(Editor's note: This article has been updated with information on Vincent's release after posting bail.)
Bond was set Friday for Tom Bean City Councilor Ben Vincent, who was arrested Thursday following a two-vehicle collision.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers arrested Vincent for intoxicated assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury. Vincent was booked into the Grayson County Jail on Thursday, and his bond was set at $200,000, but later lowered to $100,000 on Friday. Vincent then posted bond and was released.
He also retained Sherman Attorney Bob Jarvis who noted that no court dates have been set.
“I think once all the facts are made clear, most folks will have a different understanding of what they think happened,” Jarvis said. “Ben had undergone recent medical treatment and was on new medicines very recently.”
The arrest came about after Vincent, 57, crashed his white Toyota Prius into a Tom Bean Independent School District pickup driven by 62-year-old Elmer Stuckey. DPS Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett said on Thursday the wreck occurred at about 9:45 a.m. at the intersection of Britton Street and State Highway 11.
Tackett said Vincent was driving westbound on Highway 11, and he turned left to travel south on Britton Street. Tackett said the turn seemed to be last minute, and when he turned, he struck the Chevrolet pickup driven by Stuckey head-on. Both men were transported to Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center.
Jennifer Wright, the daughter of Stuckey, said through social media that her father was still in the hospital Friday afternoon undergoing treatment for his injuries. Early Thursday afternoon, Vincent was released from the hospital and directly arrested. Tackett said on Friday he did not know what Vincent was allegedly intoxicated on, and DPS is waiting for a toxicology report.
Tom Bean Mayor Sherry Howard referred comments on the matter first to the city’s attorney, then said to contact the Texas Municipal League. The Tom Bean website lists W.D. Welch as the city’s attorney. Attempts to reach Welch Friday were unsuccessful.
While the wreck occurred inside city limits, the Tom Bean Police Department turned the investigation over to DPS. Tom Bean Police Chief Tim Green said on Thursday they decided to recused themselves “due to the sensitive nature of the incident.” Green did not return calls placed Thursday afternoon and Friday seeking additional comment.
At about 8:30 p.m. on July 22, Whitewright Police conducted a traffic stop on Vincent after he was seen allegedly driving in the wrong lane of traffic. Whitewright Officer Andrew LeFevre conducted the stop, and Vincent said he had consumed a bottle of wine earlier in the day. The stop was recorded on body camera footage from an assisting Whitewright officer.
Vincent was not arrested for possibly driving while intoxicated, and LeFevre allowed a family member to pick Vincent up. On Tuesday, LeFevre was terminated, though he had previous pending resignation to pursue a job elsewhere. Whitewright Police Chief Beau Heistand said in a news release that comments were made during the stop that indicated if LeFevre was not leaving soon, Vincent would have been arrested.
“I expect our officers to efficiently and effectively perform their duties of enforcing laws of the United States, State of Texas and this City,” Heistand said in the release. “These laws are to be enforced regardless of outside circumstances, including a limited time of employment remaining with this department. The decision made by the officer is not the standard at which this agency operates.”
Whitewright Mayor Jeremiah Looney said the event was unfortunate and that separating with the officer at that moment was the right thing to do.
“We want to try and prevent tragedies like Thursday as much as we can,” Looney said on Friday. “And we want to make sure we try to prevent those things from happening.”