Crash victim dies


A Bridgeport man who was in a motorcycle crash last weekend died Friday, according to Cpl. Lantz Elliott with the Department of Public Safety.

Rocky Leon Littrell, 64, died at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Last Sunday he and his 14-year-old grandson were westbound on Farm Road 1655 about a mile west of Alvord when the motorcycle ran off the side of the road for an unknown reason around 10:45 a.m. Helicopter ambulances were called for both Littrell and the teen. Littrell was flown to JPS, and his grandson was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

The teen suffered a compound fracture to his arm but is expected to make a full recovery, according to Elliott.

Funeral for Littrell is pending at Hawkins Funeral Home in Bridgeport.

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Newark mobile home burns


A mobile home on County Road 4845 in Newark caught fire around 2 a.m. Friday.

Newark Volunteer Fire Department Captain Ed Hawthorne said the blaze started on the front porch then moved into the living room.

Hawthorne said all occupants were reported to be out of the home by the time Newark arrived on scene. The Red Cross was called to assist the residents.

The middle section of the mobile home was a total loss, with heavy smoke damage on either side.

Rhome, Boyd, East Wise, Haslet, Briar and Eagle Mountain fire departments responded to assist Newark.

This was the fifth fire call Newark had responded to within 24 hours.

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Mobile home burns


A mobile home in Rhome caught fire Monday afternoon.

The fire, on Private Road 4732, was called in to dispatchers around 2 p.m. Rhome, East Wise, Newark, Decatur and Justin fire departments responded.

“The main thing when we first got here was we were faced with strong winds blowing heavy smoke across the road,” Rhome Fire Chief Darrell Fitch said. “There were flames coming out of the roof.”

Fitch said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but because the fire was hottest at the east end of the structure it appeared to have started there. There was also a shed with fire damage at the east end of the home.

The Red Cross was called to assist the family who lived in the home, two adults and four children, who were out of the house at the time of the fire.

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2 hurt in motorcycle wreck


A Bridgeport man and a 14-year-old family member were both seriously injured in a single-vehicle motorcycle wreck around 10:45 a.m. Sunday near Alvord. Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Lantz Elliott said a motorcycle operated by Rocky Leon Littrell, 64, of Bridgeport was westbound on Farm Road 1655 about a mile west of Alvord when the motorcycle ran off the side of the road for an unknown reason. Helicopter ambulances were called for both Littrell and his 14-year-old passenger. Littrell was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth with possible life-threatening injuries. The 14-year-old was flown to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth with a broken arm. Elliott said the two were planning to participate in the Wise County Toy Run that started in Decatur at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Wise County EMS, Alvord Fire Department and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the crash.

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Man killed in motorcycle wreck


A man was killed Saturday afternoon in a motorcycle wreck on Farm Road 2264.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Adam Lawson said the victim was driving westbound on FM 2264 around 5:30 p.m. when he attempted to pass another vehicle. The motorcycle driver then hit a curb and lost control. The motorcycle went off the roadway and into a fence pole.

The ID of the victim has not been released at this time.

Decatur Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services Medic 1, Rescue 1 and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded.

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Fire destroys mobile home


A Briar family lost their home Wednesday night when it caught fire around 5:30 p.m.

Several fire departments were called to the scene at 139 Cedar Drive, but they were unable to save the mobile home. Boyd firefighter Sheridan Rhine said his crew could see smoke when they left the station, so they immediately called for mutual aid.

“When we arrived, there were flames shooting out the windows, doors and roof, and there was a small grass fire,” he said. “Thankfully, we had enough people to get it under control quickly.”

Scott and Ronda Hollon lived in the home with their daughter, Eva Hilburn; her boyfriend, Chaning Dodson; and the young couple’s 4-month-old daughter, Fallon. They all escaped without injury.

“We were sitting in the living room eating pizza and watching TV when we heard a pop,” she said. “I looked and the window was glowing like fire. It spread in like five minutes.”

At least one vehicle was also damaged in the blaze. Rhine said “thankfully they had enough help (at the scene) within five minutes of arriving.”

