Jury clears driver in death of girl riding on car fender

May 17-20, 1960 A jury here Tuesday afternoon cleared an automobile driver of responsibility in the death in 1957 of a 15-year-old Brady High School girl who had been riding on the car’s fender. The accident occurred on March 3, 1957, on the Dodge road about five miles west of Brady. Killed when she fell from the fender was June Odom, daughter of Mrs. Louise Hammett of Fort Worth. Driving the car was June’s friend, Mrs. Betty Jo Flemming, wife of Kenneth Flemming, formerly of Brady but now of Ozona, where he operates an auto parts store for James Walton of Brady, owner of Brady Automotive Supply. Four girls had been riding around on a Sunday afternoon, with June on one fender and Lilllie Bell Hairrell, 15, on the other. Lillie Bell also fell from the fender but was only injured. The suit, filed by Mrs. Hammett against Kenneth Flemming, originally sought damages of $25,000 as a result of the accident. The defendant’s attorneys, however, contended that June was guilty of contributory negligence by riding on the fender and therefore Mrs. Hammett was not entitled to damages. The court agreed and granted the defendant’s motion for a summary judgement back in September of 1958. The court’s action was appealed, and the Court of Civil Appeals in Austin later ruled that material facts of the case were in dispute and would have to be decided by a jury. The summary judgement then was reversed and the case was sent back here for trial. The trial began here Monday morning in 35th District Court. In its verdict Tuesday the jury found that June was negligent in riding on the fender and that such negligence led to her death. The jury ruled further that Mrs. Flemming was not guilty of “gross negligence” in allowing June to ride on the fender, but the death “was the result of an unavoidable accident,” and that June’s mother was not entitled to damages. Serving on the jury were P.S. Harwell, foreman; O.E. Cox, Carroll Hodges, O.C. Beakley, R.C. Benefield, Lincoln Lohn, Mrs. W.C. Hutto, Mrs. Tom Penn, Fred Robetts, Andrew J. Allen, George Kidd, Jr., and Tommy Briscoe. * * * Rochelle class to graduate Friday night Rochelle High School seniors will receive their diplomas in exercises in the school gymnasium at 8 p.m. Friday. Supt. C.W. Thompson will introduce the graduation speaker, Dr. Leonard R. Daniel, head of the department of chemistry and director of the National Science Foundation at Howard Payne College. Hugh Doyal is president of the class, and Patsy Engdahl is vice president. Gloria Haywood, the salutatorian, is secretary, and Kay Turnell Carroll, the valedictorian, is treasurer. Other members of the class are Marvagene Creech, Mereta Eckert, Larry Howard, Lelen Kimbrough, Bill Long, Marcia McDonald, Billy Mohr, Monty Bill Price and Domingo Villegas. Baccalaureate services for the seniors were held last Sunday at the Rochelle Baptist Church. Commencement exercises for Rochelle’s junior high class were to be held Thursday night, May 19, at 8 p.m. in the gym. The Rev. Harold Kahler, pastor of the Rochelle Baptist Church, was the speaker. Members of the class are Carolyn Booher, Bonnie Crawford, Nelda Estes, Bill Hagler, Karone Johnson, Janet Lemke, Mary McDonald, Joe Ann Myers, Patricia Nowlin, Tommy Penn, Sandra Rhodes, Larry Smith, Lynda Smith and Martha Villegas. * * * Council hires staff for swimming pool The City Council Tuesday night hired Forest Hanson as manager and Miss Laurie Hunter, Brady High School girls coach, as assistant manager at the City Swimming Pool this summer. Hanson, a student at Howard Payne College, has worked at the pool for several years, and Miss Hunter was employed there last year also. Jimmy Bratton, a Texas A&M student, and Larry Low, a Brady High student, will be lifeguards. All will participate instructing the free swimming classes as part of the summer recreation program. City Supt. James Feazelle said the pool is being cleaned up in time for its opening Saturday, May 28, “but we only got four golf balls out of it,” he laughed. * * * 3 men handed prison terms Three men, indicted by the grand jury here Monday, pleaded guilty Wednesday before the 35th District Judge Conner S. Scott. David W. Kemmits, 25, and Roy Crawford, 21, charged in the theft of wire from the McCulloch County Electric Co-op and theft of a saddle from S.P. Tomlinson, Jr., of Brady received two-year prison terms. Homer L Daggs, 28, charged with forgery and passing of checks to two Brady stores, received a sentence of five years in prison. * * * Student Council sending officers to state workshop The Brady High School Student Council will send three of its newly elected officers to a student council workshop at Southern Methodist University July 31-Aug. 5. The officers for 1960-61 are Jimmy Hill, president; Harry Bowden, vice president; and Barbara McCord, secretary. The Student Council will pay their expenses. It is the first time Brady has been represented at the state-wide workshop. Milburn Meeker, a student council sponsor in Dallas, will be in charge of the session. Sponsors of the BHS Student Council are Mrs. Margaret Frances Barber and E.L. Ross. * * * PERSONAL MENTIONS Here for Mother’s Day Mrs. James Sorrells and two children of Claude, spent Mother’s Day with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mart Rodgers of Rochelle, then went to Rocksprings to visit her husband’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Sorrells. * * * Leave for Indiana, Ohio Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Bell and Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Kittle will leave Monday for Austin where they will board a train for Marion, Ind., to visit Mr. Kittle’s brother, Robert Kittle and family. The Bells will continue on to Dayton, Ohio, where they plan to visit their son-in-law and daughter, Capt. and Mrs. K.W. Bull and children.

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