By Nathan French
Dallam and Hartley County Sheriff’s Deputies and State Troopers responded to a hit-and-run with a train at a crossing off of Andy James Road. The locomotive conductor stated that he “saw the vehicle was blue, that it was a pickup, and had a single occupant wearing a black cowboy hat,” but could not provide further details for identifying due to limited sight from inside the train’s locomotive. The collision left remnants of the fleeing vehicle, and officers were able to ascertain that the vehicle was a Dodge pickup due to the damaged grill being left at the scene.
Further tips led to the location of the vehicle, which was left at M&S Body Shop, where the suspect allegedly told an M&S employee to “just be quiet
and not say anything.” The suspect then left the damaged Dodge pickup and fled on foot to his home, where he picked up another vehicle and returned to M&S. Officers were at M&S upon the suspect’s return. Upon questioning the suspect and performing a field sobriety test, the suspect was arrested by State Trooper Bullup and charged with two counts of DUI, one for driving intoxicated in the vehicle that struck the train and the second for driving intoxicated once more in another vehicle back to the body shop. He may also face charges relating to the actual hit-and-run incident.
The suspect was questioned extensively before arrest, and the suspect would neither admit
being intoxicated nor that the damaged pickup was his. He did state that he was at the tavern earlier in the afternoon and had “had a few.” Before returning to the vehicle at M&S, the suspect had picked up a friend who had accompanied him to the tavern earlier, but was not present at the accident scene. His friend was also arrested on scene at M&S and may be charged with Public Intoxication. The suspect had no visible injuries at the time of arrest, and it is believed he was the sole individual involved in the hit and run. The train’s engineer and conductor sustained no injuries, and the train was released and back en route Tuesday afternoon with no damage.