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One of the Most Sad Incidents

Posted by DallasCop2566 
One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 12, 2018 06:15PM
Being an Accident Investigator and Hit and Run Detective for the majority of my police career in Dallas, there were a lot of very sad incidents, children killed was always at the top of the list.

I was assigned to work 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays nights due to the increase activity due to weekend alcohol related accidents and just the increase in weekend activity. Hit and Run was responsible for the assistance in the investigation of fatal and serious injury accidents, photographs, witness affidavits, any follow up, notification of next of kin in fatal and unconscious victim incidents, case preparation and case filing with the District Attorney and/or Grand Jury.

In April 1973 I was just about to get off duty when I received a call to the 7200 block Gaston Avenue, just west of East Grand Avenue/Garland Road near White Rock Lake. The call was described as a pedestrian struck and the Fire Department Responders, Engine and Ambulance had declared the victim deceased. I requested the Medical Examiner to be sent to the scene.

I arrived and found a young man I estimated to be between 14 and 17 years of age. He was attempting to cross Gaston Avenue in a poorly illuminated area and was struck by an eastbound vehicle. The vehicle and driver were also at the scene. I interviewed the driver and found that he was not intoxicated or impaired in any manner, he informed me he had just got off work at a nearby hospital where he was a medical assistant. He did not see the victim until it was too late due to his dark clothing and the poor lighting.

I took the required photographs and interviewed one witness that remained at the scene. At this time the Field Agent for the Medical Examiner arrived. She also took photographs and I requested she take a facial shot using a Polaroid camera, as the victim had no wallet or identification I could find. She and I again searched the victim and I found a slip of paper in the victim's shirt pocket. It was a pass for weekend release from the Letot Center, located at the old Letot Elementary School at Denton Drive and Lombardy Lane in northwest Dallas. This was a Juvenile Offender Rehabilitation Center, more or less a halfway house.

The pass had a name and case number. After the accident scene was cleared, I went to the Letot Center and contacted the Night Supervisor and showed him the pass and requested any next of kin information they could provide. I showed the Supervisor the photo of the victim to confirm the identity.

The Supervisor informed me the victim, who was 15 years old mother was in the Parker County Jail in Weatherford, Texas and the victim's step-father lived in Rowlett, Texas and he provided an address.

I went to the address in Rowlett and it was about 4:15 a.m. I requested two uniformed Rowlett Officers to meet me there, as often people would not open the door as I was in plain clothes. I knocked several times and finally the door opens and a young female asked what we wanted. I could smell a strong odor of Marijuana coming from the home and could tell she was under the influence of something. She asked us in and I asked for the step-father and she told me he was asleep, she would go get him. As we stood there and looked around all we could see were Marijuana plants, EVERYWHERE. The interior of the house felt like a sauna and it was cool outside. I turned to the two Rowlett Officers and saw that they were observing what I was. One departed to their police vehicle and apparently requested additional units and a Supervisor to the scene.

Knowing the step-father when awaken and told the police were there would probably try to escape, one of the Rowlett Officers went to the rear of the home. Shortly afterwards he returned to the front with step-father, handcuffed and not appearing very happy.

I informed step-father of his step-son's death and he told me I need to contact his mother, he had nothing do do with him and acted like he could care less. I waited until two more Rowlett Officers and two Dallas County Sheriff Deputies arrived. There were two other occupants of the home, all in the same condition as the female that answered to door.

I returned to my office and called the Parker County Sheriff and requested they notify the mother of the victim of his death and please call me back and confirm notification, as the Medical Examiner required the information. They called back and told me she had been notified and was being held on Felony Drug Charges (Surprise) pending trial and that I needed to contact the victim's grand-mother in Bells, Texas.

I contacted the Bells, Texas Police Department and they knew the grand-mother and told me they would make the notification.

The Rowlett Police Detective called me and told me they recovered 89 Marijuana Plants, some white powder they believed to be Cocaine and three guns, two reported stolen. All four occupants of the home were in custody. He also told me the entire neighborhood was bringing them coffee and donuts as they removed the evidence and suspects, I guess they were not the most appreciated neighbors by the neighborhood.

About a month later I was at another accident scene and the same Field Agent for the Medical Examiner was there and she informed me the victim's body had not be claimed, they contacted the grand-mother numerous times and she would just hang up on them.

I guess the victim was eventually interred at Southland Cemetery in Grand Prairie who had the pauper burial contract then.

What a sad life and sad ending to his life, makes you thankful for good and Christian parents and a good upbringing.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 12, 2018 06:21PM
You all may get tired and bored with my long postings. My wife just passed away and doing something like this helps take my mind off how much I miss her.

