All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Johnny Rodriguez at the Lumberyard Friday

Johnny Rodriguez
Country music great Johnny Rodriguez, who drew a large crowd the last time he was Roscoe, returns for an encore performance Friday night.

His former number one hits on the country chart include “You Always Come Back to Hurting Me,” “Ridin’ My Thumb to Mexico,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “I Just Can’t Get Her Out of My Mind,” “Just Get Up and Close the Door,” and “Love Put a Song in My Heart.”  

He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and has been honored by three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. He played at George H.W. Bush's inaugural ball.

Over a long career, he has released many albums, the most recent being Johnny Rodriguez: Live from Texas.

He will take the stage about 9:30. For reservations and more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



This week the first of four great Roscoe football teams will be featured as a lead-in to the 2018 Plowboy football season. I refer to it as the 1922 team instead of the 1922 Plowboys because Roscoe’s teams didn’t get that name until 1924 or 1925.

Line: Wade Forester, Mike Risinger, Grady Sloan, Roy Clayton, Ernest Duncan, Gilmer Williams, Marvin Leech. Backfield: Schley Copeland, Jack Johnson, Cecil Smith, Sam Fitzhugh. Coach: M. L. H. Baze. (Click photo to enlarge.)
Don’t let the uniforms, helmets, and Model T Fords in the above photo fool you. The 1922 team was a powerhouse for a school its size. It was chosen to lead off this series for its record of 8-1 and strength of schedule.

Playing in an era before organized playoffs or divisions into classes according to school size, they mixed it up with teams of much larger schools, particularly Sweetwater and Big Spring, and to a lesser extent, Midland. Roscoe’s 1920 population was around 1000 (the 1920 census count was by county precinct for smaller towns), while Sweetwater’s was 4307 and Big Spring’s 4273, both four times Roscoe’s, and Midland’s about 2,000, twice Roscoe’s size.

The team’s only loss was to Big Spring, which also had a good team that year, going 6-2 with losses only to San Angelo Central (6-1-2) and state finalist Abilene (8-1).

Roscoe opened its season by blanking Sweetwater twice, 7-0 the first time and 25-0 the second. They then downed Midland 27-25, the Roscoe Town Team 14-0, and Clyde 25-0 before falling to Big Spring 18-12 for their only loss of the season. They then won their last three games, defeating Hamlin 26-0, Merkel 20-0, and the ACC Reserves 26-17.

It is not known how many went on to play college ball, but running back Sam Fitzhugh was one of the Roscoe players who later starred at Tarleton and were responsible for Roscoe High adopting the team name of Plowboys a couple of years later.

A substitute on the team was Tonto Coleman, who went on to letter in three sports at ACC and later became its head coach from 1942-49. From there he became an assistant coach at Florida (1950-52) and the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech (1952-65) before becoming the Commissioner of the SEC (Southeastern Conference) from 1965-72.

The team was coached by M. L. H. Baze, who was also the school’s superintendent. 

This is team photo for the 1922 team. It has been cut out, and Coach Baze seems to have lost his head. Second from the left sitting is Tonto Coleman, who went on to become the Commissioner of the SEC. (Click to enlarge.)

The only article I’ve been able to locate about the team was this one, which appeared in the Roscoe Times on December 1, 1922:


Roscoe high school closed its season in glorious fashion Thanksgiving Day by defeating the Abilene Christian College reserves on the Roscoe field 26 to 17.

The game furnished several thrills that kept the crowd in a high pitch of excitement. A.C.C. outplayed Roscoe in the first half and were leading 17 to 13 at the half. But during the second half, it was a different story. Behind perfect interference, Sam Fitzhugh made several long runs, and Jack Johnson and Schley Copeland played the game of their lives. The generalship of Cecil Smith would have done credit to any college player and the entire line played a great game against their much heavier college opponents. Just to show they weren’t tired out, the Roscoe lads played Snyder a basketball game Thanksgiving night, and also won over them.

For the season, Roscoe won 8 of 9 games and scored 179 points to their opponents’ 60. Only three opponents scored on them, and only one, Big Spring, was able to win, that by 18-12.

