Sunday, September 30, 2007






  County inmate leads deputies on chase
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN– Kaufman County deputies scrambled when inmate Robert Odell gave them the slip during a visit to the Presbyterian Hospital of Kaufman Wednesday.
Odell is a contract prisoner from Navarro County being held on several assault charges, deputy sheriff Sgt. Richard Gaddis said.
Odell was being seen at the hospital when he asked to go to the restroom, Gaddis said.
The guard removed his handcuffs, but upon exiting the restroom – he decided to leave.
After a brief struggle with his guard, Odell managed to get away.
“He walked about three blocks and then stole a car,” Gaddis said.
That was when things got exciting, with officers in pursuit.
Odell stole a 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis and led authorities on a high-speed chase west on Interstate 20 and then south on Interstate 45.
Officers spiked his tires and brought him to a halt near Ennis, where he bailed out and fled on foot.
He was taken into custody a short time later.
Odell faces several additional charges for his escapade.

Asbestos abatement begun
Old hospital building readied for demo or resale
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

ATHENS–Henderson County Commissioners approved a contract with a company to abate the asbestos from the old hospital building Tuesday.
Clean Air Remediation Environmental Services (CARES) was recommended by ERI, Inc., the firm overseeing the project on behalf of the county.
The commissioners inked a contract with CARES for $96,000. Abatement work began Monday.
“They’re out there working. I was glad to see that,” County Judge David Holstein said.
The removal of asbestos will give the county an array of choices for the three-story building with two wings.
In previous meetings, selling the building, demolishing it, or putting it back into county use were some of the options discussed.
Work is estimated to be completed by Nov. 9.
Commissioners also accepted two checks totaling $65,517.
The Cherokee Shores Property Owners Association presented a check for $64,017.07 in consideration of having the county reconstruct ¾ mile of roads in the subdivision, which flanks Payne Springs.
Commissioners accepted portions of the Van Horn, Geronimo, Lake Arrowhead and Pocahontas roads into the county’s maintenance system.
A second check for $1,500 was accepted from Mabry Construction for two loads of oil sand to repair damage to Point LaVista Road in Precinct 1.
In other business, commissioners:
• approved budget amendments 3-1.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Ronny Lawrence opposed.
• renewed a contract with Keep Athens Beautiful for $1,200 to lease parking spaces on the courthouse square 3-2.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Wade McKinney and Lawrence opposed. They felt with the limited number of spaces and the high demand, the leasing of a few to one organization was unfair to other public employees.
• agreed to pay the bills, with Lawrence opposed, totaling $272,944.86.
Lawrence noted one account was seriously overdrawn and in need of a budget adjustment before more payments were made from it.
Other commissioners felt the matter could be corrected on the next round of budget amendments – with funds likely being transferred from capital improvements.
“That’s just not how I pay my bills,” Lawrence said.

Three-car collision sends one to hospital
By Julie Vaughan
Monitor Staff Writer

RODDY–One man was hospitalized and two others treated and released following a three-vehicle head-on collision Wednesday afternoon on State Highway 198, near Van Zandt County Road 2718.

Monitor Photo/Jim McKee
EMS workers ready seriously injured Antonio Trujillo, 42, of Canton for transport to ETMC-Tyler following a three-car collision Wednesday near the Kaufman-Van Zandt county line on State Highway 198, north of Mabank.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Brady Lunceford said Antonio Trujillo, 42, Canton, was northbound on State Highway 198 in a 1993 Jeep Cherokee.
Mabank resident Guilermo Mendieta, 20, was stopped on SH 198 waiting to turn left on VZCR 2718 in a 2001 Ford Taurus.
Patrick Hughes, 36, of Omaha, was southbound on SH 198, driving a 2006 Ford 2500 pickup hauling a flatbed trailer.
Lunceford said Trujillo came up behind Mendieta.
“Mr. Trujillo passed Mendieta in a no-passing zone going up a hill and struck Mr. Hughes head-on,” Lunceford said.
Trujillo was transported by helicopter to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where Lunceford said as of Thursday he was still in serious condition.
Hughes and Mendieta were treated at the scene and released.
Trujillo is charged with no driver’s license and reckless driving.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Traffic between Canton and Mabank came to a stand still briefly on State Highway 198 Wednesday when a three-car collision sent one to the hospital in serious condition.