June 17, 2015 - Center firemen responded to a single-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 West Tuesday night, June 17, 2015 for one of their own.
According to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 10:30pm a 2015 black Dodge pickup truck driven by Wade Howell, 22 of Center and a volunteer fireman, was traveling west on SH 7 leaving Center. Howell reported seeing a ladder in the roadway and steered to the right to avoid it. The truck left the roadway and slid down the embankment into Huana Creek.
The water was over 4 feet deep in the area the truck entered covering the bed of the truck with only a small portion of it and roof of the cab above water. Howell reported no injuries and was sitting atop the truck when emergency responders arrived on scene.
The Center Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department and the Center Fire Department all responded to the scene. The fire department used spotlights to illuminate the dark creek area. Jason Burch with waders on entered the water to assist with removing equipment floating in the water. Burch and Howell then attached the tow cable to the pickup. Hughes Wrecker winched the pickup full of water from the swollen creek.
As an added concern an alligator was visible a short distance away from the truck and driver; however, he never ventured over to the crash scene and remained as only a spectator to the event.