FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A neighbor’s hunch helped police find a suspect involved in a series of car crashes in Fort Worth, that left one woman dead and two more injured.
Late Friday night, police tried to detain 61-year-old James Dale Morgan. Investigators say they were flagged down by an employee at Terry’s Food Mart, after Morgan allegedly tried to use a counterfeit bill. The officer responding tried to stop Morgan from leaving the scene but police say Morgan took off in his freightliner truck instead.
According to a police report, Officer T. Shelton climbed on the running board of Morgan’s truck and ordered him to stop. Morgan continued driving while Shelton held on until the officer was thrown off the vehicle when Morgan hit a parked car.
Morgan drove about five blocks through an alley between Birchman and Calmont Avenue, according to the police report, before he struck an SUV that was carrying 3 people.
One of the passengers, 58-year-old Ming-Yueh Bixler died in the crash. Her husband, 61-year-old Glenn Bixler remains hospitalized in fair condition and a third passenger, 39-year-old David Sedore is in good condition.
Neighbors of the couple were stunned to hear the news.
“Just a very sweet lady that would enjoy talking to. It’s just really hard that we lost someone like this,” said Belinda Olson, a neighbor of the Bixler family.
After that crash, Morgan crashed into the detached garage of a nearby home.
Witnesses said they saw Morgan climb out of the passenger side of his truck covered in blood. He then fled the scene.
Police continued their search for the suspect in the neighborhood.
“They come in and searched the house,” said Richard Kuhfal, who has lived in his home for more than 40 years. “They went outside and walked around the garage and checked the doors around the garage and they were all locked and then they left.”
Kuhfal had not performed his nightly routine of checking all the doors and locking them before bed.
“I thought well there’s something fishy because the doors are locked,” Kuhfal said.
Every night, Kuhfal locks only the deadbolt on the side door to his garage but that night, the doorknob was locked.
Kuhfal knew it could only be locked from the inside, and called police.
“I got the garage opener out of my car and opened the garage door and when they went in – I got a little MGA in there – and they found him hiding, he was laying on the floor hiding behind it,” Kuhfal said.
Morgan was arrested without incident. He faces several charges including intoxication manslaughter, two counts of intoxication assault and aggravated assault on a public servant.
Kuhfal said he’s glad he could help.
“Thank goodness because he probably would have gotten away,” he said.