Rhome rollback election results


The unofficial results of the Rhome tax rollback election are in, and the tax rate will be lowered.

There were 144 votes in total, 108 for the rollback and 36 against. The majority voted early, with 28 votes cast on election day.

The election was held to decide whether to lower Rhome’s tax from 58.33 cents per $100 valuation to 52.34 cents.

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Injured person air lifted following accident at raceway


An injured person was air lifted from Oak Hill Raceway this morning following a motorcycle crash.

Initial reports said the victim lost consciousness for approximately five minutes following their crash. Air Evac Lifeteam 68 airlifted the injured person to John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth at 10:50 a.m.

Alvord fire department, Wise County Medic 1 and Wise County Rescue 1 also responded to the accident.

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Decatur High School evacuated due to threat


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Students and staff were evacuated from Decatur High School just before noon today due to a bomb threat found on a bathroom wall. According to the school’s Facebook page, students have been moved to the Carson Elementary gym. Decatur police and fire departments have been dispatched to investigate the building.
Parents wishing to pick their children up may go to the Carson Elementary gym north entrance. School employees will check IDs before checking students out. Buses will continue to run their regular route.

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Bridgeport man found not guilty of sex crime


A Wise County jury that at times was deadlocked during deliberations found Vincent Paul Martinez, 27, of Bridgeport not guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact at the conclusion of his trial around 2:30 p.m. Thursday in 271st District Court. Martinez was accused of touching a 4-year-old victim on her genitals in the back of a vehicle. Martinez testified that he was simply tickling the little girl and that if he did make contact with the genital area, it was accidental. Among the witnesses who testified for the state were the investigator who questioned Martinez about the contact, the alleged victim’s mother and the alleged victim, who is now 5. The jury twice sent down notes saying they could not reach a unanimous verdict but was instructed by District Judge John Fostel to keep deliberating. By the time the jury began deliberating around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the number of jurors was 11 after Martinez’ attorney expressed concerns about a juror who during a break in the trial talked to the investigator who testified. The discussion was not about the case being tried, but prosecutors and the defense attorney agreed to dismiss the juror and continue forward with the 11-person jury. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

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Hightower sentenced to 16 months for naked photos of sex offenders


Former Wise County Sheriff’s Office sergeant Chad Hightower was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth. Hightower pleaded guilty in September to two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law when he admitted to taking nude photos of  sex offenders. Hightower was the sex offender registrar at the time of the incident. He was sentenced to eight months for each count, and Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that the sentence will run consecutively. According to court documents, Hightower must begin serving his sentence by Feb. 8. The judge also assessed a fine of $3,000. Read more in the weekend Wise County Messenger.

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Fire damages business on U.S. 81/287


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Decatur Fire Department, East Wise Fire Department and Wise County EMS responded to a large fire inside of a garage at U.S. 81/287  and Farm Road 2264 just after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Decatur Fire Chief Mike Richardson said the fire broke out in the grease pit underneath a medium-duty truck while it was being worked on by mechanics at Earth Builders, a highway construction company.

“They were doing some cutting operation underneath it, and it lit something that got into an oil supply underneath it,” Richardson said. “That lit up. [The mechanics] did a good job with a tractor and drug that truck out of there.”

Richardson said smoke and flames were billowing out the building’s three bay doors when firefighters arrived.

“Since they drug it out, that was the only fire we had,” he said. “The guys were able to knock it out pretty fast.

“We use a foam mix in our truck so we were able to knock the oil down pretty quick.”

After the flames were put out, firefighters remained on scene to douse the grease pit and monitor the garage for flame ups.

“There’s still smoke in there,” Richardson said. “It’ll take a little while.”

Richardson said the building was still structurally sound. No one was injured.

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Fire damages Boyd home


Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A Boyd family was displaced Saturday afternoon when their home on Dunlap Street caught fire.
Boyd Assistant Fire Chief Jason Adams said when his crew arrived, smoke was billowing from the windows and eaves of the house.
The single-story brick structure had several additions and “a couple of attics,” according to Adams, which made the fire more difficult to fight. Firefighters contained the blaze to the interior of the house. It was heavily damaged by smoke.
No one was home when the fire started.
Resident Steven Hood said he had been gone only 30 minutes when he received a call that the house was on fire. He lives there with his girlfriend and three children, ages 11, 9 and 4.
Boyd, Newark, Decatur and Cottondale fire departments were called to the scene, as well as Wise County medics.
The Red Cross was called to assist the family.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. It was first reported at 3:09 p.m.

