New Caney, October 9 – If James Metts runs for Precinct 4 County Commissioner against incumbent County Commissioner Jim Clark, and wins, Metts might be the first Montgomery County Commissioner who ever killed a man. He’s already running, although he hasn’t yet announced. He’s a loyal lieutenant of the Davenport Ring and a newcomer to that group, Jason Dunn, is already running for Metts’ Justice of the Peace position.
March 8, 2002, accident
The events of the afternoon of March 8, 2002, raise serious concerns about the reckless nature of Metts as well as the bias of the local news media.
Around 3:30 p.m., on Friday, March 8, 2002, James Metts of Cleveland, then a 45-year-old trucker with little education but in the midst of running for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace against incumbent Cynthia McMillian, was driving a 1999 Mack tractor with a trailer full of logging equipment, when he pulled off a private dirt road onto F.M. 1314 just south of Exxon Road near Porter and headed south towards U.S. Highway 59. 44-year-old Kenneth Asenbauer of Spring was headed southbound on F.M. 1314, drove a 1999 Ford F-350, and pulled a trailer of pressure-washing equipment.
Asenbauer braked hard, skidded several feet, and slammed into Metts’ trailer from behind. Asenbauer suffered a broken leg and two broken arms and also suffered from chest pains at the scene of the accident.
The first law enforcement officer at the scene was Department of Public Safety Trooper Lencho Adame who indicated that he intended to cite Metts for failing to yield. Adame’s Sergeant Nicky Kelly, who later went to work for the Montgomery County government as the Deputy Director and then Director of Emergency Management, confirmed that DPS had cited Metts for failure to yield the day after the accident after DPS had investigated the facts further.
Eight days later, on March 16, Asenbauer died at a Houston area hospital from complications related to internal injuries he suffered in the accident.
The foregoing events were tragic. But the media coverage of the events was downright bizarre.
The struggling Conroe Courier paper ran a story, dated March 7, 2002, in which reporter Rachelann Ferris mentioned the accident which occurred one day later at the end of a lengthy story about two vehicular accidents in The Woodlands area. It appears that the mention of the Metts accident in which the Spring man died was a mere afterthought added to the story which was buried well off the front page of the newspaper.
Incredibly, however, Metts was in the middle of running for public office. On March 5, 2002, Metts had forced incumbent Republican Justice of the Peace Cynthia McMillian into a runoff that would take place on April 9, only a month in the future. The Conroe Courier did run another brief article about Metts’ accident and Asenbauer’s death on March 26. The Houston Chronicle provided a short story with the headline “Injured man dies from wreck” which hardly mentioned that the driver determined at fault was running for a judicial position.
No other media coverage ever occurred, but the events continued.
Wrongful death lawsuit against Metts and Metts’ trucking company
On September 20, 2002, after Metts had won the April 9 runoff against McMillian, the Estate of Kenneth Asenbauer, Deceased, and two of Asenbauer’s children, sued Metts and Metts’ trucking company for reckless driving and causing the wrongful death of Kenneth Asenbauer in Judge Kathleen Hamilton’s 359th District Court of Montgomery County in Conroe.
The parties litigated the lawsuit for more than a year. On October 30, 2003, however, Metts paid a settlement and the parties agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Once again, there was no media coverage whatsoever of the lawsuit or the aftermath of the fatal accident, even though at the time of the settlement Metts was already a JP.
While he hasn’t officially announced, it’s clear that Metts is running for County Commissioner to attempt to unseat incumbent Jim Clark. Getting rid of Clark is vital to some of the business deals of the Davenport Ring, as Clark has not cooperated with Marc Davenport’s and James Metts’ development of some County vendor relationships. Montgomery County Hospital District Board member Bob Bagley is also running.
In addition to the tragic traffic fatality for which DPS cited Metts for failing to yield in the 2002 truck-to-truck collision, this newspaper has already reported:
- Montgomery County taxpayers paid $45,000 in 2014 to Delonna Snow to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit pending in United States District Court against Montgomery County arising from Metts’ attempts to have sex with a County employee working in his JP Office. Please see “Judge Metts’ Sexual Harassment of County Employees Proves Costly to Taxpayers,” The Golden Hammer, July 17, 2017.
- Metts sued a Montgomery County employee, Information Technology Director Marshall Shirley, in a lawsuit in his own JP court on April 10, 2013, and then signed an order requiring Shirley to turn documents over to him in the same case where Metts claimed to be the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, and the judge. Please see “Picture of Corruption: Judge Metts Files Lawsuit Where Montgomery County Sues Montgomery County, Metts Acts as Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s Attorney, Judge All in Same Case (The Davenports, Part 16),” The Golden Hammer, July 7, 2017.
- Metts has openly introduced local political boss Marc Davenport as a “County employee” and “sworn deputy” in his JP court. Nevertheless, the County’s Human Resources Department has confirmed that Davenport has never been a County employee.
- Metts, Davenport, and Wayne Mack have cost Montgomery County taxpayers millions of dollars in uncollected fees and fines, because they’ve foisted the inferior Graves Humphries/NetData collection and database system on four of the five JP courts in order to ensure that the collected funds go outside of the coffers of the County government. Please see “Metts’ JP Court Strikes Out as Worst Run Court in Montgomery County, Loss Leader,” The Golden Hammer, July 30, 2017.