A second Dallas police officer has been felled by the all-seeing eyes of the in-car squad camera.
An in-car video recording showed police investigators that Officer Kent Bocook wasn’t being truthful when he told investigators that a man’s car struck his vehicle while his patrol car was stopped at a traffic light at Preston Road and the George Bush Turnpike.
The video showed that the officer deliberately positioned his squad car in front of the car of a DWI suspect, and the suspected drunken driver then drove into his squad car.
Police officials are also trying to determine whether other officers encouraged Bocook to misrepresent what happened in a police report.
Bocook, who didn’t return a call seeking comment, resigned effective Tuesday.
“There was nothing to be covered up or hidden from my statement,” Bocook told internal investigators in his statement.]]>
“I see him as a hero,” said his friend, Simone Ross.
But Walker’s heroism cost him both legs and his plans to start basic training this spring.
Such trauma might have sent others into deep depression. Yet that didn’t take hold of Walker, a North Garland High School graduate who lives with his father in Garland.
He has maintained a positive spirit and has comforted others who have been injured.
“He wasn’t mad or anything,” said Cory Russell, who broke a leg that night. “A lot of people would probably be down in the pits, but he wasn’t.”
Walker doesn’t think of himself as handicapped. “Only disabled for the moment,” he said. “I know I’m going to be back to the same.”
He sees a future where he will attend college in Texas, have a career in the Army, play sports and motivate others.
On the evening of Feb. 6, Walker and his friends headed to a Dallas nightclub to celebrate before he enlisted in the Army. On their way, the Chevy they were in broke down on Interstate 30.
Walker, Ross and Russell were pushing the car off the Motley Drive exit to a gas station when headlights approached fast from behind. Walker pushed Ross away.
One car swerved to avoid the teens. A Honda behind it braked hard and was hit from behind by a third vehicle. The Honda was launched into the Chevy and both Walker and Russell were hit.
Russell was thrown from the Chevy and broke his leg. Walker flew forward and the Honda rolled over him, trapping his legs. Walker dragged himself from under the tires and off to the side of the road.
“It didn’t dawn on me that I got hit,” Walker said. “It was like going through slow motion.”
According to Mesquite police, the three friends were blocking the taillights of the car when they were pushing it, making it difficult for other motorists to see them.
Walker doesn’t remember much about what followed. He was taken to Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and his both his legs were amputated.
Though there is no basic training for Walker this spring, he’s experiencing a different kind of regimen.
Instead of running miles and climbing walls, his workouts consist of getting out of bed to change his bandages once every two days and using weights and bands to strengthen his core and upper body.
Walker had his last surgery on April 3 and expects to get his prosthetics at the end of May.
He said he can’t wait to try wheelchair basketball and rugby. “I’m glad I still got my arms. It could have been worse.”
He is also building up his emotional and mental strength and is eager to return to Baylor to provide inspiration to fellow amputees and others who are ill.
“Being negative doesn’t help anything,” Walker said. “If you don’t think you’re going to get better, you’re not going to get better.”
As soon as he could use a wheelchair, Walker began visiting Russell in his hospital room.
“Just watching him gave me support,” Russell said. “If he could go through with that, I could go through with my injury, too.”
For the better part of one furious hour Tuesday afternoon, Houston Fire Department rescue workers tore, cut and picked their way through the rubble of an old southside motel undergoing renovation, hoping to reach the three workers trapped below before it was too late.
They rescued two in short order, but the third was dead by the time they got to him, crushed by hundreds of pounds of lumber and concrete.
“I’d say it was mostly a success,” said Capt. Richard Cole, head of the HFD rescue team. “We did the best we could.”
Police and rescue personnel arrived at the old HouTex Inn in the 6300 block of the Gulf Freeway around 4:15 to find workers standing beside a collapsed building. Using dogs, special cameras and “most of the toys in the toolbox,” Cole said, rescuers cut through the old roof, drilled an inspection hole and located the space where two of the workers had managed to avoid serious injury. The third victim was found about 20 feet away.