Next week: The 1945 Plowboys


The flags at school were flying with winds from the east yesterday.
It’s been hot, really hot, this past week. Starting with last Tuesday, Roscoe had seven triple-digit days with highs of 101°F, 103°, 107°, 106°, 106°, 109°, and 101° in that order. The hottest day was Sunday’s 109°, which was also the hottest day of the year so far. The lows ranged from 75° to 79° on those days.

Then on Monday afternoon, a norther blew in with strong, gusty winds and cooled things down, resulting in a low yesterday morning of only 70°, which felt downright cool. Yesterday’s high of 96°, which under other circumstances might seem blazing, seemed nice after all the excessive heat of the preceding days.

It could have been worse, I guess. I had to go to Houston over the weekend, and when I returned on Monday, the weather in Waco and surrounding area was 111°, and I was told it had been 114° the day before.

The forecast is for cooler weather but not by much. None of the days are predicted to be 100° or more, but there are a couple of 99°s and a 98°. Today’s high should be 99°, tomorrow’s 97°, and Friday’s 94°. Saturday’s 99°, and Sunday’s 98°. Lows will be in the mid-seventies, and no rain is in the forecast until next Monday with a 30% chance and Tuesday with 60%.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Victor Muñoz Killed in Pickup Rollover

Jessie Victor Muñoz, 43, of Roscoe was killed Saturday evening about 8pm in a one-vehicle accident on old Highway 80 (now CR 274) about two miles east of Roscoe.
According to a DPS report, he was traveling west when he lost control of his 2003 Dodge pickup, went into a side skid, rolled over, and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

He was wearing his seatbelt when the wreck occurred. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.



The Plowboy football team is looking for a game to complete its fall football schedule after Roby was dropped from District 7-2A-II for lack of varsity players. The drawings for district game dates had to be redone, and the other district teams are also scrambling to find another game with the 2018 season fast approaching.

Roscoe is in a particular bind because their schedule as it now stands has two consecutive open dates in the middle of the season. So far, they’ve had no luck in finding another team to play, but Coach Jake Freeman is actively looking.

District 7-2A-II will now have only six teams instead of the seven originally assigned in the new district alignments. Besides Roscoe, the other teams are Albany, Hamlin, Cross Plains, Haskell, and Baird.
Roby still wants to keep its Junior Varsity schedule, so the district’s JV schedule is not a problem. The Roby football program has recently had trouble fielding competitive teams because of the school’s declining enrollment. Just as Rotan was forced to do for the same reason, the Lions may have to go to a six-man program in order to be competitive.



Workers tackle a leak below the bricks on Cypress yesterday.
A persistent leak that has plagued the city off and on for some time was finally fixed yesterday. Leaking water came from underneath the bricks on Cypress, and the reluctance to tackle the repair sprang from the fear that the water was coming from a leak possibly as far away as Second Street and traveling down the line to emerge near the alley behind the Shelansky Building.

If that had been the case, the bricks would have had to be taken up for up to a half block, and replacing them as they were before would have been difficult and expensive.

Luckily, the leak was from a broken valve almost directly beneath the point where the water emerged. So the fix was easily made, and the correct replacement of the bricks shouldn’t be too difficult.

City Secretary Donna Parker said, “Now everyone will be happy…except the birds. They won’t have a place to take a bath anymore.”



Adults 21 and over are invited to a showing of the hit movie Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman at the City Swimming Pool tomorrow evening from 7-11pm. Price is the $2 for admission to the pool.

The movie will begin at 7:00. For more information, contact Tammy at 325-574-3101.



This truck with overturned trailer backed up I-20 traffic for hours.
This 18-wheeler caused quite a traffic backup around 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. Westbound on I-20, it overturned about 3 miles east of Roscoe near the A-1 Auto Parts. The driver was heading to a bottling plant, and, when his trailer overturned, it spilled thousands of plastic preforms used to make plastic bottles.

The driver was taken to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, but was not seriously injured. However, westbound traffic was still tied up five hours later.



