5 things for Houstonians to know for Friday, Feb. 12

At least 5 killed in massive pileup in Fort Worth
At least 5 killed in massive pileup in Fort Worth

Here are things to know for Friday, Feb. 12:

1. Officials: Chauvin was ready to plead to 3rd-degree murder

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty to third-degree murder in George Floyd’s death before then-Attorney General William Barr personally blocked the plea deal last year, officials said.

The deal would have averted any potential federal charges, including a civil rights offense, as part of an effort to quickly resolve the case to avoid more protests after protests and riots damaged a swath of south Minneapolis, according to two law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the talks. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the talks.

Barr rejected the deal in part because he felt it was too soon as the investigation into Floyd’s death was still in its relative infancy, the officials said.

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2. Fort Worth police say 6 people died as result of massive pileup on icy Texas interstate involving more than 100 vehicles

A massive crash involving more than 130 vehicles on an icy Texas interstate left six people dead and dozens injured Thursday amid a winter storm that dropped freezing rain, sleet and snow on parts of the U.S.

At the scene of the crash on Interstate 35 near downtown Fort Worth, a tangle of semitrailers, cars and trucks had smashed into each other and had turned every which way, with some vehicles on top of others.

“There were multiple people that were trapped within the confines of their vehicles and requiring the use of hydraulic rescue equipment to successfully extricate them,” said Fort Worth Fire Chief Jim Davis.

At least 65 people were treated at hospitals, with 36 of them taken by ambulance from the crash site, including three with critical injuries, said Matt Zavadsky, spokesman for MedStar, which provides the ambulance service for the area. Numerous others were treated at the scene and released, he said.

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3. Texas lawmakers threaten to target Dallas Mavericks’ subsidies over removal of national anthem

The Dallas Mavericks are under attack by some GOP Texas lawmakers seizing on a report that team owner Mark Cuban decided to stop playing the national anthem before home games this season.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Wednesday called Cuban’s decision “a slap in the face to every American” and “an embarrassment to Texas.”

“Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it,” Patrick said in a tweet. “We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave.” Patrick did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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4. CARES Act fraud charges announced in Fort Bend County

The Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office held a news conference Thursday morning to announce the investigation and filing of fraud charges related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, commonly known as the CARES Act.

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5. Veteran walk-ins welcome: COVID-19 vaccine clinic to open Friday at Houston VA hospital

Veterans who receive care at the Houston VA or one of the community-based outpatient clinics who are also 60 years or older are invited to get the COVID-19 vaccination at upcoming vaccine walk-in clinics.

The clinics will be held on Friday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 13 at the main Medical Center campus between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The Houston VA is offering veterans a two-dose series of vaccinations, a news release said. Veterans will automatically be scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine when they present for the first dose.

The VA said Friday’s walk-in clinic will be held at the VA Regional Office (VARO) located on the Houston VA main campus located at 2002 Holcombe Blvd. If the weather allows, this will be a drive-thru clinic. If not, it will be in the VARO building, the VA said.

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