Gun Barrel City man dead, one man injured in Saturday
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Investigators from the National
Transportation Safety Board are looking into the cause of Saturday’s
plane wreck that claimed the life of the pilot and injured a passenger.
The Gun Barrel City Police Department received the call at 5:20 p.m.,
just five minutes after the single-engine Cessna crashed behind Lakeview
Elementary School on Harbor Point Road in front of the unfinished La
First responders were on the scene two minutes after getting the call.
However, the pilot Chris Anderson, 42, of Gun Barrel City did not
survive the crash.
A single-engine Cessna may have had engine trouble before crashing down
near the unfinished La Quinta Hotel in Gun Barrel City Saturday. Federal
authorities are investigating what caused the crash that killed the
pilot and sent the passenger to the hospital.
His passenger, Mitchell Pasley, 44, was airlifted to
East Texas Medical Center in Tyler with facial lacerations and
Earlier in the day, the two men were with others flying model airplanes
behind the school, a routine occurrence.
By 4 p.m., there were just four model flyers left. Anderson and Pasley
left to go to Athens to borrow the Cessna, Matthew May, one of the two
men who continued flying their model planes, told The Monitor.
May said a short while before the crash, they saw the plane coming from
the east and begin to circle around for a pass.
Timber Trails subdivision residents David and Becky Foster were outside
in their driveway when they heard a backfire around 5 p.m. and looked
up. They saw the Cessna circle twice, getting closer to the tops of the
“We heard it backfire as it flew over our house,” Becky Foster told The
Monitor. “Then it sounded like it lost power.” Then they heard the
engine being restarted and revved up. “It was very loud,” she said.
Monitor Photo/Janice Grubbs
44-year-old Mitchell Pasley is ready to be airlifted to East Texas
Medical Center Tyler shortly following a 5:15 p.m. Saturday crash behind
Lakeview Elementary School on Harbor Point Road.
A Loon Bay resident also heard and saw the Cessna
moments before the crash. Trinidad dentist Dr. Wallace G. Newman is also
a multi-engine instrument-rated airplane pilot. He wrote what he saw and
heard in a statement released to The Monitor.
“Shortly after 5 p.m., I witnessed a single-engine plane in distress.
The plane appeared to be on a heading of 250 degrees at an approximate
altitude of 800 feet. There were noticeable signs of engine problems. It
seemed to want to idle roughly, and then I noticed the pilot make a
sharp turn to the left, which appeared to be about a 45-degree bank
turn, while still descending rapidly,” Newman wrote.
“I heard the engine kind of miss and run, miss and run and then about
the time I lost sight of it over the tree tops, the engine sounded like
it finally started running good again. Then it sounded like it was in a
strain, as if the pilot was pulling back on the yoke.
“In my opinion from flying experience, it sounded like he did a power-on
stall and was too close to the ground to recover. Then the plane lost
its lift, and I heard a sound like an explosion or a crash, and did not
hear the engine again,” Newman stated.
From the ground, where May and a man known only as Austin were, it
appeared as if their friend was going to do a fly by, but it came in
real low, May said.
He saw it clip a power line and dip its right wing and nose as a result.
“It hit the ground right-wing first, and then cart-wheeled end over end
veering to the right. Plane parts were hitting and bouncing off the
ground toward us,” May said - as he was rooted to the spot. “Austin dove
for cover under a truck, nearby. “It all seemed to happen in slow
motion,” he said.
While calling 911, May saw Pasley’s legs moving and ran over to render
assistance. He heard sirens within moments, he said. May later called
his friend Henderson County Judge David Holstein about the crash, who
then passed the information to the county’s Emergency Management
director Joy Kimbrough and on up the line.
Someone else made the first call to the police department, Holstein
said. “He (May) was nearly killed and had to watch as his buddies came
crashing down,” Holstein said.
Sunday, federal investigators were on the scene taking statements and
overseeing the clearing of the debris before the start of school Monday.
