Law enforcement officials believe an erratic driver fatally shot himself in south Wise County Tuesday evening.
The driver’s identity had not been released at press time Tuesday night.
Police officers originally responded to a complaint about a reckless driver on U.S. 81/287 near Rhome.
At 5:22 p.m. a woman called 911 and reported a black Mercedes driving erratically in the southbound lanes of U.S. 81/287.Sheriff David Walker said the caller reported that the driver was moving from the roadway to the shoulder and was partially off the road at times.
The complainant turned on her hazard lights and drove behind the vehicle until a Rhome police officer intercepted the car. While the Rhome officer was attempting to stop the car, the vehicle failed to yield and eventually hit a sign, coming to a stop near County Road 4838.
Rhome Police Chief James Rose said the male driver was discovered slumped from the driver’s side into the passenger seat. Rose said the investigating officer saw blood in the vehicle and a gun in the driver’s lap, between his legs. Justice of the Peace Terri Johnson pronounced him dead and sent the body to the Dallas County Medical Examiner for an autopsy. She said the gunshot wound was to his head. It has not yet been determined when the gunshot was inflicted.
Rhome Volunteer Fire Department and Wise County medics were dispatched to the scene around 5:35 p.m., and shortly after, the Sheriff’s Office crime scene unit was called.
Rose said calling crime scene investigators is standard procedure for any gunshot incident.
“We always treat it like a homicide until we find out otherwise,” Rose said.