By Christin Coyne | email@example.com
While officials await a formal ruling on Dempsey Tagler Stice's cause of death, one thing is for certain – he was in the middle of several personal and professional legal issues, the outcomes of which could have ruined him financially.
The 42-year-old Weatherford man was also part of a continuing criminal investigation.
“The investigation is ongoing at this time,” Weatherford Police Chief Mike Manning said Thursday when asked about the nature of the investigation. “Because of aspects of the investigation, we cannot release anything at this point.”
Stice was found Jan. 14 dead in the cockpit of a Robinson R44 Raven II turbine helicopter north of Mineral Wells in far northwestern Parker County near Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Fort Wolters.
Weatherford police this week confirmed with the Index that Stice and his business are the subjects of a criminal investigation.
After a 15-hour hunt using a forensic radar specialist and area searches by ground and air following a report Jan. 13 of an overdue aircraft from the Weatherford area, searchers located the helicopter around 8:15 a.m. the following day. Stice was reportedly found slumped over in the pilot's seat of the helicopter which landed in a dry creek bottom. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
There was no evidence of a hard landing, Parker County officials said. No trauma was reportedly found on Stice's body and rulings by the Tarrant County Medical Examiners office on the manner and cause of Stice's death are pending lab studies.
Stice, who founded Stice Electric, Stice Construction and several other companies, was best known as president of Stice Enterprises at the time of his death. The business was the general contractor for many large construction projects in Parker County, including hotels, housing additions, churches, businesses and a medical center and bank.
A local church that had a two-year relationship with Stice Enterprises for a large renovation and construction project was among those who told the Index Stice performed a satisfactory job for them.
Stice Enterprises also recently donated work to the Grace House Pregnancy Center, according to an article in the Weatherford Democrat.
However, court records indicate Stice filed for bankruptcy last May and he and his business were facing several large lawsuits filed in recent years with the Parker County District Clerk's Office.
Stice originally filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in May but later changed it to chapter 11. Dozens of creditors were listed.
Two other lawsuits alleged Stice Enterprises owed them thousands of dollars for work, materials or services performed for the company.
Divorce filing records also indicate Stice's wife, Shauna Stice, claimed Stice owed her about $24,500, from the $11,000 per month spousal support ordered by the court, over a period of time between May 2009 and February 2010.
In addition to the allegations of money owed by Stice or his company, Stice was also facing another legal and financial battle.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed in Parker County in March alleges gross negligence and malice by Stice Enterprises and another defendant, EKTA Group, in the death of 38-year-old Rafael Soto in a construction accident July 13, 2009, during the construction of a hotel at 215 Alford Drive.
Soto reportedly fell about 25 feet to the ground from a lift bucket with an air conditioner that was being raised four stories and later died, leaving behind a wife and two children.
“The sky track or bucket was not the factory-specified bucket but instead the bucket was made out of metal at the direction of defendant Stice in order to save the cost of ordering a proper sky track that goes with the lift,” the suit alleges.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of violation of numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and regulations, failure to properly train or supervise workers, failure to maintain a safe work area, failure to provide hard hats or harnesses and failure to establish a safety program and requests a total of $30 million for funeral and medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, physical pain and suffering and other damages.
A call to Stice's attorney was not returned Thursday afternoon.
Weatherford man found dead in cockpit of high-dollar helicopter was facing a criminal investigation, multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit, bankruptcy proceedings and was in the middle of a divorce.
By Christin Coyne | firstname.lastname@example.org
- News Toppers
Man charged with drug possession, escape; police arrest man on burglary, burglary warrant charges
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Taylor Albin: Boss clown: Mineral Wells native living his dream performing with Ringling Bros.
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Zombies take over downtown: Filming began Wednesday for apocalyptic movie ‘Daylight’s End’
Thursday and Friday parts of downtown Mineral Wells will succumb to an invasion of plague-stricken, blood-thirsty marauders.Continued ...
Wild goose hunt?: Country club looking at other means of removing Canadian geese
A large flock of Canadian geese that have roosted at Holiday Hills Country Club might have management stuck like a duck.Continued ...
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- Local News
NRCS to conduct annual meeting Aug. 6 in Mineral Wells
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Palo Pinto County and the Palo Pinto Soil and Water Conservation District cordially invite the public to attend their 2014 Local Working Group meeting Aug. 6, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Weatherford teen dies following wreck near Brock
WEATHERFORD -- A 16-year-old Weatherford teen injured in a single-vehicle wreck near Brock last week died Tuesday afternoon at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.
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Perrin FFA members attend Texas FFA convention in FW
Members from the Perrin FFA chapter attended the 86th annual Texas FFA State Convention held July 14-18 in Fort Worth.
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- Local Sports
CCS Athletics Director and head football coach Bryan Horton announced Thursday morning that CCS would not field a varsity football team in 2014 due to a shortage of male athletes. It's a decision Horton said he regretfully saw coming since the school cancelled junior high football a few years ago. The Warriors will start up junior high football again this year with the hope of bringing varsity back by 2016.
No football for CCS in 2014
After a series of administrative meetings from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Community Christian School's head football coach and athletics director, Bryan Horton, announced that the Warriors' varsity team will not suit up for football in 2014 due to a shortage of student athletes.
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
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THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
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WC offers free college preparation through talent search grant
WEATHERFORD – Weatherford College is offering free college preparation through the Educational Talent Search Grant to the following schools: Bridgeport Middle School, Decatur Middle School, Jacksboro High School, Jacksboro Middle School, Tison Middle School, Mineral Wells High School, Mineral Wells Junior High, Santo High School, Santo Middle School, Hall Middle School, Springtown High School, Springtown Middle School, Weatherford High School and the Weatherford High School Ninth Grade Center.
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Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'
What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.
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PASTOR POPHIN: Jesus – the greatest joy of all
The first part of this week was a joyous one for me. I took 10 youth to Lake Mineral Wells State Park for three days of day camping. Camp Adventure was the name of the camp. We discovered the joy of the One who created us: Jesus.
RELIGION BRIEFS: VBS dates announced; Easters in concert
Sparks Spring Advent Christian and Perrin Community Christian announce upcoming Vacation Bible School dates, while Jeff and Sheri Easter concert in Jacksboro is Aug. 1.
PASTOR POPHIN: The joy of unity
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- PASTOR POPHIN: Jesus – the greatest joy of all