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Fallen Agents

Two TABC agents have been killed in the line of duty since the agency was established in 1935. The loss of Agent Delbert Pearson and Agent Joseph Jay Crews was tragic, and the sacrifices of these men and their families will not be forgotten.

Agent Delbert Pearson

Agent Delbert Pearson

On January 18, 1973, Delbert H. Pearson was the first commissioned officer of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to die in the line of duty.

On January 18, 1973 at approximately 9:45 p.m., Agent Pearson responded to a radio call from the Clarksville Police Department requesting his assistance. Agent Pearson, along with Clarksville Police Officer Dale Sulsar, staked out an illegal whiskey stash that had been discovered by Officer Sulsar. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Agent Pearson confronted a suspect who was returning for the illegal whiskey. Agent Pearson was only able to identify himself before being shot in the chest at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun. Agent Pearson was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:30 p.m.

The suspect who killed Agent Pearson had seven prior arrests with six convictions. He is now serving a life sentence in prison.

Delbert H. Pearson had been a commissioned officer with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission since February 4, 1952. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. Delbert was originally from Paris, Texas and was 55 years old at the time of his death.

Agent Joseph Jay Crews

Agent Joseph Jay Crews

On September 21, 1979, Joseph Thomas “Jay” Crews became the second commissioned officer of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to die in the line of duty since the inception of the Commission in 1935.

Jay Crews launched his law enforcement career in 1973 as a patrolman with the Woodville Police Department. He continued his education until 1975 at which time he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Studies from Lamar College, Beaumont Texas. Thereafter, he taught history at the Chester Independent School District. A strong desire for public service lured Jay back to the more rewarding occupation of law enforcement. He returned to the Woodville Police Department while he waited for an opening with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

On January 2, 1979, after a wait of 2 years, Jay was employed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as an Inspector in the Baytown office of the Houston District.

With the enthusiasm and diligence of a new employee in a rewarding and exciting career, Jay tackled his new responsibilities. Part of his many duties included the removal of intoxicated persons from licensed premises and from the State’s roadways to protect our society from the intoxicated driver. Ironically, on September 21, 1979, after having departed a licensed premise after an inspection, an intoxicated and uninsured motorist came into Jay’s lane of traffic and hit his vehicle head-on. He died instantly in this tragic and brutal collision. Jay was a dedicated law enforcement officer. His tombstone reads “Joseph T. (Jay) Crews, October 20, 1948 to September 21, 1979. To Protect and to Serve.” The badge of an Inspector of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is engraved on the tombstone above the words “To protect and to serve.”

Funeral services for Joseph Thomas “Jay” Crews, age thirty, were held on September 24, 1979 at the Woodville United Methodist Church. He was buried at Magnolia Cemetery, Woodville, Texas. A large contingent of State, County, and Municipal officers formed an honor guard for his funeral.