Henderson County man gets 10 years for crime spree

From the Henderson County D.A.'s Office:

ATHENS, TX. (KYTX) - An Athens man has learned the hard way that it's never a good idea to run from the police.

26-year-old Michael Darrel Wideman, was sentenced to ten years in prison by Judge Carter Tarrance on March 5, 2014. 

Wideman was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Danny Cox and Jenny Palmer of Scott McKee's District Attorney's Office.   

Mr. Wideman's troubles began in April of last year when Trooper Sam Nowell of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol attempted to pull Wideman over for a traffic violation. Wideman then sped up in an attempt to flee from Nowell. The ensuing high speed chase reached speeds of 115 to 120 miles per hour, as Nowell chased Wideman down F.M. 317, Loop 7, and finally down Prairieville Street in North Athens.

Once in North Athens, Wideman got out of his car and fled on foot. From there, he forced his way into a home on North Prairieville Street. After hiding out in the home, which was occupied by a mother and her young children who were awaken by the sound of Wideman forcing his way in, Wideman then attempted to hide from police in a nearby field.

A multi-agency man-hunt then ensued, with Trooper Nowell being assisted by the Athens Police Department and the Henderson County Sheriff's Office. About thirty minutes later, a body heat detector mounted atop an Athens Police patrol car detected somebody hiding in the woods. Wideman was located by Deputy Josh Rickman of the Sheriff's Office and, after a brief struggle, Wideman was taken into custody.

Wideman was charged with Evading in a Motor Vehicle, Evading on Foot with Prior Convictions, Driving While Intoxicated and Burglary of a Habitation. Wideman pled guilty and a punishment hearing was held in front of Judge Tarrance on March 5. At the hearing, Trooper Nowell testified and video from his patrol car of the high speed chase was shown to Judge Tarrance.

Additionally, the woman whose home Wideman broke into in his attempt to hide from police also testified. She told the court about hearing somebody force open her door, and ensuing fear as the Wideman hid out in her house while her three young children were home. 

District Attorney Scott praised the work of all the agencies involved and was thankful no one was serious injured in the crime spree.  "We were very fortunate that the Athens Police Department had the technology available to locate Wideman."   "I certainly want those that flee and hide from the police to know that the Henderson County law enforcement community is prepared and ready to track down fugitives.  Not only do we have the technology, we also have the resolve." 



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