Man evades arrest, rolls truck six
Truck clocked at 107 mph on U.S. Highway 175 at 3 a.m.
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP–The pickup was flying at a speed of 107 miles an hour, eastbound on
State Highway 175, when Kemp Police Office Damon Smith took the reading
with his radar gun.
The fly-by occurred in the early morning hours around 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Smith successfully flagged the driver down in an attempted traffic stop
near the area known as the Mabank Bottoms.
However, once Smith opened his car door, the driver sped away.
Rescue workers assist in removing six people (all alive) from a
four-door Chevy truck after it rolled over six times during a high-speed
chase through Kemp and Mabank early Wednesday.
“The officer had just barely put his foot out the door when the
driver floored it and took off again,” Kemp Police Chief Richard Clemmo
Smith engaged pursuit of the vehicle, which again reached speeds of more
than 90 mph toward Mabank.
The driver, later identified as Christopher Ray Brown, 22, of Ennis,
exited onto Business 175 in Mabank maintaining speeds of more than 90
However when he tried to turn onto State Highway 198 where the road
widening project had just poured cement, leaving a deep center section
between the two directions of traffic that is waiting for a concrete
pour, he wasn’t successful.
He ended up taking out a signal light control box, destroying several
construction barriers and rolling the truck six times, before coming to
rest on the truck’s side.
Smith immediately switched roles from pursuer to first responder, as he
called Mabank police and fire department for assistance.
As first responder, Smith used both feet and hands to force the
windshield from its frame enough to pull a distressed woman passenger
from the truck.
He also began administering basic first aid to the six people who were
in the vehicle.
Five of the occupants, which included the driver, were transported to
East Texas Medical Center emergency room in Gun Barrel City.
A rundown on the truck’s plates revealed that the truck had been stolen
, which was also confirmed by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office,
Clemmo said. “They will be investigating and filing charges.”
The driver was found to be in possession of marijuana.
Brown will face several felony charges for evading arrest in a vehicle
causing bodily injury, Clemmo added.
Clemmo praised Smith for his professional demeanor, for maintaining a
safe distance from the speeding truck, and switching from pursuit mode
to first responder.
Smith has been with the Kemp Police Department since 2007.
‘Weed’ growing operation rooted
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–A tip from city employees in Star Harbor led Henderson
County investigators to a complex marijuana growing operation, yielding
an estimated $30,000 in marketable value.
No one was home at the 182 Shoreline Drive residence when investigators
came with a search warrant Tuesday.
The Sheriff’s Office is expecting arrest warrants to be issued when
their investigation is completed.
Star Harbor police chief Wade Norris was informed of possible drug
activity at the residence by city employees and contacted the Sheriff’s
Office to aid him in his investigation.
The following day Drug Enforcement Unit investigators executed a
narcotics search warrant at a Cross Roads residence and found a large
quantity of marijuana valued at about $3,000.
Resident Karon Gatlin was arrested on the charge of Possession of
Marijuana over five pounds and less than 50 pounds.
City wants another chance to
apply for drainage grant
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PAYNE SPRINGS–The reconstituted Payne Springs city council agreed to try
again for a grant to fix the drainage problems in Southwood Shores
Mayor pro-tem Rodney Renberg read a letter he drafted to send to Traylor
The letter informs the firm of the council’s changed majority and its
continued interest in getting the grant the firm had drawn up for the
In a surprise turn of events Sept. 16, 2008, the council turned down the
grant application, citing a 5 percent match of $14,000 and limitation to
drainage work, excluding needed road improvements.
Councilman Vic Brazzell, who led the opposition, has since resigned his
seat on the council.
The Sept. 16, 2008 motion died for lack of a second. Renberg was absent
to that meeting due to illness.
A lengthy discussion of possible changes to the city’s animal control
ordinance was covered.
In the end, the council decided to table action, so it could hash ut the
details in a future workshop.
Some of the issues discussed included:
• restricting the number of animals to a dwelling to five,
• updating rabies vaccination frequency from every year to every three
• defining vicious dog and nuisance,
• requiring warning signs of guard dog on the premises,
• requiring $100,000 liability insurance for the keeping of vicious
• sharing an animal control officer with Eustace or Gun Barrel City,
• various permits and fines.
A date for the workshop was not set.
The council took similar action on a proposed garage sale sign
In other business, council members:
• heard various committee reports.
• approved the expenditure of $5,000 on road materials to fill potholes
throughout the city.
• took no action to extend a garbage pickup service contract for another
year at the current rate of $15.38 per month with I.E.S.I. favoring
going out to bid in September. The contract expires in October.
• heard from former mayor J.T. Noble criticize the amended fireworks
• heard Connie Myers protest mandatory trash pickup service.
• tabled an annexation request from Chris Reed at his request.
• amended the budget to reflect the $2,000-purchase of a used Ford Crown
Victoria, as a replacement patrol car. The city expects reimbursement
from its car insurance company on the July 4 wreck of its last patrol