Thursday, April 8, 2010






SUV hits boy at school crossing
Driver, passenger flee the scene on foot
Monitor Staff Reports

MABANK–A Mabank Intermediate School sixth-grader escaped serious injury Friday afternoon when a driver disregarded a school crossing guard and struck the boy as he attempted to cross busy State Highway 198. BoyStruckBySUV.jpg (176166 bytes)
The driver, identified as Payne Springs resident Justin Chambers, attempted to flee on foot, but was caught after a short foot chase. A passenger in the vehicle also fled and managed to elude a brief manhunt.
Mabank police officer Jason Burns was on station, monitoring traffic through the school zone, and witnessed a new Lincoln Aviator SUV disregard the crossing guard’s stop sign, although he did not see the vehicle strike the boy.
Burns immediately pulled over the SUV in the Mabank Crossing shopping center parking lot. None of the five occupants of the vehicle would admit to being the driver, Burns said.
“I made sure the child was conscious, and two of the suspects attempted to flee the scene,” Burns said Monday. “I apprehended one in the school’s south parking lot after a short foot chase.”
Mabank patrol Lt. Josh Early arrived moments later to assist Burns at the scene.
The young man Burns apprehended was Chambers, 21, who later was determined to be the SUV’s driver.
The second man who fled has been identified as Mabank resident Ryan Petty, also 21. Petty remained at large Monday morning, Burns said.
When the sixth-grade boy (who was not identified) realized he was in danger, he turned, and was struck in the right arm by the vehicle’s passenger-side rear-view mirror.
The impact spun the 12-year-old around and knocked him to the ground, Burns said.
Although the boy appeared to have escaped serious injury, he was flown to Tyler’s East Texas Medical Center’s Level 1 trauma center as a precaution, where he was treated and released, Burns said.
Chambers, who has an extensive criminal history, was charged with one count of intoxication assault, three counts of tampering/fabricating physical evidence (relating to his attempt to dispose of open alcohol containers and what Burns identified as liquid codeine) and one count of evading arrest/detention.
Chambers also was on probation at the time for a previous possession of marijuana conviction, Burns said.
“I will be filing charges against Petty for evading arrest, and also failing to stop and render aid,” Burns said.
Evidence will be forwarded to the Henderson County District Attorney’s Office, and the DA’s office likely will issue an arrest warrant for Petty, Burns added.
Assisting in the incident and search were officers from the Kemp Police Department, the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, the Gun Barrel City Police Department, “and a ton of volunteers,” Burns said, including school personnel, Mabank volunteer firefighters and city employees.

Jealous rage ends in murder-suicide
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Consumed with blind jealousy, a man drilled his brother with bullets the day before Easter and then shot himself.
Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt reports his office, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety, responded to a report of a shooting and possible barricaded subject at 9821 Richardson Road, east of Eustace off CR 2803 at 3:47 p.m. Saturday.
Nutt reports that officers at the scene learned that Justin Higginbotham, 22, had shot his brother, Robert Higginbotham, 25, multiple times inside the residence.
Robert’s body showed about 42 wounds, Nutt said. He had been shot with a SKS assault rifle, a shotgun and a .45-caliber automatic handgun.
At the center of Justin’s rage was the failing of his four-year relationship with Susan Brown, the mother of his daughter, according to a report by the Athens Daily Review, and his suspicions that Brown was having an affair with his brother.
“We were told that the young lady had broken up with Justin,” Nutt told the Review. “We don’t know if anything was going on, but evidently, Justin got it in his head that there was something going on with Robert and the young lady.”
Each brother lived on the property in separate mobile homes.
Besides the two brothers, Brown and her young daughter, the brothers’ grandmother, Viola Jean Folmar, was visiting there Saturday.
Folmar told The Review that Justin had left the house for about 40 minutes. She was feeding the couple’s little girl some late lunch, when Justin returned and had walked out of the bedroom with a gun, and Robert stood up to face him.
Folmar and the child were in the room when the shooting occurred, Nutt said. Brown was outside on the porch when the shooting started.
After re-entering the house and trying to help Robert, who was already dead, Brown said she saw Justin reenter the bedroom and lock the door and then heard one shot.
Brown told The Review, “He always said if he had to go, he would take his brother with him. And he did.”
Brown reported taking her child, running to a neighbor’s house and calling 9-1-1.
The Tactical Unit and EMS rolled on the call. The Eustace Volunteer Fire Department also responded as backup, while the Tactical Unit entered the residence.
After the residence was cleared, it was learned that Justin had indeed shot himself inside the residence.
The District Attorney’s Office assisted with the investigation.
Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock conducted the inquest and ordered an autopsy of both subjects.
The bodies were taken to Southwest Medical Examiners Office in Dallas.

10th Special Olympics set April 10
Monitor Staff Reports
MABANK–Mabank Special Olympians will be hosting the 10th annual Spring Games competition Saturday, April 10, at Mabank High School’s Panther Stadium.
Events open with the traditional “march of the athletes” at 9 a.m. Track and field events will be held at the stadium, while cycling events will be held at the nearby Mabank Pavilion.
In addition to the Mabank contingent, 10 other teams of special athletes from East and Central Texas will be competing for medals.
Community volunteers are encouraged to attend and help make the day special for these special needs individuals. There is always a need for volunteer help and “huggers.”
For more information, call (903) 887-0188.

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