A North Texas family and a church community are asking for the public’s help in finding the hit-and-run driver who caused the death of a beloved grandfather. The crash happened Friday at about 7:15 a.m. along U.S. 287 between Pioneer Parkway and Texas 114 in the Wise County community of Rhome. Rhome Police say Jerry.
According to Maria Guerrero,
A North Texas family and a church community are asking for the public’s help in finding the hit-and-run driver who caused the death of a beloved grandfather.
The crash happened Friday at about 7:15 a.m. along U.S. 287 between Pioneer Parkway and Texas 114 in the Wise County community of Rhome.
Rhome Police say Jerry Wayne Newton died after being run off the highway while riding his motorcycle by an aggressive driver captured on surveillance video.
“When [Newton] tried to get away from the truck, the truck would pursue him,” said Rhome Police Chief Eric Debus.
The back-and-forth dispute lasted for several miles until, Debus says, “When [Newton] tried to go around the left to the fast lane, for whatever reason [the pickup driver] veered left and pushed his motorcycle into the grassy median.”
Newton died at the crash scene.
The police department has released an image hoping the public will help lead to the driver responsible for the 55-year-old’s death.
Debus tells NBC 5 the suspect vehicle appears to be a grey Ford F-250 quad cab that was pulling a black trailer with what appears to be a water tank onboard.
Police are also looking for the driver of another pickup truck, black in color, also pulling a trailer with a yellow excavator that was seen following the suspect’s vehicle.
Detectives believe the two vehicles may have been traveling together.
They were last seen heading toward the city of Aurora.
The suspected hit-and-run driver could face manslaughter and felony failure to stop and render aid charges, said Debus.
The victim’s family is remembering Newton and what he stood for.
“He taught us to work hard. He loved his friends, his family,” said the victim’s eldest son Kody Newton. “[Dad was] funny. Strong-willed. He wasn’t scared of anything.”
The 34-year-old spoke with NBC 5 about his father at Aurora Baptist Church.
“He loved it here,” said Kody.
His burly biker dad with a kind heart, was steadfast in his faith and was a fixture at the church for over 15 years, even leading its security team.
“He’d be nearest to me when I was preaching and so I always felt protected,” said longtime pastor James “Jimmy” Whithers. “We’re going to miss his presence. He was always here, every time the doors were open, greeting people, loving on people.”
While the pastor says they must forgive, he is urging the suspect to turn himself in and admit what he did and face the consequence.
The tight-knit community is rallying around Newton’s family.
Newton was the main caregiver for his disabled wife, Paula. Kody says anytime his mom hears a motorcycle in the distance, she thinks it’s Newton.
“She just keeps thinking he’s going to come home,” he said.
The couple had three boys, ages 34, 32 and 27 and five grandkids.
Asked what Newton was like as a grandpa, Kody laughed and said: “Easier on them than he was on us, that’s for sure. He always said: I can spoil them and just leave them with you.”
Funeral services are set for Thursday at Aurora Baptist Church, according to family.
“What my mom wanted people to know, that even right after this happened, that my dad would’ve forgiven this guy,” said Kody with a sigh. “If anybody knows anything and for the person that did it, it would be easier for everybody if you would just come forward. We lost a dad, a grandpa.”
Anyone with information is urged to call the Rhome Police Department at 817-636-2400 or the Wise County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 940-627-5971.
The family has set up a fund at Legend Bank in Decatur and Alvord. Any donations should be made out to the benefit account in care of Jerry Newton.