Investigation of ETX police & fire chiefs called off - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Investigation of ETX police & fire chiefs called off

Ronnie Fite. Ronnie Fite.

The investigation of 2 East Texas officials has been closed and no charges will be filed.

According to emails obtained by KLTV 7, the City of Whitehouse asked the Smith County District Attorney's office to drop the investigation against Whitehouse Police Chief Rick Waller.

But, the city asked Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham to continue the investigation against Whitehouse Fire Chief Ronny Fite.

"My thoughts are you can't close it against one person without closing it against the other," says Bingham.

The investigation came to light last month when we learned the Smith County Precinct 3 Constable's office and the Texas Rangers were looking into the alleged misuse-use of Whitehouse City gas pumps. The accusations said former Whitehouse City Manager Ronny Fite allowed current Whitehouse Police Chief Rick Waller to use city fuel in his personal vehicle.

Thursday, that investigation was called off.

"We were not pursuing this from the beginning and we told the district attorney's office in writing we had no interest in pursuing it," says Whitehouse City Manager Mike Peterson.

It's a request Bingham says he had no problem fulfilling.

"We have one Texas Ranger that investigates many things... capital murders, murders, sexual assaults, kidnappings... all over multiple counties. So he's taking time out of doing those cases to come down here and investigate this missing gas from a couple years ago. He's happy to do so. If I get a letter like this, saying the victim, or the complainant, the City of Whitehouse, based on new evidence, no longer want to pursue this investigation, I'm happy not to," says Bingham.

But, in an email Thursday afternoon Whitehouse Assistant City Manager Kevin Huckabee told Matt Bingham they did wish to pursue the investigation against Whitehouse Fire Chief Ronny Fite, unless he retires like Rick Waller. Waller's last day with the City of Whitehouse is Friday.

"I'm not going to let my office be used as a pawn by a victim to force someone into retirement with the threat of criminal prosecution," says Bingham.

He says he's done with the investigation and will not reopen the case.

"It's very frustrating because I'm tired of being a hall monitor to small town politics," he added.

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