Between the Lines: ‘Terror on Highway 59’ still relevant today

By Melvin Hunt, contributing book editor

“Terror on Highway 59,” written by newspaper reporter Steven Sellers, was published in 1984 and later become a movie. It is based on the real-life story of the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office under the reign of former sheriff Humpy Parker.

The book spells out in detail the tactics and antics employed by the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office. Their activities eventually brought on investigations by the federal government.

Melvin Hunt, book reviewer

The use of Chinese water torture being implemented by deputies against people pulled over for minor traffic infractions on the highway is detailed in the book. The book sheds light on the fact that minorities, particularly blacks, and hippies who drove vehicles with a Shreveport, La., license or bearing a KLOL FM station were most likely to be targeted for the unlawful traffic stops.

The federal investigation ultimately led to the downfall of Parker, several deputies and a state representative, Jim Browder. Parker accepted a guilty plea to two felony civil rights charges and one extortion charge, and immediately resigned from office. Since that time, his name, particularly around East Texas, has become synonymous with abusive police tactics.

For years, copies of the books were in limited supply with some online stores selling them for hundreds of dollars. However, in 2008, the San Jacinto County Historical Society received the rights to republish the book.

“Terror on Highway 59” is a very good book. Be sure to read it.


  1. Thanks for the article. In 1979 I was pulled over on 59 for having a “dirty license plate” and was subjected to abuse by this Sheriff’s Department. Once I bailed out I never went back.

    The experience haunted me for decades and adversely affected my life and life choices.

    The KLOL bumper sticker connection was real. I had one on my car when they pulled me over. I believe some KLOL management and lawyers rode to San Jacinto county in the Silver Bullet van and were subsequently arrested.
    Glad Humpy and his stooges were finally brought to justice.

  2. I stev calc dated sheriff parker daughter he was always good to me he didn like troub makers. And would break the law to put low life out of town so the good people could sleep at night It would be great to have a wonderful hero again

  3. Good Ole Liberty, San Jacinto, Monkey and Harris County …
    The Cartels still own that Cesspool. Travis Bishop and Guy Williams, Joe Corley … Big Heap Crooked Slobs

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.