It is difficult to just let somebody that has been the largest part of my life for almost fifty three years go.

We moved to Dallas upon my discharge from the Army in April 1968. I was hired by the Police Department and began on April 23, 1968 and we moved into our home in the Parkdale area of Dallas the same month. We have lived here ever since, be fifty years in April of this year.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 12, 2018 09:41PM
Dear Cop, I am one who also sometimes makes long, and fairly frequent posts. Some may not appreciate them. I just figure if they don't, they can skip them.

I DO appreciate your posts. They provide a view into a part of Dallas life that I mostly didn't experience, but that is interesting and helps me to better understand the city where I lived a substantial part of my younger years up through early adulthood, and one I have kept up with by visits since.

I am very sorry for your loss of your wife, whom you clearly loved deeply. My wife Bonnie and I have been married 50 years, and I cannot imagine having to be without her.

You take care of yourself, and keep posting.

Dave McNeely
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 13, 2018 08:56PM
Dave McNeely:

As the saying goes, "Never a Dull Moment", sure rang true. There was always some unique or unusual incident working. Two that come to mind immediately are the "where's Bubba" and "off to Mexico" incidents.

"Where's Bubba" involved a family in the process of moving from South Grand Prairie to Southeast Dallas. They had made several trips hauling their furniture utilizing the Dallas Fort Worth Turnpike, Interstate Highway 30 and a pickup truck. The final trip consisted of a box spring and mattress. They tried to secure it with some small twine and it failed, so they decided that brother-in-law Bubba would ride on top of the load to secure it. As they approached the Trinity River Bridge, eastbound on the freeway, there was construction (surprise) and lane blockages. The driver of was forced to speed up to change lanes to avoid the closure. A car following observed Bubba, on top of the mattress become airborne and over the bridge railing they went. The driver of the pickup was unaware and continued. The witness, this was before cell phones, flagged down a passing Texas Department of Transportation truck, who utilizing the two way radio notified the police. A fire engine, ambulance and myself were dispatched. I was very close and arrived within minutes and contacted the witness who informed me what occurred. He pointed to the area of the bridge railing where Bubba and mattress began their decent into the river bottoms. I looked over the rail and there is Bubba, setting on the mattress with this confused look on his face. The fire engine and ambulance were off to the the river bottoms to assist Bubba. I was obtaining the witness information when a pickup drives up and stops behind my police vehicle. The driver approached and tells me he was hauling a mattress and box spring and his brother-in-law was holding it down and when they got to their new home, he and his wife discovered Bubba and mattress gone and he says to his wife, "where's Bubba" so we came back to look for him. He asked if I knew anything about Bubba and I told him what occurred and he looks over the rail and by now Bubba is standing up and the engine and ambulance arrive. A few seconds later the ambulance using their public address system informed me Bubba says he isn't hurt. Ambulance brings Bubba back to the accident location and he tells me he just hung on, stayed on top the mattress the entire decent and just landed flat like a pancake with a thud. I saw the mattress in the river bottoms for several days, then it was gone. Maybe a homeless person got a nice place to sleep.

