Constable indicted on 9 counts


Wise County Precinct 3 Constable Doug Parr was indicted Thursday on nine counts, including a third degree felony and multiple state jail felonies.
A grand jury indicted Parr of theft of property greater than $2,500 but less than $30,000, a third degree felony; abuse of official capacity greater than $2,500 but less than $30,000, a state jail felony; and seven counts of tampering with government record defraud/harm, state jail felonies. All of the charges relate to Parr’s use of his county gas card and county vehicle.
According to the indictments, the theft and abuse of official capacity charges stem from Parr using fuel purchased with his county gas card for “non governmental purposes.”
The theft charge would normally be a state jail felony but was enhanced because Parr is an elected official. If convicted, the punishment range is two to 10 years in the state penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000.
The punishment range for abuse of official capacity is six months to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.
The indictments state Parr knowingly made false entries in the fuel mileage log for his county vehicle by regularly entering his mileage as “1,” resulting in the tampering with government record charges, each of which carries potential jail time of six months to two years and a fine up to $10,000.
Court documents say Parr’s conduct resulting in the indictments occurred between April 17, 2013, and June 28, 2016.
Read more in the weekend Messenger on newsstands Saturday.

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2 injured in wreck


A man and woman were injured in a single-vehicle wreck on Farm Road 51 north of Decatur Monday morning.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Garcia said Jason Pruess, 41, and Cathleen Schultz, 49, both of Brownwood, were northbound near Eagles Canyon Raceway in a Ford F-250 pickup around 11 a.m. when they veered off the road for an unknown reason. Garcia said Pruess couldn’t recall the wreck.
The pickup collided with a tree before entering a side roll. It came to rest upside down in a creek bottom. Both occupants were extricated by emergency crews and taken via ambulance to Medical City Denton with non life-threatening injuries. A medical helicopter had been initially called to the scene but was canceled before arrival.
Greenwood-Slidell and Decatur Fire Departments and Wise County EMS responded to the scene.

 

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Bland named lone finalist for Snyder ISD superintendent


Bridgeport Superintendent Dr. Eddie Bland was named the lone finalist for the Snyder ISD superintendent position Tuesday night.

The board in Snyder will have to wait 21 days to officially name Bland superintendent, but Bland told the Messenger Wednesday that he plans to accept the job.

“My wife and I, both our families are in West Texas, and this puts us about an hour away from her mother,” Bland said.

The Bridgeport school board will meet Thursday, March 23, and Bland said he expects the timeline of his resignation and exit to be discussed then.

Bland has been superintendent of Bridgeport since 2006.

“When you’ve been somewhere 11 years you’ve made some friends but probably some enemies, too. I don’t care what the enemies say, but I do care about the friends,” Bland said. “It’s bittersweet.”

 

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1 injured in morning wreck


One person was injured when their Chevy Equinox SUV ran under the back of an 18-wheeler just before 6 Saturday morning.

The wreck happened in the southbound lanes of  U.S. 81/287 near County Road 1171 north of Decatur.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jeremy Pope said investigators weren’t yet sure why the vehicles collided.

The driver of the SUV was extricated by emergency crews and taken by ambulance to Wise Health System in Decatur before being flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Pope said the driver was coherent and left the vehicle under his own power once his door was removed.

The driver’s identity has been withheld pending an update on his condition. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Decatur Fire Department and Wise County EMS responded to the wreck.

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DISD Supt. Rod Townsend announces retirement


The Decatur school district announced this morning that Superintendent Rod Townsend will retire at the end of the school year. According to a news release, Townsend will continue in his role as superintendent through Aug. 31. “I am very humbled to have led this great school district for the past seven years,” Townsend said in the news release. “I am preparing for my retirement and am grateful to have worked alongside a team of incredible educators in this role that I have thoroughly enjoyed.” Townsend has served as DISD superintendent since July of 2010.

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Fire destroys house in Rhome


Four fire departments battled a blaze at a home in the 300 block of Private Road 4732 in the Diamond Ridge neighborhood near Rhome Thursday afternoon. Rhome, East Wise, Newark and Boyd Fire Departments responded to find a single-story structure fully engulfed in flames. There were no reports of injuries. Red Cross was called to assist the home’s occupants. The fire was reported around 12:30 p.m.

