Caller faces charges following false accident report Sunday

A Sunday morning emergency call—reporting a four-vehicle pileup on US 60—was a spoof, according to Hemphill County Sheriff Nathan Lewis. Today, the as-yet unidentified caller is facing Class A misdemeanor charges for filing a false report, causing emergency action.

HCSO dispatchers received a report around 9 am Sunday morning that four vehicles had somehow collided about 2 miles south of Glazier on US 60. The caller said there were flames and multiple injuries. “We need ‘em now!” was the message to dispatchers—and the response was immediate.

The sirens sounded, as local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS all responded. Unable to locate the accident, they fanned out, searching both north and south of Glazier for miles, and checking side roads off of US 60 near Glazier. Believing the caller may have been confused, searchers called in assistance from Roberts County, asking for help checking US 60 south towards Miami. No accident was found.

After about 30 minutes of searching, Sheriff Nathan Lewis advised that the call coincided with a traffic stop, in which his officer suspected narcotics were onboard. The report may have been a spoof, Lewis said, intended as a diversionary tactic.

It worked. A four-vehicle accident took immediate priority, and the deputy conducting the traffic stop also responded to the call. When the hoax became obvious, the vehicle identification and other information was relayed to area law enforcement officials, with a request to stop the vehicle.

Lewis reported this week that his office had eliminated the driver as a suspect in the hoax call, but that they were determined to track the caller down.

“We have not identified the number yet,” he said on Monday morning, “but we are getting a court order for the dump of the cellphone number. This will tell us everything about the phone and the person associated with the phone. We will charge them.”

It was also a lesson learned, said Sheriff Lewis, who promised that, should similar circumstances occur again, the deputy will stay in place, and all other officers available will be dispatched. At Lewis’ request, The Record has posted a recording of the 911 call online here, in the hope that the public can help identify the suspect. If you can identify the caller’s voice, please contact Hemphill County Crime Stoppers at 806.323.5326. You will be eligible for a reward up to $1,000. Your identity will remain confidential.

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