Services scheduled for Falls County deputy killed in highway accident

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RIESEL, Texas (KBTX)- Services have been scheduled for Falls County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Jones who was killed Friday afternoon when a car struck him and Riesel police Chief Danny Krumnow while they were assisting a motorist whose car evidently slid off State Highway 6 just south of Riesel.

Public visitation will be from noon to 4 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday at Lake Shore Funeral Home at 5201 Steinbeck Bend Dr. in Waco.

A memorial service begins at 11 a.m. Friday at First Woodway Baptist Church at 101 North Ritchie Rd. in Woodway.

Burial follows at Gerald Cemetery at 3782 Bode Road near Elm Mott.

Jones, Falls County’s K-9 handler, had been with the sheriff’s office for four years.

"Mere words cannot express the loss we feel in our hearts," Falls County Sheriff Ricky Scaman said.

"We have lost a brother, a friend, a husband, and a servant of our community. And with that, we mourn."

The deputy's K-9 partner, Thor, was not injured during the wreck, Scaman said. The K-9 is now with Jones' family.

The Waco Police Department’s Peer Support Team visited with Jones’ wife Sunday evening.

“She asked us to pass along the following,” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

“She is so thankful for all the thoughts, and support that she has received. She wanted to thank everyone who has reached out to her and is very appreciative of what the community is doing.”

The 100 Club Heart of Texas, a nonprofit formed to help families of fallen first responders, is accepting donations.

“Our hearts are heavy for everyone involved. Our community has been shaken but has always proven to be strong and resilient when neighbors need one another. Our law enforcement are our protectors, and live amongst us as neighbors, as friends, and as family. We need to be their protector in a time like this”, said Heart of Texas 100 Club Executive Director Sandy Pechacek.

Krumnow was flown to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco in critical condition.

He was later flown to Scott and White Hospital in Temple, where he underwent surgery to remove his spleen.

He’s now in stable condition, Swanton said.

He also suffered a dislocated knee and eight to nine broken ribs, Swanton said.

"His family is with him and they thank everyone who has expressed their thoughts and concerns," Swanton said,

"The Krumnow family is heartbroken by Friday’s incident and their thoughts are also with the family of Deputy Matt Jones, his family, and the Falls County Sheriff's Office."

A procession of law enforcement officers escorted Jones' body to Mesquite.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office said an autopsy will be performed at American Forensics.

“This is a tragic situation for everybody,” said Department of Public Safety Sergeant Ryan Howard.

“It hits close to home,” Howard said. “I just lost a brother in the line of duty.”

Krumnow and Jones were assisting the driver just before 2 p.m. at State Highway 6 and County Road 109 south of Riesel when they were struck by a Mazda sedan that hydroplaned, Howard said.

The driver of the Mazda was also injured and was taken to a local hospital, Howard said, but he had no further details.

Brennen May, a nearby resident, heard the crash from his home.

"I heard tires screeching and ran outside," he said.

May also added that cars hydroplaning around that stretch or road is common.

"If it rains someone will have an accident every time it rains at least once or twice," May said.

All four lanes of the highway were closed for hours while police investigated the wreck.

All lanes were reopened shortly after 6 p.m.

More than 46 years has passed since the last time a Falls County deputy died in the line of duty.

On Aug. 21, 1973, Deputies Elbert Watkins and Dean Humphus were shot to death while trying to serve a commitment order.

But the deputy is the third Falls County law enforcement officer to die in the past four years.

Marlin police Chief Darrell Allen, who was shot and critically wounded during a struggle with a man on Nov. 1, 2015, while working security at a bar in Temple died Nov. 10, 2015 at Scott & White Hospital in Temple where he’d been in critical condition since the shooting.

Nathan Sodek, who was named Marlin’s police chief in October 2018, shot himself to death on Aug. 23 as Texas Rangers arrived at his home in Bruceville-Eddy to serve warrants charging sexual assault and official oppression.

The death of the deputy Friday was the first line-of-duty law enforcement death since November 2017 in Central Texas.

Senior DPS Trooper Thomas Nipper, 63, was killed on Nov. 4, 2017 when a pickup crashed into his patrol car during a traffic stop on Interstate 35 in Temple.

Trooper Damon Allen, 41, was shot to death on Nov. 23, 2017, after a traffic stop on Interstate 45 near Fairfield.

(John Carroll, Drake Lawson and Rissa Shaw contributed to this story)