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Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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More details released in shooting death


Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Saturday that Tommy Carlton had been in an ongoing dispute with the man who shot and killed him Friday night.
Just before 7 p.m., Carlton walked from his home to his neighbors’ house on Private Road 3421 south of Bridgeport. He knocked on the door, and Whitney Hall, who lives at the address with her husband Jordan Hall, went upstairs to get Jordan, who answered the door, according to Akin.
“According to the information we received and immediate investigative findings, once Jordan opened the door, Tommy walked inside,” Akin said. “I can’t say he forced his way inside.”
After Carlton entered the home, there was a dispute. Both men were armed.
The sheriff said the two men had been in an “ongoing squabble” since Carlton accidentally shot and killed Eric Nelson July 12, 2016. Nelson was a friend of both men.
In that incident, Carlton told investigators he and Nelson had been riding horses on County Road 3420 and were headed home when they came upon an armadillo near the road. Nelson asked Carlton if he had his weapon, and Carlton said he had a semi-automatic pistol.
When Carlton fired the weapon, his horse reared up, which spooked Nelson’s horse, who ran in front of Carlton. It was during this time that the weapon inadvertently was fired again, striking Nelson, who fell from his horse.
He was shot in the left side through the rib cage.
“We do believe threats were exchanged (Friday night between Jordan and Carlton,)” Akin said.
Jordan shot Carlton multiple times with a Glock 9mm, according to the sheriff. Carlton was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson. Akin said Carlton’s gun, a .380 semi-automatic pistol, was found on the floor near his body.
Akin said there was no indication in the house or in observation of Jordan that he had been drinking. Carlton’s body was sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy and toxicology.
No arrests have been made. Investigators are still conducting interviews, but Akin said the case will most likely be referred to a grand jury.

 

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Bridgeport man shot and killed


A Bridgeport man was shot and killed Friday night when he entered a neighbor’s home.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Tommy Carlton, 57, was shot about 7 p.m. after going inside a neighbor’s house on Private Road 3421 south of Bridgeport.

Akin said at 9:45 p.m. the investigation is in the early stages, and they’re still trying to sort out the details of what happened inside the home.  He said Carlton was shot multiple times. Akin has not yet released the name of the homeowner involved in the shooting.

Carlton lives about 300 yards from the home where he was killed. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson pronounced him dead at the scene. Carlton’s body will be sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

More information will be posted as it’s available.

 

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Officer injured in wreck on U.S. 81/287


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A Decatur police officer was air lifted to the hospital after his parked patrol vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer on U.S. 81/287 Thursday.

Department of Public Safety Trooper Carson Bening said Officer Matthew Roberts was parked on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 in Decatur, just past W. Ford St., when a tractor-trailer traveling south moved onto the shoulder for unknown reasons and rear-ended the Roberts’ patrol car. The tractor-trailer was driven by Christopher Toussaint, 39, of Dallas. The wreck occurred around 11:30 p.m.

Roberts’ Chevrolet Tahoe came to rest upside down off the highway. The tractor-trailer drove off the highway less than a quarter-mile further southbound, coming to rest next to the parking lot of Americas Best Value Inn.

Roberts was flown by Air Evac Lifeteam 68 to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. He was released early Friday morning, according to Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins.

Toussaint was taken to the Wise Health System main campus with no visible injuries. He was later taken to the Wise County Jail and charged with driving while intoxicated.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, Wise County Emergency Medical Services, Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Air Evac Lifeteam 68 and Decatur police and fire departments responded.

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1 injured in 18-wheeler wreck


One man was injured when his 18-wheeler ran off the road and struck an electrical pole just before noon Thursday.
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Texas Department of Safety State Trooper Patrick Garcia said the truck ran off U.S. 380 just west of Farm Road 1655 for unknown reasons, driving into the ditch on the north side of the road, where it hit a culvert before striking and severing the pole. Garcia said a charged line fell on the cab’s roof and burned a light, which alerted crews the truck wasn’t safe to approach.

“Paramedics were alerted to a live wire because it burned that light,” Garcia said.

Wise County Fire Marshall Chuck Beard also responded to the wreck and used a device to test the electricity coming from the downed line. Beard said the company operating the line shut it down, which gave emergency crews access to the driver inside.

The driver’s name has been withheld pending an update on his condition. He was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Wise County EMS, Bridgeport Fire Department and the Wise County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the wreck. Traffic was briefly limited to one lane while emergency crews were on scene. The road reopened fully just before 1 p.m.

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Pedestrian struck, killed in traffic accident


A teenager died after he was struck by a car on Texas 114 northwest of Paradise Tuesday.

The accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. Department of Public Safety Trooper Shawn Younger said the car that struck Devin Geninatti, 17, of Bridgeport, was driven by Josh Hartsell, 30, also of Bridgeport. Hartsell was traveling westbound from Paradise when he noticed a vehicle with no lights parked on the side of Texas 114. Younger said according to witnesses interviewed at the scene, as Hartsell passed the parked vehicle, Geninatti, who’d been standing in front of the parked vehicle, appeared to have jumped out in front of Hartsell’s car.