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Ice leads to fatal accident on FM 2264


2264 wreck 2Residual ice from Monday’s snow storm sent a truck off of Farm Road 2264 and on top of a SUV submerged in a creek in New Fairview Tuesday morning.
A deceased man was pulled from the submerged vehicle by firefighters.
Jeffery Hoyt, 32, of Rhome was pronounced dead at the scene by Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 Judge Jan Morrow.
A Dodge Ram pickup driven by Curtis Mahaffey, 62, of Decatur was headed southbound on FM 2264 when it hit the ice, left the road on the westbound side and landed on top of the submerged vehicle.
Mahaffey was uninjured.
His accident was reported at 5:30 a.m.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel said Hoyt had left his residence around 4:15 a.m. and the accident likely happened shortly after. Hoyt’s SUV was also headed southbound.
There were no guardrails at the creek on FM 2264 just more than a mile north of FM 407.
Rhome and East Wise Firefighters responded to the wrecks along with Wise County medics.

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Body found near Boyd


The body of a female was discovered buried in a rural area off County Road 4680 west of Boyd Saturday evening. Wise County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kevin Benton said the body was exhumed on Sunday and sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiners Office for positive identification. He said it does appear to be a homicide, and the sheriff’s office is working with Texas Rangers and the Fort Worth Police Department on the investigation. A “person of interest,” identified as Jake Charles Abel, 28, of Fort Worth was arrested Sunday for parole violation and is being held without bond at the Wise County Jail. Read more in the midweek Wise County Messenger.

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J.W. Johnson appointed interim sheriff


Wise County commissioners appointed J.W. Johnson of Decatur interim sheriff at a special meeting Thursday afternoon.

Johnson was appointed to serve the unexpired term of Sheriff David Walker, who is retiring Dec. 31. Johnson will take over the post Jan. 1.

Walker recommended Johnson for the post at the time he notified the county of his retirement in October, but commissioners decided to wait until after the candidate filing period ended to make their decision to avoid appointing someone who might run for the office.

Johnson, who moved to Wise County in 1996, retired from the Dallas Police Department after 22 years before working another 21 years in Denton County at the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s office. Johnson is the father of Wise County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Craig Johnson.

“I’ve just been around all these guys, and I know they’re doing a good job and I’d like to help when I can,” J.W. Johnson said. “I’m not looking for a full-time police job anymore, but I feel that I could be a help to keep everything running smooth until one of the two running in the primary takes charge.”

There are only two candidates running for sheriff — Lane Akin and Brandon Davis. Both are on the Republican ticket, so the election will be decided in the March 1 primary. Commissioners informally agreed Thursday that Johnson will serve at least until March 1, at which time they will likely appoint the primary winner to fill the remainder of the term.

Read more in the weekend Messenger on newsstands Saturday.

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Man air lifted from wreck near Alvord


A man was air lifted from a wreck this morning after rolling his eighteen-wheeler near Alvord.

The Department of Public Safety, Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Wise County Emergency Medical Services responded to the wreck on Farm Road 1655 south of Alvord around 10:30 a.m.

State Trooper Ed Atkins said the driver of the eighteen-wheeler was traveling northbound when his trailer went off the roadway. The driver tried to correct by turning to the left, then overcorrected to the right. The eighteen-wheeler rolled onto its side and slid, coming to rest across the roadway with the cab in the tree line on the side of the road.

The driver was trapped in the cab and had to be extracted by Wise County EMS. He was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth by Air Evac Lifeteam 68. Atkins said his condition is unknown, but the man was conscious and talked to the troopers when they arrived on scene. A passenger in the cab was uninjured.

No names have been released at this time.

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Lake Bridgeport closed to boats


The Tarrant Regional Water District has closed Lake Bridgeport due to high water levels. Due to several days of rain, the lake has risen to 837.88 feet as of noon Monday. That’s nearly 2 feet above conservation level of 836 feet. Water is being discharged from the lake at nearly 4,100 cubic feet per second.

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Water begins to recede, roads re-open


As of noon Sunday, several roads in Wise County had been re-opened. Those with sections remaining closed included:

Precinct 1: U.S. 81/287 at Allsup’s; County Road 4010

Precinct 2: Wildwood Road; Texas 101 at County Road 3264

Precinct 3: Bennett Drive at Airfield; Farm Road 730 north of Boyd; County Road 4460; County Road 4668 (Bobo Crossing); County Road 4757 (Van Meter)

Precinct 4: County Road 3250 at County Road 3241; Farm Road 3259; Pecan Street has water but is passable

 

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Sections of local roads remain underwater


Sections of the following Wise County roads remain closed due to high water as of 9:45 a.m. Sunday:

Precinct 1: U.S. 81/287 northbound at Allsup’s; Chisholm Hills Drive at Farm Road 2264; County Road 4010
Precinct 2: Wildwood Road; Farm Road 1655 at Sandy Creek; Farm Road 1810 at Sandy Creek; Farm Road 1655 south of Farm Road 2265; Texas 101 at County Road 3264
Precinct 3: Bennett Drive at Airfield; Farm Road 730 north of Boyd; County Road 4460; County Road 4668 at Bobo Crossing; County Road 4757 at Van Meter Crossing
Precinct 4: County Road 3250 at County Road 3241; Honeysuckle at Pecan; County Road 3470 at School House Road; County Road 3451 at Sunflower; County Road 3381 at Garret Creek; Farm Road 2210 at Farm Road 920; bridge on Farm Road 3259; County Road 3381 at County Road 3386

Wise County remains in a flood warning through noon Monday. Drivers are urged to use caution on local roads and avoid high water.