"Off to Mexico", received a call on North Hampton Road involving a man fell from moving vehicle. Arrived about 10 minutes later and the fire engine on scene, which only had four blocks to respond to the scene informs me when they arrived they only found three witnesses. All three were still at the scene and they tell me a pickup truck was southbound on North Hampton Road entering West Dallas from the Trinity River Bridge. It appeared the driver was intoxicated as the vehicle was weaving from lane to lane and would speed up, then slow down. The witness directly behind this vehicle observed the right front passenger open the door and lean out and begin throwing up. Suddenly he falls out of the vehicle, which the witness says was doing about forty miles per hour. The driver of the vehicle stopped, got out, looked back and sees the passenger laying in the right lane of traffic. He gets back in the vehicle, backs up to where the victim lays in the roadway and he and another passenger get out, open the tailgate and load victim into back of pickup. They then drive off, still southbound on North Hampton Road. One of the witness observing them leaving, follows them and obtains the license number of the pickup. He then stops at the fire station nearby and informs them of what occurred. I ran the license number and found the vehicle registered to a paving construction company off Harry Hines Boulevard. I ask the dispatcher if the business has an alarm system and if so contact the alarm company and get company representative information which he did. I went to the business contacts home and told him what happened and he told me one of his employees was buying the truck and they were in the process of changing the title and such. We had to go to the business to get the employee's address. I went to the address and only found to females there. I called for a Spanish speaker and he after talking to them a long time told me that the two surviving occupants of the pickup was their husbands and the victim was a brother of the driver. They got home and found the victim was definitely deceased, so they told their wives they were going to take him to Mexico where he was from for burial and off they go. I went back to my office and called the Border Patrol Command Center in Laredo, Texas and told them what I had and gave them a complete vehicle description, suspect's names and the village in Mexico they were thought to be en route to. I arrived at work the next afternoon and there was a message from the Border Patrol that they had located and taken the suspect's into custody along with the vehicle and the victim who was contained in an old water heater box. I called the Medical Examiner and informed them of what occurred and they victim was being held at the Corner's Office in Eagle Pass, Texas. They informed me they would make arrangements for the return of the deceased. Border Patrol informed me we had 72 hours to file charges as they would only be able to detain the suspect's that long adding, "they may be sober by then". I turned the case over to a Hit and Run Detective and he along with assistance from the District Attorney filed the proper charges. Again I was never called to court to testify, so they were probably were just deported only to return two days later.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2018 09:01PM by DallasCop2566.
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 16, 2018 05:55AM
I too enjoy reading your posts Dallas Cop. My step-sister was married to a Dallas policeman back in the 1930-50 time frame. I recall few incidents he related to the family. He did make a few comments about the New London School Explosion. IIRC a team of Dallas Police were sent to assist. That was in 1947. I'm also sad to hear of your recent loss. I am confident I would feel the same should I lose my beloved after 64 years. Keep posting
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 19, 2018 07:34AM
Thanks for your post. April of 1973 was just a month before my family moved from Lakewood to Hollywood Heights (my mom had already closed on our house, so we would make trips over there in the evenings to clean, prune shrubs, etc.), so I'm very familiar with that area of Gaston. Yes, a very sad story. I'm sorry to hear about your wife's passing, and I will keep you in my prayers. Keep up your posts.
Re: One of the Most Sad Incidents
March 21, 2018 05:10AM
Back in 1972 in was assigned to the Freeway Patrol. Each Freeway, North Central Expressway, Stemmons/Carpenter Freeways, Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway (North of Dallas, South portion had not be constructed), South R.L. Thornton Freeway/Marvin D. Love Freeway, East R.L. Thornton Freeway and South Central Expressway/Hawn Freeway had a Unit assigned.

I was working days, 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and assigned to Stemmons/Carpenter Freeways. About 10:00 a.m. I was notified by the dispatcher to report to my Captain's Office, as soon as possible. Wondering what I had done now, I did as directed.

A few minutes later my Captain called on the radio and told me to just report to the Central Police Garage, again wondering what I did, I did as directed.

I drove into the garage and my Captain told me to continue to the roof parking area, which I did. I noticed he had a man in civilian clothes with him.

I parked and the Captain introduced me to the man and informed me he was a Product Engineer for E.F. Johnson Communications, manufacturers of Citizen Band Radios. He told me that as an experiment, the Johnson Company was going to install Citizen Band Radios in several of the Freeway Cars. The thinking was that with the popularly of C.B. radios in both commercial trucks and passenger cars, that incidents occurring on the freeways could be more rapidly reported.

The first thing I learned is how many nasty names and comments were made for my profession and presence. I heard at least ten new ones daily. However the idea did work and those using Stemmons Freeway and Carpenter Freeway soon learned I was listening and they would report accidents, stalled vehicles, spillage by trucks (usually rock haulers-breaking windshields) intoxicated drivers and pedestrians in danger areas and other dangerous incidents.

Somehow I was nailed with the handle, "QUART LOW", I think from a comment made by a C.B. user that I was about a "quart Low on brains and sense".

Soon I was being invited to meet the "Regulars" at Denny's at Regal Row and Stemmons Freeway, my regular coffee stop. Met many and enjoyed talking and listening to their C.B. experiences. Working evenings, I apprehended many Intoxicated Drivers from information provided by these folks.

The officer assigned to South R.L. Thornton Freeway, as I did made friends with the regulars. He stopped a drunk driver one evening and the suspect resisted violently. A female C.B. user observed the struggle as both were on the ground and broadcast the situation. He told me later that within minutes there were 10 or 15 people running to his aid and vehicles parked on both side of the freeway on the median shoulder. Maybe a life saver, at least a serious injury preventer on both parties involved.

Turned out to be a successful experiment and soon officers were buying their own C.B. radios for use in their police vehicles.

Sad to say, they discontinued the Freeway Patrol and those assigned were re-assigned as Accident Investigators. I was assigned to the Northwest District, but continued to hang around Stemmons Freeway until dispatched somewhere else. Met for coffee with my old friends until I was reassigned to the Hit and Run Unit.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2018 05:13AM by DallasCop2566.
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