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2013-11-28

Pile-up on North Main St.

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Photo by Gail Joiner
Bystanders assisted remove a woman and her child from a two-vehicle smashup that occurred Tuesday, Nov. 19, on North Main Street




A two-vehicle accident occurred in the 1200 block of Main Street the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov. 19. Two people involved in the incident were transported to an area hospital, but no serious injuries were reported.
City of Bandera Chief Deputy Scott MacNaughton was one of the first on the scene after responding to the 2:30 pm emergency call. By the time he arrived, a 6-year-old boy had been removed from the 1999 Ford Explorer that had been driven by his mother, Natalie Marxer, 33, of Madrona Lane. Marxer, however, had not yet been extricated from the vehicle that eventually ended up on the passenger side.
According to reports, Marxer had been traveling southbound on Highway 16 when she failed to navigate a turn and maintain her lane. She struck a 2004 Chevy pickup truck in the northbound lane being driven by James Bonnett, 55. Art Crawford, who was directly behind Bonnett, swerved to avoid a pile-up.
Several eyewitnesses to the incident reported that Marxer said repeatedly indicated that she had "fallen asleep at the wheel" just prior to "T-boning" the pickup.
Before first responders arrived at the scene of the accident, witnesses helped extract Marxer and her child from the wreckage. They also searched frantically for another child who the woman insisted had been ejected from the Explorer at the time of impact. However, the rescued boy informed law enforcement officers that his brother was in school. When law enforcement called the school for confirmation, they discovered that was the case.
Additionally, during a search of Marxer's vehicle, several pill bottles were found that contained both prescription and over-the-counter medication. MacNaughton emphasized that all medication had been legally prescribed to Marxer.
Citing lack of probable cause, however, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Lynn Holt refused to sign a warrant that would have allowed a blood sample to be taken from Marxer for a toxicology screening.
In an interview, Holt offered a tutorial on probable cause, which he defined as "a set of facts or apparent facts that lead a reasonable and prudent individual to believe a crime has been committed or about to be committed."
Calling judges "protectors of peoples' rights, he said during the last four years, he had signed over 50 blood warrants, but none within the City of Bandera. "The city magistrate should have been called to sign the warrant," he said.
According to Holt, Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chip Aragones called him to secure the blood warrant. Holt noted, "He said the woman admitted to taking drugs, but that isn't sufficient for a blood warrant," referring the Courier to Chapter 18 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, which outlines evidentiary warrants.
"I've had extensive training on probable cause. It's a judgment call on the part of the magistrate," Holt said. "Judges must use common sense and look at the facts when issuing any warrant."
Both Marxer and her son were transported to Boerne Methodist for treatment. No other information about their medical status was available.
In addition to MacNaughton and Aragones, Marshal James "Charlie" Hicks assisted at the scene as well as members of the Bandera Volunteer Fire Department and Bandera EMS.
"This accident could have been a lot worse," MacNaughton said. "The only thing that saved it was the 35 mile per hour speed limit around the curve."