Police shoot out tires to end
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
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
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
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
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
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
The incident is being investigated by Henderson County Sheriff’s Office
investigators Kevin Hanes, Michael Shelly, Beth McGhee and Lt. Dan
Kemp sells bonds for new high
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
“We are in the process of doing some preliminary plans,” Running
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
“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
• authorized Holstein to sign a request to obtain about $111 from the
Electric Coop Unclaimed Property Fund.
• paid bills totaling $774,362.85.