Thursday, June 28, 2007






  Police shoot out tires to end chase
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–A high-speed chase Friday ended with a head-on collision and police shooting out the tires of the fleeing vehicle.
Eustace resident Lavon Pierce Bonsal, also known as Lavon Bonsai, 67, was arrested on numerous charges after the late-afternoon chase.
According to information released by Henderson County Sheriff’s Office public relations officer Lt. Pat McWilliams, the chase began in Gun Barrel City about 4:30 p.m. when sheriff’s deputies Billy Jack Valentine and Robert Powers spotted a suspect vehicle.

Monitor Photo/Janice Grubbs
Smoke rises from the engine compartment of a 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass as Henderson County deputies, Gun Barrel City police officers and other authorities gather alongside U.S. Highway 175 to discuss a high-speed chase through Gun Barrel City late Friday. The chase involved a head-on collision and an officer firing shots into the tires of the fleeing vehicle.

The deputies were looking for a man wanted on a parole violation, who had been reported as traveling east from Seven Points, McWilliams said in a prepared news release.
The suspect vehicle, a 1984 blue Oldsmobile Cutlass, was spotted on the State Highway 334 causeway bridge. The deputies turned around, and contacted Gun Barrel City police to ask for their help in stopping the vehicle.
GBC Police Officer Tiffany Carrazales was the first patrol unit to encounter the suspect’s vehicle, and both she and Valentine activated their emergency lights, McWilliams reported.
“The suspect brandished what appeared to be a handgun,” McWilliams said.
The suspect increased speed – up to 80 mph – and began weaving through traffic, crossing into the oncoming lanes and running vehicles off the road as the chase continued along SH 334 through downtown and out east of town.
At the U.S. Highway 175 intersection, the suspect’s vehicle veered into the parking lot of a convenience store and struck a passenger vehicle head-on. No one was injured in the collision, McWilliams said.
Valentine stopped his patrol car behind the Cutlass, and GBC Police Officer Charlie Hughes stopped his patrol car in front of the suspect in an attempt to block any further escape, McWilliams reported.
Valentine exited his car with his weapon drawn, as the fleeing vehicle backed into his patrol car, then moved toward Hughes.
Valentine fired three shots from his .45-caliber handgun into the left rear tire of the Cutlass, McWilliams reported.
The fleeing vehicle continued forward, striking the GBC patrol car and moving out onto U.S. 175, heading west.
The suspect tried to turn right onto the first county road (HC 2922), but lost control and spun into the ditch. Officers surrounded the vehicle and took the driver into custody.
A search of the Cutlass revealed a .380-caliber handgun, a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, a powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine, and several plastic baggies commonly used to package drugs, McWilliams reported.
Bonsal was charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams and less than 200 grams, as well as unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana, more than four ounces and less than five pounds.
Bonds set on those charges totaled $105,000.
Bonsal was also held without bond on a parole revocation (blue) warrant (original charge aggravated assault on a public servant), McWilliams said.
The incident is being investigated by Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators Kevin Hanes, Michael Shelly, Beth McGhee and Lt. Dan Parker.

Kemp sells bonds for new high school
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–In a special meeting Monday, Kemp Independent School District trustees approved the sale of bonds to fund construction of a new $19 million high school.
Also included in the bond package is approximately $3 million for renovations and repairs at other campuses.
While the sale was scheduled for Tuesday, the closing date will take place on or about Tuesday, July 31, KISD Superintendent Dr. Peter Running said.
“We are in the process of doing some preliminary plans,” Running explained.
Meetings were held with school staff and teachers to help with designs for classrooms and high school facilities.
Following the final submission of plans by architects, the district will begin to go out for bids, Running added.
“We will be doing good to break ground by February,” he said.
In other business, trustees:
• approved changes as presented to DC (LOCAL) Employment Practices.
• heard an update on the track resurfacing project and the baseball/softball field construction.


Sable visits the Library
Monitor Photo/Melissa Newland

Little Thickets Sable, a registered miniature yearling filly, is shown by owner Barbara Gartman to a rousing group of approximately 125 children attending the summer reading program at The Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points Tuesday. For information on the Little Thicket Miniature Horse Ranch, see the ad in the Discover Magazine included in the June 28th issue of the Monitor.






Commissioners okay new records storage facility
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners authorized going ahead with plans to build a new records storage facility behind the existing county jail.
“The district attorney’s office, the district clerk’s office and the sheriff’s office all need (records) storage,” county judge David Holstein reported at the commissioners’ regular session Tuesday.
Evidence must be stored until it’s time to show it in court, and the sheriff’s office is out of storage room, Holstein said.
He suggested building a 2,400-square-foot facility east of (behind) the existing county jail, now undergoing expansion to double its capacity.
“I believe we can do this easily for under $100,000,” Holstein said.
Holstein’s proposal met with strong support from the commissioners.
“I’ve never been in favor of building temporary buildings,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence said. “We’ve got to have some place to keep these valuable properties.
“We’re always going to have this problem,” Lawrence added. “I believe we need to do it.”
“Now would be the time, since we have (construction) crews on-site,” Holstein said. “We could do it as a change order (on the jail expansion project).”
“I don’t want us to put up a stick building, or a metal building that would be an eyesore in the future,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Joe Hall said. “It should look like the jail.”
The other commissioners agreed, and voted unanimously to begin the steps toward planning and designing the storage facility.
The commissioners met for more than 90 minutes behind closed doors to discuss real estate matters in relation to the records storage need, but took no formal action on reopening the meeting.
In other business, the commissioners:
• formally declared a budget emergency on a 3-2 vote, and increased the district attorney’s budget (on an identical 3-2 vote) by $39,064.67 to cover the salaries of a new secretary and a new investigator through the end of the fiscal year.
In both actions, Holstein, Hall and Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney supported the action, while Lawrence and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry West opposed.
The commissioners debated District Attorney Donna R. Bennett’s request for the new secretary and additional investigator at length during their two previous meetings, and took the votes without further discussion.
• authorized County Clerk Gwen Moffeit to add a scanning station under an existing contract with ACS Services, at a cost of $600 per month.
Moffeit said the new scanner will enable her employees to digitize county commissioners court minutes quickly and easily.
She told commissioners Smith County used the same system, which worked well for them and was also easy to use.
“We have high hopes this will work really well for us,” Moffeit said.
The scanning station should be installed within 30 to 60 days, the commissioners heard.
• authorized Holstein to sign a request to obtain about $111 from the Electric Coop Unclaimed Property Fund.
• paid bills totaling $774,362.85.