Decatur High School’s journalism team is the region’s best.
The school captured its first region title in journalism Saturday at the Class 4A Region I University Interscholastic League academics contest at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
Two journalists, Mickey Drewry and Rachael Ussery will advance to the state academic meet May 26 in Austin.
Ussery won the news writing contest. Drewry took second in headline and third in feature writing.
Results for Decatur at regionals:
Ready Writing: 5. Kendall Hubbard
Headline Writing: 2. Mickey Drewry; 4. Rachael Ussery
Feature Writing: 3. Mickey Drewry; 4. Rachael Ussery
News Writing: 1. Rachael Ussery; 4. Mickey Drewry
Due to inclement weather, Relay for Life of Wise County has moved all activities into the McCarroll Middle School gym on Thompson Street. Wise County remains under the threat of severe weather this evening and is included in a flash flood watch until 7 p.m. and a tornado watch until 10 p.m. For Relay information, visit www.relayforlife.org/wisecotx or call Kathy Odell at 940-255-2944.
According to a press release from the Bridgeport Police Department, a dead body was discovered near Edison Street by a juvenile just before 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Police could not determine if the body was that of a male or female, and although the cause of death is unknown at this time, the press release said a gun was also found near the body.
Brant Boatman, a 17-year-old Bridgeport High School student who has been missing since April 11, lives on Edison Street, but it is unknown at this time if the discovery is related to the missing person case.
His parents, Jennifer and Michael Fortune, were notified of the discovery, though. It is unknown if the gun found near the body is the same one the Fortunes reported missing last week.
The body was sent to Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Clay Poynor. Texas Ranger Ron Pettigrew was called to assist with Bridgeport PD’s investigation.
The police department did not disclose any more information other than what is in the press release, which can be read in full at the bottom of this article. Calls to the Fortunes went unanswered Wednesday night.
The press release from Bridgeport Police Assistant Chief Steve Stanford reads as follows:
“For Immediate Release:
On April 22, 2015, at approximately 3:52 PM, Bridgeport Police Department received a 911 call from a juvenile reporting a deceased person. The caller stated that he and a friend located a deceased person near the 1300 block of Edison Street. Upon arrival, officers located a deceased person in a heavily wooded area to the south of Edison Street. During the investigation, officers were unable to determine the subject’s sex or identity. While the cause of death is pending an autopsy, officers did locate a handgun near the deceased.
At this point, it is not known if this incident is related to the recent Missing Person case involving a 17 year old male. However, the family of the missing person was advised of this incident by investigators.
Wise County Justice of the Peace, Clay Poynor responded to the scene and ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Science. Texas Ranger Ron Pettigrew is assisting with the investigation.”
A Rhome man died after being hit by a truck while he was crossing Highway 114 on foot in front of Tater Junction in Aurora Monday night.
According to Texas State Trooper Patrick Alonzo, it is unclear which way David Wayne Mosley, Jr., 31, was walking when he was killed around 9:35 p.m.
“He lived right across the street, so either he was going home from the restaurant or he was leaving his house to go to the restaurant,” Alonzo said.
According to Alonzo, when Mosley was in the middle of the road, Shane Lunceford, a 46-year-old teacher and coach at Paradise Junior High School, was crossing the intersection of 114 East and Farm to Market Road 718 in his white pickup truck. He said he took his eyes off the road momentarily to make sure another car merged properly.
“When I looked back at the road, [Mosley] was right in front of me and I never even saw him,” Lunceford said.
Alonzo said Lunceford will not be charged with anything at this time.
Mosley was pronounced dead on the scene by Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Clay Poynor.
Lunceford’s truck was taken by the Department of Public Safety to be examined for evidence.
Texas DPS and the Boyd fire and police departments responded to the scene, and stayed until a little past 11 p.m.
The front of Shane Lunceford’s pickup truck. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.
We have just received news that former Bridgeport City Administrator Brandon Emmons died over the weekend. The 44-year-old suffered a heart attack while on a lake trip with his family.
“We’re all completely shocked and heartbroken,” City Secretary Jesica McEachern said.
We will have funeral updates as soon as they become available.
An Alvord woman was sent to Wise Regional Health System in Decatur Saturday morning after the pickup truck she was driving hit a tree and rolled for about 100 yards until it landed in a stock pond on County Road 1308 in Bridgeport.
Bradi Lynn Anderson was speeding and traveling north on C.R. 1308 around 11 a.m. when she lost control of her green GMC Sierra pickup and drove through a wire fence. She then hit a tree on the left side of the road, causing her to lose the right door and front right tire of her truck.
