NEAR NAVASOTA - A former Deputy Chancellor of the Texas A&M System and close friend of Governor Rick Perry is in critical condition after a motorcycle accident Friday evening.
Friday, Jay Kimbrough crashed his 2009 Harley Davidson just before 6:00 p.m. on Highway 6 near Navasota.
State Troopers say the 66-year-old was a few miles south of town when, according to witnesses, he drove into the grass median and over a crossover. That caused his motorcycle to flip over several times. Kimbrough was ejected, but was wearing a helmet.
He was flown to St. Joseph Hospital in Bryan where he remains listed in critical condition as of Saturday evening.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation by the Texas Highway Patrol.
Kimbrough's daughter, Melissa Beardsley, posted this comment on our Facebook page: "Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers."
Someone who worked with Kimbrough during his time with the Texas A&M System left this comment on KBTX.com:
"Jay Kimbrough is an amazing person. He is tough on the outside and he has a 'heart of gold'. He has done great things for the A&M System and the state. Our prayers are with Jay and his family."
Kimbrough is currently employed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission where he deals with veterans services. It is "a topic he’s very passionate about," according to Stephanie Goodman, the Director of Communications for the THHSC.
"We are all pulling for Jay," said Goodman. "He's an amazing guy with an uncanny ability to get right to the heart of an issue. You can't imagine how many veterans he's helped to get services, resolve problems and navigate government programs. He's also stubborn as a mule, and I hope that never-say-never attitude helps him make a full recovery."
Kimbrough was fired by the Texas A&M System in September 2011 after his position was eliminated by current Chancellor John Sharp.
Before his career with the state, Kimbrough was a member of the military. He enlisted in the Marines Corps in 1966. In May of 1967, his helicopter was shot down. Kimbrough was badly wounded and he earned a Purple Heart.
Fellow Vietnam Veteran, Cord Switzer, says “I have worked with him (on) several projects. Basic philosophy - lead, follow or get the heck out of the way. Could not be a better guy to have on your team and to cover your back. Our prayers are also with Jay and Family.”
Kimbrough is a charter member of the Brazos Valley Marine Corps League Detachment.
"We would like everyone to know that Jay is first and foremost a U.S. Marine," said Teresa Carpenter, Commandant of the Brazos Valley Marine Corps League Detachment. "He will fight the battle and our prayers are with him and his family. To the Kimbrough family, if there is anything we can do please contact me @email@example.com. We stand ready. Semper Fidelis!"
In 2011, Texas Monthly named Kimbrough one of the most powerful people in the state, calling him "The Fixer" because Governor Perry would regularly slot him into roles when agencies needed help.
"In 2007 Perry named Kimbrough conservator of the Texas Youth Commission, which oversees the state’s youth lockups, after a sex abuse scandal left the agency in disarray," the article read. "The plainspoken Vietnam veteran rode his Harley to far-flung TYC facilities for personal inspections. He was blunt about which heads had to roll—quite a few—and reporters ate it up."
Kimbrough has served as the judge of Bee County, and has held positions with the Texas Commission on Private Security, the Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and TxDOT, among other jobs.
"Jay has spent most of his life serving the citizens of the State of Texas," said Cullen Grissom with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service - Law Enforcement Extension program. "He is a big law enforcement advocate and leader in Texas government. (We) wish him a speedy, full recovery."
Steve Fullhart and Sylvia Villarreal contributed to this story.