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TPWD News Release — Dec. 17, 2008

Reward Now $3,000 For Suspect In Game Warden Dragging Incident

AUSTIN, Texas — The reward has been increased to $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a fugitive who allegedly dragged a Texas game warden along the roadside Dec. 4 following a traffic stop in Southeast Texas.

At approximately 9:20 p.m. that Thursday, Game Warden Ellis Powell, 37, was seriously injured when he became trapped between the doors of a fleeing extended cab pickup and dragged along the roadside. Powell and a City of Newton police officer on patrol together made a routine traffic stop of a red 2001 Chevrolet extended cab pickup, which has since been recovered.

Authorities are still searching for the truck’s driver, James William Woods, Jr., 23, of Newton County, who fled the scene on foot. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on charges of aggravated assault on a public servant, a first-degree felony.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to immediately contact the Operation Game Thief reward hotline at (800) 792-GAME (4263). Callers may remain anonymous.

Various organizations are now offering rewards totaling $3,000 in the case. Callers may be eligible for up to a $1, 000 cash reward from Operation Game Thief, $1,000 from Beaumont CrimeStoppers, $500 from the Newton County Sheriffs Office, and $500 from the U.S. Marshalls Service if the information furnished leads to the suspect’s arrest and conviction.

Operation Game Thief is Texas’ wildlife crime-stoppers program, a function of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Law Enforcement Division. OGT offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals who violate the state’s game and fish laws. Since its inception in 1981, calls to the OGT Reward Hotline have resulted in more than $1 million in assessed fines, and rewards totaling more than $220,000 paid to the citizens who made OGT calls.

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