Monitor Staff Reports
PAYNE SPRINGS–An early-afternoon fire damaged a convenience store in
Payne Springs, and a tanker truck responding to the fire overturned
Damage to the Countryside convenience store, located along State Highway
198 just south of the Gun Barrel City bridge, was confined to the rear
portion of the Simple Simon’s Pizza section of the building.
a dozen Payne Springs and Gun Barrel City firefighters responded to the
blaze, keeping damage confined mostly to smoke and water.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Stephanie Diede (at far left) comforts Biaman Kurl, wife of the
Countrywide convenience store owner, as she watches firefighters going
into the store to fight a small, smoky fire Tuesday.
Biaman Kurl, the wife of owner “Sam” Kurl, said she
was in the convenience store portion of the building when she noticed
smoke next door.
Mrs. Kurl goes home to do the pizza cooking, and does not cook in the
store, friend Stephanie Diede said.
Firefighters were investigating the cause of the fire late Tuesday.
A Payne Springs Volunteer Fire Department tanker truck responding to the
fire call overturned on a SH 198 curve about a mile south of the PSVFD
Driver Chris Reed, 42, said he was following another tanker truck (who
was mistakenly going south instead of north) when he rounded the 35 mph
Northbound drivers were not yielding the roadway to the two trucks,
which had emergency lights flashing, and Reed said he was edging over to
the outside of the pavement to avoid crowding the center of the road.
The tanker’s right-side tandem rear wheels dropped off the edge of the
pavement into rain-soaked ground, and immediately bogged down.
“Actually, I was almost to a complete stop when the truck rolled over,”
The marshy ground gave way, tipping the tanker (carrying a full
3,500-gallon load of water) to the right, and gravity took over from
Reed said the truck rolled completely over and came to rest on the
“It was a very slow-speed rollover,” he said.
He was unhurt, and said his first concern was damage to the truck.
Because the ground was so soft, there was virtually no damage – even the
truck’s emergency light bar atop the cab remained unbroken.
However, PSVFD Fire Chief Randy Harley said it would take some time to
drain the truck’s water tank before workers could attempt to right the
“It’s our brand-new one (tanker), about a year old,” he added.
Candidates file to run in
May 10 election
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE– The next election on the calendar is slated for May
It’s the local uniform election for cities, school boards and utility
districts. Also some of these will be holding special elections on
propositions, unexpired terms and bond issues.
The deadline to file as a candidate in the May 10 election was Monday,
March 10. However, the state allows a few extra days for write-in
candidates to declare themselves.
As of the deadline, the candidates running are listed on the
accompanying chart (see page 4A).
A quick glance shows that some entities will likely not be holding an
election, barring any write-ins.
Those would be Eustace and Trinidad school districts, East Cedar Creek
Fresh Water Supply District and the cities of Mabank, Malakoff and Star
Malakoff ISD is seeking approval for a $7 million bond to fund a 10-year
plan for renovating the middle and high school. Part of the monies will
also become a replacement fund for the district’s buses and technology.
Superintendent Dr. John Spies says the bond will help the district keep
taxpayer money in the district, amounting to more than $1 million over
the 10-year period, without raising taxes.
“That’s like getting two free buses every year,” Spies said back in
The strategy calls for shuffling a nickel’s worth of tax rate between
the two district funds: Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and Interest
and Sinking (I&S).
Gun Barrel City will be listing about 10 proposed changes to the city
charter and ask voters whether a portion of the Economic Development
Corporation funds should continue to be used toward street repair.
Councilman Marty Goss is seeking to be mayor, and if elected will leave
a seat on the council which it may fill with an appointment.
A similar situation is seen in Log Cabin, where Mayor Gene Bearden is
seeking a council seat along with his wife Judy, who hopes to retain her
If elected, the mayor will have to resign, leaving the seat open, to be
filled by appointment of the council, or by special election to be held
Of course, if he loses his bid for a council seat, he will retain his
seat as mayor.
Gene Bearden has been the subject of an investigation for the possible
wrongful use of a city credit card.
The case is in the hands of the Henderson County district attorney’s
office. Bearden has maintained his innocence.
In the Log Cabin council race, seven people are seeking two seats.