Weatherford News

So long ‘16: Parker County eagerly awaits what’s ahead in 2017

Judge Craig Towson presided over the sentencing of Robert Morris in May. Before Towson sits a stack of medical records dealing with the harm Morris caused his six-month-old daughter.
Judge Craig Towson presided over the sentencing of Robert Morris in May. Before Towson sits a stack of medical records dealing with the harm Morris caused his six-month-old daughter. Weatherford Star-Telegram

Looking back at 2016, it wasn’t all bad. Parker County revealed - most of the time - its good side, through benevolent, philanthropic gestures good for all. But, still others were found turning to a dark places and behaving badly, leaving us to wonder, why?

January

Ricky Montgomery recognized for meritorious service

Parker County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ricky Montgomery was recognized for his exceptional meritorious service as a member of the Multi-Agency Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Task Force and Operation Wheel Alignment by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Montgomery was presented a certificate of joint commendation Tues., Jan. 5, for his contribution to the extensive investigation which led to the arrest and federal conviction of 73 Aryan Brotherhood of Texas leaders and gang members from 2009 to 2014.

Open Carry goes only so far in government buildings

Texas gun owners with a concealed handgun license have been able to openly carry in Parker County for a little more than two weeks now - and by all accounts - with little fanfare.

To make sure it stays that way, and as a matter of a little “county housekeeping,” the Parker County Commissioner’s approved an order relating to where firearms may be carried in Parker County governmental buildings - provided person(s) have a license to carry.

In a document presented to the commissioners on Jan. 11, Judge Mark Riley offered a couple of options handed down by the Texas Attorney General’s office providing guidance. They were suggestions in which firearms could be carried in buildings housing courts, and the “essential offices of the court,” and where they could not be carried.

Judge sentences Weatherford man to life in prison for 10th DWI

District Judge Craig Towson sentenced a Weatherford man who pled guilty to his 10th driving while intoxicated offense to life in prison.

“With a 0.303 blood alcohol test, you’re a second away from hurting someone really badly,” Towson told Ivy Ray Eberhardt, 62, as he announced his sentence. “Part of my job is to protect the citizens of Parker County, and the only way that I can think of to do that from somebody that has 12 DWI arrests and 10 DWI convictions is to put you in a place that you can’t drive for as long as I possibly can.”

February

Weatherford man sentenced to 40 years for felony DWI

With a jury waiting in the hall to hear his case, a 51 year old Weatherford man pled guilty to a felony driving while intoxicated charge, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Jonathan Joe Salazar was arrested by a Weatherford police office on January 23, 2015 after being pulled over for speeding and failing a series of field sobriety tests, according to Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who prosecuted the case. Before he completed the last test, he told the officers, “just take me to jail.”

After Salazar refused to provide a breath or blood test, officers obtained a search warrant. The blood sample that resulted showed that Salazar’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.19, over twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Make Education a Priority becomes a non-profit

In 2010, “Make Education a Priority” began as a local grassroots movement in Aledo. It took on a new status, announcing its transition to a nonprofit organization.

The announcement took place at the Aledo ISD Administration Building where the group shared their vision they called - Working Together for All Students in Public Education.

“Did you know that the value of education - its importance and why we must protect it - is described within our Texas Constitution in 13 words? It’s simple and to the point, yet powerful and time tested,” said Bobby Rigues, Founder and CEO of Make Education a Priority (MEaP).

Small plane crashes near Parker County Airport

The pilot of a small plane walked away uninjured after his Cessna skidded off the runway of the Parker County Airport and overturned, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported.

The plane stopped in a grassy area on the south frontage road of Interstate 20 north of the runway, DPS Trooper Richard Hunter wrote in an email.

The pilot, identified only as a 66-year-old Weatherford man, was trying to land at the airport at 2:39 p.m. He was the only occupant of the four-seat Cessna 182 Skylane II, Hunter said.

Weatherford police capture burglary suspect at Belk’s

Officers were dispatched to the Belk's Department Store in Weatherford, in reference to a burglary alarm at 4:56 a.m. Officer Jason Morrow was near the area arriving on scene less than one minute from the time the call was dispatched.

Morrow recovered numerous stolen items from the suspect he captured. Some of the recovered items included: Jewelry, cologne, designer sunglasses and watches. The total value of property stolen is still unknown, however it is estimated that several thousand dollars worth of merchandise was recovered with the capture of the one suspect.

The suspect, Adam Miguel Durante, a Fort Worth area resident, was taken into custody. Durante, 32, has been charged with Burglary of a Building, Evading Arrest and Detention and Tampering with Evidence.

Shooting leaves one dead in Parker County

A Parker County man was shot and fatally wounded after barricading himself in a Reno residence, then later emerging with a rifle and pointing it at law enforcement officers.

Reno police were called to the 100 block of West Reno Roadon a report that someone was shooting a gun from a home.

The home’s occupant, later identified as 32-year-old Ronnie Lee Padron, had barricaded himself inside the home and refused to come out, according to a news release by the Parker County Sheriff’s Office.

