Month in Review: May, 2018

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, June 9, 2018
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McEachern resigns post in Bridgeport

Bridgeport City Manager Jesica McEachern resigned May 3 to take the assistant city manager job in Lubbock. McEachern worked for the city of Bridgeport for nine years, starting as a records and election clerk in 2009. She was named city secretary in 2010 and city manager in 2015. McEachern’s last day was June 1.

Alvord bond fails; Rhome re-elects five incumbents

Alvord ISD lost its bid for a bond for a second straight year, 199 votes to 104. The $5.1 million bond voters rejected May 6 was a big step down from last year’s $13.8 million proposal that failed by a nearly 4-to-1 margin.

The district proposed this year’s bond to finance the replacement of a nearly 70-year-old gym and music room and would have added an elementary classroom while improving student security with enclosed connections to existing buildings.

Rhome City Council had five contested races – mayor, Place 4, Place 5 and the unexpired terms of Places 2 and 3 – and the incumbents won all of them. Mayor Michelle Pittman di Credico was re-elected, winning 145 to 94 over challenger Jo Ann Wilson.

Berry White was elected mayor in Runaway Bay. Randy Singleton was re-elected as Bridgeport mayor. Boyd citizens approved the creation of the municipal development district, while Wise County ESD No. 1 voters turned down a tax hike.

Former Decatur officer killed in accident

The former Decatur police officer Richard Hale was killed May 9 in a wreck on Farm Road 51 north of Decatur. Hale’s Chevrolet Impala collided with a tractor-trailer around 1:30 p.m. The 46-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hundreds of mourners, including officers from across the state, filled First Baptist Church in Decatur on National Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15, to pay their last respects to the deputy inspector general and the former Decatur ISD school resource officer.

Two of his sons, Ryan and Thomas, delivered eulogies.

“He wanted to help any way and every way he could,” Ryan Hale said. “If anyone needed anything he would never turn you down.”

Applewhite, Redwine, Garrett win runoffs

Voters decided three Wise County races in a runoff May 22.

Charles Applewhite won the Precinct 3 constable race. Willie Garrett captured Precinct 4 justice of the peace. Kim Redman grabbed Precinct 2 justice of the peace. None of the three have Democratic challengers in November. Applewhite was sworn into office May 31, since the constable post was vacant.

Armstrong indicted for murder

A Wise County grand jury indicted 37-year-old Johnny Ray Armstrong for murder May 17. The Bridgeport man is accused of shooting 20-year-old Ruben Dunlap in the head on the evening of Feb. 28 at Armstrong’s home in the 1500 block of Brush Street in Bridgeport. Dunlap was taken to Medical City Denton where he died after being taken off life support the following day. Armstrong fled the scene and was arrested the next day at the Alvord Truck Stop. Armstrong pleaded not guilty in his arraignment June 4.

2 killed, 7 hurt in 2 wrecks

Two wrecks within an hour and a couple of miles of each other on Texas 114 May 31 killed two people and sent another seven to area hospitals.

Bobby Slaughter, 43, and his son, Bobby Slaughter Jr., 15, of Bridgeport were killed when the Chevrolet pickup they were in crossed the center line and struck a Dodge pickup driven by Moise Pina, 61, of Fort Worth at the Trinity River bridge just east of the Bridgeport city limits. The Slaughters died at the scene, while Pina was taken to Wise Health System in Decatur.

A second wreck in the backup occurred on Texas 114 near County Road 3332. A westbound Honda Accord driven by Jaimie Mack, 31, of Springtown struck a Honda SUV driven by Elle Tripp, 18, of Glen Rose. That impact sent the second vehicle into a third vehicle, a Chevrolet HHR driven by Meredith Schwartz, 37, of Bridgeport. One child was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and another was taken to the hospital by ground ambulance. Three other children and Schwartz were taken to Wise Health System.


11 percent increase in Decatur ISD’s property values on the preliminary tax estimates. The district’s tax roll grew by $72.57 million to $2.184 billion

189 votes of the 203 garnered by Randy Singleton in being re-elected mayor in Bridgeport.

240 people were added to Wise County’s population in 2017 according to estimates from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

218 Richard Hale’s badge number

20 years of Bridgeport trainer Billy Newsom’s career were spent at Bridgeport.

259 strikeouts by Reagan Chism in leading the Decatur Lady Eagles to the Class 4A Region II final.


“He was an exceptional investigator – very hard working, very diligent. He was the best man, the best father, the best co-worker. He really was an excellent person.”
Chief Inspector General Forrest Mitchell, describing deputy inspector general Richard Hale, who was killed in a wreck May 9 near Decatur

“It’s not funny to us, but it’s definitely not funny to someone who comes out there to visit a loved one. Somebody could see that thing and have a heart attack, especially an older person.”
Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins on a fake coffin found at Sand Hill Cemetery May 17

“I thought this was life ending. Now, I realize that I can overcome these things…It changes your perspective on life completely,”
Angie Fowler of Decatur on finishing her first 5K in April on a prosthetic. A MRSA infection cost Fowler her lower right leg.

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