5 things for Houstonians to know for Monday, Jan. 3

Generic image of a frozen pipe. (Pixabay)

Here are things to know for Monday, Jan. 3:

1. HCSO: Criminal charges pending against teen driver after fatal crash

One teenager was killed and three others were injured in a crash early Sunday in northwest Harris County, deputies said.

An intoxication manslaughter charge is pending against the driver, according HCSO traffic release record.

Harris County deputies were called about 2:40 a.m. to Champion Forest Drive and Grand Parkway, where a car had crashed into a retaining wall.

One passenger, 18, was pronounced dead by first responders. The driver and the surviving passengers, both believed to be 13, suffered injuries in the accident and remain hospitalized in critical condition, HCSO said. The three passengers were not wearing seatbelts when the accident occurred.

Deputies said the driver failed to stay in a single lane while turning onto the feeder road and lost control of the vehicle, which struck a sign post before colliding with the embankment wall.

Read more.

2. Houston police arrest 9 people over celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve

Despite warning residents about the dangers of celebratory gunfire, Houston police received several calls about gunshots late Friday and early Saturday as the city rang in the new year.

Altogether, Houston police arrested nine people on suspicion of discharging a firearm in the metro area.

“As Mayor Turner, Fire Chief Pena and I told the community during a news conference this week, there is nothing celebratory about gunfire and firing shots into the air,” Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said in a statement. “We stressed how dangerous it is and that it is illegal. I told our community we were going after those who ignored our pleas and who instead decided to make a terrible and costly decision. To that end, eight adult suspects and one juvenile suspect are paying the price. All were arrested by our officers in these dangerous incidents overnight. The only celebrating they did was in jail.”

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3. KPRC 2 Investigates: Customers charged for ‘free’ COVID vaccines

ou might want to check your medical bills. COVID vaccinations are supposed to be free for anyone 5 years old and up. But some healthcare providers are charging. The KPRC 2 Investigative team is looking into charges that one major Houston hospital system is billing patients.

COVID vaccines are free, but are you paying for them anyway?

The COVID vaccinations millions of Americans are getting were already paid for with taxpayer dollars. So if you receive a bill it’s like you’re paying twice. Nearly 57% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated. That’s more than 40-million shots. While you do have to endure a jab, you shouldn’t be subjected to a bill like the one a KPRC viewer sent us.

Linda McSwain received the Pfizer vaccine from UT-Health in late February. She went back in late March for the second dose. Months later, she was billed $42 listed as an admin fee for each shot and two cents or one penny for each dose.

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4. Freezing cold temps this Monday morning

The winds have calmed and temperatures are in the 20s and 30s with the excpetion of Galveston at 6am.

Monday forecast:

We’ll be ten degrees warmer this afternoon compared to Sunday in Houston with sunny skies.

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5. Tips for preparing your home, pets and plants for freezing temperatures

Mother nature is bringing an arctic blast to Houston early next week. Whether you’re hiring a professional or doing it yourself, experts said it’s time to prepare your home.

“It’s just being proactive and doing it,” said John Eccles, the Operations Manager at Nick’s Plumbing and HVAC.

During Houston’s last freeze in 2017, their call volume increased by 1200%

“We were normally answering about 100 calls a day at that point. We were answering about 700 calls a day,” he said.

Eccles said to start by letting cold water drip from your faucet.

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