Sylvia Norris loved animals big and small, from horses to Chihuahuas.
She loved to paint, and she loved to go places with friends.
She was on her way to meet up with friends for a Saturday morning outing when she was killed in an accident south of Decatur.
Norris, 70, died in a single-vehicle rollover accident around 9:45 a.m. on County Road 4227 just south of U.S. 81/287 near Charley’s Concrete.
Department of Public Safety Cpl. Jeff Johnson said Norris was northbound when ‘she ran off the west side of the county road, overcorrected, went into a sideskid, left the east side of the roadway and rolled her SUV at least two or three times. She was ejected from the vehicle.
Jeff and Sharon Dudley live just south of the accident scene. They were outside and recalled seeing Norris’ SUV drive by.
“She was going at least 100 or better,” Jeff Dudley said.
“People fly on this road all the time, but she was going extremely fast,” Sharon Dudley added.
The two left their home just a few minutes later and drove up on the wreck scene.
Johnson said it is obvious from the damage and the distance the vehicle traveled after it began to roll that Norris was traveling at an unsafe speed. Other than that, the investigation would continue into the cause of the wreck.
Norris’ friends Brenda Jewell and Liz Honaker were waiting in Decatur to meet up with her for a trip to Bowie Trade Days. Jewell had talked to Norris moments before the accident.
“I talked to her five to 10 minutes before the wreck happened,” Jewell said. “She told us to wait on her. We waited 10 or 15 minutes and then heard sirens. We decided to go look for her after she wouldn’t answer her cell phone.”
When Jewell and Honaker drove down the county road where Norris lived, investigators, firefighters and medics where already on the scene.
Jewell said Norris lived just a couple of miles down the road from the accident scene and had lived there since the mid-1990s. She had moved to Wise County from Southlake as the town became more urban than rural.
It was in this country setting that Norris raised horses, goats and even Chihuahuas.
“My first Chihuahua came from her in 1992,” Jewell said. “Five of the six Chihuahuas I own now came from her.”
Norris was a longtime member of the American Paint Horse Association and had won numerous awards over the years. Jewell said she had a room full of Breyer model horses in her home.
Jewell said she loved Norris “like a sister” and doesn’t know why Norris would have been driving at such a high rate of speed down a familiar road.
“What struck me as odd was the witnesses said she was going so fast,” she said. “I didn’t know her to go extremely fast.”
Funeral for Norris is set for 5 p.m. Sunday at Coker-Hawkins Funeral Home in Decatur.
Editor’s note: Jewell works in circulation at the Wise County Messenger.