It was initially reported that Geninatti died in the ambulance en route to Wise Health System, but the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s website states he was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. His time of death is listed shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Wise County Emergency Medical Services, Department of Public Safety, Wise County Sheriff’s Office, Air Evac Lifeteam 68 and Paradise Volunteer Fire Department responded to the accident.

 

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3 hurt in Rhome wreck


A two-vehicle collision in Rhome sent three people to the hospital Saturday afternoon. Rhome Police officer Bryan Pickler said a pickup was southbound on U.S. 81/287  between the two Texas 114 exits when the driver lost control, overcorrected and crossed the median into the northbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 where it struck a northbound passenger car. The driver of the car had to be extricated from the vehicle. He and a female passenger who was pregnant were taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. The driver of the pickup was taken to Wise Health System in Decatur. The names of those involved were not available at the scene. The wreck, which happened just before 2 p.m., shut down the northbound lanes of U.S. 81/287 for about an hour while the wreck was cleared. It was foggy and raining at the time of the wreck.

 

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Fire destroys family’s home


Fire destroyed the home of a family of five Friday night between Boyd and Decatur.1
The fast-moving blazed tore through the four-bedroom trailer home at 442 County Road 4374 shortly before 11 p.m.
Boyd firefighters arrived first on the scene and immediately called for assistance from neighboring departments. Decatur, Rhome and Paradise firefighters assisted.

“We got the report of a fire on the front porch. By the time we got here it was fully involved,” said Boyd Assistant Fire Chief Jason Adams.
Along with battling the structure fire, firefighters had to extinguish small grass fires moving through the dry vegetation.

“There were a few little grass fires. It tried to cross the street but we got it out,” Adams said.
Firefighters had to truck in water to the location. Adams said trucks had to make multiple into Decatur or Boyd to get enough water to fight the blaze.
Homeowner Clint Bitner said he was asleep when his wife, Jamie, alerted him to the fire.
“She heard a crackling,” he said. “It was fully involved. It was already too late.”
Bitner said his wife and three children — ages 12, 10 and 9 — were able to get out of house safely, but were unable to get anything out.

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Windy day results in dangerous grass fire


chico-krafton-grassfiore4055A large, fast-moving grass fire destroyed more than one hundred of acres of land and threatened homes and barns in northwest Wise County Thursday afternoon.
Lake Bridgeport firefighter Glen Canova said the fire started north of Farm Road 2265 near County Road 1787 and moved south, propelled by fierce winds. Canova said firefighters tried in vain to stop the fire from jumping the road.
“We did everything we could to stop it from coming across that road,” he said. “It was moving fast.”
Police scanner reports indicate the fire threatened multiple homes along County Road 1770, damaging at least one one structure on 2265. Wise County Sheriff’s Deputies visited multiple residences in the area to check on homeowners and forced entry into a barn to release cattle inside.
Deputy Steven Yancey said crews had to double back on the fire several times due to changing wind directions. Firefighters spread out in an attempt to head off flames around the fire’s perimeter but were forced to deal with heavy brush and multiple fences.chico-krafton-grassfiore4018
Multiple fire departments responded to the fire, including Sunset, Sand Flat, Chico, Alvord, Bridgeport, Lake Bridgeport, Decatur, Crafton, Jack County and the U.S. Forest Service. Texas Department of Safety State Troopers, Sheriff’s Deputies, Wise County EMS and several Wise County Fire Marshals also assisted. Several tank trucks were also on scene to refill water supplies in brush trucks.

Firefighters were still on scene as of 4:45 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. More information will be posted as it’s made available.

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Crash victim identified


Blake Sims, 39, of Forestburg was killed Thursday afternoon when his S-10 Chevrolet pickup was struck by a Kenworth Airgas truck on Farm Road 455 on the Wise/Cooke County line.

Sgt. Mark Tackett with the Department of Public Safety said Sims was traveling south on 455 at noon when he was hit by a Kenworth truck turning left onto County Road 2845 from the northbound lane.

Sims was pronounced dead by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson.

The driver of the truck was Preston Ferguson, 37, of Alvord. He was uninjured.

“The Kenworth turned in front of the pickup,” Tackett said. “As he was making the turn, he couldn’t see the other guy.”