1937 Plowboys tackle the Loraine ball carrier.
Editor's note: The Texas Rangers are not going anywhere this year, the dryland cotton crop is shaping up to be a disaster, and the weather is relentlessly hot and dry with strings of triple-digit days. So, maybe we should start looking forward to football season a little early this year, which we can do by looking back at some of the great Plowboy teams of the past.

Every fall for at least the past 105 years, Roscoe High School has entertained local fans with its football teams, some better than others, and since 1925 or 1926, complete season records are available for each of those teams. During that span, the Plowboys have won 558 games, lost 396, and tied 32 for a won-lost percentage of 59%-41%, or approximately 3 wins for every 2 losses. That’s a pretty good average for a period of that length. Naturally, over a span that long, some teams have been terrible, others average, others above average, and a few great. And of those great teams, one might even ask which was the greatest.

It's a good question, but one which may be impossible to decide. In a century much has changed—the rules, the equipment, the opponents, the preparation, and the game itself. Football has evolved from the time when the ball was rounder, drop-kicks were used for field goals and extra points, helmets were made of leather, jerseys weren’t numbered, and shoulder pads were optional. Offenses have developed from the single wing to the T-formation to the shotgun spread and from the old “three yards and a cloud of dust” mentality to the wide-open pass-filled offenses of today.

Even so, some things about the game never change. Speed, size, and talent have always been assets, and the fundamental skills of blocking, tackling and ball-handling are critical. Winning teams play smart and with confidence, aggressiveness, strength, and stamina. And they have coaches who understand the game and motivate the team to play to its full potential.

With these thoughts in mind, we will look at some of the most successful Plowboy teams, focusing on a different one each week as we move into the 2018 football season. Judging by their records and progress in the playoffs, here are some Plowboy teams that merit consideration:

            Year                 Record             Playoff Progress

            1922                 8 - 1                  N/A
            1929                 10 - 2                Regional
            1935                 10 - 1                Regional
            1945                 10 - 1                Bi-District
            1969                 9 - 1 - 1            Bi-District
            1981                 11 - 1                 District Zone
            1982                 13 - 3                State Finals
            1992                 10 - 1                Bi-District
            1995                 13 - 2                State Finals
            2000                13 - 1                Quarterfinals
            2001                 12 - 1                Regional
            2007                 13 - 1                Regional

With the exception of the 1922 team, almost all the teams chosen here were undefeated until their final game in the playoffs, and two of the ones with more than one defeat are the teams that made it to the State Finals (1982, 1995). There were others with two or more defeats that advanced as far as the Regional Finals before losing (e.g., 1983, 2002, 2003, 2015, 2016).

Over the coming weeks, we will take a closer look at four of the best teams listed above, one each week and each from a different era. They may not be the same four you’d select, but each was great in its own way and each deserves consideration as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Plowboy team of the century.

Next week: The 1922 RHS team.



Clouds in the southern sky on Sunday.
The hot weather continued with highs in the mid-nineties and lows in the seventies. Several days had afternoon clouds, some with thunder and a few with scattered showers, but even when there was the occasional precipitation, it was usually only a sprinkle and never over a quarter of an inch. Here in town, we never got more than a sprinkle. Four of the days had highs of 96°F, one had 95°, one 93°, with the high of the week coming yesterday at 101°. The low temperature of the week came on Monday morning at 71°, and the maximum low was 77° on Saturday.

Temperatures of over 100° are predicted for the next six days. Today’s projected high of 101° will increase to 103° tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday, and 104° on Sunday. Monday’s is predicted to be 103°, and Tuesday’s only 99°. Lows are also predicted to be warmer than this past week with 4 of the seven days dropping to 77°, one to 78°, and two to 75°. Excessive heat warnings are in effect for the entire week, so keep that in mind and limit outdoor activities when possible. Winds will be from the south or southwest and skies will be partly cloudy.

Once again, there is no rain in the forecast.



