Campbell man charged with intoxication assault after crash

Dispatcher reprimanded after failing to relay reckless driver report

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram Staff

Sept 21, 2007 - A Campbell man was charged with intoxication assault following a crash south of Sulphur Springs Thursday that left a woman and one child with broken bones.

Donald Dee Wooten Jr., 38, of Campbell remained in the Hopkins County jail Friday morning in lieu of $10,000 bond on the third-degree felony charge of intoxication assault resulting in bodily injury, according to jail officials.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety reports, Wooten was the driver of a 1992 GMC pickup which collided with a van at about 6:30 p.m. on State Highway 154 south in front of Restlawn Cemetery.

DPS Trooper Joseph Hogue concluded that Wooten caused the accident, by driving on the wrong side of the road. Wooten had red, bloodshot eyes, and told the trooper he had been drinking beer and taken methadone, Hogue noted on arrest reports. Wooten failed field sobriety tests and was initially taken into custody for driving while intoxicated.

At least two victims, including a 29-year-old woman and a child in the van, were taken to the hospital. The woman complained at the time of left arm pain and the child of a laceration.

According to reports, the victims sustained broken bones, resulting in the intoxication assault charge which Wooten was booked into jail on at 8:26 p.m.

County emergency dispatchers were notified of the wreck by another motorist. Arbala and Hopkins County firefighters, four sheriff’s deputies, two ambulances and troopers were dispatched to the location, where debris was scattered all over the roadway. Sulphur Springs firefighters were also called to assist with traffic control due to the debris and wreckage.

Traffic had to be routed through the ditch to avoid the debris. 

In a related matter, a dispatcher at Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office was investigated by internal affairs following the wreck.

HCSO Communications Supervisor Ron Lowrie learned that the dispatcher had failed to inform deputies of a report of a reckless driver, a call believed to be related to Wooten’s truck, just minutes before the crash, according to Sheriff Butch Adams.

A motorist made the report less than five minutes before the wreck. The 911 call was taken at the Sulphur Springs Police Department. Dispatchers at SSPD then notified sheriff’s dispatchers that the reckless driver was on State Highway 154 south outside of Sulphur springs.

But deputies were never notified of the reckless driver, only of the wreck, according to Sheriff Adams

HCSO Communications Supervisor Ron Lowrie was notified, and he alerted the sheriff. Adams immediately ordered an investigation of the incident by internal affairs.

Late this morning, Lowrie reprimanded the dispatcher verbally and in writing, placing her on a “step discipline” program to ‘make sure she understood what she needs to do,” Lowrie said at noon today.

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