Fire destroys Chico home

A family was displaced when fire destroyed their home north of Chico Thursday morning. Chico and Bridgeport fire departments along with Wise County EMS responded to the call in the 1700 block of Texas 101 around 8 a.m. The first units on the scene reported the single story, wood-frame home totally engulfed in flames. Wise County Assistant Fire Marshal Joe Washburn said a woman, her daughter and a small child were able to escape without injury. He said the fire apparently started from a space heater in a bedroom. A dog is thought to have died in the fire. The home was a total loss. The Chico Church of Christ is collecting clothes and household items for the fire victims. For information, call 940-577-0762. The family needs all household items. Clothing sizes include: young female adult size 3 pants and shirts size small to medium; small girls’ size 3T through 6T clothing; adult women’s pants sizes 12-14 and large shirts; and adult men’s size 32 to 34 pants and large shirts. Donations can be dropped off at 203 S. McCracken. People are available to receive donation from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and donations can be left on the fellowship hall’s porch 24 hours a day.

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Tornadic storms rip through Wise County

One confirmed tornado, high winds and torrential rain pounded Wise County Tuesday night. The American Red Cross estimates 50 families were displaced due to the storms, but as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, its disaster assessment was not yet complete. Residents continue to wade through the ugly aftermath, picking up the pieces and contemplating how to move forward.

Tornado tosses man from home; Family rides out storm in closet

Paula Revell Roberts stood close to piles of items normally found inside a home, not outside. A pillow. A kitchen table chair. A plaque that holds a toy fish that sings when you push a button.

Neighbors survive tornado in shack

In the aftermath of Tuesday night’s tornado, several trailer homes on Farm Road 920 lay on their sides with debris scattered across nearby fields. Trees were broken in half like twigs.

Tornadic storm strikes lake community

As a storm raged overhead Tuesday night, Brittiany Spain and her 3-year-old son crouched in a closet in their Runaway Bay home.

Meteorologists confirm tornado near Balsora

An EF1 tornado tore through an area off Farm Road 920 near Balsora Tuesday night, packing winds between 90 and 110 mph, according to National Weather Service crews that visited the area Wednesday.

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More than 300 remain without power in Wise

rbtornado15More than 300 Oncor customers in Wise County were still without power as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Tree trimmers and electric crews from around the state have converged in the county to repair lines and restore power to residents affected by Tuesday’s tornadic storms.
“Right now, we have 50 tree-trimming crews out and about 25 electric crews out and they will be continuing to work around the clock,” said Oncor spokesperson Sabrina Easley. “The tree-trimming guys are doing a good job getting out ahead to clear limbs.”
At the height of the storm Tuesday, 3,568 Oncor customers were without power. By Wednesday afternoon, Easley said they had 30 customers without electricity in Runaway Bay and 300 along Farm Road 920.
She explained that the numbers for the apartments in Runaway Bay represented the individual meters and up to six apartment units may be on one meter.
The utility is hoping to have all the power restored to customers by early Thursday morning.
“We’re shooting for midnight but it may be closer to 4-5 a.m. to get everyone taken care of,” Easley said.
Wise Electric Cooperative reported just one outage Wednesday afternoon.
Check back to for more storm coverage.

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Storm causes damage and flooding in Wise County

At approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday night, two large storms merged into one and made its way through Wise County.

The storm produced at least one tornado that caused considerable damage in the southwest quadrant of the county, in Runaway Bay and along Farm Road 920.

There was also considerable flooding in Bridgeport and the surrounding communities.

Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Beard said that the initial plan of action is to make sure everyone is safe.

“Right now we’re dealing with life safety,” Beard said. “We will take care of property damage and flooding when everyone is accounted for.”

Two Runaway Bay apartment buildings and at least 15 houses along Farm Road 920 were severely damaged or destroyed as of 12:56 a.m. Wednesday morning.

At that time, no storm-related deaths and minimal injuries had been reported.

County Judge JD Clark said that several organizations were lending their services to the people of Wise County.

“Red Cross is mobilized and are heading to Runaway Bay to assist those displaced from their homes and offer shelter and medical care,” Clark said. “The State Department has a task force on the way to offer aid, as well.”

At the time, Clark said that they hadn’t had a lot of serious injuries and were hopeful to assess property damage when daylight arrives.

But before that, taking care of the storm victims was the top priority.

