AUSTIN (KXAN) - A security scare ripples across the country after the US Secret Service intercepted a letter addressed to President Barack Obama containing a suspicious substance – the poison ricin.
The letter never reached the White House, but almost immediately senators from around the US started reporting suspicious letters - including the Dallas office of Texas Senator John Cornyn.
In Austin, state lawmakers and their staff took precaution. Fritz Reinig – chief of staff for Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels – picked up the mail from the House Post Office with extra care on Wednesday.
"When something like this happens in the wake of any sort of an incident, I'll actually come down to get the mail," said Reinig.
He questioned postal staff about the procedure to check letters and packages before they arrive in the Capitol building. House members alone receive 2-3,000 pieces of mail each day.
"It's been screened plenty before it gets to us," postal clerk Paul Hays assured him. "Every piece of mail has a picture taken of it, so if they ever have to track it back down, they can."
The Department of Public Safety is in charge of mail security during threats, though officials would not discuss specific plans. Other officials said the method involved chemical testing.
Reinig described a machine that inspects each suspicious letter be squeezing the contents inside.
"Whatever powder or dust is emitted, that air is tested, then they're able to quarantine that mail," he said.
Miller – his boss – is a former police officer and appreciates extra security for elected officials during such an event.
"They want to attack somebody who's in a position where it gives them a higher profile," said Miller. "Unfortunately, that's the way it is, and that's the world today."
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police are looking for a missing woman.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.