Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

"Attention All Officers, All Stations:

N. Ray Maxie

It was a late Sunday night in mid September, about 11:30, and my partner, Patrolman John Odom, said that he wasn't feeling well and asked me to drop him off at his house. He would go off duty for the day a little early. We had been working since one that afternoon and were due to terminate our shift at midnight. Believe me, I was ready to go home too. But just a few minutes after I dropped him off, there came a broadcast on my State Police radio. The broadcast came from our Texas DPS District Headquarters base radio station in Tyler, Texas. The radio broadcast said:

"Attention all officers, all stations; wanted for murder
by the Houston Police Department, occurring on Scott
Street at approximately 6:45 PM this date,
Elviron Monroe Lewis, Jr., bm, 5'10", weighing 185
pounds, and driving a blue and white 1958 Chevrolet
4-door sedan. Subject may be headed to relatives at
either of two locations--Lubbock, Texas, or Paris,

The broadcast gave the license plate number of the suspect's automobile and said that a small child, age five or six, might be riding with him. I quickly figured it's about a four and a half to five hour drive from here to Houston, and if this suspect is going to Paris tonight, then he will be traveling north on Highway 19 right here through Sulphur Springs. So he should be getting close to me right about now. "Maybe I can get this one tonight," I thought. "It has been a really quiet shift thus far."

As I was now patrolling alone late at night (which wasn't really a rare occurrence, but sometimes got a little scary), I had to move quickly if I was going to have a good chance of intercepting this murder suspect. I proceeded quickly out Highway 19, heading south out of town, crossing over I-30. As I drove south, I was looking at every license plate number that I met as my headlights reflected on each front plate. After traveling about a mile down Highway 19, the fourth car I met, a blue and white 1958 Chevrolet, reflected the license plate number that I was looking for. Eureka! That was it! The apprehension of a possibly armed felony suspect was eminent. My heart pumped faster. The adrenaline started to flow. CONSIDER ARMED AND DANGEROUS. I began to get seriously prepared.

I quickly swung my patrol car out onto the right shoulder and made a U-turn. Pulling up behind the suspect vehicle, I again confirmed the vehicle description and the license plate number. A hit for sure. I wanted a backup police unit in the vicinity real soon.

Highway 19 at that time turned into West Main Street into downtown Sulphur Springs. I slow-trailed the suspect until we entered the Sulphur Springs city limits. All the time, I was advising Tyler DPS radio and the Sulphur Springs Police Department radio that I had the suspect under surveillance. And I requested the SPPD to provide me a back-up police unit on West Main Street. Only a short distance west of the Courthouse Square and just past the SSPD building, I met their police car. At that time I turned on my flashing red lights and began pulling the suspect car over. He stopped and just in case he still had with him the high-powered rifle used in the murder, before getting out of my patrol car I secured my own heavy firepower. Along with the SSPD, we requested that the suspect exit his vehicle and put his hands on top of the car. He wisely offered no resistance. As was reported, the young child was in the car. There were no weapons in the car, and he advised us that he was headed to Paris, Texas. Upon searching his pockets, one 30-30-caliber carbine cartridge was found on him. They said he had gone to his place of employment, broke into his boss's office and took the 30-30 rifle. They said he committed the murder and took custody of HIS child. He then returned the rifle to his boss's office and left town. It seemed to be a typical domestic triangle. He said that this child was the only one that belonged to him.

This suspect was jailed at the Sulphur Springs Police Department until Houston officers arrived to take him back to Houston for formal charges. The child was placed with the local Children's Protective Service to be turned over to relatives later.

The next day was Monday, my regular day off. I went fishing on Lake Tawakoni down in Rain County. When I later told my partner what had happened after I let him out at home, he just replied, "I was really sleeping soundly."

A couple or three months later, I was required to travel to Houston to the Harris County Courthouse for this defendant's court proceedings on murder charges. The judge sentenced him to twenty-five years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

This case was an easy one.


N. RAY MAXIE, former Texas Highway Patrolman and Special Texas Ranger, native Texan, now retired, enjoys writing short stories from experiences as a youth in the Ark-La-Tex area, as well as career experiences on Texas highways.

© N. Ray Maxie

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012