Sunday, July 26, 2009




  Man evades arrest, rolls truck six times
Truck clocked at 107 mph on U.S. Highway 175 at 3 a.m. Wednesday
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.

Courtesy Photo
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 explained.
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 mph.
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 out
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 Tuesday.
Mayor pro-tem Rodney Renberg read a letter he drafted to send to Traylor Associates.
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 city previously.
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 years,
• defining vicious dog and nuisance,
• requiring warning signs of guard dog on the premises,
• requiring $100,000 liability insurance for the keeping of vicious dogs, and
• 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 ordinance.
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 ordinance.
• 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 car.

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