 

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High water leads to multiple road closures


After raining for two days, water is on the rise, and multiple roads in Wise County are closed. Drivers are urged to use caution on local roadways and avoid high water.

Sections of the following roads, listed by county precinct, are reported to be in high water: (as of 8 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 28)

Precinct 1: U.S. 81/287 northbound at Allsup’s; Chisholm Hills Drive at Farm Road 2264; County Road 4010

Precinct 2: Wildwood Road; Farm Road 1655 at Sandy Creek; Farm Road 1810 at Sandy Creek; Farm Road 1655 south of Farm Road 2265; Texas 101 at County Road 3264

Precinct 3: County Road 4227 at Deep Creek; Old Base Road north of Oates Creek Road; Oates Creek Road; Bennett Drive at Airfield; Farm Road 730 north of Boyd; County Road 4460; County Road 4668 at Bobo Crossing; County Road 4757 at Van Meter Crossing

Precinct 4: County Road 3250 at County Road 3241; Farm Road 2123 at County Road 3451; Farm Road 2123 at County Road 3655; Farm Road 2123 at County Road 3552; Farm Road 2128 at County Road 3350; Farm Road 920 at Texas 199; Honeysuckle at Pecan; County Road 3470 at School House Road; County Road 3451 at Sunflower; County Road 3381 at Garret Creek; Farm Road 2210 at Farm Road 920; bridge on Farm Road 3259; County Road 3381 at County Road 3386

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Walton sentenced to 40 years for robbery


Donald Gene Walton, one of three people arrested in a home invasion and robbery of an elderly man in south Wise County two years ago, was sentenced to 40 years in prison Tuesday morning in 271st District Court in Decatur. Walton, 50, pleaded guilty in July to aggravated robbery and burglary of a habitation. A sentencing hearing was held today. In addition to the 40 years on the robbery charge, Walton was given a 20-year sentence on the burglary charge. That sentence will run concurrent. Walton, who also lives in south Wise County, faced a wide range of punishments from probation up to 99 years or life in prison. The victim in the case, Jerry Thetford, 75, testified that Walton lured him outside his home claiming he had vehicle trouble. Thetford said he was then struck on the head and held to the ground by Walton while other people robbed his home of money and guns. Thetford’s hands were also tied up, and he was left tied up outside after the robbers left. Walton must serve at least half his sentence – 20 years – before he becomes eligible for parole.

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Fire damages Bridgeport mobile home


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Bridgeport and Paradise fire departments responded to a mobile home fire off Chico Highway in Bridgeport at 9:45 this morning.

Bridgeport Assistant Chief Kenny Hudson said the fire started in a bathroom, then spread to a bedroom. Firefighters contained the fire in those two rooms, but the rest of the home sustained smoke damage. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The residents of the home made it out safely.

This is the second mobile home fire in Wise County in two days. Paradise responded to both fires.

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Mobile home burns in Boyd


Boyd, Paradise and Cottondale fire departments and Wise County EMS responded to a mobile home fire on County Road 4594 in Boyd this afternoon.

Jeremy Joiner of Boyd FD took command on scene around 2:35 p.m. Joiner said the fire had spread throughout the entire mobile home by the time the fire departments arrived.

The building was a total loss.

No one was home when the fire started. Robert Robinson is the homeowner.

“I’ve lived here 18 years,” Robinson said. “Everything I owned was in that house.”

The cause of the fire will be investigated by the Wise County Fire Marshal.

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Blaze damages Bridgeport home


Fire tore through a home in the 400 block of Grace Street in Bridgeport Monday night.
Bridgeport, Decatur and Paradise firefighters battled the blaze that began shortly before 9:30 p.m._JDS0631
“It was fully involved and rolling when we got here,” said Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long. “I don’t know [if it a total loss]. There is substantial damage.”
Edward Martinez lives in the home with his twin daughters and wife.
“We were fixing to go to bed and I went to get something out the laundry,” Martinez said. “I heard something pop. I felt the door and the laundry room was already on fire.”
Martinez got everyone and the family pets out of the home safely.
He said the family had lived in the three-bedroom home for 10 years.
At the scene, Long said they did not know the cause of the fire.
“It possibly started in the laundry room and went through the attic,” Long said.

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Man struck and killed on FM 2048


A man was struck by a pickup and killed while standing in roadway on Farm Road 2048 Monday night._JDS0605
Sean Wolfe, 25, of Boyd died on the scene.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Robert Carson said Wolfe was in the roadway with his back turned to eastbound traffic.
“He told his wife he was stepping out to have a smoke,” Carson said. “The pickup was going east and came over the hill and the guy standing in the middle of the road.”
The accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. in front of Wolfe’s residence on FM 2048 approximately one mile west of FM 730.
The driver of the pickup was uninjured. Carson said he was on his way to work when the accident occurred.

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