Here are things to know for Monday, August 2:
1. 2 women killed, 4 others injured in fiery head-on crash, Montgomery County deputies say
Two women were killed and four others were injured in a fiery, head-on crash early Sunday.
At approximately 1:45 a.m. deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a location on the North Freeway near the Rayford/Sawdust exit in Spring in reference to reports of a major crash.
When deputies arrived on scene, they located a 25-year-old woman dead inside a Honda and five others inside a Dodge pickup truck that had caught fire.
Deputies and other responders used fire extinguishers to douse the blaze. As they worked to get the victims out of the vehicle, the fire reignited. Shortly after, firefighters with the Montgomery County Fire Department arrived on scene.
2. ‘Vote them out’: Willie Nelson headlines Texas protest rally
Country music legend Willie Nelson led more than a thousand spectators in singing “vote them out” Saturday from the steps of the Texas Capitol during a rally wrapping up a four-day march in support of Democratic state legislators who bolted for Washington two weeks ago to block GOP-backed voting restrictions.
Families with lawn chairs spread out across the sprawling Capitol greens in Austin. Clergy, politicians, constituents and musicians all spoke out about the proposals to impose voter ID requirements, limit ballot drop boxes and mail voting, and strip local officials of their election authority.
The special session that the exodus by Texas Democrats halted is set to expire next week, but Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to schedule a new one as soon as the lawmakers return to the state.
“If you don’t like who’s in there, vote them out,” Nelson sang, inviting he crowd to join him in singing lyrics he’d previously written about taking a stand at the ballot box.
3. Despite selling tickets online, Splashtown remains closed after chemical leak
Many families were disappointed Saturday when they arrived at Hurricane Harbor Splashtown, but the park remained closed after a chemical leak sent dozens of people to the hospital a few weeks ago.
Visitors told KPRC 2 that they were upset because the website was not updated and they were able to purchase tickets online. Some said they drove a few hours to Splashtown and planned on spending the day at the park.
Kelly Broussard said she came to Splashtown from Beaumont with a group of 17 to celebrate her son’s fifteenth birthday, totaling over $600 in entry fees. Since the park is closed, she had to scramble to find other plans.
Clarissa Mitchell traveled from Lufkin to attend the water park. She said she had no idea the park had been shut down.
4. Fauci: More ‘pain and suffering’ ahead as COVID cases rise
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that more “pain and suffering” is on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.
Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, also said he doesn’t foresee additional lockdowns in the U.S. because he believes enough people are vaccinated to avoid a recurrence of last winter. However, he said not enough are inoculated to “crush the outbreak” at this point.
Fauci’s warning comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. With the switch, federal health officials have cited studies showing vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.
5. Houston Health Department offering $25 gift cards to people who get fully vaccinated
Houston is offering free gift cards to those who get fully vaccinated.
According to Houston Health Department, people that are vaccinated at one of its health centers or clinics will receive a $25 gift card starting August 2. To qualify, a person must complete their vaccination process, which may include two shots, within 42 days.
“We are at a pivotal point in the fight against this deadly virus. Positive cases and hospitalizations are increasing, primarily among the unvaccinated, despite vaccines being free and readily available,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It is our hope the new incentive offered by the Houston Health Department will encourage people to take their best shot and help save lives in the process.”