Departments called to aid Boyd VFD included Cottondale, Newark, Briar, Reno and La Junta. Wise County’s Medic 3 also responded. The Red Cross was called to assist the family.

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Wreck shuts down U.S. 81/287


A Thanksgiving night wreck shut down U.S. 81/287 southbound about a mile north of Farm Road 407 and seriously injured one person. The wreck happened around 7 p.m. Department of Public Safety Trooper Lantz Elliott said an oilfield truck and a pickup were both southbound when the driver of the pickup ran into the back of the larger truck. A helicopter was called to the scene, and the pickup driver had to be cut out of the wreckage and was then flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. No names were immediately available. Traffic began to move again on the southbound shoulder around 8:15 p.m. as the wreck continued to be cleared. Traffic was backed up for several miles back toward Decatur.

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November 2017 election results


The unofficial results are in for the November 2017 election.  Paradise voters chose school board and city council members, and Decatur voters approved a Wise County Water Supply District proposition. There were also seven statewide constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Wise County voting totals are as follows:

Paradise School Board

Place 3

Heath Smith — 239 votes

Kevin Howerton — 53 votes

Deidre Wise — 71 votes

Place 4

Susie Burt — 181 votes

Jody Yates — 103 votes

Jan Cosgrove — 78 votes

Place 5

Chad Cox — 148 votes

Scott Cox — 215 votes

Place 7 (unexpired term)

Kendall Williams — 82 votes

Renea Remmele — 244 votes

Mike Christensen — 46 votes

 

Paradise City Council

Mayor

Roy Steel (ran unopposed) — 34 votes

Place 1

Amanda Black (ran unopposed) — 29 votes

Place 3

Sandy Onks (ran unopposed) — 33 votes

Place 4

Chris Harris — 19 votes

Robert Owensby — 27 votes

Place 5

Michael Robertson — 21 votes

John Ward — 26 votes

 

Decatur WCWSD Proposition

For — 77 votes

Against — 66 votes

 

State Constitutional Amendments

Proposition 1

For — 1,301 votes

Against — 306 votes

Proposition 2

For — 1,025 votes

Against — 562 votes

Proposition 3

For — 1,259 votes

Against — 340 votes

Proposition 4

For — 1,018 votes

Against — 548 votes

Proposition 5

For — 776 votes

Against — 792 votes

Proposition 6

For — 1,272 votes

Against — 323 votes

Proposition 7

For — 783 votes

Against — 797 votes

 

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DPS releases ID in fatality


Joshua Walters, 34, of Forestburg was killed Saturday night when his motorcycle crashed near the intersection of Farm Roads 405 and 51 North.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Carson Bening released the name of the motorcycle operator Sunday afternoon. Walters, who was not wearing a helmet, was traveling eastbound on 455 and likely took a curve too fast, according to Bening. The motorcycle ran off the road and hit an embankment.

The trooper said it’s unclear when the accident occurred. A passerby spotted the motorcycle and called 911 around 10:25 p.m.

 

 

 

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Man dies in motorcycle crash


A man was killed Saturday night when his motorcycle crashed on Farm Road 455 near the intersection with Farm Road 51 North near Slidell.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Carson Bening said it appears the man was traveling eastbound on 455 and likely took a curve too fast.

“We’re not sure why he left the roadway, but we think speed was a factor,” Bening said.

The motorcycle operator was not wearing a helmet. Bening said it’s unclear when the accident occurred. A passerby spotted the motorcycle and called 911 around 10:25 p.m.

The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of his family. More information will be posted as it’s available.

