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EAST COUNTY - The only thing missing was Hank Hill when Department of Public Safety Trooper Dean Barnhill found himself citing a man for allegedly driving a lawnmower while intoxicated Wednesday night.
Barnhill responded to a two-vehicle collision at 8:30 p.m. on Fostoria Road near Splendora.
Upon arrival, the trooper discovered that a minivan was unable to avoid clipping the rear of a Poulan lawnmower, which was being driven on the busy road without lights.
"An intoxicated man driving a lawnmower down the road was struck by a family driving behind him," Barnhill said.
William L. "Bill" Francis, 48, was launched from the mower and landed in the roadside ditch. Although medics transported Francis to Kingwood Regional Medical Center with minor injuries, Barnhill said the man should count himself among the lucky because the other driver swerved and only clipped the rear of the lawnmower. The lawnmower's headlights were not working, and it had no taillights.
Francis told Barnhill he was en route to a nearby store.
"It was not his lawnmower," Barnhill said. "He stated he usually drives a car, but it broke down and he needed ice, so he borrowed the lawnmower."
Among the items recovered from the scene was a cup that smelled of alcohol beneath the mower and an unopened 16-ounce Busch Beer inside an ice chest attached to the vehicle, Barnhill said.
After processing the scene, the trooper cited Francis for driving while intoxicated and for no tags on the vehicle.
"It was my first intoxicated lawnmower," Barnhill said.
According to public record, it was Francis' first DWI charge, but his record included theft of a motor vehicle and more than three prior convictions of public intoxication.
Barnhill said the only incident he could recall that compared with the incident involved a bicycle and a New Caney Fire Truck and occurred earlier this year.
"The cyclist was intoxicated and struck the fire truck," he said.