KXAN’s Top 10 stories of 2017

AUSTIN (KXAN) — From emergencies and tragedies to animals showing up where they shouldn’t be — a variety of stories rounded out the Top 10 most read on kxan.com. Three stories following updates on a fatal stabbing on the UT Austin campus in May resonated with readers, and people also appreciated “news you can use” pieces that highlighted how to watch the solar eclipse and where to find gas in Austin.

10. North Texas family finds rattlesnake slithering up toilet

Rattlesnake slithers up toilet of Jones County, Texas family (KTAB/KRBC Photo)
Rattlesnake slithers up toilet of Jones County, Texas family (KTAB/KRBC Photo)

 

One family got a rude awakening one February morning when their four-year-old informed them there was a snake in the toilet that wouldn’t flush. His parents sprang into action — eventually calling a snake removal company that found 23 snakes under and in their home.

9. Mother accused of stabbing, mutilating 5-year-old in Kyle

In January a woman allegedly stabbed both her 5-year-old daughter and father-in-law, prompting a SWAT response to the home in Kyle. Officers found Krystle Villanueva naked inside the home. Her family said she had a history of drug use. Sheriff Gary Cutler said at the time it was probably the most horrific case in Hays County history.

8. Austin police explain how handcuffed suspect shot himself 

A 19-year-old man was taken into custody in January after police responded to a shoplifting call. Police handcuffed Zachary Anam behind his back and placed him in the back seat. On the way to APD headquarters, officers said he began talking about suicide and said he had the means to kill himself. When officers pulled over and got out of the car, Anam shot himself. One of the officers was later suspended for 20 days for not conducting a thorough search.

7. What we know about the University of Texas stabbing suspect

Kendrex Jermaine White, alleged University of Texas stabbing spree suspect booking photo (Austin police photo)
Kendrex Jermaine White, alleged University of Texas stabbing spree suspect booking photo (Austin police photo)

UT Austin student Kendrex White is accused of stabbing multiple people on campus in May, killing one of them. He is from Killeen, Texas, and at the time was in his junior year of college studying biology. He previously had a DWI in Austin and had been recently involuntarily committed in another city, according to UTPD.

6. Best time to see the solar eclipse in Central Texas

Eclipse (Report It: Chase Hickman)
Eclipse (Report It: Chase Hickman)

A solar eclipse generated excitement across the United States in August — the first visible in the continental U.S. in 38 years. Those in Central Texas were able to see a partial eclipse where the moon covered about 65 percent of the sun. A KXAN digital reporter was able to watch the solar eclipse from the air on a special flight that intercepted totality off the coast of Oregon.

Austin is right in the path of a total solar eclipse in 2024.

5. Where gas is available in Austin

Gas station in Austin days after Hurricane Harvey. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)
Gas station in Austin days after Hurricane Harvey. (KXAN Photo/Ed Zavala)

Following Hurricane Harvey, people rushed to fill up their gas tanks, causing a temporary shortage in parts of Texas. A map, which can still be used for those just searching for a place to fill up, showed Austin residents which stations in town still had gasoline available.

4. Record-breaking hammerhead shark caught near Texas city

Record-breaking hammerhead shark caught near Texas City on July 9, 2017. (Courtesy: Texas City Jaycees)
Record-breaking hammerhead shark caught near Texas City on July 9, 2017. (Courtesy: Texas City Jaycees)

The record was set in 1980, when a fisherman caught an 871-pound shark. Then, Tim McClellan came along and smashed that record when he pulled a 1,033 pound hammerhead from the water during a July fishing tournament. Needless to say, he won first place.

3. 16 killed in KC-130 military plane crash in Mississippi

C-130 military plane crashes in Mississippi (NBC Photo)
C-130 military plane crashes in Mississippi (NBC Photo)

A military plane used as a refueling tanker crashed in a field about 85 miles north of Jackson, Miss., in July. Debris were scattered in a five-mile radius around the crash site. At least 16 people on board died, and the fire burned more than four hours after the crash, sending black plumes of smoke into the air that was visible for miles.

2. Stabbing spree on University of Texas campus kills 1, injures 3

A suspect armed with a “Bowie-style” hunting knife stabbed four people on the University of Texas campus near the Gregory Gym in May, killing a 19-year-old. One student described helping one of the victims staunch the bleeding when the suspect looked his way. “I thought I was going to die,” Krishant Dania told KXAN.

The suspect, Kendrex White, was taken into custody within minutes of police arriving.

1. UT stabbing victim asked student to call his mom as he was dying

Harrison Brown, 19, graduated from Graham High School in Texoma in 2016. (KFDX Photo)
Harrison Brown, 19, graduated from Graham High School in Texoma in 2016. (KFDX Photo)

Lori Brown received a phone call from her son’s number — but it was a young woman on the other line, saying Harrison Brown had been attacked when a man stabbed him and three others on the UT Austin campus. The young woman described how she was coming out of the gym when she saw Harrison clutching his chest with one hand and his cell phone with the other, and told her to call his mother. He died before his mother had a chance to say goodbye.

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