Civil rights group outraged over findings in bike death inquiry

Posted Sunday, Aug. 04, 2013  Print Reprints

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A Fort Worth civil rights group says it is outraged that the police found no wrongdoing by the driver of a fracking wastewater truck, which in April ran over a 14-year-old bicyclist, Deston Bibbs, killing him.

The police concluded there was no evidence that the driver knew what happened when his 18-wheeler fatally crushed the youth in southwest Fort Worth. The driver was identified as an employee of 3-Star Daylighting LP, which was under contract with Chesapeake Energy, the operator of a well site near where the accident occurred.

Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the group plans to petition the state to further look into the case.

“To say he didn’t know he ran over Deston is unacceptable,” Tatum said. “ He didn’t just hit him and knock him out of the way, he ran over him.”

Tatum says the community is still hurting over this youth’s death and has the right to see full reports and videos.

Citing the Bibbs case and a recent internal investigation of black officers called by Chief Jeff Halstead, Tatum says the African-American community has lost confidence in the department.

“We believe the Fort Worth Police Department is tainted — so much that we don’t believe they will give a fair and impartial investigation into this case,” he said.

Officer Sharron Neal, a police spokeswoman, declined comment on Tatum’s assertions. Neal confirmed that police have completed the investigation and turned all evidence in the case over to the district attorney’s office.

Neal said every offense has elements that have to be met in order for a person to be charged with a crime.

Police earlier said Bibbs at 9:20 p.m. entered the intersection of Sycamore School and Crowley roads from a field at an angle that would not have made the cyclist visible to the trucker.

“The detective worked tirelessly in bringing this investigation to a close to find out who was responsible for this tragic accident and bring some type of closure to the family,” the spokeswoman said. “He kept the family abreast the whole way through.”

Tatum is also upset with Chesapeake Energy and said the company should have apologized to the community or at least given a public statement.

“They have not made one public comment,” the clergyman said. “This has made an impact on the community. I think they have a responsibility to reach out to us.”

A Chesapeake spokeswoman, Leah M. King, declined to comment when contacted Saturday.

Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1