The truck rolled several times before landing in a stock pond about 100 yards away.
Anderson was conscious at the time of the accident and was taken to Wise Regional to be treated for lacerations on her arms, legs and face.
The Bridgeport fire and police departments and Texas state troopers responded to the crash.
After losing the front right door, the pickup rolled for about 100 more yards until it landed in a stock pond. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.
Anderson’s pickup door, which was destroyed in the crash. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.
A Boyd man was killed this morning in a two-vehicle wreck on Texas 114 just west of Boyd. According to Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Lonny Haschel, a dump truck with a trailer was westbound on Texas 114 when a pickup driven by Michael Draper, 54, of Boyd failed to stop as it was headed southbound on County Road 4590 and drove out in front of the dump truck. The vehicles collided, and Draper was killed. The dump truck driver, Larry Carnes, 54, of Paradise was not injured. Haschel said it is unknown why Draper did not stop. The accident happened around 8:15 a.m. The crash shut down part of the road for a couple of hours during the crash investigation before the roadway was reopened.
“We had a kid go missing over the weekend, and we were just making sure that the doors are locked and are all working effectively. We’re just making sure the building is secure at this point,” Bridgeport ISD superintendent Eddie Bland said.
The student, 17-year-old Brant Boatman, was reported missing around 7:20 Sunday morning, according to Bridgeport Police Chief Randy Singleton. Boatman’s parents said he went missing around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We have no evidence at this time to believe it was an abduction; our investigation right now points to him leaving on his own,” Singleton said.
A statement released by the Bridgeport Police Department said Boatman was last seen at Brookshire’s in Bridgeport around 7 a.m. Sunday and told a witness he was going to walk to Denton.
A flier put up around Bridgeport by Boatman’s family states that Boatman left the house armed with a .45 handgun and is currently off of his medications and has suicidal ideations.
Boatman is described as a slim, 5’10” white male with brown hair and brown eyes and a “scruffy beard.” He was last seen wearing a grey T-shirt, dark jeans and white tennis shoes.
Anyone with any information on Boatman’s whereabouts can call the Bridgeport Police Department at 940-683-3430; Michael Fortune, Boatman’s stepfather, at 940-273-0993; Jennifer Fortune, Boatman’s mother, at 940-273-0992; Crime Stoppers, at 1-800-643-8477; or 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
The flier is below. We will update this story with more information as soon as it becomes available.
By Richard Greene
A woman was transported to Wise Regional Health System from a two-vehicle accident on Texas 114 near the intersection with Farm Road 51 North Wednesday afternoon.
Lisa Huffstuttler, 51, of Weatherford suffered non-life threatening injuries according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Alonzo.
“She had neck and back injuries. She’s in stable condition,” Alonzo said.
Huffstuttler was headed west on 114 shortly after 4 p.m. in a Hyundai sedan when her vehicle was sideswiped by an eastbound Dodge Ram pickup pulling a horse trailer driven by Valeriano Lambert, 60, of Weatherford.
“He was traveling at unsafe speed and lost control of the truck and trailer, jackknifed and struck the car,” Alonzo said.
“It was an unsafe speed for the wet conditions.”
Huffstuttler’s vehicle ended up in the westbound ditch after hitting a road sign.
The empty trailer being pulled by Lambert ended up on its side also in the westbound ditch.
The accident backed up traffic in both directions on 114 with the westbound lane closed.
Two people were taken to a hospital Monday morning following a single-vehicle wreck on U.S. 380 just east of Decatur. Department of Public Safety Trooper Greg Reyero said a pickup driven by Les Hargis, 74, of Borger was westbound when he apparently drove through a curve in the road, striking a light pole near the Shell station. He and his wife, Deanna, 77, were both taken to a hospital by ground ambulance.
An oven inside Sweetie Pie’s on the Decatur square caught fire early Saturday morning, but firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before it caused major damage to the restaurant. Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson said the oven was left on, and pine resin caught fire, which then caught the oven and the adjoining space on fire. A neighbor saw smoke and called for the fire department around 1 a.m. Richardson said when firefighters arrived, they found black smoke coming out a vent on the roof and from around the door to the kitchen.
Fire ravaged a home on the Wise-Parker county line Thursday afternoon.
Boonsville/Balsora, Salt Creek, Poolville and Springtown firefighters responded to the blaze on Texas 199 around noon.
Salt Creek Fire Chief Ken Vise said the small brick home was “pretty much a total loss.”
The owners were not at home when firefighters arrived.
“No telling when it started and how long it was burning,” Vise said.
The first firefighters to arrive on scene found heavy smoke coming from the structure.
