KPD finds driver behind damage to monument

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Investigators have identified and made contact with a man suspected of driving drunk into the Kilgore War Veterans Monument earlier this month.

The individual is currently out of state, Kilgore PD Assistant Chief Roman Roberson confirmed Tuesday, and has agreed to meet with investigators as soon as he returns.

“He’s going to turn himself in sometime this week,” Roberson said. “At this point in the investigation, we don’t believe it was intentional on the evidence to date and speaking to him and another witness – he was intoxicated, is what we believe at this point.”

Further details about the suspect aren’t being released pending the upcoming arrest: the man will face multiple charges.

The monument at Harris Street Park was damaged late Friday night or early Saturday morning May 3-4 when a vehicle careened through the Kilgore War Veterans Association’s memorial to local members of the military. The vehicle knocked one of the monument’s black marble panels off its footing in addition to damaging benches and other elements at the monument.

A rough estimate of the damages ranges from $3,500 to $5,000.

“I don’t have that information on the cost of the repairs,” Roberson said. “We do know that he is insured.

“Of course, he also will be charged for the damage along with leaving the scene, not reporting the damage to us.”

The vehicle’s plastic ‘air dam’ was pulled off in the collision and left behind, an initial lead for investigators.

“That’s where we’re at right now: we’re waiting for him to return to the state and turn himself in, he’s willing to do so,” Roberson said. “We’re satisfied to be able to identify the guilty party and at least get the reimbursement.

“I know a lot of people in town have names on that monument – as do I.”

Roberson praised the efforts of John Edney, Joe Parker and others in the veterans association for their efforts at the memorial.

“They put a lot of work into that park,” he said. “Fortunately, he’ll be held accountable. That’s the main thing.”

The Kilgore War Veterans Association’s annual Memorial Day observance is set for 9 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the monument.

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