Two die in fiery head-on
collision on U.S. 175
Motorist tries to warn wrong-way driver,
witnesses deadly crash
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–An accident in which two people were killed and five others injured
was witnessed by another driver, who tried to prevent it, and a Kemp
At almost 11 p.m. Sunday, a motorist, who was almost struck by a woman
driving west in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 175, called the
Kaufman Sheriff’s Department dispatcher. The call was logged in at 10:56
A 45-year-old Dallas woman was driving a 2001 Kia SUV in the wrong lane.
The caller followed the car from the westbound side of U.S. 175, staying
in contact with the dispatcher.
It was only a few minutes later, at 11:02 p.m., the caller told the
dispatcher the SUV had collided head on with a 2001 Lincoln Town
The driver of the Lincoln, Vernon Ray Hamilton, 41, of Tyler, was
pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Mike Smith, who
ordered an autopsy.
Also in the Cruiser was a woman and four children.
The driver of the Kia was pulled from her vehicle just before it burst
She was transported to the emergency facility at East Texas Medical
Center in Gun Barrel City, where she was pronounced dead by medical
“It’s a tragic accident,” Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo said. There
was no way to tell if alcohol was involved at this time, he added, while
he and investigators wait for a statement from the medical examiner’s
office in Dallas.
Kemp police officer Damon Smith and the motorist who called it in
witnessed the horrific accident.
Although Smith had been trying to get in front of the woman’s car to get
her to stop, she continued on until she collided with the Cruiser.
Fire rescue units and police from Kemp and Mabank responded to the
Also dispatched were officers from the Texas Department of Public
Safety, who assisted with the accident investigation.
Some of the occupants of the Lincoln were pulled free by emergency
personnel but the others were outside on the roadway.
Three of the children were airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
The woman passenger in the Cruiser and another child were transported by
ambulance to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.
Authorities had not released the names of the victims by presstime
City approves ‘child safe zones’
Sexual predators banned from kid-friendly areas
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–While Henderson County Commissioners were declaring April
Sex Assault Awareness month and Child Abuse Prevention month Tuesday,
the Seven Points City Council adopted an ordinance to spell out
restrictions for registered sex offenders.
The ordinance includes a map blocking out “child safe zones” as strictly
off limits to those convicted of sexual assault of a child.
Police Chief Tim Meadows identified several areas and businesses he’d
like covered by the ordinance, with the consent of specific businesses.
Those areas that would be off-limits to sex offenders include the
Optimist Park and athletic fields on John Thomas and Pritchett Lane, and
child-friendly entertainment centers off Cedar Creek Parkway – Main
Place Cinema, Sonic, the city park and Whatz Up Family Entertainment
Also, off State Highway 274 on Veterans Lane, the Lakeplex Lanes would
be off limits, along with the Dairy Queen on Farm-to-Market 85.
Not all these businesses have given their approval, Meadows said. Some
need to get approval from those owners outside the city. “I’m hopeful
all of them will be designated Child Safe Zones,” he said.
The ordinance also prohibits sex offenders from loitering in the
pathways to these child safe zones, and prohibits them from putting on
their porch light on Oct. 30 or 31, whichever date is Halloween.
Penalties are those set by statute.
“This is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by fine up to $500 fine, or
jail,” Meadows said.
Though sexual assault affects not just children but also men and women
of all races, ages and economic status, Meadows said this ordinance
targets sexual predators.
“With Seven Points, we’re trying to make it a family-friendly
atmosphere, where kids can be free to play and parents don’t have to
worry as much,” Meadows said.
He reports six sex offenders residing within the city limits would be
affected by this ordinance.
“I’ve informed all of them about this ordinance,” Meadows said.
Signs will also be posted on the driveways and doors of designated
businesses, featuring stick figures of a girl and boy and the words
“Child Safe Zone.”
Each city registrar of sexual offenders in the county will also receive
a copy of the ordinance and map, so sex offenders there can be informed
of the areas off-limit to them, Meadows said.
The idea for the ordinance came up from discussions among police
officers attending a state-sponsored sex offender class recently.
Seven Points is believed to be the first city to adopt such an ordinance
featuring child safe zones.
“It’s not that I wanted to be the first to do it,” Meadows said. “I saw
it as an opportunity to support and promote the city while protecting
its children and the children who come to play here.”
Besides children’s soccer teams, a new baseball and softball Little
League is starting up in Seven Points, using the ball fields at the
Optimists Park, Meadows noted.
“I wanted to make an ordinance with more bite than a trespass law. It’s
up to the businesses to say, ‘yes,’” he said.
The ordinance and map of child safe zones will be on the city’s website,
‘Tea party’ tax day protest set
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–Those unhappy with how tax money is being spent are
meeting in a non-partisan ‘tea party’ set for 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday,
April 15 (tax day) to send a message to Washington, D.C.
“We’re just a group of concerned citizens who want to show ‘no support’
for the federal policies and tax increases on our horizon,” event
spokesperson Carol Yarboro said.
“We want people to support this national protest over the handling of
our tax money,” she explained. The tea party is a nationally planned
event and similar parties are being held throughout the nation, she
Regardless of political affiliations, citizens are urged to bring
envelopes, tea bag tags (not the tea bags themselves), stamps, balloons
or a sign, Yarboro said.
The non-partisan group she represents will mail all envelopes to
The event is based on the Boston Tea Party, one of the key events
leading up to the American Revolution, a direct protest of the Tea Act
tax passed by the British Parliament in 1773.
American colonists objected to the Tea Act for many reasons, but one of
the chief ones was a conviction the colonies should not be subjected to
a tax by a government that did not include representatives from the
Also, the Tea Act gave the British East India Company a legal monopoly
on the tea trade to the colonies, threatening those importers not
selected as cosignees with economic ruin.
Colonists were rightly afraid that importers of other commodities also
might be threatened by future government-imposed monopolies.
Protesters successfully prevented taxed tea from being unloaded in three
other colonies, but in Boston, Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson (whose
sons were directly involved in the tea trade) refused to allow the tea
to be returned to Britain, not expecting the protesters to destroy the
Other Royal Governors allowed ships to return to England without
unloading any tea, and avoided direct confrontation.
On the night of Dec. 16, 1773, a group of colonists boarded the tea ship
Dartmouth and over the course of three hours, threw all 342 chests of
tea into Boston Harbor, worth £90,000, a huge sum in that time.
Faced with open defiance by an important colony, Parliament responded
with the Coercive Acts, which included closing Boston Harbor until the
British East India Company had been repaid for the destroyed tea.
The Coercive Acts, in turn, prompted more protests, eventually leading
to active rebellion and a shooting war, which began near Boston in 1775.
As one of the seminal events of the American Revolution – and, in turn,
the dismantling of the British Empire – the Boston Tea Party has been a
reference point for many other protests during the past 236 years.
Already, tea parties and individuals are sending protest tea bags to
Congress and making an impact on the nation’s representatives.
The event will take place at the intersection of State Highway 334 and
Harbor Point Drive, near GBC city hall.
An invitation is extended to all Cedar Creek Lake residents to take
“We have no idea what to expect. We don’t know how many will come. We
wanted to provide a protest venue of our own,” Yarboro said.