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Multiple departments battle fire at FM 455 and 51


Firefighters from departments across Wise, Denton and Montague counties battled a large grass fire near the intersection of Farm Roads 51 and 455 Thursday afternoon in Slidell.
The blaze, which burned nearly 400 acres, was sparked from a mower blade striking a rock, according to Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard.
“That’s just how dry it was,” Beard said.
Summer-like temperatures in the low 90s, humidity levels in the teens and southern gusts up to 23 mph fueled the fire that was reported shortly before noon.
“It was a recipe for disaster,” Beard said.
Greenwood-Slidell Fire Chief Adam North said the blaze originated off of FM 51 and spread. Both FM 455 and 51 were closed as firefighters worked the fire.
Fire lines were set by members of the U.S. Forest Service along the two roads to try to contain it south of 455 and east of 51. It briefly jumped 455 and burned an additional 400 yards before being extinguished.
Slidell schools were evacuated as a precaution.
“We had just started our last lunch and made the decision to get kids off campus,” said Slidell ISD Superintendent Greg Enis. “We loaded five school buses and headed toward Sanger.”
The elementary and middle school students were taken to a park, and the high school students to eat in Sanger. After getting word from North that the fire was contained, students were brought back to campus shortly after 3 p.m. Bus routes in the district ran as normal.
“They still had 455 and 51 blocked off and we had to make some adjustments and use some county roads to get everyone home,” Enis said.
Two tank trucks from Quasar Energy Services out of Gainesville supplied water at the scene to fire tankers.
“Our owner drove by and said ‘It looks like they needed help,’” said Ryan Sicking. “We brought them a little water.”
Among the fire departments at the scene were Greenwood-Slidell, Decatur, Alvord, East Wise, Forestburg, Krum, Sanger, Lake Cities, Coppell and U.S. Forest Service. Wise County medics and the Department of Public Safety also assisted. Troopers led traffic down FM 51.


No structures or vehicles were damaged in the fire.
“[Firefighters] did a great job using natural barriers to contain it,” Beard said.
He added that it will be monitored throughout the evening.

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Fire destroys trailer in New Fairview


Fire destroyed a trailer home at 102 Lange Way in New Fairview Friday night.
Firefighters from East Wise, Decatur, Rhome, Newark and Haslet battled the blaze that was reported at 10 p.m. as a fire investigation.
By the time the first units arrived, the home was fully involved.
“The whole back side was on fire,” said Jim Blackney, East Wise Assistant Fire Chief. “We went defensive right off. There was no way to send anyone in.”
The structure was a total loss as fire tore through it.
The cause of the fire was unknown Friday night. Blackney said investigators from the Wise County Fire Marshal’s office would be on scene Saturday morning after firefighters finished an extensive overhaul.
Blackney said the single occupant was out of the home by the time firefighters arrived. Medics were called to the scene to check the man for smoke inhalation. He refused to go to the hospital.
The Red Cross were asked to make the scene to help the resident.

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Smith appointed district judge


Gov. Greg Abbott appointed attorney Brock Smith of Decatur judge of the 271st Judicial District Court. His term is set to expire Dec. 31, 2018.

The governor’s office announced the appointment in a press release Tuesday afternoon. The elected position has been vacant since the death of Judge John Fostel on June 2, 2017.

Smith, president of Brock Smith Law Firm, P.C., previously served as the district attorney for the 235th Judicial District and the 271st Judicial District. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and former chairman of the State Bar Grievance Committee 14B.

Smith is a member and past president of the Wise County Bar Association, member of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce and a former member and director of the Texas District and Attorneys Association.

Additionally, he is a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America and a member and past president of the Lion’s Club of Decatur. Smith received a Bachelor of Arts in government and a Juris Doctor from Texas Tech University.

Read more in the midweek Messenger on newsstands Wednesday.

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House fire victim dies


A Bridgeport man suffered fatal injuries from a house fire late Saturday night.

Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford said Wesley Russell, 48, was taken by ground ambulance to Wise Health System as medics performed CPR, but Russell later died.

Russell was found in his home in the 1000 block of Shady Oaks Drive after police and fire departments responded to a call about a house fire around 11 p.m.

Stanford said officers arrived to find the back part of the house on fire. They attempted to enter the home but were unable due to heavy smoke.

Fire departments from Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport, Paradise and Runaway Bay responded to the blaze, which was extinguished around 1 a.m. Wise County EMS also responded to the scene.

