Arrest Tonight In Alleged East Texas Dragging

A Hopkins County man is in jail tonight, accused of dragging another man outside a local hotel.
24 year old Judson Weaver is charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police say early this morning, Weaver got into an altercation with 26 year old Chris Wright, seen here, outside the Days Inn in Sulphur springs. Officers say it escalated when Weaver drove off, reportedly with Wright's arm still in the truck.

Community leaders and family say the incident was racially motivated.

Family and friends waited at ETMC Hospital this morning for Chris Wright to get out of surgery.

"After I saw his face this morning, where he had been dragged, it seemed as if he had torn half of his face off," said Sigmond Wright, Chris' Father. Chris' girlfriend who did not want to be identified says Chris was attacked for no reason. She says she and Chris had just left the bar at Days Inn, when a man in his truck pulled up and started yelling at Chris. That's when Chris' girlfriend says the man grabbed Chris' arm and took off.

"He ran into the median," said Chris' girlfriend. "When he did, Chris got free and fell and bounced and skidded." Chris' girlfriend and family say they believe because Chris and his girlfriend are in an interracial relationship, race was a factor.

"We always had to deal with that, like we wouldn't go places because we didn't want any attention drawn," said Chris' girlfriend. Outside the courthouse in Sulphur Springs, community leaders and local law enforcement said they will get to the bottom of what happened.

"It appears as though this is a racial motivated innocent," said Lovelle Hendricks, President of the Hopkins County NAACP. "The NAACP is going to work with the DA's office, to see that this particular crime is enhanced as a hate crime. That's where we stand on this case."

"We are investigating that fully," said Hopkins County District Attorney Martin Braddy. "We have not at this time been able to determine with clarity as to exactly what the motivations were. There are some definite issues we are checking out." Until they finish talking to everyone involved in Wednesday morning's innocent, authorities say they won't know the true motivation. Chris' family and friends say they just want to see something done, and soon.

"His face is pretty much destroyed," said Sigmond Wright. "I know plastic surgery is only going to do so much, but it is going to give him a complex the rest of this life because of some stupid incident that somebody else caused."

The District Attorney's Office says Weaver turned himself in this afternoon for questioning. His attorney told the Associated Press tonight that "no crime was committed."

Molly Reuter, reporting.