5 hurt in Rhome wreck


Five people were taken to the hospital following a two-vehicle wreck in Rhome Friday afternoon. The accident happened just after 2 p.m. during a downpour on U.S. 81/287 near County Road 4838. Rhome Police Officer Brody Brown said a pickup was southbound on U.S. 81/287 when it hydroplaned into the northbound lanes where it struck a northbound van. The driver of the pickup was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. The driver of the van was taken to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth while three children in the van were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. No names were available at the scene. Rhome Volunteer Fire Department and Wise County EMS responded to the scene.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Man injured in motorcycle wreck


One man was severely injured when he wrecked his motorcycle into a barbed wire fence on County Road 1590 about a mile west of Alvord Thursday afternoon.
A neighbor said the man was westbound when he left the roadway near a driveway and struck a fencepost. The man became tangled in the fence and his bike flipped several times during the wreck, a bystander said. A clear path of tire marks, followed by debris, led from the roadway to the spot where the bike came to rest in a nearby field.
Texas Department of Public Safety Spokesman Sgt. Lonny Haschell later identified the man as Gregory Meier, 21, of Alvord. Bystanders said Meier was passionate about motorcycles and frequently traveled the road.
DPS Investigator Jose Gomez confirmed the story and said the man was taken via air ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.
Wise County EMS and Alvord Fire Department responded to the scene.

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Storm causes damage in Slidell area


Slidell firefighters reported damage in their district from a storm that rolled through early Tuesday morning.
An awning at Slidell Baptist Church reportedly collapsed onto a church bus at County Road 2822. There was damage on the Slidell ISD campus off Farm Road 455. A single-wide mobile home on County Road 2723 also sustained damage.
Firefighters reported several downed trees and power lines along with power outages. Oncor reported 379 customers without power in Wise County.
The storm moved into the area from Montague County shortly after midnight with winds in excess of 50 mph.

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Two transported from wreck on 287


An Alabama couple was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth from an accident on U.S. 287 just south of Alvord in front of the Navigator Truck Stop.

Stewart Pedigo, 57, and his wife Stephanie were take to hospital after their GMC pickup collided with a tanker truck blocking the roadway shortly after 11 p.m. Friday.

The tanker truck driven by Michael Bondillian of Lake Charles, La. had pulled out of the Navigator and attempted to cross the highway to go northbound on U.S. 287, according to Department of Public Safety Trooper Justin Little.  Pulling out of the station the tanker blocked the southbound lanes and was struck by the pickup, Little added.

The accident shut down southbound lanes of U.S. 287 until 12:30 Saturday morning.

 

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Home destroyed in fire


A family lost their home in the 130 block of Private Road 1311 to large fire Thursday morning.

The road runs off of County Road 1304, northeast of Bridgeport.

Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Washburn said two adults and a child lived in the home, which is owned by next-door neighbor Nita Duke. Washburn said Duke first saw the fire from her home.

Bridgeport, Decatur and Paradise Fire Departments responded to the fire, which Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long said was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported in the blaze. Red Cross is assisting the family.

 

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DPS identifies drivers in fatal wreck


Investigators have released the names of those involved in the fatal wreck on Farm Road 730 south of Boyd Tuesday afternoon.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Garcia said Mearl Miner, 51, of Fort Worth was killed when his motorcycle was struck head-on by a southbound SUV driven by Rosemary Switzer, 69, of Rhome. Miner had been northbound on the road and Garcia said at the scene it wasn’t clear what prompted Switzer to veer into oncoming traffic.

Switzer was transported to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Azle.

The road was closed for several hours while investigators were on scene.

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Motorcyclist killed in head-on wreck


One man was killed when his motorcycle was struck head-on by an SUV on Farm Road 730 near County Road 4765 south of Boyd.

Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Garcia said the motorcyclist was northbound on 730 when when a southbound Lincoln SUV crossed the median for unknown reasons and struck the motorcycle. The SUV came in the grass on the west side of the road.

The SUV’s driver was taken via ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Azle. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mandy Hays.

The identities of both drivers have been withheld, pending notification of family. More information will be posted as it’s made available.

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Major accident closes 730 south of Boyd


A major accident has shut down Farm Road 730 south of Boyd.
First responders on scene report a vehicle versus motorcyle accident with multiple injuries.
More information to be posted soon.

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May Election Results


City council and school board elections are today. Wise County has several contested races, as well as three bond elections, a water district decision and the issue of tax assignment, all on various ballots. Polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. A list of election day polling places, as well as what will appear on each ballot, was featured in the midweek Wise County Messenger. The unofficial results of the contested races are posted below.

*The vote for Chico ISD’s bond package is too close to call until all provisional ballots are counted.

