The Ticket's Sean Bass and His Sobering Stance on Driving Drunk

After surviving the drunken-driving accident that killed his girlfriend, a local sports-talker takes his pain on the air.

The Ticket's Sean Bass and His Sobering Stance on Driving Drunk
Mark Graham

Sometimes — more often than he'd like, and even though he knows it's not healthy, that it won't change anything — Sean Bass thinks of all the different routes he could've taken to the store.

It was a warm Friday night in late September. Sean had just mowed the lawn. His girlfriend, Heather, was at his house in Garland, cuddling his dog Clementine and waiting on the first pitch of the Rangers-Mariners game. First, though, the Yankees were playing the A's. Oakland made a pitching change, and the whole thing was taking forever. A commercial came on.

"Let's go," Sean told Heather.

Sometimes he thinks about that, too. They could've just sat through the damn commercials.

They left Sean's place and headed to Tom Thumb for groceries. They hopped into his silver Nissan Altima, and he picked one of the three routes at random: a left on Kingsley Road, a right on First Street and another right down West Centerville Road, three busy lanes on each side, bordered with gas stations, strip malls, used-car lots. They'd be back in no time.


Sean Bass is 30 years old, with slightly thinning reddish-brown hair, stubble, and a booming, personable, radio-volume voice. All his life, he's been a Ticket Guy. Before he started working for the massively popular sports radio station at age 19, he was a diehard listener — a "P1," as they're known on-air, an old-timey radio reference that means, depending on whom you ask, "Priority One" or "Preset One." As a young kid, his dad used to let him stay up late to listen on Saturday nights, a time slot Sean ("Seabass" to the P1s) now hosts.

In addition to being his livelihood, the Ticket also brought Sean and Heather together. He's prolific on Twitter, with 12,000 or so followers who check in to banter with him about the Mavs and the Rangers (he hosts the Ticket's post-game shows on both teams), and to argue with him about whether soccer deserves more coverage on the station (that's just one guy, actually).

Heather VanHoozer was active on Twitter, too, using a handle that involved the words "Sports Gal." She was born in Garland; March 31 would have been her 25th birthday. Her closest friend, Stacy Tekstar, describes her as "a fashion queen," with long brown hair, stylish black-and-white framed glasses, and a knack for giving great advice.

"Heather never intentionally had an enemy," Stacy says. "She was kind to anyone she met. She believed in giving a chance to anybody, and even a second chance."

Heather's mother, Debra, says her daughter was that way from the start: an outgoing, chatty, loving child who grew into a woman with an equal passion for sports and taking care of other people. In grade school, she ice-skated and played soccer, then took a spot on the drill team in high school. Six years ago, her father, Alan, started taking her bass fishing, something she took to as easily as she did every other sport. When she wasn't playing them she was watching them, enthusiastically and year-round.

"The other thing that Heather emasculated men with, other than her fishing skills, was her knowledge of sports," her longtime friend, Andy Foster, says with a laugh.

Heather loved the Stars, Mavericks and Rangers. Per recent tradition, she dutifully supported the Cowboys without caring much for Jerry Jones. When they weren't shopping or dissecting each other's potential suitors, Heather and Stacy hopped from football games to basketball games and occasionally over to the horse races, where Heather showed Stacy how to bet.

"She had probably five or six jerseys from any team," Andy says. No matter the sport, he adds, "She could tell you who scored and what their stats were and this and that."

Her head for stats was part of Heather's affinity for science and math; last fall she was accepted into the nursing program at Texas Woman's University, after a few years at community college. She wasn't sure yet what her specialty would be, though she leaned toward surgery or pediatrics. "She pretty much just wanted to take care of people," her mother says.

"She was very nurturing," Sean adds. "She'd have made a great nurse."

It was a little more than a year ago that Heather, a second-generation P1 herself, started tweeting at Sean about sports. That quickly graduated into e-flirting, and the two eventually went for beers in downtown Plano. They took things slowly for a while. Sean had broken off an engagement earlier that year, and Heather was still living at home with her parents, focusing on school. But she fell hard, Stacy says. When she and Sean went to South Padre over the summer to meet his mom, it was the first time she'd ever gone away with a guy. Soon they were inseparable.

"I told her, he was right for her," Stacy says. "He was kinda what we imagined for her: a sports guy, outdoorsy, loved to have a good time. Very social, like she was." Through his job, Sean got Heather and Stacy box seats to a Mavericks game last season. "We were on cloud nine that night," Stacy says, laughing. "We were both flipping out."

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30 comments
somethingfunny
somethingfunny

I am disturbed to see the precise directions to get from my house to the nearest grocery store spelled out in the fifth paragraph.  NOBODY interesting lives in my neighborhood, or so I thought.  What else has Garland been hiding from me???

michellereynolds1994
michellereynolds1994

I know Heather's parents and her personally.  What a beautiful family they were and always will be.  May God watch over Debra and Alan in their darkest hours.

Michelle - GH


MariannaW
MariannaW

Godspeed some peace to all involved. My first hand experience is the crosses are disappearing because TXDOT or local city crews are removing them. They slow down roadside maintenance crews and give a bad impression. At least that's what my family was told when an illegal killed my sister and her two kids on I35 outside of Austin. Priorities????