“The smoke was so heavy they couldn’t make an interior attack initially until there was additional manpower,” Vise said.
Vise did not know the cause of the fire.
“We’re not sure where it started,” he said. “It was somewhere in the back corner.”
Due to the possible accumulation of snow or ice on area roadways Wednesday, March 4, and Thursday, March 5, due to a winter storm, the following schools, businesses and events will be closed, delayed or canceled. (Note: We’ll be keeping this page updated as the night/morning progresses, so check back often.)
Weatherford College (all campuses) – CLOSED THURSDAY
Alvord ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Boyd ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Bridgeport ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Chico ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Decatur ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Northwest ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Paradise ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
Slidell ISD – CLOSED THURSDAY
University of North Texas – CLOSED until 5 p.m. THURSDAY.
Wise Area Relief Mission (WARM) – CLOSED THURSDAY
Wise Hope Crisis Center – CLOSED THURSDAY
Chico Public Library – CLOSED THURSDAY
Decatur Public Library – OPENING AT NOON THURSDAY
Decatur trash pickup – Normal Thursday pickup will be on Friday, normal Friday pickup will be on Saturday.
Wise County offices – CLOSED THURSDAY
City of Decatur – TWO-HOUR DELAY THURSDAY
City of Bridgeport – CLOSED THURSDAY
Rhome City Hall and municipal courts – CLOSED THURSDAY
Wise County Appraisal District – CLOSED THURSDAY
Bond Family Eye Care – CLOSED at 1 p.m. Wednesday and will re-open at 1:30 p.m. Thursday
First United Methodist Church of Decatur – ALL Wednesday night and Thursday morning activities canceled
Victory Christian Academy and Victory Kids Care – CLOSED THURSDAY
Wise County Youth Fair – ALL Thursday arrivals and show times have been delayed 2 hours.
Arrival of ALL Rabbits 9-10 a.m.
Market Swine Show 9:30 a.m.
Arrival of 4-H & FCCLA entries 9:30-12
Meat Pen of Rabbits judged 10 a.m.
Market Goat Show 4 p.m.
Viewing of 4-H & FCCLA 7 p.m. Ag Mech begin moving in
(Must be in place by 8 a.m. Friday)
Decatur Rotary Club – MEETING CANCELED
Legal Aid Clinic at First United Methodist Church in Decatur – CANCELLED
UPDATE: Power was reported restored at about 10:40 p.m. Oncor state a fallen tree was removed and the power line was repaired. Power was out for more than three hours.
Wind speeds over 20 mph and temperatures in the mid 20s caused more than 500 to lose power Wednesday night in Chico.
At about 7:30 p.m., Oncor representative Sabrina Easley said crews were tracking down the cause of the outage. Residents’ power was still listed out as of 10 p.m.
“It’s pretty much affecting the whole town of Chico,” Easley said.
Even Wise County Judge J.D. Clark tweeted his home’s power was out. Other outages were reported in Runaway Bay and Boonsville, but those outages only lasted about half an hour. People can track outages by going to http://stormcenter.oncor.com/default.html.
Roadways began to ice over after 5 p.m. in Wise County, prompting the Bridgeport Fire Department Twitter feed to advise followers that roads were becoming slick. An 18-wheeler was reported jackknifed around 8 p.m., according to the same Twitter feed. To check road conditions, go to http://www.drivetexas.org or call TxDOT at 1-800-452-9292.
Icy conditions remain across Wise County this morning causing more cancellations and postponements.
The Decatur and Wichita Falls Hirschi 4A Region I area basketball game slated for 3:30 p.m. at Bowie High School has been postponed until 7:30 p.m. Monday at the same site.
Decatur Athletic Director Mike Fuller said officials from Paris were unable to make the trip to Bowie.
Bridgeport and Iowa Park moved their game to 6:30 p.m. Monday in Graham. They were scheduled to play after Decatur in Bowie Saturday.
The Slidell and Avinger game scheduled for Saturday in Honey Grove has also been postponed until 7 p.m. Monday.
The Youth Fair Queens contest has been postponed to 7 p.m. Monday at Woman’s Building at Wise County Fairgrounds.
Some parts of Wise County saw as much as 5 inches of snow Friday and additional frozen precipitation overnight. The temperature in Decatur and Bridgeport was 27 at 9:55 a.m.
Jennifer Dunn of the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth said there will be on-and-off freezing drizzle through the morning that may change into rain and drizzle this afternoon. Conditions are expected to remain icy for several more hours.
Winter returned to Wise County Friday morning with periods of heavy snow causing cars accidents on many of the county’s major thoroughfares.
