One man dead in three-car pileup on
Monitor Staff Reports
SEVEN POINTS–A three-car pile up on the bridge in Seven Points by the new
Lighthouse Restaurant left one man dead Monday.
Witnesses at the scene reported that Mabank resident Rex Baugus has just
stopped breathing, Seven Points Police officer Dusty Bryant reported.
Bryant and officer Brad Hendricks began CPR and continued until medical
technicians arrived on the scene minutes later or a little after 2 p.m..
Baugus had been driving a 2001 Ford van and was traveling eastbound on State
Highway 334, when all of a sudden he went into the westbound lane of traffic
and was stopped by the guardrail of that lane, Bryant reported.
When the van crossed into oncoming traffic Malakoff resident Franklin
Thompson slammed on the brakes of the rock hauler he was driving and avoided
running into Baugus.
The 1996 Ford Mustang driven by Michael Roberts was also able to stop before
colliding into the rock hauler
However the driver of a third vehicle, a 1984 Dodge pickup, was unable to
stop in time and rear ended Roberts’ car running him into the rock hauler.
Baugus was transported to East Texas Medical Center – Gun Barrel City, where
he was later pronounced dead.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
No one else was transported to the hospital.
The Seven Points Police and Volunteer Fire departments were also assisted by
Gun Barrel City Police officers.
The Ford van Mabank resident Rex Baugus was driving came to rest on the
guard rail after crossing the stream of traffic.
Telephone wires stolen off its
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The theft of about 300 feet of four-inch diameter
communication cabling left 600 Embarq customers without service early
The cable was taken from poles stung along State Highway 274 near the
intersection of Farm-to-Market 148, where road work has started on the
repair of Kings Creek Bridge.
Authorities in both Henderson and Kaufman counties are looking into the
incident, Embarq spokesman Don Houston told The Monitor.
It appears the cable was torn apart, not cut, Houston said.
Embarq officials estimate the damage was done around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
That’s when an alarm sounded from a remote switching unit located just
behind the Kings Creek Golf Club, Houston said.
Embarq crews worked all day Tuesday in the mud and rain to restore service
to 500 customers by 2 p.m., Houston said.
Leaving another 100 customers in the vicinity of Kings Creek without
service, he said. But he expected full service to be restored by end of day,
Anyone who may have been traveling SH 274 between midnight and 1:30 a.m. and
may have seen activity in the vicinity of Kings Creek Bridge are urged to
call the Henderson County Crime Stoppers at (903) 675-8477 or the Kaufman
County Sheriff’s Office at (972) 932-4337.
Courtesy Photos/Don Houston
The circle shows the frayed ends of 880 conductors within the insulation.
The new cable is connected to the shovel of the backhoe and being driven
New sign for historic bell
Special to The Monitor
KEMP–The First Baptist Church in Kemp announces a special
homecoming celebration set for 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 6.
Members of the Oak Grove Baptist Church will also play an important role.
The occasion features the dedication of a new sign, which includes the
church’s historic bell.
A recent decision to build a new sign for the church, located at 1320 S. Elm
Street across from the Kemp fire station, brought to mind the long history
of the church and stories concerning a very special church bell.
There are several versions of the story, but most go like this.
The bell was given to the church in 1920, when its leaders decided to build
an education building.
The new building would complement the original structure built in 1884 and
plans were adjusted to include a bell tower.
However, in the process of building the education building and tower, the
church made an agreement with the Oak Grove Baptist Church to loan them the
bell while the construction was ongoing.
Signing the agreement on behalf of First Baptist Church of Kemp were deacons
D.H. Creecy, H.L. Guy, E.B. Tuggle and Hood Barryman.
Among those signing the agreement on behalf of Oak Grove was deacon Britt
The agreement stated that the bell would be returned when the tower was
For a variety of reasons, the building project was not completed until 1938
and was formally dedicated in November, 1941.
An open-faced bell tower became the bell’s new home.
The bell was faithfully rung every Sunday until 1985, when the bell clapper
The theft however, did not deter Horace Williamson from continuing his
practice of sounding the bell at precisely 9 a.m.
Instead of ringing it, he used a ball-peen hammer. “This was pretty hard on
the bell,” Williamson was quoted as saying.
The new sign and historic bell now stand on the property occupied by a
modern multipurpose sanctuary where the church is celebrating its history of
“ringing forth the truth since 1882,” during special ceremonies 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 6.
Van Zandt is in the black
First time in three years, county improves finances
By Timna Rutledge
Monitor Staff Writer
CANTON–Van Zandt County is in the black, according to
auditors Pattillo, Brown and Hill, LLP.
“You were able to delete more debt than what was added this year,” Auditor
John Manning reported to commissioners Tuesday, April 24.
It is the first year in the last three the county has achieved a positive
fund balance, County Judge Rhita Koches said.
“We do have a recovery plan, and the District and County Clerk had some
substantial revenue increases,” Koches added.
Auditors recommended a narrative be added to the county manual to warn
employees of procedures designed to protect the county against fraud.
The Salary and Personnel Review Committee is reviewing employee salaries and
studying ways to monitor accounting practices to prevent fraud, with its
Committee members include Juvenile Probation director Bobby Colacino,
Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Ozelle Wilcoxson, Koches, County Treasurer
Terry Sheppard, Homemade Gourmet human resources director Vicky Slaughter
and Precinct 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton.
In other business, commissioners:
• supported the nomination of Tim Gothard as Texas Firefighter of the Year.
Gothard has already been named the regional Firefighter of the Year.
• set a National Day of Prayer ceremony for noon Thursday, May 3, on the
courthouse square. A prayer breakfast is set for 6:45 a.m. at the First
• approved license plates for a new van provided to the Sheriff’s Department
via the Abandoned Vehicle Act.
The van was seized by the department several months ago, when it was found
transporting illegal aliens.
The department expects to receive another van seized under similar
circumstances in the near future.
• passed a resolution requesting the legislature to establish a county
Court-at-Law, effective 2010.
The Texas Legislative Council is drafting the bill. The court may repeal or
revise the resolution, if it finds the county is not in a financial position
to sustain the new court.
• approved a bond for deputy district clerk Sandra Carter.
• approved leasing a Xerox copier for the sheriff’s office, and declared a
budget emergency to cover the lease.
• declared a budget emergency to increase funds for equipment purchases from
RVI and NetD Online, with the County Records Fund.
• awarded multiple bids for road and bridge work, with contracts for various
materials from hot mix to crushed rock.
With several components, such as road oil, commissioners were given leeway
to purchase materials needed from the company with the lowest available
price at the time materials are ordered.
• awarded a fuel bid to the lone bidder, Chick’s Chevron.
• awarded the office supplies bid to Story-Wright.
• approved budget amendment for county librarian.
• approved the purchase of a DBR 50 boom mower for Precinct 4 from Tripe
Blade and Steel. The $66,543 cost includes a Kubota tractor.
• approved funding to rent tower space for two repeater transmitters for the
sheriff and fire departments.
The county anticipates getting funds from the South Van Zandt Volunteer Fire
Department’s FEMA grant.
The expected grant funds of $74,170 will require a 5 percent local match
from the county, totaling $3,708.
The tower is located in Henderson County, just south of the Van Zandt County
• set 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 8, for its next meeting.