Holy Mass of Christian Burial for Jessie Victor Muñoz, 43, of Roscoe will be held at 11:00 this morning, July 18, at Holy Spirit Catholic Parish with Father Nilo Nalugan officiating. Burial will follow at Roscoe Cemetery with arrangements by Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home. He passed away on Saturday, July 14, in a one-vehicle accident between Roscoe and Sweetwater.

Jessie was born on February 11, 1975, in Sweetwater to Fred and Adelina (Gonzales) Muñoz. He worked as a plumber for Black’s Plumbing. A Catholic and lifelong resident of Nolan County, his hobbies were outdoor activities and cooking. He also loved his family.

He is survived by four children, Victor Muñoz, Jr. and wife Gabriela of Roscoe, Zachary Muñoz and wife Gretchen of Roscoe, Vikki Muñoz of Roscoe, and Kelsey Daniel Muñoz of San Angelo; mother, Adelina Guerrero of Roscoe; grandmother, Angelia Gonzales; brothers and sisters, Andrew Muñoz and wife Patricia of San Antonio, Fred Muñoz, Jr., and wife Marie of Andrews, Terese Muñoz of Baytown, Tracey Ehlin and husband Shane of Nebraska, and Salena Muñoz of Georgetown; seven grandchildren; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, Fred Muñoz, brother, Michael Marcus Muñoz, and grandparents.

Pallbearers are Victor Muñoz, Jr., Zachary Muñoz, Andrew Muñoz, Jr., Timothy Muñoz, Adam Muñoz, Marcos Martinez, and Jose Martinez.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

City Council Hears Reports, Conducts Business

City Manager Cody Thompson reports to the Council at yesterday's meeting.
At its monthly meeting in City Hall last night, the City Council moved through a light agenda fairly quickly. It heard public works updates from the City Manager and Police Chief and approved the quarterly investment report and a grant application and project administration contract.

City Manager Cody Thompson reported on the town’s July 4th Celebration that took place on Saturday, June 30, saying that although it rained on the parade, reports of the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, the city-wide garage sale, the Plowboy Mudbog, the concert and street dance, and the fireworks show all indicated another successful effort on the part of everyone involved.

Weather permitting, the City/County sealcoating of City streets will begin on Thursday or Friday. Next Tuesday, the persistent leak beneath the bricks on Cypress near the alley behind the Shelansky Building will be repaired. The job will involve removing many of the street’s bricks to get to the leak and then replacing them when the repair is made.

Repair of water lines and streets will be constant and ongoing through the month of July along with rehab of fire hydrants.

The City Council will put together a preliminary budget by the end of the month and have workshops in August.

Police Chief Felix Pantoja gave the Police Department report for the month of June. The Department had 118 calls and issued 10 citations, 6 for traffic violations and 4 for loose dogs. There were also 4 vehicle crashes. He said the vehicle burglar had been identified and the District Attorney’s office would present its case to the Grand Jury.

The Department also hired Beatrix Lopez, who recently retired from the Snyder Police Department after 11 years of service there to work part time. It has also taken on Mathew Morris from the Fisher County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve officer.

The Council also approved the contract with HOWCO for a grant application and project administration contract for a potential Texas Capital Fund project. This is necessary preliminary work for a possible travel center or hotel conference center on the City’s north side next to US 84.



Roscoe’s population more than doubled Friday night as fans from all over the Big Country gathered at the Lumberyard to see the famous country singer, Wynonna Judd. She seemed to enjoy the show as much as anyone in the crowd, saying that she rarely got to get up close to her audience and interact with them like she did at the Lumberyard.

Her performance was energetic throughout and lasted longer than contracted for as both she and the fans made the most of her appearance, despite a short shower that drenched everyone right before her show began.

The 7½ minute video clip above contains a medley of some of her hit songs that she sang Friday night.



Dallas Moore

Singer/songwriter Dallas Moore, “Mr. Honky Tonk,” a poster boy and cult hero for Outlaw Country, brings his show to the Lumberyard Friday night. The scheduled appearance of Jason Boland and the Stragglers on Saturday has been canceled because of an unforeseen conflict and will be re-scheduled to a later date.

