ARLINGTON HEIGHTS FATAL ACCIDENT RESULTS IN MANHUNT

May 31, 2012 · Filed Under Crime, Events and News 

If you were home last Friday night and noticed all the police cars and helicopter in our neighborhood, here’s what we’ve been able to find out about one of the biggest dragnets in our neighborhood’s history.
 
On Friday May 25 about 8:30 p.m., James Dale Morgan was involved in a dispute in the 5200 block of Birchman Ave., near Merrick St. and Camp Bowie Blvd.  According to Channel 5/KXAS-TV, a police officer “attempted to stop a man suspected of spending a counterfeit $100 bill.”  When the officer tried to question him, the suspect got into the cab of his 18-wheeler.  The officer climbed up to the truck’s running board when “despite being ordered not to put the truck in gear, Morgan sped away, throwing the officer off the semi,” according to a Channel 4/KDFW-TV news report.
 
The officer was not seriously injured, but quickly called for back up as the semi truck without a trailer took off eastbound into our neighborhood.  Morgan was barreling down the alley in the 4600 block of Calmont Ave. when he t-boned a minivan that was traveling down Hulen St.  The collision rammed both vehicles into the garage at 4536 Calmont Ave.  
 
Aden and Traci Bubeck who live across the street from the crash site were at home and heard the impact.  “We’ve heard a lot of wrecks, but this one was different,” explains Aden.   “There was a thud to it.”  When Aden walked over to the accident, he saw how serious it was.  Ming Buen Bixler, a 58-year-old Haltom City woman, was dead and the other two minivan passengers were injured.  Nowhere to be found were Jim Barber or Janet Walsh who live in the house where the accident occurred, so Aden called them on their cell phone to tell them what was going on.
 
Meanwhile, Morgan jumped out of his truck and took off on foot, running east down the Calmont Ave. alley.  Within minutes, the south central part of the neighborhood was in perimeter lockdown with more squad cars than I’ve ever seen in my life.  I was walking my dogs just before 9:00 p.m. that night when I saw two police cars speeding down El Campo Ave., turning south on Tremont Ave., scrapping the bottoms of their cars in the dips.  Police were stationed in their cars at the end of the alleys, from Hulen to South Hi Mount Elementary. The police helicopter circled above for about thirty minutes.   It was quite an impressive display of the police force.  They were on the hunt for a white male in a white t-shirt with blood on his face.
 
Richard and Marion Kuhfal who live on the corner of Calmont and Western Ave. were watching the Rangers game on television with their son that evening.  About 9 p.m. they heard a knock on their back door.  It was two police officers who asked if they could search their house to look for a fugitive suspect.  The Kuhfals opened their house to them, but the police turned up nothing.  Richard walked with the police into his back yard that is fenced in chain link.  When they checked the two exterior garage doors, they found them locked, so they looked through the back windows of the garage, but saw nothing unusual.  They advised Mr. Kuhfal to stay inside and then left to keep checking house to house on both sides of the alley.  
 
“It was shocking,” says Marion.  “I’ve never seen so many police–there were police cars up and down Western.”
 
About fifteen minutes later, Richard remembered “that I hadn’t locked those garage doors.”  By that time, the police had already worked their way down to the next block, so he called 911 and asked the police to come back to his house.  “He was pretty sure the guy they were looking for was in our garage,” says Marion.   In less than a minute, two police officers were back and Richard, with garage remote control in hand, opened his garage.  The officers walked in between the two cars parked inside and found the 60 year-old suspect on the ground in front of one of the cars.  
 
“He was docile,” observed Richard.  “They picked him up by the arms, cuffed him and took him out to the street to search him.”  
 
James Dale Morgan of Aumsville, Oregon, was arrested on a charge of intoxication manslaughter, two counts of intoxication assault, and aggravated assault on a public servant.
 
The next day, the Kuhfals found blood on the fence where Morgan climbed over from the next yard over which happens to be where their son lives.  They also discovered three of their pots of cucumbers near the fence were knocked over.   Buster and Muffin, the Kuhfals’ two Yorkies, who are normally very alert didn’t hear a thing.  
 
Richard and Marion have lived in their house since 1970 and have not experienced a single incident except once in the early 1970s when a kid broke into the garage and stole a bicycle.
 
Were the Kuhfals scared that night?  “Not at all, because the police were so professional,” explains Richard.
 
“The wreck was horrible–it’s hard to believe that anyone survived it,” admits Marion.   “It just goes to show that anything can happen any time”.
 
Our sincere condolences go out to the Bixler family for this incredibly senseless tragedy.  
 
Many kudos to the Fort Worth Police Department for their quick and coordinated response to this calamitous evening.  It’s a tribute to their expert training and dedication to see how well they performed their emergency maneuvers.  And, they got their man.  
 
– by Christina Patoski

Comments

Comments are closed.