Johnny Franklin Lawhon Jr, 29, the transmission shop owner who discovered Whitewater documents and a cashier’s check made out to Bill Clinton, was killed when his car struck a tree in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Witnesses to the car wreck said it occurred immediately after Lawhon drove “like a shot” from a service station in his black 1998 Corvette about 1:20 a.m. into a utility pole, breaking it and then striking a tree.

Lawhon made the news last November after reporting he had found Whitewater documents left at his shop in the trunk of a tornado-damaged car. The documents included a 15-year-old cashier’s check for more than $20,000 made out to Clinton. The deposit date on the check seemed to indicate it was used to pay off a loan to the Whitewater Development Corp.

The car belonged to Henry Floyd, a former Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association employee who said he was expected to deliver the papers to a warehouse in 1988. Floyd said he took his car to the repair shop and left it after a dispute about the repair bill.

Lawhon turned the check over to Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

The family had no immediate comment on Lawhon’s death. Another Whitewater figure, James McDougal, Clinton’s former business partner in the Whitewater real estate deal, died in an Ft. Worth prison three weeks ago.

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