Dallas Moore, a long-haired Harley-riding singer from Cincinnati, plays a hard rockin’ brand of country topped off by gruff vocals. Since 1991, he has released seven CDs, the most recent being Can’t Tame a Wildcat. He and his band, the Snatch Wranglers, keep up a relentless tour schedule averaging 300 dates a year. Top singles include “Outlaw Country,” “Blessed Be the Bad Ones,” and “Raising Hell and Slingin’ Gravel.”

For reservations or more information, contact the Lumberyard at 325-766-2457.



One of the many thunderheads this week that produced little or no rain
Farmers and ranchers went through yet another week of watching threatening clouds pass over the area with consistently disappointing results. Thousands of acres of area cotton crops have been condemned for insurance purposes while the rest of the dryland crop does its best to hang on. After last year’s record yield, it seems as though Mother Nature has decided to compensate by balancing it out with an equally bad one this year. Some rain did fall here and there, but even when it did, the amounts were small and never as much as needed.

The only good news is that the June heat wave was broken with some milder temperatures for a change. From Thursday up to yesterday, daily highs were in the eighties or low nineties with some morning lows in the high sixties. The high temperature came on Friday at 93°F with the lowest high 86° yesterday under mostly cloudy skies. The low temperature for the week was yesterday morning’s 68°.

The bad news is that highs will return to the upper nineties for the next few days with little chance for rain, and the long-range forecast is for a return to a string of triple-digit days next week. Today’s high will be around 95° under mostly sunny skies, tomorrow’s 96°, and Friday’s 92° along with a 20% chance of rain. On Saturday, the high will return to 96°.

There is no rain in the forecast after Friday as high temperatures gradually increase to 100° next week.



A private graveside service for Ellie Marie Carrell, infant, was held at 9:00am on Saturday, July 7, at Sweetwater Cemetery with Rev. Matt McGowan officiating. She passed away on Thursday, July 5, at her residence in Roscoe. Cate-Spencer & Trent Funeral Home directed arrangements.

Ellie is survived by her parents, Brandon and Stephanie Carrell of Roscoe; brother, Matthew Nixon; sister, Selene Carrell; grandparents, Don & Bianca Carrell of Roscoe and Kenny & Audry Alfano of Big Spring; great-grandparents, Pascual & Maria Martinez of Sweetwater, and Don & Jonnie Carrell of Jal, New Mexico; and numerous aunts, uncles & cousins.



Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the wildest gun battle ever to occur locally, one in which Roscoe’s Police Chief Felix Pantoja, then just an officer, engaged in a fight to the finish with Phillip Kellogg, a dangerous fugitive who had held up businesses in several states. To commemorate the event, the Hard Times is repeating from the tenth anniversary this narrative of the crime spree and  final shootout.

Pre-dawn police photo of the shootout scene near CR 169 just this side of Wastella.
The word shootout brings to mind the old west—legendary figures like Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, or Jesse James—and places like Tombstone, Dodge City, or Deadwood.  It’s not a word normally associated with modern times and generally quiet and peaceful places like the farm country around Roscoe in Nolan County, Texas.

But in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, July 11, 2003, a classic wild west shootout played out next to US Highway 84 just east of the tiny community of Wastella as two men blazed away at one another at close range until one went down, mortally wounded, while the other, also hit multiple times, fell to the ground and lay there immobile until help arrived.

Officer Felix Pantoja in 2003.
Seriously wounded was Roscoe police officer, Felix Pantoja, 37, who would survive and go on to recover and return to duty.  Slain by shots to the head that blew out the back of his skull was Phillip Kellogg, a fugitive on the run from Georgia with his woman, Dana Livingston.  Those final shots brought to an end a crime spree of break-ins, robberies, and holdups that began six weeks earlier and spanned nine states.  The outlaw couple had vowed to live and die like Bonnie and Clyde, but in the end, the woman chose to live instead and surrendered.