Multiple accidents were reported on Farm Road 51 and U.S. 287/81, including more than one rollovers.
By 9:30 a.m. snow covered most of the roads around the county.
Alvord, Boyd and Paradise schools are closed along with Weatherford College and county offices. Chico ISD is holding students through lunch.
The Bridgeport Bulls’ 4A Region I area basketball game with Iowa Park in Graham was postponed until Saturday.
“Periods of snow are expected now through later this afternoon with accumulation up to two inches,” said Amanda Schroeder, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “Most of the snowfall will be with the leading edge of the storm.”
Schroeder added that temperatures are not expected to rise above freezing Friday and additional precipitation is expected tonight and into Saturday.
“It will transition overnight into freezing rain,” Schroeder said. “Less than a tenth of an inch is expected. Saturday afternoon temperatures will climb above freezing in the afternoon.”
By Richard Greene
Winter is not through with Wise County.
A new storm is expected to roll through the county and North Texas late Tuesday or early Wednesday and bring multiple inches of snow, according Dan Huckaby, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth.
“After midnight we could see the next round starting sometime around 2 and 3 a.m. and tapering off later in the morning [Wednesday],” Huckaby said. “Tonight’s event will be snow but it’s putting snow on top of ice, which could be quite treacherous.”
Huckaby said Wise County was on the boundary of the area that would be placed under a Winter Storm Warning. Some parts of North Texas could see four inches of snow or more.
“Wise County could see one or two inches but if the track of the system goes a little further north by even 30 miles it could significantly impact the amount,” Huckaby said. “The snow is not in doubt. The amount is unclear.
“There will be a third morning of dicey driving conditions.”
Tuesday morning, Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard reported a few accidents on the roads around the county but no injuries.
“There were quite a few cars sliding off the road but nothing major,” Beard said. “The roads are better and there’s definitely more traffic. It got rough [Monday] night and early this morning it was a sheet of ice.”
The Wise County Sheriff’s Department reported 30 accidents between Sunday and Tuesday.
Sabrina Easley of Oncor reported no power outages in Wise County but said crews are still ready if any incidents pop up.
“Wise County Oncor customers came through the storm without a hitch,” Easley said. “We did not have one customer without power throughout the entire storm. We are continuing to stay staffed up through the next 48 hours in anticipation of the next weather event.”
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. – The fire department reports that the house is secure, the vehicle has been removed, and streets have been reopened.
UPDATE 4:10 p.m. – Fire department is reporting that the gas has been shut off, but roads in the area remain closed to traffic for now. No injuries have been reported.
Two blocks in a residential neighborhood near the intersection of Hale and Trenchard streets in Decatur were evacuated around 3:15 p.m. Monday after a vehicle reportedly struck a gas meter, causing a gas leak. The Decatur Fire Department and Police Department were on the scene, and an evacuation was started. Decatur PD asked for people to avoid the area. More information will be posted as it is available.
By Richard Greene
After rolling into Love’s Travel Stop in Rhome Sunday evening, Stacey Gross check the tires on his tractor-trailer Monday morning as sleet pelted down.
“I’m just leaving. Hopefully I’ll make it all the places I have to make,” said the truck driver from Yuba City, Calif. before heading to Tyler and Shreveport.
Gross was one of the few drivers braving the roads around Wise County Monday morning as the second round of wintry precipitation hit with a fury shortly after 6 a.m. The storm dumped between a half and an inch of sleet, according to Dan Huckaby meteorologist with National Weather Service office in Fort Worth.
Much of the precipitation was expected to wrap up by noon but conditions were not expected to improve significantly with temperatures remaining in the 20s throughout Monday.
“There may be some improvement on heavily traveled roads but unfortunately the sleet that has fallen is not going away,” Huckaby said. “It’s in the mid 20s and that’s about as warm as it’s going to get. Anything that does melt will turn to ice. [Tuesday] morning drivingwise may be worse.”
Schools and government offices throughout the county were closed Monday. Slidell and Decatur playoff basketball games were postponed from Monday until Tuesday.
Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said there had been only a few accidents in the county.
“It’s not been too bad,” Beard said. “We had a couple of incidents this morning of vehicles sliding off the road. [Sunday] night around Alvord on 287 there were a couple of accidents but no injuries.”
Sabrina Easley of Oncor reported no power outages in Wise County.
A few brave drivers made their way to Brookshires to pick up a few items. Rosie Lang said her husband drove her to the store from their house on south of Bridgeport.
“He won’t let me drive in his. He’s from the north,” Lang said.
The Messenger is posting a list of closures and cancellations at http://wcmess.com/closings