Driver’s death ruled suicide

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, November 9, 2013

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The death of a 41-year-old man who was driving erratically in Rhome Tuesday has been ruled a suicide.

In a report submitted to Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson’s office, the Dallas County Medical Examiner said Franklin Kevin Bates died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Bates, who has addresses in both Decatur and Colleyville, was reported to be driving a black Mercedes passenger car erratically in the southbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Shortly after the call came in, a Rhome police officer pulled Bates over.

“(Bates’) car came to a complete stop,” Rhome Police Chief James Rose said. “But then his car began moving forward again.”

Officials believe Bates pulled the trigger once he was pulled over, causing him to lift his foot from the brake and the car to roll forward.

The vehicle eventually hit a sign and came to a stop near County Road 4838.

Officers found Bates slumped from the driver’s side into the passenger seat, with a gun in his lap.

Johnson pronounced him dead and sent the body to the Dallas County Medical Examiner for an autopsy, the results of which she received Friday morning.

She awaits the results of the toxicology report, which could take up to 90 days, she said.

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