According to testimony Livingston gave later, the story began in Georgia a half-year earlier when she met Phillip Kellogg at a parole support-group meeting that both were required to attend.  He was 21, tall and skinny (6’0” and 145 lbs.) with short reddish brown hair, mustache and goatee.  She was 29, 5’5” and heavy set with blue eyes and light brown hair.  He was on parole from a Georgia penitentiary for robbery, and she was out after serving time in South Dakota and Florida for hot check offences.  The two started seeing one another regularly, and after a couple of months moved into an apartment together in McDonough, just south of Atlanta.

Phillip Kellogg from a mug shot taken two years earlier and Dana Livingston.
Life wasn’t easy for them.  Money was always an issue, and there were ongoing legal problems, especially after Kellogg was arrested in Florida for driving with a suspended license.  As time went on and frustrations mounted, they talked more and more about returning to a life of crime, and finally made up their minds to “just do it.”

They started close to home, committing a number of “smash and grab” break-ins in communities around Atlanta, preferring small towns with only one or two cops, which made escape and avoiding detection much easier.  Working late at night from her black 2003 Nissan Sentra, she watched out and did the driving while he did the breaking in, hitting closed businesses like auto parts stores, dry cleaners, and hair salons.  During the break-ins, both wore masks made from cut-up black t-shirts, and he wore gloves to keep from leaving fingerprints.  They also carried fake ID’s in the names of Dylan M. and Hailey M. Cooper, Michigan driver’s licenses purchased in the Five-Points district of Atlanta for $80 each.

From the suburbs of Atlanta, they worked their way down I-75 to Macon, hitting small towns such as High Falls and Griffin along the way.  During this time, both received phone calls from their mothers begging them to stop and go back home, but they ignored them.

After Kellogg forgot a screwdriver inside a store near Hampton, Georgia, the couple started running to keep from getting caught and drove north to Tennessee.*  There, according to Livingston, she and Kellogg got married, ostensibly on the weekend of June 13, or “maybe the 16th.”  She was as uncertain about the place as the date, saying that she didn’t “really know what city or county we got married in, maybe close to Gatlinburg.  I just don’t remember.”  As Deputy Mark Taylor remarked in his report of the interview, these remarks struck him as odd for “someone so in love with her husband and just recently married.”

Livingston’s second version of events contradicted the initial one she gave to the police immediately after the shootout when she said the reason for their going to Tennessee was just to get married.  Her first statement contained denials of many holdups and break-ins that she confessed to in the second interview after being confronted with evidence.  After breaking down and crying, she said she was sorry for initially lying and wished to come clean.

In any case, the pair left Tennessee and drove through Kentucky to Indiana, where they stayed for a few days with Kellogg’s uncle Jerry.  They’d planned to continue their break-ins in Indiana but never managed to do so because, according to Livingston, they were always too stoned from smoking dope with Kellogg’s uncle.

They left Indiana behind and drove into Illinois, where they resumed their burglaries around Rock Island in little towns along I-74.  They then continued on into Iowa doing the same thing, hitting communities off I-80 before reaching Council Bluffs, Nebraska, where Kellogg lost almost all their ill-gotten gains gambling in a casino.

Shortly thereafter, around June 23, they committed their first armed robbery, using a Hi-Point 9mm pistol Kellogg bought in Indiana.  After burglarizing some places around Gretna, Nebraska, where they were staying at a KOA campground, they held up a convenience store near the Courtesy Court Motel in Grand Island.  Then they hightailed it down Highway 128 into Kansas, travelling Highway 36 to Highway 81.  They spent the night at a motel in the small town of Belleville and the next day, June 30, drove on into Salina, Kansas, where they held up a Kwik Shop convenience store at a gas station.

Continuing south to the suburbs of Oklahoma City, they burglarized businesses both there and in Edmond before proceeding on south into Texas and Dallas.

On July 2, they drove to the small town of Mineola in east Texas, where they hit several places, among them the Southern Maid Donut Shop owned by the uncle of Livingston’s ex-husband.  They also committed an armed robbery there and then another one at the E-Z Mart at a  a RaceTrac service station in Grand Saline. While running away from the store, Kellogg lost the clip to his pistol.

