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Jury declines to indict Texas City officer who caused crash that killed 72-year-old man, DA says

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LA MARQUE, Texas (KTRK) — A Texas City police officer who caused a crash that resulted in a man’s death and injuries to his daughter will not face criminal charges.

On Thursday, a Galveston County grand jury declined to indict Officer Joseph Waggoner.

“The more I think about it, the more angry I get. It’s disappointing,” Lois Weaver said. She is the daughter of George Arness, the 72-year-old father of five and grandfather of 22 who was hit and killed on March 18.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Texas City PD officer’s lights, sirens not operating when 72-year-old hit, investigators believe

“He shouldn’t have a job,” Weaver said.

Arness was turning left at FM 1764 and FM 2004 when Officer Waggoner crashed into him while driving a Texas City police cruiser. In March, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office told ABC13 that the officer had not activated his lights and sirens as he was heading to assist La Marque police on a call.

Weaver was hoping for justice, but with the grand jury decision, she said it was not coming.

“Speechless but not surprised,” she said. “The way I feel is my dad was a working-class man. He worked all his life. He retired. If this were somebody with money or notoriety, something would have happened. Because my dad was an average Joe, it was like, ‘Oh (it) sucks, he’s gone, but he’s not our problem.'”

Texas City police did not respond to ABC13’s request for comment or an update on Officer Waggoner’s duty status. According to a news release in March, he was placed on administrative duties after the crash.

ABC13’s attempts to reach Waggoner were not successful.

“He’s still getting paid. He still gets to go home to his family every day. My dad doesn’t,” Weaver said.

Arness was just 10 days shy of his 46th wedding anniversary. Weaver said his death has fractured her family, and Texas City’s lack of sympathy has left her bitter.

“They haven’t even offered an apology to my family. We had to do a GoFundMe to bury my father.”

A statement was sent out by the Galveston County Criminal District Attorney, Jack Roady, in response to the grand jury’s decision.

It reads in part:

On Thursday, Aug. 31, our office presented evidence to the grand jury regarding a motor vehicle collision involving Texas City Police Department Officer Joseph Waggoner that resulted in the death of George Arness and the injury of passenger Patricia Arness. The collision occurred on March 18 at the intersection of FM 1764 and FM 2004 in La Marque while Officer Waggoner was en route to assist La Marque Police Department officers with a crime in progress. The Texas City Police Department immediately asked the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office to investigate.

Two Chief Assistant District Attorneys and several Galveston County Sheriff’s Office detectives presented evidence and testimony to the grand jury for possible indictments. After deliberating on the evidence and testimony, the grand jury declined to indict Officer Waggoner.

For more on this story, follow Jessica Willey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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