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, but Stanford said it could have started from a lightning strike from storms that were passing through the area at the time.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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1 injured in house fire


One person was taken to the hospital following a fire in a residential neighborhood in Bridgeport late Saturday night. The fire was reported around 11 p.m. at a  home on Shady Oaks. Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford said his officers arrived to find a porch area on fire. They attempted to make entry into the home but could not due to heavy smoke. Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport, Paradise and Runaway Bay fire departments were called to the scene along with Wise County EMS. The fire was extinguished around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. More information will be posted as it is available.

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Bridgeport scales back annexation plans


According to a press release sent out by the City of Bridgeport Friday, the city council decided after a special meeting Thursday to no longer pursue annexation for the areas west of East Farm Road 1658 after receiving numerous citizen complaints.

The council will still vote Nov. 13 to decide whether to annex the other parcels of land in their original annexation plan. According to the release, the remaining areas still up for annexation are either surrounded by the city limits or have or will have access to utilities and other city services.

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Bridgeport PD investigates car wash theft


Bridgeport Police Department is seeking information about a theft at a car wash in the 700 block of U.S. 380.
Lt. Todd Low said security cameras show a man breaking into the payment machine at 2 a.m. Friday.

BPD is requesting your assistance identifying the male subject in this video. He is believed to be a suspect in a recent Burglary of a coin machine at one of our car washes. Please contact Lieutenant Todd Low @ 940-683-3430 or tlow@cityofbridgeport.net with any information.

Posted by Bridgeport Texas Police Department on Friday, October 13, 2017

“We have several leads we’re working on,” he said Sunday. “At this time we’re not sure how much money was stolen.”
Low said the vehicle in the video appears to be a four-wheel-drive, four-door white Dodge pickup from the mid-2000s. The bottom panel of the pickup is either beige or gray.
He said it’s difficult to estimate the man’s height or weight from the video.
Investigators took some evidence from the scene, but they’re seeking the help of citizens. If you have information related to the individual or theft, call Low at 940-683-3430 or email tlow@cityofbridgeport.net. You may remain anonymous.

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Teenagers injured in wreck


Three teenagers were injured in a wreck on Farm Road 2264 Thursday afternoon, and one was airlifted to Cook Children’s Hospital.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Jose Gomez said the teenagers were traveling northbound on FM 2264 in a truck when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The truck rolled several times before coming to rest off the roadway, hitting a fence and trees.

One of the teenagers was flown by PHI Air Medical to Cook, and the other two were taken by ground ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. Names have not been released at this time.

 

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Chase ends in arrest


An Arlington man who led officers on a high speed chase through the county Wednesday morning was arrested after he ran out of gas.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chesley Womack said he attempted to stop a motorcycle operator who he clocked at 113 miles per hour on northbound U.S. 81/287 near the Navigator Truck Stop south of Alvord.

The operator failed to stop, speeding north toward the Wise/Montague County line. He exited at the Texas 101 exit, crossed over and then came back south of U.S. 81/287 back into Wise County where he continued to speed through Alvord, Decatur and Rhome.

“He continued southbound at speeds of 130 miles per hour until he ran out of gas at Ramhorn Hill Road” south of Rhome, Womack said.

A few times, it appeared the motorcycle operator, identified as Bryce Hamilton, 20, of Arlington, was coming to a stop before continuing to evade officers.

“He would turn around and wave at troopers and then speed off again,” Womack said.

When asked why Hamilton tried to run from officers, Womack said the man replied that he “was scared.”

Hamilton was arrested on a felony charge of evading arrest or detention with a vehicle as well as the traffic violations, which included speeding and no license plates.

The chase began just before 10:30 and ended about 20 minutes later.

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Man injured in shooting


One man was hurt when he was shot at a home in the Cottondale area early Saturday morning.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said a group of people in their 20s and 30s had gathered at a home on County Road 3791 and were drinking when an argument broke out.

“One of the partiers started randomly firing with a hand gun,” Akin said. “Another guy was struck twice by the gunfire.”

The shooting happened around 1:30 a.m.

According to initial reports provided to medics who were responding to the scene, the 28-year-old victim was shot in the left side of the back and the lower left buttock.

He was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth by ground ambulance where he was treated and released, Akin said.

The shooter left the scene but was identified. No arrests have been made.

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