They went on to Wills Point, where they held up another convenience store.  At this one, Kellogg forced the clerk to come out of hiding in the cooler and open the cash register.  They then drove to Dallas and stayed for a few days in a motel on Harry Hines Boulevard.  While there, they bought a white 1995 Chevy Beretta with Texas plates and then moved on, this time headed west on I-20 toward Abilene, with Kellogg driving one car and Livingston the other.

They got as far as Clyde, where they stayed at the Derrick Motel for the night.  The next morning, they took a couple of the motel’s pillows, but Kellogg forgot his 9mm pistol, which he’d put under the bed the night before.  They were back on the road before he realized what he’d done, so they turned around and went back to the motel.  However, they were unable to find the pistol and, when they inquired about it, learned that the owner had already turned it over to the local police.

Century Lodge, South 1st St., Abilene, Texas.
They drove on to Abilene and got a room at the Century Lodge on South 1st Street.  Then they went to a convenience store to buy some things and, while there, asked where they could find a pawn shop that sold pistols.  One of the customers heard them and asked whether they wanted to buy or sell a pistol and, when they said they were looking to buy one, he told them he had one he’d sell them.  They followed him to his house nearby and for $450 bought a black Llama Minimax .45 semi-automatic with a leather holster and three clips, one loaded with six shells, one with seven, and the other empty.

The same day they met a man who was staying next to them at the Century Lodge.  They were in room 127 and he was in 128.  He told them he was an unemployed oilfield worker named J. D., married but separated.  This turned out to be James David Doolan, a crack-smoking ex-convict from Abilene, 41 years old, 5’11” and 200 pounds, who had short brown hair and wore a cowboy hat. 

He hung out with his new friends as much as possible, enough that the couple got tired of his constant presence.  Every time they left the motel, he saw them off, and when they returned, he was there to welcome them back.  They put up with him, though, because they hadn’t talked to anyone else for a while and figured they’d be gone in a day or two, anyway.

That evening, they went back to work, hitting a couple of dry cleaners in Abilene before driving over to Hawley and burglarizing another place there.  They also attempted to break into a gas station outside Anson but were unsuccessful.

The following night, Doolan went to their room and asked if they’d take him to the Flying J Truck Stop in Tye, a small town on I-20 just west of Abilene.  He got money there by telling unsuspecting people he was broke and needed money for gas.  Promising to return the money by mail as soon as he got home, he’d even write down their names and addresses.

Kellogg and Livingston agreed and took him, arriving there around 11:30pm.  The couple went on into the restaurant while Doolan did his thing outside and, shortly thereafter, came in with some money.  He sat with them and they talked for a while.  Soon, the conversation turned to the fact that they all needed money.  When the idea of burglarizing came up, Doolan suggested they try Sweetwater, about thirty miles west, which he said was “a quiet little town” that he was somewhat familiar with.  That sounded good to Kellogg, so they all left the Flying J and drove to Sweetwater in the black Nissan.

As soon as they got there, they stopped at Skinny’s Fina station just off I-20 and went to the restroom.  Then they went to work.  First, they drove north on South Lamar and hit the closed Big Tex convenience store.  Livingston stayed in the car while Kellogg and Doolan kicked in the door and went inside.  However, they got little to nothing there and drove around for a while before stopping at the Quick Pantry, again kicking the door in, taking the two cash registers, and bringing them back into the car.  While Livingston drove around, the men broke into the registers and removed the money.  Then they dumped them and spent a little time settling down, calming their nerves before hitting the next place, the Check Mart on Lamar next to the car wash, followed by B & H Engine Repair on West Broadway.  The cash register was empty there, so they both grabbed tools, one of them a chain saw, before returning to the car.

Their next break-in was at Bahlman’s Cleaners, just off Hailey on 3rd Street.  The cash register there was bolted down, so they popped it open with a screwdriver and took the cash.  As they were leaving, a patrol officer’s alley light lit them up.  They drove around some more and then headed west on the service road just north of I-20.  Livingston initially planned to get back on the Interstate but instead wound up driving all the way to Roscoe, a distance of about seven miles.

