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Charges dropped against former VZC sheriff

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On Friday, May 20, charges against former Van Zandt County Sheriff Steve Hendrix and two of his deputies for giving a false statement to a peace officer were dismissed.

The dismissal comes at the heels of the indictment issued in March accusing Sheriff Hendrix,

Chief Deputy Jerry Wood and Sgt. Blake Snell of witnessing ex-chief deputy Craig Shelton’s use of excessive force against an inmate, identified as Nicholas Crouch, and lying to a Texas Ranger when interviewed in December 2021.

In a statement issued to media outlets, Van Zandt County District Attorney Tonda Curry said a conviction of a class B misdemeanor, like giving a false statement, does not disqualify a person from serving as a peace officer.

However, Sheriff Hendrix submitted his letter of resignation to the VZC commissioners earlier this month on April 29, stating that his last day in office was May 14.

A portion of Hendrix’ letter states:

“After carefully weighing the consequences of negative publicity for our county, I have decided that my resignation is the right choice not just for myself, and my family, but also for Van Zandt County.”

Since then, the commissioners have appointed Joe Carter as an interim sheriff.

As reported by numerous media outlets, Curry stated a potential conviction of a crime involving dishonesty would cause significant issues for future investigations and prosecutions. “Special Prosecutor Bill Turner and I determined that the interest of justice would be best served by protecting those future cases on behalf of victims and agreeing to dismiss the charges in exchange for resignation from the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office,” Curry said.