June 3, 2019 - US Highway 96 North just inside the city limits of Center was the scene of a vehicle versus pedestrian incident in the middle of a construction zone in front of a fuel station.
According to Center Police Officer Brian Wright, at 11:45am a white International truck hauling water driven by Joe Ray Williamson, 52, of Lufkin was backing up spraying water over freshly paved roadway on U.S. 96.
At that time another laborer Damarius Penson, 26, of Houston was walking behind the truck keeping oncoming traffic from traveling into the truck's lane. Williamson could not see Penson had stopped and that's when the International struck Penson.
Law enforcement and additional emergency units were alerted to the incident and while EMS were treating Penson, Center Fire Department firemen were assisting. Center Police Officers began investigating the incident and were assisted by Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety.
Penson was transported from the scene by ambulance and was then life-flighted by helicopter to a hospital in Shreveport for treatment of unknown injuries.
While Center Police Officers were investigating, several laborers appeared to be arguing with the officers and one eventually taken into custody and transported to the police department.