Five people perished in the March 24, Sunday morning head-on collision on SH 34 in Bardwell, including Michael Spurgeon, Sr., the Police Chief in Bardwell, his adult son, along with two children and their father in another vehicle. The investigation remains open, though some details have surfaced.
The Ennis News edition on July 24 reported on the crash report and included the diagram by police of the sequence of events. Copies remain available.
Texas Department of State Health Services released the death certificate of Spurgeon, Sr., who was 67. An autopsy was performed and was used in completing the cause of death listed on the Vital Statistics certificate. The autopsy has not been made available to The Ennis News, though it reportedly doesn’t reflect any presence of drugs or alcohol in the occupants.
Spurgeon’s record states he experienced blunt force injuries to the head, trunk and extremities that resulted in his death “on impact.” It added the accident occurred on the side of the road, indicating he was attempting to evade direct, head-on impact.
His manner of death listed was noted as homicide.
Ennis Police Chief John Erisman, however, explained the listing. “It is not the same thing as criminal homicide,” he said. “It only means his death was caused by the actions of someone else, the driver of the other vehicle.”
Whether it was criminal actions would have to be determined in the complete investigation or in court.
The certificate only lists his death was not his own doing. It could be found the wreck was simply an accident with no intent to bring harm to others.
Spurgeon and his son, Michael Spurgeon, Jr. (40), a volunteer firefighter in Bardwell, were driving a 2010 black and white Ford Crown Victoria. Jose Chuy Munoz (31) and his two children, ages 8 and 5, all of Ennis, were in a 2012 white Dodge Ram 1500 pickup.
A Texas Peace Officers Report, obtained by The Ennis News from the Texas Department of Transportation, stated Munoz was attempting to pass his wife when the crash occurred.