The largest portion of traffic safety funding from TxDOT is used for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) projects, which pay for overtime activities by local law enforcement to reduce the incidence of speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to use occupant restraint systems, and intersection traffic control violations. Organizations eligible for STEP funds include the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS), sheriff’s offices, constable’s offices and community police departments.
The Wichita Falls Police Department has finalized the 1st Quarter FY 2017 (October-December) TxDOT Comprehensive STEP Grant Stats:
Adult Seatbelt Citations – 113
Child Safety Seats – 2
Intersection Violations – 228
Speeding – 493
Other Violations – 165
Arrests – 2
Vehicles Impounded – 6
Hours Worked – 375
Miles Driven – 3,371
Rodney Tate – 34
On 01-18-17, at approx 5:40pm, a WFPD officer attempted to stop black Nissan Rogue for a traffic offense in the 3600 Blk of Maplewood. Once positioned behind the offender vehicle, the officer observed the driver, later identified as 34 year old Rodney Tate, looking at him through his rear view and driver’s side mirrors. Once the traffic light at Maplewood/Lawrence turned green and just before the officer activated his vehicle’s overhead emergency lights, Tate threw his hands up in the vehicle while looking at the officer through his mirror. With light’s activated, the officer attempted to stop the vehicle but Tate continued to drive south on Lawrence by-passing several safe places to stop. As Tate turned on to Callfield, the officer activated his siren to further signal for Tate to pull over. Tate continued driving on Callfield again by-passing several safe places to stop.
Tate finally stopped in the parking lot of 4114 Callfield, over 1 mile from where the officer initially tried to stop the vehicle. Upon stopping, Tate exited his vehicle and quickly approached the officer’s vehicle. The officer exited his vehicle and told Tate to return to his vehicle. Tate did not comply. Tate kicked off his shoes and clenched his fists and continued to approach the officer in a fighting stance. The officer, after taking several steps back to avoid a confrontation, told Tate to get on the ground but he still refused to comply. Instead, he took another step towards the officer. The officer continued to give verbal commands and when Tate continually refused to comply, the officer deployed his taser and was able to take Tate in to custody without further incident.
Tate was taken to taken to jail and charged with Evading Arrest and Resisting Arrest.
Michael Thomas White
On 01-16-17, at approx 2:10pm, WFPD officers stopped a maroon Chevrolet Impala after it failed to stop at the stop sign at Brook/Speedway. The driver was identified as 37 year old Michael Thomas White of Iowa Park. While officers were speaking to White, they could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Further investigation found White to be in possession numerous different types of pills, some in an envelope and others packaged in small clear plastic baggies. White also had 2 outstanding warrants out for his arrest. As a result of the stop, White was arrested and taken to jail on the following charges:
- Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 3 >=28 grams
- Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 3
- 2 County Warrants
Benjamin Fuentes – 27
Laci Brookshire – 27
On 01-11-17, at approx 2:32pm, WFPD patrol officers located a vehicle displaying stolen tags out of Big Spring, Texas. The stolen tags were confirmed and the vehicle was stopped in the 2200 blk of Talunar. Officers ran the VIN from the windshield and discovered that the vehicle was also stolen, but out of Clay County.
The driver of the vehicle, 27 year old Benjamin Fuentes, was arrested for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle and transported to jail. He also had a city warrant.
The passenger, 27 year old Laci Brookshire, was found to be in possession of a pair of brass knuckles. She was arrested on the charge of Prohibited Weapons. At the jail during the book-in procedure, jail staff found methamphetamine in her wallet. She was also charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1.
With possible snowfall in the forecast the Wichita Falls Police Department would like to remind drivers that winter weather can create unpredictable and dangerous driving conditions. Here are a few safe driving tips for winter weather road conditions.
- Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
- Maintain at least three times the normal following distance on snow or ice.
- Watch carefully for snow removal equipment and stay at least 200 feet behind snow plows.
- Use extra caution on bridges, ramps, overpasses and shaded areas as they tend to freeze first.
- If your vehicle starts to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid until you have regained traction. Then straighten your vehicle.
On 01-02-17, at approx 2:14am, officers observed a motorcycle travelling westbound on Maurine without any working tail lights. When officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop, the driver of the motorcycle started to slow but then looked back at them and accelerated away. After a short chase, the motorcycle came to a stop and the driver was identified as 28 year old Brandon Buras. Investigation revealed that the motorcycle that Buras was operating was stolen. Buras was arrested and booked in to the Wichita County Jail on the following charges:
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle
- Evading Arrest or Detention with 1 Prior Conviction
WFPD Crash Investigators need your help in locating a suspect vehicle involved in a fatality hit and run.
Last night at approximately 2128 hrs Officers responded to the 3900 block of Iowa Park Rd. There they found 31 year old Joseph Clark had been hit by a vehicle while in his wheelchair. Clark was transported to the hospital but passed away due to his injuries. The suspect vehicle, which is a Maroon 2007-2010 Dodge Charger, fled the scene. This suspect vehicle will have front end damage.
If you have any information about this hit and run or the suspect vehicle please contact the WFPD at 761-7792 or CrimeStoppers at 322-9888.
U.S. 287 North bound toward Vernon/Amarillo is closed due to road construction in the area. The closure begins in the area of Maurine Street. Drivers are advised to seek alternate routes. The closure will be for approximately the next 24 hours. Airport Drive is open as an alternate route around the construction zone. The South bound access road by Taco Bell/KFC is also currently open for traffic. Just a reminder that road construction crews and vehicles are in the area so be mindful of their presence and drive safely.