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Man killed in 2-vehicle accident


A man was killed Thursday afternoon when his S-10 Chevrolet pickup was struck by an Airgas truck on Farm Road 455 at the Wise/Cooke County line.

A Department of Public Safety trooper said the pickup was traveling southbound on 455 about 12:15 p.m. when it was struck by the Airgas truck turning left onto County Road 2845 from the northbound lane.

The driver of the pickup was killed instantly. The driver of the Airgas truck was uninjured.

More information will be posted as it’s available.

 

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Officers injured in pursuit


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Two Wise County Sheriff’s Office investigators were injured Thursday morning in a vehicle pursuit that started in northern Wise County and ended in a foot chase on U.S. Business 81/287 south of Eagle Stadium .
Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said investigators James Mayo and Mike Neagle attempted to serve a parole violation warrant on David Nickolas Armstrong, 30, of Bridgeport, when Armstrong fled in a green Kia car. The two pursued him southbound on U.S. 81/287 to a point just south of Thompson Street in Decatur but were forced to dodge a spike strip laid out by officers ahead of the chase. The investigators drove into the median and collided with a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper driving an unmarked sedan across the median to join the pursuit.
The pickup flipped and landed on its side, trapping Mayo and Neagle. They were extricated and taken to Wise Health System in Decatur. Neagle was later flown via air ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Mayo was released after being checked out.
imageThe suspect continued south before turning north onto U.S. Business 81/287. He stopped just south of Eagle Stadium and fled on foot. After a short chase he was caught and arrested and charged with evading arrest or detention causing serious bodily injury, evading arrest or detention and possession of methamphetamine 4-200 grams. There was a  female passenger in the car.

Last updated at 3:40 p.m.

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Breaking News: Woman identified in fatal rollover


imageA Dallas woman died in a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 287/81 just north of County Road 4421 Wednesday morning.

Heather Burditt, 27, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2 Craig Johnson.

A passenger, Merissa Montalvo, 26, of Abilene was transported by ambulance to Wise Health System in Decatur with non-life-threatening injuries. Burditt’s 4-year-old daughter, Aurora Raines, was taken to Wise Health System and then flown to Cook Children’s in Fort Worth for medical tests.

The wreck occurred around 5:32 a.m. Burditt’s Kia Forte Koup was headed northbound on U.S. 287 when it left the roadway 0.2 miles north of CR 4421.

“The vehicle drove off into the center median,” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Adolfo Patterson. “It went off before the crossover, hit the grade and went airborne and rolled several times.”

Patterson estimated that the vehicle came to rest 150 yards north of the crossover.

“It’s believed the driver was under the influence of alcohol,” Patterson said. “The driver had a strong odor of alcohol.”

He said Judge Johnson would order a toxicology report from the medical examiner’s.

One lane of northbound traffic on U.S. 287 was shut down while emergency personnel worked the scene.

It was the second fatality accident in the county this week. A Decatur man, John Joesph Callan, 43, died Monday evening when his truck flipped on Business U.S. 380 and came to rest on a baseball field at Harmon Park in Decatur.

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Breaking News: One killed in one-vehicle rollover on 287


A woman died in a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 287/81 just north of County Road 4421 Wednesday morning.

Two passengers, a woman and a child, were transported by ambulance to Wise Health System in Decatur.

No names were released at the scene as investigators were still gathering information.

The wreck occurred around 5:30 a.m. The vehicle was headed northbound on U.S. 287 when it left the roadway.

“It ran off the road and hit a grade at the crossover and flipped several times before it came to rest [in the median],” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Adolfo Patterson.

One lane of northbound traffic on U.S. 287 was shut down while emergency personnel worked the scene.

It was the second fatality accident in the county this week. A Decatur man, John Joesph Callan, 43, died Monday evening when his truck flipped on Business U.S. 380 and came to rest on a baseball field at Harmon Park in Decatur.

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Breaking News: Man killed in wreck at Harmon Park


A Decatur man died Monday evening in a crash after his truck flipped multiple times and came to rest in the infield of a baseball field at Harmon Park in Decatur.img_2569

John Joseph Callan, 43, was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1 Jan Morrow.

Callan was heading westbound on Business 380 when he failed to make the curve at the park shortly before 9 p.m.

Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said Callan’s truck went over the curb and hit a tree before going airborne. The vehicle then hit the street before going airborne a second time and hitting the batting cages and then going through fence of the baseball field.

“It flipped three times,” Hoskins said.

The driver was ejected from the vehicle.

“There was evidence of a high rate of speed,” Hoskins said.

Callan was the father Johnny Callan, the Jacksboro student killed in an accident in Palo Pinto County last month.

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