A 22-year-old Kilgore man surrendered to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Friday amid Kilgore PD’s investigation into damage to the War Veterans Monument at Harris Street Park.

In early May, a rogue driver struck the memorial wall and several fixtures nearby, causing several thousand dollars worth of damage based on an initial estimate from the Kilgore War Veterans Association.

According to KPD, Jose A. Maldonado-Martinez was named a suspect in the case within a couple of days of the beginning of the investigation.

On May 10, “Maldonado met with Kilgore Police Detective John Rowe and confessed to being the person responsible,” KPD reported Monday. “Maldonado confessed to driving under the influence of alcohol and accidentally driving into the park.”

A plastic ‘air dam’ was left at the scene, helping investigators narrow their original focus.

“After the initial crash into the Veteran’s Memorial Monument, Maldonado fled the scene without adhering to the Texas Transportation Code which required him to contact the owner of the property – in this case the City of Kilgore. After fleeing that scene Maldonado crashed again in a nearby neighborhood and abandoned his vehicle in a resident’s lawn.”

Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Talyna Carlson issued an arrest warrant for Maldonado May 15, requesting a $20,000 bond. The 22-year-old turned himself in to the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Friday, booked on a charge of duty on striking fixture highway landscape (causing damage valued at $200 or more). He posted bail the same day.

“Maldonado made that bond and awaits final disposition of his case,” KPD confirmed, emphasizing all individuals are considered innocent until proven guilty in court. “If convicted Maldonado faces a fine up to $2,000 and up to 6 months in county jail. Until this incident Maldonado didn’t have a criminal record.”

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