NEW BOSTON, Texas: A DeSoto, Texas, man who shot another driver while traveling on Interstate 30 last year received a 15-year prison sentence Thursday from a Bowie County jury.
William Calvin Crunk, 64, must serve at least half his sentence before he can be considered for parole because of the use of a deadly weapon, prosecutors said. Crunk pleaded guilty but asked that a jury determine his punishment.
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said the state did not make Crunk a plea offer. Crunk’s defense attorney, Derric McFarland of Texarkana, asked the jury to sentence Crunk to probation. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is punishable by two to 20 years in prison but if sentenced to 10 years or less, a jury can recommend probation.
Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards argued in closing Wednesday that Crunk deserves time behind bars.
“An enormous volume of traffic passes through Bowie County on our interstate highway, and, as law abiding citizens, we simply cannot tolerate the kind of behavior–opening fire on another motorist–engaged in by William Crunk,” Crisp said.
Crunk’s victim, Forcie Wyrick, 57, testified he was returning to his home in Magnolia, Ark., after dropping his daughter at a Dallas airport when Crunk pulled up beside him and fired. Wyrick said he was in the left lane and Crunk in the right and that he had no idea why a man he’d never met would want to shoot him.
Wyrick said he wondered if Crunk was driving the highway shooting at motorists “and I just happened to be one of them.” Wyrick called 911 and reported Crunk’s location to dispatchers until law enforcement was able to fall in behind Crunk and stop him.
Wyrick was met by paramedics at a truck stop and transported to a Texarkana hospital for treatment. He suffered a wound to his left arm and rib cage. Members of law enforcement testified that Wyrick might have been fatally shot if the bullet had not been slowed by traveling through Wyrick’s car door.
Crunk testified he was traveling from his home in DeSoto to property in Ben Lomand, Ark., which his grandparents owned since he was a child. Crunk claimed Wyrick was trying to run him off the road and that he couldn’t call for help because his cell phone was dead.
Officers with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office; Nash, Texas, Police, Department and Hooks, Texas, Police Department stopped Crunk on the highway after Wyrick followed him for about 20 miles. Wyrick called 911 after being shot and relayed Crunk’s position using mile markers.
Wednesday the jury was placed in an evening recess by 102nd District Judge Bobby Lockhart. Thursday morning they returned to the courthouse to deliberate and sentenced Crunk to prison.
“The Bowie County District Attorney’s Office is thankful that the jury hearing this case sentenced Crunk to a 15-year term of imprisonment, rejecting his request for probation,” Crisp said. “This verdict demonstrates that the lives of our loved ones are too valuable to be placed in grave danger by aggression and rage.”