Trinity County Sheriff: Arrest made in connection with wreck that seriously injured deputy

Trinity County Sheriff: Arrest made in connection with wreck that seriously injured deputy
TCSO Deputy Justin Cowart's vehicle is loaded onto a wrecker. Cowart is recuperating after two surgeries. (Source: Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace Facebook page)

TRINITY COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - An arrest has been made in connection with the Dec. 4 crash that seriously injured Trinity County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Cowart, who had been on his way to a major crash on State Highway 94.

Sheriff Woody Wallace announced the arrest on his Facebook page on Friday.

“An arrest has been made in connection with the crash that seriously injured Deputy Cowart,” Wallace said in the post. “The investigation was initiated after the sheriff received information that someone was claiming that they knew how to kill a cop and not get caught.”

Because the incident involved a TCSO deputy, Wallace asked the Texas Rangers to investigate, and the investigation is still ongoing.

“There may be other arrests as well,” Wallace said in the Facebook post. “More information will be released at a later time.”

On the night of Dec. 4, 2020, Cowart was other TCSO deputies and first responders that were dispatched out to a major car crash on Highway 94 and the Trinity/Angelina county line. While he was responding Cowart crashed into the woods and was seriously injured.

“DPS was called to do an initial crash investigation and were unable to find the exact cause of why Cowart left the roadway,” Wallace said in his post. “Cowart was able to tell other officers at the crash that he saw animals of some kind in the roadway but was unsure what he hit or caused him to crash.”

However, Texas Department of Public Safety investigators retrieved the dashcam video from Cowart’s patrol unit on Tuesday, Wallace said in a previous Facebook post.

The video showed that when Cowart made a minor evasive move to avoid hitting a dog that was running out into the road, he ran over a solid steel Ranch Hand bumper, and it caused him to lose control of his patrol unit. At that point, the deputy went off the road and hit several trees about 3.5 miles outside of Groveton on Highway 94 East,

Wallace said the bumper has been recovered as evidence.

Pictured is the steel Ranch Hand bumper that caused Trinity County deputy Justin Cowart to lose control of his patrol unit. (Source: Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace Facebook page)
Pictured is the steel Ranch Hand bumper that caused Trinity County deputy Justin Cowart to lose control of his patrol unit. (Source: Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace Facebook page) (Source: Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace Facebook page)

The sheriff posted a small clip from the deputy’s dashcam video on his Facebook page. He also posted stills from the video footage in the comments under his post.

“You can see what appears to be a white vehicle on the right,” Wallace said in his post. “While they are not a suspect for anything, we would like to know who was driving that vehicle that night, to see what they know, if anything, about the bumper. We would also like to know who the bumper belongs to.”

Anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation is urged to call Wallace or Chief Deputy Tommy Park. The number for the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is (936) 642-1424.

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