David Vance

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vance dies after one-vehicle wreck

By John Howell Sr.

David Vance, who died Sunday in a tragic auto accident, was heir to a family history richly intertwined with Batesville.

His father, Calvin Brooks Vance III, who served many years as Panola County chancery clerk, had been a pilot in World War II, was shot down over Germany and held as a prisoner of war for 15 months.

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His grandfather, C. B. Vance Jr., had served in the Army during World War I and later cleared much of the land in what is now known as Vance Bottom. His great grandfather served in the Confederate Army which led to his capture at Vicksburg and was thereafter, throughout a long career that included serving as a state senator, banker and editor of The Panolian, universally known as “Captain Vance.”

David Vance was the second of the three sons of his immediate family. His older brother, C. B. Vance IV, died in a plane crash in 1969. His younger brother, Frank Hudson Vance, survives him. He was traveling alone in his SUV Sunday morning when he crashed into a tree near the entrance to the old J. P. Hudson Park on Boothe Street.

Lifelong friend and high school classmate George C. Carlson Jr. said that it was David’s Sunday morning custom to ride around town, perhaps stopping for a sausage and biscuit.

Vance had apparently turned from Highway 51 onto Boothe Street, headed downtown. Panola County Deputy Sheriff Mark Whitten was traveling north on the portion of Highway 35 that parallels the railroad track and Boothe Street on the opposite side.

Whitten told Batesville police that he noticed the vehicle traveling south on Boothe and then “saw the vehicle quickly run off of the roadway onto the shoulder of the road and strike a large oak tree,” according to the police report.

By the time Whitten turned around and hurried to the scene, the driver appeared to be dead, the report stated.

Vance had retired because of his health from a career in hospital management and finance.

Family members suspect that he may have had a heart attack while driving, Carlson said.