Sad news from the Houston Art Car Weekend

(excerpted from the Houston –  read the full story)


Photography curator Tom Jones, shown in a photo outside the Art Car Museum on Sunday, was active in Houston’s art community for about 25 years.

May 12, 2008, 2:55PM

Driver charged in crash that killed Art Car Museum curator
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

A Central Texas man with a drunken-driving conviction on his record is free on bail today after being accused of causing the crash that killed the curator of Houston’s Art Car Museum as he celebrated the conclusion of the popular Art Car Parade.

Dustin Allen Poe, 23, is charged with intoxication manslaughter, a felony that carries a possible sentence ranging from two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine upon conviction. He is accused of being drunk when the car he was driving slammed into a parked car, which then killed Tom Jones early Sunday.

Poe, of Mexia, was released from the Harris County Jail this morning after posting $30,000 bail.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety records, Poe was arrested by DPS troopers in May 2004 for driving while intoxicated in the Waco area.

He was found guilty in December that year and sentenced to 12 months’ probation and a $200 fine.

In August 2006, officers with the College Station Police Department arrested Poe on a charge of driving with an invalid license, according to DPS records. He was convicted and ordered to pay a $500 fine, plus court costs.

The fatal accident occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday as Jones sat on a curb with two friends in front of the Art Car Museum, reveling in the afterglow of the annual parade that was their pet public art exhibition.

 Jones, 51, had parked his eye-catching ride, Swamp Mutha, inside the museum on Heights Boulevard, just north of Washington Avenue.

As the three friends shot the breeze, a speeding Pontiac crested the railroad tracks on Heights. It was going so fast when it hit a parked Toyota Camry 50 feet away that Jones’ friend, Dion Laurent, said he had time to think only one word.


The parked car launched into them, flinging Laurent against the fence and pinning Jones and his other friend.

“They were in agony,” Laurent said later Sunday, shuddering.

Jones, a pillar of the Art Car community, died later that morning from internal injuries. The other two men survived.

Jones, an accomplished photographer, videographer and Art Car designer, had driven one of the museum’s centerpieces in Saturday’s parade: a 1982 Chevrolet Monte Carlo adorned with crabs, crawfish, alligator skulls and shellacked armadillos. Swamp Mutha symbolizes Houston’s urban frontier, according to its museum plaque.

…continued on the Houston Chronicle web site