Mabank man dies in wreck
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–It is still unclear why a Mabank man left Van
Zandt County Road 2719 and crossed over into oncoming traffic on State
Highway 198 Thursday night, but the action resulted in his death.
The three-vehicle accident occurred a little before 7 p.m., when
50-year-old Larry Gene Prewitt’s 1993 Jeep Cherokee was struck by a 2007
Lincoln pickup driven by Geneva Janet Ballard, 68, Canton, and then was
struck by a 1993 Dodge van driven by Jerry Dale Williams, 60, Kemp.
Photo by Julie Vaughan
Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff
Wimberly and Trooper Kaleb Bullock look over a 1993 Jeep Cherokee
following a three-vehicle crash Thursday on State Highway 198 near
Mabank. A 50-year-old Mabank man died in the accident. Authorities are
still awaiting autopsy results.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Edward Valdez
reported witnesses seeing Prewitt leave VZCR 2719, cross SH 198 and head
into the eastbound ditch. Prewitt then drove back up onto the highway
and was struck head on by Ballard’s northbound truck.
Prewitt’s Jeep then “…veered off and was struck again by a 1993 Dodge
van headed south,” Valdez said.
“There was no visible pre-impact braking,” DPS Sergeant Jeff Wimberly
said Tuesday morning.
Williams told troopers he did not see the Jeep before he struck it,
Prewitt’s vehicle was knocked backward about 80 or 90 feet after it was
first hit, he added.
He further noted that the posted speed limit on SH 198 is 55 mph at
“We are still awaiting autopsy results,” Wimberly said. “We do know that
he (Prewitt) disregarded the stop sign.”
Prewitt was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the
Peace Ronnie Daniell.
None of the drivers had passengers in their vehicles.
Williams and Ballard were transported by ambulance to East Texas Medical
Center in Gun Barrel City for non life threatening injuries.
Sweet stories sought
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE– The Monitor is seeking your stories about
people you love most.
Your sweetheart stories will be published on Valentine’s
Day, Thursday Feb. 14.
Include a photograph of your loved one, or of the two of you
together along with your story.
All submissions should include the writer’s name and phone
number where you can be reached and be delivered to The
Monitor no later than Friday, Feb. 8.
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words. All copy is subject to editing for clarity, grammar,
conciseness and style.
The Monitor reserves the right not to publish any stories it
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Griffin gets 3
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–Following a dramatic trial in the 422nd District
Court in Kaufman, Daniel Joseph Griffin, 35, was sentenced to three
consecutive life sentences.
The punishment phase of the trial was held Feb. 1, and the sentencing
was administered by 422nd District Judge B. Michael Chitty.
Griffin was found guilty of stabbing to death the mother of his
girlfriend, 38-year-old Cheri Lynn Duggan, in October, 2006.
Griffin was also found guilty of sexually assaulting Duggan’s
15-year-old daughter after he had killed her mother.
The lead prosecutor in the case was Rick Harrison, Kaufman County
District Attorney, who several times during the trial called the act
Duggan’s mother, Cherle Elam, was called as a witness during the
A psychiatrist and Griffin’s mother, Penny Griffin, testified on his
Griffin expressed remorse over his actions, while still claiming he
didn’t remember what had happened.
get $353,300 boost
Malakoff taxpayers to get refunds totaling
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners declared an emergency during its
regular meeting Tuesday to increase the District Attorney’s capital
murder cases budget by $353,300.
Commissioners unanimously approved the increase without further
discussion, since the subject has come before them every month since
“Let me just clarify – if we don’t do this, we may not get any state
reimbursement at all,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall said.
County auditor Ann Marie Lee explained the move was a necessary part of
applying for a state grant through a program to reimburse counties
having to foot large bills on capital cases.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll get it. It just means we have all our ducks in a
row,” she said.
County tax collector Milburn Chaney asked commissioners to authorize him
to cut tax refund checks above $500 to residents of Malakoff, due to the
recent rollback election. Chaney said the rollback calls for total
refunds in the amount of $62,000.
“Not everyone paid their taxes, and new statements have gone out
reflecting the change in tax rate,” he said.
In addition, the county tax office will be presenting the city of
Malakoff with a bill for slightly less than $1,000 for the additional
postage to send out a new batch of tax statements, he said.
However, the office wasn’t charging for any extra man-hours or material,
“I figure that’s just part of our agreement, though I suppose we could.
I’m not planning to,” he said. Commissioners granted his request.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved a request from county clerk Gwen Moffeitt to purchase an
electronic embossed County Seal at a cost of $781 from Record Management
She showed a sample of the imprint the device delivers and said the
manual stamp was not effecting a strong enough imprint.
• accepted a check from Rising Star Energy for $28,000 for damages to
Precinct 1 county roads 1200 and 1211, due to overweight hauling.
• approved increasing insurance limits on hired, leased or borrowed
equipment to $500,000 at an annual premium of $1,231, effective
“This is going to save the county money,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade
Every time the county rents or leases a piece of equipment, it pays an
insurance premium of $240.
“Three rentals alone pays the premium, and this is county-wide, not just
for Road and Bridge,” McKinney pointed out. The measure passed
• accepted for recording purposes a replat in the Oaktree subdivision in
Precinct 4, dividing one lot into two.
• paid bills totaling $148,535.91 for fiscal year 2007 and $110,174.18
for fiscal year 2008.