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Odd accident leads to DWI arrest; two taken to hospital

By Matt Kelton
Pioneer Sentinel

DPS Troopers and a Clay County Deputy responded to an accident on Hwy. 79 Sunday night that caused no visible damage to either vehicle, but sent two to the hospital and resulted in the arrest of a Petrolia man for DWI and evading arrest.


James Allen Simmons, 65, of Petrolia is charged with driving while intoxicated, third offense, and evading arrest or detention. Bond was set at $5,000 for each charge.

The wreck occurred just east of Dean, near Watkins Road.

According to Trooper Chad Harden, a 2008 Chevy Uplander, driven by Katherine Murphy, 55, of Byers, was northbound on Hwy. 79 when the vehicle was struck from behind by a 1994 Chevy half-ton pickup driven by Simmons.

Harden said that Murphy accused Simmons of following her vehicle closely, and said his pickup had bumped the back of her vehicle several times as far back as the Wichita County line.

The trooper said there was no visible damage to the rear of the vehicle.

Murphy and a passenger, Heather Anderson, 30, of Burkburnett, were transported to a Wichita Falls hospital, reporting neck and back pain.

When Harden approached the pickup, Simmons pulled away, leading Harden, Trooper  Bryce Blake and Clay County Deputy Kirk Horton in a low-speed chase for approximately 2.2 miles.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Simmons failed a field sobriety test, and was taken to Clay County Memorial Hospital for a mandatory blood test. Simmons has three DWI convictions.

The accident was reported at about 6:45 p.m.


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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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