One suspect is in Wise County Jail Sunday night after stealing a trailer near Chico, leading sheriff’s deputies on a frenzied chase in which all the vehicles caught fire and then hiding in the LBJ National Grasslands.
Shannon Hood, 36, of Sunset was charged with theft of property greater than or equal to $1,500 but 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 felonies. He was also charged with evading arrest, a misdemeanor. No bond has been set at this time.
Hood and another suspect stole a trailer and welder Sunday morning from an oil lease on Farm Road 1655. A pursuit began around 9:45 a.m. when they refused to stop for officers.
Sgt. Clint Caddell and Sgt. Mike Neagle with the Wise County Sheriff’s Office were close behind as the chase sped down County Road 1560, northeast of Chico, 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, which is part of the LBJ National Grasslands and almost made it to the tree line before hitting a culvert and catching fire.
Two suspects, one of which was Hood, fled on foot, and Caddell and Neagle also abandoned their vehicles to pursue the suspects. In the meantime, the grass caught fire, and it spread quickly, burning the patrol vehicles.
Benton said when Caddell and Neagle realized their vehicles were about to catch fire, they attempted to return to them but were unable to move them in time.
Caddell, who was driving an Expedition, suffered second-degree burns to his arms and hands and first-degree burns on his face and head. He was treated at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur, and Benton said he was released late Sunday afternoon. Neagle was driving a Crown Victoria.
Chico, Alvord, Crafton and Decatur firefighters extinguished the fire while a manhunt ensued in the meantime. Benton said a perimeter was set up with patrol officers and highway patrol, and initially officers were searching for three suspects. But once Hood was caught, 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. Benton said they have reason to believe the second suspect received a ride about 30 minutes before Hood was found, and that he is no longer in the area.