“We want to make sure that everyone has a roof over their heads and a place to sleep,” Clark said. “We’re getting the help and manpower we need to make sure that everyone who was affected by the storm is accounted for.”

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Boyd’s coach Cranfill passes away

Former Boyd girls basketball coach Lynn Cranfill died Monday morning.
Cranfill was diagnosed with brain cancer last spring. He tried to come back and coach the Lady Yellowjackets this fall. He fell ill again during the season and retired this spring.
Cranfill spent seven years at Boyd, taking over the girls basketball program in 2008. He led the Lady Yellowjackets to the playoffs four times.
“He was a great asset to the school and program,” said Boyd athletic director Brandon Hopkins. “He was a straight-shooter and wanted to be real serious. But he truly was kind-hearted behind the scenes. He wanted what was best for the kids.”
Boyd ISD Superintendent Ted West echoed Hopkins.
“He asked a lot of his girls. He was an old-school coach and was pretty intense and demanding,” West said. “His players at the same time knew he loved them.
“He ran a successful program not only because of the wins but the type of students he turned out.”
A funeral service for Cranfill will be held at Mount Olivet Chapel in Fort Worth at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

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Power outage for repairs

Oncor crews are making repairs at its Rhome substation and will be interrupting service to customers in Rhome, Newark and Aurora for an hour and a half until shortly after 4:30 p.m.
Parts of Boyd will also be without power.
Oncor spokesperson Sabrina Easley said the utility had some vandalism at the substation.
“Someone was attempting to steal copper and it disabled some protection devices,” Easley said. “We’re in the process of making repairs.”
The vandalism was discovered by a company patrolman around noon Monday. Easley added that it was causing a voltage imbalance in the area.
Approximately 3,500 customers were expected to be affected by the outage during repairs.

Update: Easley reported at 4:20 p.m. that repairs were complete, and power is now being restored.

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Roads throughout county flooded

By Richard Greene
Heavy rains Sunday morning on top of the multi-inch showers between Thursday and Saturday have flooded several roads in Wise County.
Multiple fire departments have been called out for high-water rescues.
Farm Road 730 north of Boyd is closed with the Trinity River flooding the roadway. Farm Road 51 north of Decatur at CR 2320 is also closed. South of Decatur FM 51 has water over the roadway. The Wise County Sheriff’s Office is also reporting water over areas of U.S. 287/81.
Dispatchers are asking drivers to slow down and use caution on the roads. Also, if water is over the road, turn around.
The Texas Department of Transportation is stretched thin trying to block off closed roads. The various county precincts have road crews also out taking care of county roads as reports of flooding are reported.
The National Weather Service in Fort Worth has received reports of four to five inches of rain since midnight in Wise County. More rain is on the way.
The county is under a Tornado Watch until 9 p.m. and a Flash Flood Warning until 5:45 p.m.

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Both props in DISD bond pass

Decatur ISD’s $13.5 million bond package, which includes two propositions, passed Saturday by a significant margin.
Proposition 1, which includes funds for transportation, security, technology and facilities, passed with 74.18 percent of the vote, 635 to 221. Proposition 2, which includes $3.5 million for an indoor multipurpose practice facility, passed with 61.21 percent of the vote with 524 people voting for it and 332 against.
Matt Joiner won Decatur’s lone contested school board race defeating opponent Ashlee Bohn, 633 to 205.
Although Bridgeport had no contested school board races, it did have two contested city council races. Jimmy Meyers won Place 3 with 54.78 percent of the votes, defeating Kevin Lopez, and Billy Fred Walker defeated Vicki Holder for Place 5 with 56.44 percent of the votes.
Two Wise County cities had contested mayoral races, and the winners are Michelle Pittman in Rhome and Karen Garrison in Chico.
The Chico ISD bond election failed, 268 to 178.
For a complete list of election results, visit All results are unofficial until canvassed.
See the midweek Wise County Messenger on newsstands Wednesday for more coverage.

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May 9, 2015 School Board and City Council elections

Election day voting for local school board and city council races is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Representatives were to be elected to their respective entities, and voters in two school districts were to decide on bond packages. Election results will be posted at as quickly as possible after the polls close.