After officers used tear gas to try to end the standoff, Padron emerged from the back of the home carrying what appeared to be a long-barreled rifle. He was pointing the rifle and advancing on special operations group members who then fired upon him, Pope said. He said more than one law enforcement officer opened fire.

Padron was taken to Harris Methodist Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

March

Doss Heritage and Culture Center breaks ground on Pioneer Park

What began more than a decade ago for an outdoor log cabin exhibit is one step closer to becoming a reality on the grounds of the Doss Heritage and Culture Center.

“When I stop thinking about today - and start thinking about yesterday - and the way people lived when they moved here as pioneers...they had nothing,” said Dorothy Doss, namesake and board member emeritus. “They had to cut logs from their own property and put them together for a place to live. It’s wonderful that we can honor their memory and keep their handy work of the cabins in one place, preserving them.”

Longtime board member Ann Saunders said she was excited at the educational opportunities to be made available to children.

“It will be great, standing inside a real cabin, built in the 1800’s and know what it felt like," Saunders said. "I have so many feelings of gratitude in my heart for everyone who has helped make this a ‘pearl’ in Parker County’s history.”

WISD breaks ground on new Shirley Hall Middle School

With blue skies and gusty winds, Weatherford ISD broke ground on the new Shirley Hall Middle School in front of many community members, administrators, supporters and family of the school’s namesake.

"My aunt was a wonderful homemaker and mother but she was also a great aunt," niece Sherryl Brown said. "She made up her mind at a young age that she was going to make a difference and she found her niche in Weatherford...it was an extraordinary achievement."

WISD Board President Ashley Conlon shared with those gathered the career accolades of Hall, saying she was a 30-year school board member who was never above anyone around her.

"She was very accomplished but she was also one of us," Conlon said.

Wall denies Brock girls in 3A basketball final

Brock guards Trisha Jacobs and Rachel Harrell each made a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to rally the Eagles, but Wall held on for a 24-21 victory Saturday in the UIL Class 3A title game at the Alamodome.

Brock (34-5) had gone 0-for-10 on 3-pointers before Jacobs and Harrell connected. Harrell’s basket cut the Hawks’ lead to 20-19 with 1:00 left.

Wall (34-4) had made two of 12 free throws before senior forward Maddi Chitsey came through with two from the line that put the Hawks ahead 23-19 with 45 seconds left.

“I missed a lot early, we all missed a lot, but in the end we made them,” said Chitsey, who scored 10 points and added seven rebounds.

Wall’s 24 points were the fewest by a championship team in the 65-year history of the state tournament, eclipsing the previous low of 27 by Hamilton in 1952.

Home engulfed by flames following lightning strike

Following a pounding by Mother Nature the evening before, residents of Parker County were cleaning up when another round of storms wreaked havoc on one family.

The homeowners were preparing to investigate a water leak coming from the chimney but before they could access the roof, the home was struck by lightning, starting a fire.

The incident occurred not far from the community of Cool, which was struck by a suspected tornado the night before. The estimated value of the home is in excess of $300,000.

Possible tornado Monday night

On U.S. 180, west of Fort Worth and near Cool, several Oncor crews worked to the early morning hours to restore power after a series of severe thunderstorms, flash floods and a possible tornado damaged seven homes, closed a highway in northwestern Parker County and injured a horse so badly that it was put down.

Debris covered highways, trees were knocked over and a hay bale hit a car so hard that it was put out of service, Joel Kertok, Parker County’s emergency management coordinator, said.

Aledo’s Matt Tedder chosen on The Voice

Parker County is buzzing as one of its own advanced on the wildly popular musical competition, The Voice earlier this week.

Matt Tedder, a 2013 graduate from Aledo High School, was chosen by pop sensation Adam Levine during his blind audition for his Blues rendition, “Hooch Coochie Man.”

“It’s so humbling,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday speaking of this fan, friends and family supporting him back home. “I’m so grateful to all of those people, they mean so much to me.”

Ex-con killed in Fort Worth shootout liked to run from the law

Ed R. McIver went to great lengths to try and avoid being captured by the law.

He jumped into a pond. He scurried down a trap door in his house. He hid in the trunk of a car.

Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce, who is assigned to the West Patrol division, was wounded while pursuing a man evading arrest in far west Fort Worth.

But he was always caught. And eventually released. Then, over time, caught again.

After leading police on a car chase through far west Fort Worth, Ed R. McIver and his son dashed from their SUV into a wooded area, armed with two handguns and a rifle.

Fort Worth police officers chased the McIvers, and gunfire erupted.

Ed R. McIver, 42, was shot and killed by police, and officer Matt Pearce was critically wounded. McIver died of gunshot wounds to his head and torso, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

McIver’s son, Ed McIver Jr., 20, was captured three hours later after an intense manhunt in a semi-rural area west of Loop 820 West between Interstates 20 and 30.

Game warden: Weatherford student accidentally shot himself

The Weatherford teen killed in a hunting accident was leaving a wooden ground blind when his gun discharged and wounded him in the head, a Wise County game warden said.

Brennan Weikel, 17, was hunting feral hogs with three family members in western Wise County, close to the Jack County line, game warden Penny Nixon said.

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