Two men are sitting in Wise County jail with seven felony charges between them after stealing a trailer in Chico, leading law enforcement on a frenzied chase in which all the vehicles caught fire, then hiding in the LBJ National Grasslands.
Sunday morning David McMurry, 28, of Chico and Shannon Hood, 36, of Sunset stole a trailer and welder from an oil lease on Farm Road 1655. Captain Kevin Benton with the Wise County Sheriff’s Department said a pursuit began around 9:45 a.m. when the pair refused to stop for officers on County Road 1560, northeast of Chico. Benton said Sgt. Clint Caddell and Sgt. Mike Neagle were close behind when the pickup suddenly left the road, plowing through a fence in the 2000 block.
The pickup, with the trailer bumping behind it, tore across a pasture that is part of the LBJ National Grasslands. It came to an abrupt stop when it took a nose-dive into a culvert and caught fire.
Hood and McMurry fled on foot, and Caddell and Neagle abandoned their vehicles to pursue the suspects.
Caddell caught Hood and according to the arrest warrant affidavit, told him he was under arrest. In the meantime, the grass caught fire, and it spread quickly to the patrol vehicles.
The affidavit says Caddell instructed Hood not to move, and he attempted unsuccessfully to put out the fire.
Caddell, who was driving an Expedition, suffered second-degree burns to his arms and hands and first-degree burns on his face and head.
Meanwhile, Hood took advantage of the situation and escaped again. Neagle, whose Crown Victoria also burned in the mayhem, was not able to apprehend McMurry.
Chico, Alvord, Crafton and Decatur firefighters extinguished the fire while a manhunt ensued for the two suspects. Benton said a perimeter was set up with patrol officers and highway patrol, and initially officers were searching for three suspects. Once Hood was recaptured, he told officers there was only one other person with him in the pickup.
The sheriff’s department dispatched a helicopter to search from the air and called in tracking dogs from the Texas Department of Corrections Allred Unit in Wichita Falls.
About two hours after the crash, Hood was found by the dogs hiding in the brush about a mile southeast of the crash site. By late afternoon, Benton said they had reason to believe McMurry had a cell phone with him and had called someone to pick him up after he escaped officers.
He was found Sunday night in Tarrant County, hiding in a motel room.
Both men were charged with theft of property greater than $1,500 and less than $20,000, criminal mischief less than $1,500 for tearing down a fence where animals are kept, and evading arrest with a vehicle, all of which are state jail felonies, and evading arrest, a misdemeanor.
Hood’s bonds were set at $10,000 for each felony and $5,000 for the misdemeanor. He was also charged with escape from custody, a third-degree felony with a bond of $10,000.
Due to McMurry’s criminal history and the fact he was considered a greater flight risk, his bonds are $50,000 for each felony and $10,000 for the misdemeanor.
Both remain in Wise County Jail.
Caddell was treated at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur and released Sunday afternoon. He remains off-duty while recovering from his injuries.