Truck driver didn’t know boy, 14, had been run over in south Fort Worth, police say

Posted Saturday, Aug. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Investigators believe a fracking wastewater truck fatally struck a teenage bike rider in far south Fort Worth in April and have concluded there is no evidence that the driver knew what happened, police reported this week.

Deston Bibbs, 14, died at 11:15 a.m. April 26 at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, the Tarrant County medical examiner reported.

Deston was hit while riding a bike about 9:20 p.m. April 25 at the intersection of Sycamore School and Crowley roads.

At first, detectives in the police traffic investigation unit did not know who struck the boy because the driver did not stop and no witnesses came forward.

But by about mid-May, based on video taken by a red-light camera at the intersection, they narrowed the possibilities to an 18-wheeler belonging to Cresson-based 3-Star Daylighting. In early June, a detective questioned the driver, police said in a document released Thursday.

“Based on the evidence obtained from this investigation,” the detective wrote, “I do not believe, nor can I prove the driver knew they were involved in an accident and thus, did not intentionally or knowingly leave the scene of the accident that resulted in the death of Mr. Deston Bibbs.”

Matt Barton, safety manager for 3-Star Daylighting, said the company would have no comment.

The findings were described in a “summary” released Thursday by police. The detective who wrote the summary was not identified.

The findings describe how police viewed video taken by security cameras at nearby businesses. But none showed the collision, though detectives got a break with video from a red-light camera.

“Several vehicles can be seen making the right turn without any pause or hesitation,” the detective said in the summary. “Approximately halfway through the video, an 18-wheeler (commonly referred to as a ‘salt water truck’) can be seen making the right turn to head southbound on South Crowley Road.”

About 40 seconds later, a woman can be seen parking her car to “investigate what she thought was a wheelchair left in the roadway,” the detective wrote.

“She soon realized that it was a young child and she immediately called 911 and attempted to get help from the nearby vehicles,” the detective said.

The finding seems to indicate that no one will face criminal charges in the teen’s death. Accident investigators could not be reached to answer questions Friday.

The Fort Worth chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a national civil rights group, publicly objected to the findings early Saturday morning.

“We believe the only way the driver could not have known he ran over a child on a bike was because he was not paying attention,” Rev. Kyev Tatum, the group’s president, said in a statement.

“Negligence is not an excuse to kill a child.”

The group wants the truck driver’s name and driving history to be released.

“We are left with more questions than answers. We are requesting an independent federal investigation,” Tatum said.

Chesapeake Energy has a gas well site in the 3600 block of Sycamore School Road. Investigators learned that it “was serviced that night by ‘3-Star Daylighting LP’ Trucking company.”

On May 21, the detective met with company officials in Cresson.

“Upon seeing the 18-wheeler, and comparing the tire tread marks left on the clothing of Mr. Bibbs, it was immediately apparent that the tire tread matched the clothing marks,” the detective wrote.

Investigators believe that Bibbs had been riding east through a field parallel to Sycamore School road. The truck, also eastbound, was in the far right lane preparing to turn south onto Crowley Road.

As the teen attempted to turn north onto Crowley Road, the truck was turning south, according to the summary.

Investigators believe the teen “entered the roadway from a position where the driver’s view would have been obstructed and most likely didn’t see him on his bicycle,” the detective wrote.

The truck hit Deston, “knocking him down and then driving over his body,” according to the detective.

On June 3, the summary stated, the detective questioned the driver who said he was “unaware” that he had hit anything and “provided a written statement stating as much.”

Deston was a seventh-grader at H.F. Stevens Middle School in Crowley, according to his obituary. His family could not be reached Friday.

Bill Miller, 817-390-7684 Twitter: @Bill_MillerST

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