ALVORD ISD: $13.6 Milion Bond
For 116
Against 404
CITY OF AURORA: Mayor
Janet Derting 41
Terry Solomon 66
BOYD ISD: Place 1
Martin Cain 159
Rebecca Parr 139
BOYD ISD: Place 3
Krista Barber 139
Kyle Erwin 145
Toby Miller 17
BRIDGEPORT ISD: Place 7
Jessie DeLuna 207
Linda Duck 117
CHICO ISD: $1.8 Milion Bond*
For 97
Against 92
CITY OF CHICO: Mayor
Roger Mead 9
Euell Rackley 4
Colleen Self 49
DECATUR ISD: Place 4
Misti Davie 108
Glen Harrison 79
Rex Hoskins 252
CITY OF DECATUR: Water Supply District
For 123
Against 69
CITY OF NEWARK: Reassignment of Half-Cent Sales Tax
For 45
Against 20
NORTHWEST ISD: $399 Million Bond
For 2,909
Against 1,871
CITY OF RUNAWAY BAY: Three At-Large Council Seats
Deborah Lewis 167
Ricky McDonald 114
Jerry St. John 188
Dan Ticer 117
Wayne Wall 47
Berry White 132
NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD: Place 5
Taylor C. Harrington 469
Tammy Sutherland Eck 676
Jennifer Zazula 611
Matthew Hooper 679
Steve Sprowls 1,103
NORTHWEST SCHOOL BOARD: Place 6
Carissa Barrett 1,378
Lillian Rauch 2,017
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Food trailer fire shuts down 114 in Boyd


A food trailer fire in front of Lowe’s Market shut down Texas 114 in Boyd Monday morning.
Sammy Fox of Temple had parked his truck and trailer on the shoulder of the road in front of the store around 10:30 a.m.
“I checked and nothing was on. I went in to get some food for the day and a customer came in and said the trailer was on fire,” Fox said.
Fox has operated his The Singing Chef food trailer since December 2016 in the Temple area. He said he was going to be at the Silver Bullet Pawn and Gun in Boyd this week.
“I was going to be based out of Boyd because they’ve been so accommodating,” said Fox, who will be a new father soon.
A propane tank inside the trailer exploded during the fire.
Boyd and Rhome firefighters extinguished the fire.
The road was reopened around 11:30 a.m.

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Fire leads to apartment evacuations


Tenants at the Henderson Terrace Apartments in Bridgeport were evacuated Thursday evening due to a small fire in an exterior wall of Building 2.

A nearby homeowner said he witnessed electrical sparks shoot about four feet from the center of the building near the stairwell before the fire started.

Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long said he suspected the fire started due to an electrical issue and spread throughout aged wood. Two units experienced minor damage.

“As old as these buildings are, we got lucky,” Long said.

Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to spot the heat inside a wall and used drills and other tools to reach and extinguish the blaze.

Bridgeport Police Department assisted with the evacuations. The Wise County Fire Marshal’s office also responded to the scene.

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Parr booked on felony charges


Precinct 3 Constable Doug Parr turned himself in Tuesday afternoon at the Wise County Jail after being indicted last week on multiple felony charges.

He posted a total bond of $29,000 and was released.

He is facing the following indictments: theft of property greater than $2,500 but less than $30,000, third-degree felony, ($10,000 bond); abuse of official capacity greater than $2,500 but less than $30,000, state jail felony, ($5,000 bond); and seven counts of tampering with government record defraud/harm, state jail felonies, ($2,000 bond for each count).

A story on the indictments ran in the weekend  Wise County Messenger. More details will be in the midweek paper on newsstands Wednesday.

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Multiple people injured in 3-vehicle crash


Two people were taken to a Fort Worth hospital Monday following a three-vehicle accident on Farm Road 730 south of Boyd.

Department of Public Safety Trooper William Wallace said a small sports utility vehicle was stopped in the northbound lane waiting to turn left onto County Road 4770 about 4:45 p.m. when it was struck from behind by a pickup. The impact pushed the SUV into oncoming traffic where it struck a southbound passenger car.

The passenger car spun around, ran across the northbound lanes and through a fence. Wallace said the driver kept her foot on the accelerator, ran through a pasture and hit a tree before coming to rest at the edge of a creek, about 100 yards from the initial impact.

Although names were not available at the scene, Wallace said the driver of the passenger car, an elderly woman, and her male passenger were taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth by Wise County EMS.

Two women and an 18-month-old who were in the SUV were taken to Wise Health System in Decatur, according to Wallace. The driver of the pickup was not injured.

More information will be posted as it’s available.

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Escaped inmate caught in Wise County


Arthur Thurman, 32, of Abilene was caught in Wise County Friday night after escaping March 2 from the Callahan County Jail in Baird.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said Deputy James O’Bannon pulled Thurman over near Taco Casa in Rhome just before 10 p.m. on a traffic violation.

“He originally said his name was Mark Thurman, and he had trouble remembering his birth date,” Akin said. “This made the deputy suspicious, so he kept asking questions.”

Thurman told O’Bannon his birthday was in 1976, but this raised more questions as he didn’t appear to be in his 40s, according to Akin. O’Bannon eventually discovered Thurman’s true identity and arrested him immediately. He had been jailed in Callahan County on methamphetamine charges.

“Thurman was continually deceptive, but he didn’t try to run,” Akin said. “This is an example of diligent work by Deputy O’Bannon.”

Akin said there was also a female in the car with Thurman, but she was not arrested.

Thurman escaped the Callahan County Jail with the assistance of his nephew, Olmedo Bailey Olivas, 19, according to a story posted on the KTXS 12 website. Following their escape, there was a massive manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, but the duo eluded officers.

According to KTXS, Olivas surrendered to authorities March 13. He was charged with facilitating escape and evading arrest.

Thurman was booked into the Wise County Jail early Saturday. In addition to the warrant for his escape, he had a second warrant out of Garvin County for unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance without a prescription. Akin said Thurman was released to Callahan County officials Saturday morning.

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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.

rhome-fire-2-23-17

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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