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Pursuit ends in injury wreck

IMG_0717IMG_0718By Richard Greene
After a short pursuit involving Wise County Sheriff deputies, a vehicle wrecked out on Farm Road 730 south of Boyd early Friday morning.
The passenger of the Kia SUV was ejected. She was flown by CareFlite to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.
The male driver was taken by ground ambulance to Harris Methodist.
“Both are stable,” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Robert Carson.
The trooper did not release the name of the two occupants.
According to Carson, Wise County deputies initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle at Farm Road 2048 for running a stop sign and failure to use a turn signal.
“The pursuit initiated and went north on 730,” Carson said. “Due to the wet road, the driver lost control and rolled off into the ditch.
“The driver was taken out by gunpoint.”
Medics and Boyd firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 1:30 a.m.
More details will be available Friday.

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Tornado injures 1, destroys property

_JDU4804By Richard Greene
A tornado tore through southeastern Wise County Thursday evening destroying two trailer homes and damaging up to a dozen near Farm Road 2264.
A 14-year-old girl was injured by debris after the twister hit the trailer she was in on Coyote Trail. Medics transported her to Wise Regional Health System with a cut on her head, according to her aunt Kelley Bellah.
“She’s shook up,” Bellah said. “She doesn’t like storms anyway.”
Bellah‘s home and another on County Road 4421 were destroyed, according to Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard.
“There’s 10 to 12 homes with moderate to heavy damage and two destroyed,” Beard said.
“The East Wise Fire Station has been opened up for those affected to take shelter from the storm that is coming through. A lot of people had places to go.”
Beard said the Red Cross would be out to help residents after the storms left the area.
The National Weather Service is expected to survey the damage early Friday. Beard said he had been on the phone with their office Fort Worth throughout Thursday’s storm.
“What it looked like was EF1 to EF2 tornado,” Beard said. “Spotters saw it touch down, then it picked up and got rain-wrapped.”
The tornado off FM 2264 was reported by spotters around 6:45 p.m.
Airyn Sanderson said she saw the storm touch down behind her home and destroy her barn.
“It scared the tar out of me,” Sanderson said. “I took everything out of my daughter’s closet and we hid in there.”
Ricky Bowling watched the twister land behind his home on FM 2264.
“It came across from the pasture from the neighbor’s in back,” Bowling said. “It looked like a big cloud on the ground. When it got on the ground, it started spinning. I watched it until it got almost to the house.”
The tornado knocked down trees and power lines along FM 2264. Power was knocked out in the area to 69 customers. Crews from Wise County Electric Coop were out repairing lines late Thursday.
Elsewhere in the county, Beard said two confirmed touchdowns were reported in the western part near Runaway Bay.
“There was one on 380,” Beard said.
No damage from the other funnels has been reported according to Beard and Sheriff David Walker.
Sabrina Easley with Oncor reported 70 power outages countywide around 9 p.m,, including 30 near Greenwood and 25 in Runaway Bay. Wise County Electric Coop were reporting 151 outages in the county around 10:50 p.m.
Hail was widely reported throughout the county up to baseball size in the Boyd area.
Lightning sparked a gas well fire near Ramhorn Hill on U.S. 287.
Along with the tornadoes, hail, high winds and lightning, the storms brought torrential rains that fell over the county for several hours, causing widespread flooding. More than two inches had fallen in the northern portion of the county, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a Flash Flood Warning.
Chico firefighters and medics had to make a high-water rescue on Farm Road 1810 east of Chico shortly before midnight.

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1 injured in Alvord wreck

An Alvord man was seriously injured Saturday morning in a single-vehicle wreck on Farm Road 1655 south of Alvord. Jerry Lee Summerlin, 53, was northbound on FM 1655 when he apparently fell asleep, drifted to the right and struck a guard rail near County Road 1480, according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Alonzo. Summerlin was flown to John Peter Smith Hospital with multiple injuries, according to Alonzo. FM 1655 was shut down for about an hour while the wreck was cleared. The accident happened around 8:45 a.m.


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Decatur wins UIL region journalism title

IMG_0685Decatur 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

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Relay for Life location moved inside

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 or call Kathy Odell at 940-255-2944.

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Body found in Bridgeport

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.”


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1 dead in Highway 114 accident

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.

The front of Shane Lunceford’s pickup truck. Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

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Former Bridgeport City Administrator dies

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.

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One injured in Bridgeport high speed rollover

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.

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.

Anderson’s pickup door, which was destroyed in the crash. Messenger photo by Jake Harris.

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Fatality victim from morning wreck identified

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.

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Breaking News: Bridgeport High School student missing

As reported on the Bridgeport Police Department Facebook page, Bridgeport High School is not on lockdown, but they are dealing with a missing student.

“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.


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