece literally in their back yard. The small piece was discovered this morning, about fifty yards from the back door of the sheriff's department.

The department is cataloging each find, waiting on word from the federal authorities.

"We understood they're going to start with ten teams tomorrow," Cherokee County Sheriff James E. Campbell says. "We were told it could be several weeks before the stuff is started or even cleaned up at all. Hopefully, we can get started on it this week, but it's going to be weeks because of the location and how much we have."

Reid Kerr,  reporting.