Memorial Service Sunday, May 18, 3pm Art Car Museum 140 Heights Blvd.
It was a warm, beautiful day at the Memorial Service. Both heartfelt and funny memories were shared. An incredible number of Tom's friends came out to pay their respects. We had an art car processional to Tom's house and back to the Museum, then we did our own processional on last week's Parade route. Traffic stopped to watch us pass. They knew we were paying our respects to Tom as we stopped traffic - nothing we usually do in a processional. Now is our time for healing. We'll never forget Tom, but with luck we'll remember him with a smile instead of with tears.
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The Art Car community lost a great friend early Sunday morning May 11, 2008. These are the facts as I know them from first hand accounts of people that were on the scene when and right after the incident happened. After this year's Illuminated Cruise, the band was picking up equipment locked behind the fence of the Museum, our starting point for the Cruise, and Tom was nice enough to let someone use the restroom before heading home. He and 2 other artists were sitting and talking on the curb, to the right of the Museum if you are exiting the Museum, (where the Memorial has been erected). Dustin Poe, a drunk male driving a White Pontiac GT, crossed the railroad tracks and hit a (non-art car) Toyota Camry that was parked on Heights, near the bank of phones at the convenience store, between the railroad tracks and the Museum. The impact was so strong that it pushed the parked car approximately 40 feet, into Tom and the other 2 artists, over that tall curb, totaling the Camry. One artist was able to roll out from under the car after the collision, the other was thrown into the fence. Tom was pinned under the car chest/waist down. He was conscious and able to talk to paramedics at the scene. The car had to be removed off of Tom to free him. As I do not want to disturb the family, this is what I know happened next: He was taken to Ben Taub and was worked on in the ER. He then passed away during surgery due to massive internal injuries. The other 2 artists did not sustain any life threatening injuries.
Tom was 51 years old, and is survived by Becky Sargent, his lifetime love of 32 years, 2 sisters, 2 brothers and both parents.
Tom was a fixture and friend to everyone who came to the Art Car Museum this past 4 years. Noah says it will take 10 people to replace him as he was mechanic, head curator in charge of installations for the Art Car Museum's exhibitions, painter, computer IT guy, and all around bright, shining, happy light within the Museum. Noah said that the 4 years he worked with him at the Museum went by like a month because Tom was not only a great co-worker, with a positive attitude, but also a wonderful person and friend.
Tom was an entertainer as a musical front man, an Urban Animal skater, a mechanic, a motorcycle rider and enthusiast, a hot rod enthusiast, an art car artist, a painter, a photographer, a videographer (where his newest piece is running in the Art Car Museum right now, along with his orange "arted out" bicycle) and an all around good guy. Tom was an incredible conversationalist who maintained a positive attitude no matter what or who he faced. He is someone to emulate.
I encourage you to watch the last known video taken of Tom at this site, it's great, and we are very fortunate to have it to view and remember him by. It was made on Parade Day, this past Saturday, May 10.
I heard many discussions of tributes and fund raisers at our annual Sunday Brunch. Johnny Rojas would like to dedicate it to him. I will forward all sympathy email to the Discussion Board as I receive it. I encourage everyone who reads this to go to our Discussion Board and leave your sympathies there, as the family can link that page as well.
Dustin Poe of Mexia Texas was charged with Intoxication Manslaughter today and released from jail on a $30,000 bond.
Tom is in the thoughts of the entire Art Car Community and our deepest sympathies go out to his family.
Please use the Discussion Board on this website http://www.localendar.com/forums/artcar to leave your sympathies, thoughts, ideas, offers of help, etc. This will be the place to exchange information in the most effective way.
10/09 - please go to our Discussion Board section for trial detail updates.
Nicole Strine President, Houston Art Car Klub!
(photo on left taken by Alex Harrah)
April 2, 2008, outside the Art Car Museum (photo courtesy of Chef Dave)
Memorial site in front of Art Car Museum, Tuesday, May 13
Dustin Poe plead guilty to Intoxication Manslaughter on September 14, 2009. He will be sentenced to 2-20 years in jail, no chance for probation. Sentencing will be January 13, 2010. I will update information here from Becky as I receive it. Nicole