4 receive DPS’ highest civilian award
Polk County Enterprise, October 2007
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety presented the agency’s highest civilian honor to four Polk County residents during a ceremony Oct. 18 at the Polk County courthouse.
Trooper Sammy Lattner nominated Malinda Sweeten, James Sweeten, Tres Harrison and G. W. Farrar for the Director’s Award after the four showed outstanding courage in assisting him at the scene of a one-car accident on Nov. 15, 2006 that took the lives of two Livingston High School students.
“I put them up for the awards to express our gratitude for going beyond the call of duty for a civilian to help get the victims out of car,” Lattner said.
Virginia Rose “Ginny” Aubrey, 16, and Ashley Aubrey, 15, were southbound in a Mitsubishi Eclipse at 7:13 a.m. on FM 350, about 6 miles north of U.S. 190 when the right tires slipped off the road, DPS reports show.
Lattner said the driver, Ginny Aubrey, attempted to get back onto the roadway, overcorrected and the car began to slide sideways.
The vehicle then slid across the southbound and northbound lanes struck a ditch. became airborne and hit a tree head-on.
the car later caught fire, but Lattner and others at the scene were able to free both girls from the wreckage before the fire reached the passenger compartment.
Ginny Aubrey was pronounced dead at the scene by Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Larry Whitworth.
Ashley Aubrey was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston by helicopter were she later died of injuries sustained in the crash.
Subdistrict Supervisor for the Lufkin area Lt. Roy Owens presented the awards to the Sweetens and Harrison. G.W. Farrar could not be present for the ceremony.
“While the fire was going on, they put their lives in danger and we just don’t see that happen too often nowadays,” Lattner said.