Cole said the construction workers were replacing joists on the first floor when the top floor began to shift sideways. Within seconds the roof and supporting structures started to lean, ultimately toppling and collapsing the building, he said. Rescuers had to work their way down, cutting through the roof, supporting trusses, beams and a lightweight concrete floor before reaching the area where the workers were trapped.
The building contained no structural steel. Cole said there was little bracing to stop the lateral movement of the second floor when it began to lean.
Police have identified the dead man as Ramiro Sigala, 24, of Houston. The names of the injured had not been released by this afternoon. The two survivors were taken to local hospitals with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.
A representative from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration was at the site after the collapse but declined to comment. The federal agency regulates workplace safety.
Houston homicide Sgt. Robert Torres also inspected the scene and said there was no reason to believe the worker’s death was anything other than an industrial accident.
One of the construction supervisors on the site, John Braxton, said four men were working on the building that collapsed. One jumped to safety before it fell. Braxton said all the men were good employees and hard workers.
“You try to be safe, you try to do what’s right, but in a split second somebody is gone,” Braxton said.
With assistance from the city of Houston, the erstwhile motel is being renovated to low-income housing. Before it closed, the HouTex Inn was an establishment that city officials referred to as one of the worst “hot sheet” motels, a haven for drug-dealing and prostitution.
New Hope Housing, the city’s partner on the 149-room apartment complex, bought the inn and hired Camden Builders to rehab it beginning in January. When finished, the small, single-room apartments will be rented to the newly homeless, said Richard Celli, the city’s director of housing and community development.
The project has received about $8 million in low-income-housing tax credits through a state program that allows builders to take an old building “down to the studs” and renovate it into usable housing. The credits are sold to companies and the proceeds from those sales, as well as money raised from philanthropy, are used to rehab the complex, Celli said.
The grants were awarded in a competitive application process, he said.]]>
Biker Bobby Gassett had a new patch pinned to his vest Tuesday, with red letters on a white background: “Life Behind Bars, Lion King Chuck, 1936-2009.”The bars referred to handlebars, and Chuck was Chuck King, killed Thursday night after a car hit him on LBJ Freeway in Garland. He fell and was run over by an 18-wheeler.
“It’s a testimony to Chuck,” rider Mike Malloy said of the turnout. He said it would be the biggest ride ever out of Keller’s even though it was on a weekday.
Malloy helped some other Rat Packers lash one of King’s motorcycles to a trailer for the run to the funeral home that would then make its way to one of King’s favorite eateries.
At Keller’s, Shanda Renee Wooten sat in the back seat of a car parked near the curb. The 34-year-old bike model from Lufkin said she was there when King died, riding just ahead of him.
“It’s customary for the woman to ride behind,” said Wooten, who said she was visiting King.
But for some reason, King opted to follow her this time. They didn’t have far to go.
” ‘I’m following you,’ he said,” Wooten remembered. “I said, ‘Are you sure?’ ”
After the crash, Wooten said, the driver of the car stopped.
“She stopped for about two seconds,” Wooten said. “She heard me say, ‘You killed him!’ ”
Then the car sped away, she said.
Garland police have charged Tasha Hayes, 18, of Richardson with failure to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
There will be more events for King on April 26, when his friends ride again.
They plan to leave Keller’s at noon for a ride on Northwest Highway and LBJ Freeway to Fat Dawg’s in Forney, another of King’s hangouts.
On the way, they will pay their respects near the spot where King died and at a second place where another Rat Pack biker, Bart Miller, was killed in January.
Among the bikers assembled Tuesday, few could be found who hadn’t been in wrecks.
Richie Brice of Dallas said he came back from Vietnam without a scratch, but a too-long stare at a woman sent him tumbling end over end, landing with his bike on top of him.
That was the first of his three wrecks. It left him “bent over” for six months, but he had the bike rebuilt and got back on.
Mitch Hanson, a recently retired mail carrier from Garland, said he has been riding motorcycles since he was 15 and never had a wreck until he slid off a road in Arkansas in 2006.
That hasn’t stopped him from riding.
“You can’t explain it,” he said. “It’s a rush.”
Brice is fatalistic about riding.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a helmet or not,” said Brice, who does wear one. “If it’s your time to go, you’re going to go.”
