Tool toddler’s death ruled homicide
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Following a two-month investigation, the medical examiner
notified authorities the death of a 2-year-old Tool toddler in May was
caused by blunt force trauma.
Authorities arrested 19-year-old Christopher Blane McFaul at a Bedford
location. McFaul remains in the Tarrant County jail awaiting transfer to
Henderson County, according to a press release from Lt. Pat McWilliams
of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office..
McFaul is charged with capital murder of a person under 6 years of age.
The toddler, Douglas Crickmore Jr., is the son of Crystal Crickmore.
Both resided with McFaul on County Road 2450 in Tool.
The child was discovered face down in his bed around 3 a.m. May 27. EMS
was summoned and the child was transported to Gun Barrel City, where he
was pronounced dead by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Dale Blaylock.
The medical examiner’s autopsy report was received by Henderson County
Judge Nancy Perryman, Henderson County Court at Law No. 2, issued an
arrest warrant July 30.
Lead investigator Deputy Kevin Hanes contacted the Tarrant County
Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Taskforce in Fort Worth and requested their
assistance in serving the warrant. McFaul was taken into custody without
SP grass fire
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
SEVEN POINTS–Firefighters from seven area departments and the Texas
Forest Service battled a fast-moving grass fire that threatened a number
of homes along Pritchett Lane north of downtown Seven Points Thursday
Seven Points VFD Fire Chief Mike Earnhart said the fire charred an
estimated 60 acres, with a goodly fraction – a third to a half of the
area – in deep woods.
“No residences were burned, just a couple of (storage) sheds and some
junk cars,” Earnhart said.
“We were actually on another fire call on (Farm-to-Market) 2613 with
Tool and Mabank (VFDs) when the call came in,” he added.
In addition to Seven Points, Tool and Mabank departments, volunteer
firefighters from Gun Barrel City, Trinidad, Kemp and Log Cabin also
responded to the scene.
With a strong south wind and temperatures in the low 100s, firefighters
concentrated on protecting residences from the fast-moving blaze and not
getting too overheated themselves.
Although flames crept very close to a couple of homes, there was no
reported damage. No injuries were reported among the firefighters.
Flames moved along an elongated path west of Pritchett Lane from a point
north of Jess Hinton Road to just south of County Line Road.
While Earnhart suspected the fire might have been started by someone
carelessly burning trash, he said he had not begun an investigation.
“I’m not for sure where it even started,” he added.
Shortly before 6 p.m., a Texas Forest Service chartered helicopter
arrived and began dumping water from nearby Cedar Creek Lake on a number
of smaller blazes deep in the woods.
The Forest Service also had a couple of bulldozers en route from
Palestine, Earnhart said.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Gun Barrel City Volunteer Fire Department firefighter Zach Kennedy
water over a burning lumber pile late Thursday north of Seven Points.
TxDoT crews take coring samples
from lake bottom for bridge supports
Monitor Staff Reports
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–Motorists who regularly cross Cedar Creek Lake on the
three State Highway 198 bridges between Gun Barrel City and Malakoff
know all about traffic delays.
However, the latest delays this past week were the first steps in
replacing three narrow bridges with new four-lane structures.
Traffic was shifted to one lane of the bridges while Texas Department of
Transportation (TxDoT) crews took core samples of the lake bottom, TxDoT
public information officer Larry Krantz reported.
Soil cores will be studied by engineers for future bridge supports,
“In particular, we’re wanting to pinpoint how deep we need to drill the
new shafts,” he said. “You can occasionally tell with the old plans what
was done, but a lot has changed since these bridges were built.”
Work to replace the Caney Creek bridge between Caney City and Malakoff
is scheduled to begin later this summer, most likely within the next 45
days, Krantz said Wednesday.
The Caney Creek bridge project is the only one of the three bridge
replacement projects that is already fully funded and has a contract
issued, Krantz said.
As planned, TxDoT will build a new two-lane bridge next to the existing
bridge, then shift traffic over to the new portion, tear down the old
bridge and finish building the other two lanes.
This will enable two-way traffic to continue during the scheduled
60-month (five years) project, Krantz said.
While most of the work will be done out of traffic, there will be some
occasional lane closures, he added.
The new bridges will arch higher over the water, allowing boaters more
room to go underneath. Plans call for at least 15 feet of clearance,
with 20 to 25 feet more likely.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Motorists heading south on State Highway 198 into Payne Springs await
the passage of northbound traffic Wednesday as Texas Department of
Transportation (TxDoT) crews take soil samples from the Cedar Creek Lake
bottom next to the bridge. The samples were taken in preparation for the
planned reconstruction of the bridge into a four-lane elevated
structure. All three SH 198 bridges across Cedar Creek Lake are
scheduled for reconstruction.