MILAM COUNTY, Texas — Army veteran John Reed is no longer facing a $500 a day fine from the Milam County District Attorney's Office after a Channel 6 investigation.
Reed got a letter from the Milam County District Attorney's office in January telling him to remove an "earthen embankment" on his farm or face a $500-per-day fine.
The embankment was on a flood plain and officials had first believed that Reed built the embankment to act as a dam and prevent floodwaters from entering his property -- flooding the property uphill in the process.
That was not true.
Officials had not actually looked at the embankment in person and had instead relied on drone footage. After a friend of Reed reached out to Channel 6, investigative reporter Andrew Moore went to the property to investigate.
Moore found that the "embankment" referenced in the letter was actually dirt removed from the creek going through Reed's property and placed on either side of that creek.
Reed had not constructed a dam of any kind.
"I took dirt from the creek and put it on the bank," Reed said. "It's going to make the flooding worse if I fill that in."
Channel 6 documented the changes Reed had made with video and showed the video to Milam County Assistant County and District Attorney Kyle Nuttall in late January.
Nuttall said he would take a second look at the situation.
"After talking to him today, there is plenty more to look into and review, so we can come to a positive resolution for everybody," Nuttall said.
Nuttall said they would push back the date the fine would take effect to Feb. 28.
Reed also would apply for a permit for the work that was done, as he had not obtained the needed permit beforehand.
Feb. 28 passed, and Reed got no official word from the Milam county DA on the case.
Finally, on Monday, Channel 6 News reached back out to the Milam County District Attorney's Office to find out if the fine was gone for good. No one at district attorney's office would discuss the case, but Channel 6 was able to confirm with both the Milam County Clerk's Office and the District Clerk's Office that there had been no legal action taken against Reed by the county.
Channel 6 spoke with Milam County Judge Steve Young on the matter, however, and Young said he believed there would be no action against Reed.
"As far as I know, the county has no charges to bring against Mr. Reed," Young said. "Of course that is in the purview of county attorney Kyle Nuttall who does a great job for us but I am under the impression that no further action will be taken against Mr. Reed."
Young also checked on Reed's property personally after Channel 6's story in January.
"You are not supposed to dam something and back up water on your neighbor and that's what we thought had happened, but there is no dam across the ditch," Young said.
Reed said the video taken by Channel 6 made all the difference.
"They had flown over it with a drone, but you put feet on the ground to get coverage of it and they hadn't seen that," Reed said. "They were looking for a dam that backed the water up and in fact what I had done was make the water flow better."
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