Family fight sends one man to Tyler hospital
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

April 4, 2005 -- A verbal altercation at County Road 1176 residence escalated late Sunday night, ultimately resulting in the resident using a baseball bat in order to escape, according to sheriff's reports.

Ivan Wright remained in a Tyler hospital Monday morning, where he was being treated for a severe brain injury which could result in permanent damage but was not believed to be life-threatening. He faces misdemeanor charges for first assaulting his nephew, while Jimmy Johnson faces felony aggravated assault charges for striking his uncle in the head just above his left ear with a baseball bat, Hopkins County Chief Sheriff's Investigator Andy Chester said Monday.

"This was mutual combat between two family members," Chester said. "We will be filing cases with both the county attorney's office and the district attorney's office, a misdemeanor case with Johnson the victim and with the DA with Wright as the victim. The main question in this case is going to be the amount of force used, whether it was necessary or not. Due to Wright's intoxicated state and medical condition we have not had an opportunity to attain an official statement from him. I anticipate making a trip to Tyler to talk to him either this afternoon or tomorrow at the earliest."

Deputies first became aware of the family violence disturbance and subsequent assaults at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday, after one of the parties left the CR 1176 residence to call 911 and obtain help for the head injury. After briefly speaking with the man, they went to the scene where the nephew admitted to striking his drunken uncle after the other man assaulted him, then prevented him from walking away from the situation.

Officials said, based on the information received from Johnson, the incident began when Wright arrived at Johnson's CR 1176 residence Sunday night, "slightly intoxicated." Wright then allegedly initiated an argument with his uncle, resulting in a verbal altercation. The situation escalated when Wright struck Johnson in the face, causing his right eye to swell. Johnson told police that he then attempted to walk away from Wright to avoid further violence, but Wright at least twice attempted to cut off his exit route, preventing him from leaving.

Wright grabbed at Johnson trying to hold him, at which time Johnson grabbed a bat located in the nearby proximity. Johnson swung the bat, striking Wright on the left side of his head just above his ear.

Johnson left the scene and made contact with deputies. Wright was taken to the emergency room at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital. He was later transferred to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler for treatment due to the extent of injury, Chester said. While the impact with the bat did not cause a large area of injury, it was thought to be severe enough to have resulted in possible permanent brain injury. According to HCMH emergency room personnel, Wright skull appeared to have been cracked at the point of impact, according to Chester.

Johnson refused medical treatment a the scene. Assault charges against both parties are still pending.

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