|Hundreds of peace officers, firefighters, friends pay last respects to trooper and son killed in Sunday crash|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
June 16, 2004 -- Hundreds of law enforcement, emergency responders and local residents packed Central Baptist Church Wednesday morning for the funeral service of State Trooper Stan Avery and his 11-year-old son Jake, who were among eight people killed in two wrecks on Interstate 30 Sunday night.
The Averys were traveling home with Grapevine firefighter Matt Ringler and his 11-year-old son, Chance, around 8:30 p.m. Sunday when an 18-wheeler rear-ended their vehicle. All four were killed as a result of the wreck, as was the driver of the tractor-trailer rig, William T. Ledford.
Texas Department of Public Safety sent a full honor guard from Austin, while representatives of the Sulphur Springs, Paris and Greenville Department of Public Safety offices also participated in the service. They were joined by Sulphur Springs Police Department, Hopkins County Sheriff's Office, Grapevine Police Department, local and out-of-town emergency responders, and many other dignitaries.
Numerous local officials, friends and families were also in attendance to pay their final respects to Stanley Wayne and Jacob Wayne Avery. A long procession of DPS and other law enforcement and emergency vehicles, followed by private vehicles, followed the family to Sulphur Springs City Cemetery following the 10 a.m. service.
Sulphur Springs Police Department and Hopkins County Sheriff's Office called in off-duty and reserve officers so that many officers could participate in the ceremony. Others were available to direct the procession which spanned several blocks from the church to the cemetery.
Police began shutting down the roads around the church and directing the mass of vehicles to local parking lots and ball fields shortly after 9 a.m.
Hopkins County Fire & Rescue, where Matt Ringler also worked, has been manned by firefighters from Grapevine, Bonham and other areas to allow local firefighters to grieve and to assist in coordinating arrangements for the two families, as well as to allow them to participate in funeral activities.
An equally large crowd of mourners is expected to attend the double funeral service for 33-year-old Matthew Lloyd Ringler and Douglas Intermediate School student Chance Tyler Ringler, which will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Central Baptist Church. The service will also include an honor guard composed of firefighters from Grapevine Fire Department, Hopkins County Fire & Rescue, Brinker Volunteer Fire Department, and other local fire departments that worked with Ringler. A procession of firefighting vehicles, including some from Grapevine and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, are expected to follow the family to Richland Cemetery in Brinker, where the father and son will be buried.
Avery was a "Trooper II" at the Greenville DPS, where he worked in the commercial vehicle inspection and enforcement unit. The 37-year-old state trooper was transferred from the Sulphur Springs DPS office to the Greenville office in September 2002.
He was originally from Paris, where he worked as a Lamar County deputy for two years. He then went to work for the Tactical Narcotics Team Task Force in Hopkins County, serving as an investigator for 6 years. He joined Texas DPS in October of 1998, graduating from the DPS Academy in April of 1999. Avery's first duty station was with Paris DPS, where he worked as a highway patrol trooper until September of 2000, when he transferred to Sulphur Springs. He was also noted to have attended Paris Junior College, according to Trooper Jean Steely with Tyler and Teela Mange with Austin DPS. He was also a member of the Texas State Troopers Association.
Avery was also a member of Central Baptist Church and coached his son Jake's Dixie Little League teams for six years.
Jake was a five -year baseball All-Star member and played on the state championship team in 2001. He most recently attended school at Douglas Intermediate in Sulphur Springs, and was noted to have received a perfect attendance certificate from first through fifth grades. He placed fourth in the fifth grade spelling bee.
He was also a member of Central Baptist Church, where he completed three Awanas programs.
The Sulphur Springs News-Telegram was not in attendance at the services inside Central Baptist Church, as the family asked that media and the press stay away to allow family and friends to grieve in private.