12/23/2003

Texas Officer Dies After Auto Accident

Officer Down: Brian Vail - [Henderson, Texas]

By JAMES DRAPER,

A Henderson, Texas police officer died Thursday from injuries he suffered in an accident early Wednesday morning.

Services for Patrolman Brian Edward Vail, 24, are pending with Rader Funeral Home.

Deputy Chief Mark Dickerson with the Henderson Police Department said Vail was a good officer and came highly recommended to the department.

"We thought well of him over here. He was well-liked and will be sorely missed," Dickerson said. "Our heart goes out to his family and friends."

Longview Police Sgt. James Johnson said fatigue might have been a factor in the wreck that injured Vail. The Longview resident died at 8:30 a.m. Thursday from head injuries he suffered when his patrol car collided with a tractor-trailer Wednesday on FM 1845, Johnson said.

"He might have fallen asleep," Johnson said, explaining that Vail was driving home to Longview after his 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift at the Henderson Police Department.

Johnson said both vehicles were westbound in the inside lane around 6:30 a.m. Vail was traveling behind the tractor-trailer when he struck the right rear of the truck and veered off into a private drive in the 1400 block of FM 1845, Johnson said.

The police department has not yet determined how fast Vail was traveling. However, Johnson said the officer's car was severely damaged.

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