RadioGaGa
RadioGaGa

I wonder how many times Sean Bass drank and drove before the accident.

It's insensitive that his co-workers have nicknamed him “Killer.”

RadioGaGa
RadioGaGa

P1 actually means "First Preference," as in a listener's first preference among multiple radio stations that s/he listens to.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

"Sometimes — more often than he'd like, and even though he knows it's not healthy, that it won't change anything — Sean Bass thinks of all the different routes he could've taken to the store."

This could have been any of us; on any given day, when some irresponsible fool decides to temp fate, and drive while he or she shouldn't driving.  This effects all of us, and everyone knows someone touched by this sort of tragedy. Whole families have been wiped out by drunk people......it is time for this to stop!  

I don't know if the answer is taking away someone's license for good, on the first offense, or mandatory breathalyzers in EVERYONE'S vehicle?  It just has to stop. 

EastDallasDad
EastDallasDad

Anna you told this terrible story eloquently. I'm a P1 and it was a very powerful moment when Sean told this story on the air. 

Hopefully you've reached a few more people with the message that it just isn't worth it. Drink at home, sleep it off at a friend's house or get a room, have a designated driver or call a cab. 

bdonovan1980
bdonovan1980

One more American killed by a drunk driving mexican.  Wonderful.

Is it time for the next amnesty yet?

Storm_71
Storm_71

Very good job Anna. My thoughts go out to Heather's parents and Sean. I'm am so very sorry for your loss.

ted.wick
ted.wick

Props  to SeaBass for using The Ticket as an avenue to raise awareness about drunk driving. That can not be easy, especially the fact that doing so could loose some valuable ad dollars from the alcohol companies. My thoughts and prayers go to the family as well, this can not be easy to deal with.


I however am a little concerned about the situation with the suspect. If he was here illegally and had been arrested before for marijuana charges, why was he not deported? I think this question needs to be answered in my opinion, it seems like someone dropped the ball on that one.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@donjames2011.....Congratulations. 28 years is a milestone. Recongnizing you needed to even make a change is sometimes a bigger milestone

David Swinney
David Swinney

Great article. Best wishes from this P1 to Seabass and to Heather's family. I can't imagine the pain they are working through.

donjames2011
donjames2011

30 years ago, I had to serious wrecks while driving drunk. Thankfully both wrecks were 1 car wrecks. I only injured myself and tore my car up. I stopped drinking 28 years ago, but when I hear about incidents like this, I still cringe at the memories. Please dont drink and drive. The lives you save will probably be innocent people.

leeeeeeeeee
leeeeeeeeee

This hit me right in the feels. I'm so glad SeaBass has The Ticket to help get his story across.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

When I was young, I would drink and drive - sometimes the next day I couldn't believe how stupid and irresponsible I was.  One thing if I killed just myself but I could not imagine if my stupidity resulted in injuring or killing an innocent person that had nothing to do with what I chose to do.  Now I make sure I am a passenger or make sure I wait a long while after the last drink (and drink moderately).   One person "having a night out" could greatly impact many others.

JMarrsofDoom
JMarrsofDoom

@RadioGaGa Sean isn't nicknamed "Killer."  Jason Kellison is.  

I don't think how many times he drank and drove before the accident is important in the slightest.  I think the important thing is that he doesn't do it now, and is trying his hardest to get other people to make the same change.  

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@EastDallasDad 

I've heard Sean reference this incident a couple of times, and it tugs at the heart strings; one night they even talked about this incident on the Fan. My deepest sympathies go out to Sean, and family. 

joearpaio
joearpaio

@Anna Merlan A donation to your favorite 12-step group may be a better choice than one to MADD.

bdonovan1980
bdonovan1980

@ted.wick  - it's called catch and release.  The feds don't want to deport any poor mexican who may vote for the dems after the next amnesty.

welcome1
welcome1

@ted.wick seems like the ball always get's dropped for issues in this area

welcome1
welcome1

@WatchingSouthDetroit sadly it's the one whom don't care about anything drive intoxicated...... They think they care when they are sober though, how funny is that....

ted.wick
ted.wick

@welcome1 I mean I am all for immigration into this country, it's how this country was founded. But we need to have some reformations, obviously. I find it baffling that I have friends from college that got deported after they got their education, yet this punk was able to stay in this country illegally after getting arrested for marijuana and now this happened.


Anyways I don't want to turn this into an immigration debate, I am deeply saddened by this and my heart goes out to the family and SeaBass. The main message in this is that there are many victims of drunk driving, victims who loose their lives or get seriously injured because someone else made a poor decision.

welcome1
welcome1

@ted.wickwhen it comes to the PD following up an doing their job, I see this 1st hand where I work day in day of the dept's the ball is always getting passed of to someone else for the grunt work. When someone runs like this person did his penalties should be 20 fold more, no excuses. Eye for an eye when it comes to intoxicated punks like this......


cowboyesfan
cowboyesfan

@ted.wick @welcome1 I think cause the guy who killed his girlfriend was an illegal alien and criminal.

 
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