Hanson agreed, saying, “There is no safe way to ride one of these things.”]]>
A 28-year-old Arlington man died after being thrown from his motorcycle Monday on State Highway 161 in Irving, authorities said today.
Charles Black was going too fast when he hit a retaining wall on the southbound 161 ramp to westbound State Highway 183 Monday afternoon, Irving police said. He was thrown from his bike, fell over the barrier and landed 30 feet below. The motorcycle continued down the ramp
Black, who was wearing a helmet, was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas where he died.
Authorties shut down southbound lanes of 161 to westbound 183 on Monday to investigate the accident.]]>
Authorities shut down a portion of State Highway 161 in Irving this afternoon after a motorcyclist was seriously injured near the southbound exit ramp to State Highway 183.
Irving police said a man in his late 20s or early 30s was ejected from the motorcycle and thrown over a retaining wall shortly after 12:30 p.m. today. The man was taken Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with serious internal injuries. Authorities did not release his identity.
It was unclear whether other vehicles were involved.
Southbound lanes of Highway 161 from Rochelle Road to westbound Highway 183 were closed this afternoon, but have since reopened, according to Traffic Pulse.]]>
The 29-year-old bicyclist who was crushed beneath a Houston Fire Department ladder truck in an accident involving two firetrucks last month died early Saturday afternoon.
Leigh Boone was pronounced dead at 12:10 p.m., said Memorial Hermann Hospital spokeswoman Alex Rodriguez.
Boone had been in critical condition for two weeks with serious head injuries she sustained when a 40-ton ladder truck toppled and crushed her bike on March 30.
Authorities found the ladder truck driver, Warren Ducote, at fault for the crash that injured 11 people. They say he ran a red light. A police official said on Saturday it was too early to tell whether Ducote would face criminal charges.
Both Houston Fire Department trucks were en route to what firefighters thought was a blaze but turned out to be a Houston public works crew smoke-testing sewer lines.
Ducote ran a red light while headed northbound on Dunlavy and was broad-sided by a pumper truck westbound on Westheimer.
Investigators determined that the pumper truck had a green light.
Boone worked as an executive assistant at the Houston Center for Photography before her death.
In a series of interviews after the crash, family and friends described her as a “happy” and “talented” woman. She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in theater arts.
“She’s a real people person. She’s never met a stranger. That’s why she has so many friends in the Monntrose area,” said her brother George Boone.
Family and friends were gathered around her when she died, according to a family Web site that has been chronicling her ordeal.
On a Facebook.com page dedicated to Boone, friends mourned Boone’s passing.
“This is devastating. If anyone could have pulled through this, it would have been Leigh. I am so deeply, deeply sorry,” wrote Casey Radle from Austin.]]>
The Texas Department of Public Safety says the woman was killed Friday morning when her car got stuck on some railroad tracks near Cibolo (SEE’-boh-loh).
DPS Trooper Richard Salinas says the woman apparently did not hear the signal from the crossing arms as they went down or the horn sounded by the Union Pacific train.
DPS says the train hit the car, which struck the elderly victim, who had gotten out of her vehicle.
The 72-year-old Dallas resident was killed in a hit and run accident in Garland on I-635 near Centerville Road.
King may have looked like the rough and tumble biker, but his friends say he was a joker and a good friend.
“He’s what we call 24-hour friends. He was a friend at two in the morning or two in the afternoon,” said King’s friend Troy Duncan.
King and his biker buddies called themselves the “Keller’s Rat Pack,” only because they always gathered at Keller’s Hamburgers in East Dallas for Friday night burgers and beer.
King’s girlfriend of five years, Sandy Seibert, says King gave pointers on getting back behind the handle bars of a motorcycle.
“I lost my leg on my motorcycle in 2001 and he just gave me the confidence to be back on the bike again,” Seibert said. “He was a fantastic guy. What guy would want to go with a one-legged girl? You know? He was a true sport.” she added.
While King’s friend plan his memorial, Garland police are trying to find the driver responsible. Investigators say, they don’t have much to go on, all they can identify is that it was a dark colored car.
If you might have seen something, you can call Garland police at 972-272-8477.]]>