BPD officer killed in Sunday wreck IDed; authorities believe PA driver under influence of alcohol caused crash

Published 8:55 pm Sunday, August 9, 2020

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The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash that occurred early Sunday morning on U.S. 69 at MLK Boulevard, involving two Beaumont Police Officers.

The preliminary crash investigation indicates at approximately 2:30 a.m., a Beaumont Police Department patrol vehicle was traveling north.

The driver of a 2006 Ford passenger car was traveling south in the northbound lane with no headlights and struck the patrol vehicle head-on.

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The driver of the patrol vehicle is identified as 28-year-old Officer Gabriel Fells from Beaumont.

A passenger with Fells is identified as 23-year-old Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell, also from Beaumont.

Fells was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont for treatment. He underwent surgery early Sunday morning and has since been released. “He has a long road to recovery ahead of him but we will be with him every step of the way,” according to Beaumont Police.

Yarbrough-Powell was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Jefferson County Justice of the Peace.

Yarbrough-Powell was a 23 year old Lumberton Native. She was hired by the Beaumont Police Department as a Police Cadet on August 13, 2018. On December 20, 2018 she was sworn in as a Beaumont Police Officer. Yarbrough-Powell was assigned to 4th Watch Patrol. She had been married for just 10 months.

“There’s no doubt that it’s an extremely difficult time to be a Police Officer but it’s also an extremely important time,” BPD Chief James Singletary said. “Our Officers and Dispatchers have done a remarkable job during this difficult time but today, we are hurting. The next few days, weeks, months and years will be difficult for Sheena’s family, both blood and blue but we will get through this together with the help of our community.

“I would like to say thank you to the State Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety for responding and leading the investigation of the crash. I would also like the thank the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Lamar P.D. for stepping in and answering our calls for service while most of our Officers were on the scene of the crash.

“Also, I want to ask our community to not only keep Sheena’s family and the police department in your prayers but Beaumont EMS and Fire Department. Police, Fire and EMS go hand-in-hand. We are all first responders and our paths cross multiple times throughout our respective shifts. So this loss is hard for them too.

“We have already started to feel the outpouring of support from the community and it means more than you know. There will be more information released as we plan the services to honor Sheena’s life.”

The driver of the Ford is identified as 18-year-old Luis Torres from Port Arthur.

Torres was also taken to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont for treatment.

Investigators believe Torres was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. A blood specimen was obtained and the results are pending.

This crash remains under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.