A former Tom Bean city councilor was indicted this week on charges of intoxicated assault with a motor vehicle causing serious bodily injury and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The charges stem from a wreck that happened back in July.
The indictment is a formal charge and is not an indication of guilt.
Benjamin Vincent, served on the Tom Bean City Council for more than ten years before resigning on Aug. 17, 2017 after two high profile incidents involving law enforcement.
Vincent is represented by Sherman attorney Bob Jarvis who said, “We are disappointed in the decision (to indict).” Jarvis said the grand jury only gets one side of the story. “Ben is a great guy and I’m sure the truth will come out when all of the facts come out.”
According to previously published reports, the first of those incidents happened on Saturday in July of 2017 when a Whitewright Police officer pulled over a black SUV driven by Vincent near the intersection of State Highway 11 and U.S. Highway 69. A news release issued at the time by Whitewright Police Chief Beau Heistand said a Whitewright officer named Andrew LeFevre saw the SUV traveling into the oncoming lane of traffic.
“During the course of the traffic stop, the driver was found to be heavily intoxicated and admitted to consuming an entire bottle of wine in the three-hour period preceding the stop,” Heistand said in the release. “Officer LeFevre made a decision to allow someone to come pick up the individual in lieu of making an arrest for driving while intoxicated.”
For not arresting Vincent for driving while intoxicated, LeFevre was terminated from the city. Vincent was not arrested that night, and a police report was not filed.
Vincent’s next interaction with law enforcement would happen just a few days later. A two-vehicle head-on collision in Tom Bean involving Vincent and Elmer Stuckey, the driver of a Tom Bean Independent School District vehicle, sent both men to the hospital. Vincent was arrested by a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper upon his release.
DPS Staff Sgt. Mark Tackett said 57-year-old Vincent was driving westbound in a Toyota Prius on State Highway 11. Vincent turned left to go south on Britton Street and struck the Chevrolet pickup driven by 62-year-old Stuckey head-on.
“It seemed like it was a last minute turn,” Tackett was quoted as saying in reports on the wreck. “He turned left right into the eastbound lane and struck the vehicle.”
Herald Democrat reporter Drew Smith contributed to this report.