They entered Roscoe from the east and proceeded down East Broadway toward town.  Just by chance they happened to pass Roscoe Police Officer Felix Pantoja, who was driving up Broadway in the opposite direction.  Alarmed, they carefully watched him, and when they got to the intersection where Business US 84 turns right to get back out to the highway, they noticed Pantoja make a U-turn and start back toward them.

Kellogg told Livingston to “hit it,” and she did, crossing the railroad tracks and then speeding out of town onto US 84 toward Wastella and Snyder.  Officer Pantoja observed their actions, turned on his overhead lights and siren, and followed in hot pursuit.

Shortly before that, Pantoja had been at the restaurant of the Holiday Inn in Sweetwater quietly drinking iced tea with Nolan County Sheriff’s Deputies Michael Johnson and Fabian Jimenez.  While listening to a hand-held police radio at around 12:35am, they heard reports of burglaries and a small black car that was seen leaving the location of one of them, heading west on the north service road off I-20 and Lamar.  At that point, Pantoja knew he’d better get back to Roscoe to watch for the car and check on the businesses there.

He returned on I-20 in his patrol car and drove around to several locations in Roscoe, checking to make sure everything was okay.  He drove north up Main Street and then turned east when he got to Broadway.  He went only a few blocks before passing a small black car going in the opposite direction.

Immediately suspicious, he made a U-turn, and then sped up to catch up with it.  He saw the car turn right on Business US 84 and followed, turning on his red and blue lights as he crossed the railroad tracks.  When the car accelerated onto US 84 and sped away, he turned on his siren and radioed the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office to let them know he was in pursuit.

A high-speed chase went on for the next eight miles with both cars hitting speeds of 110-115 mph.  According to Pantoja, the black Nissan slowed down to around 60 a couple of times before resuming high speed.  At least one of these slowdowns may have occurred when Livingston wanted to pull over and give up, but Kellogg responded with, “Nope, not going back to prison,” and the chase continued.

As they raced down the highway, Kellogg decided that they’d have a better chance trying to elude one officer than continuing on toward Snyder, where more police would likely be encountered.  He told Livingston to try to find a crossover or country road to take.  Then he saw the CR 169 crossover just ahead and told Livingston to take it.  She slowed down to about 30 mph and tried to make a U-turn back to the eastbound lane but was going too fast and lost control of her vehicle, which nose dived into a culvert, putting it out of commission.  She and Kellogg threw open the front doors, jumped out, and ran across the highway into the darkness while Doolan also threw open his door and ran away in a different direction.

Meanwhile, Officer Pantoja came to a screeching halt right behind them, jumped out of his patrol car, and began chasing Kellogg and Livingston on foot, yelling for them to stop.  Livingston ran into a ditch, lost her balance, and fell face forward into the dirt.  Kellogg was just ahead of her, and she called out to him that she’d fallen, but he continued on since Pantoja was close behind.  Livingston started to get up, but Pantoja told her to stay down, and as she could see he had his pistol drawn and didn’t want to get shot, she did as he said.

Pantoja then approached her with the idea of handcuffing her, but as she rose to get up, all hell broke loose.  Kellogg had stopped running and started back, and at a distance of about 25 feet, he began firing his .45, hitting Pantoja in the hip with his first shot, and grazing the side of Livingston’s head with his second.  She cried out, “Phillip, what are you doing?  You hit me.” 

Pantoja returned fire and got off two shots while the woman jumped away from him, trying to get out of the line of fire.  Kellogg again shot twice, hitting Pantoja in the right thigh with the first shot and in the right forearm with the second.

Pantoja again tried to shoot back but couldn’t pull the trigger because the wound to his forearm had disabled his right hand.  By this time he was on the ground and lay over on his left side in the attempt to get the pistol into his left hand.  His right hand was completely useless, but he managed to pull the pistol out of it with his left hand and began firing again, getting off several rounds and hearing Kellogg yell when he got hit.

Kellogg was also down and temporarily quit firing, and Pantoja took advantage of the pause to change his empty clip for a full one, but with only one working hand he had trouble snapping the clip into place. He managed, though, by shoving it in against his left knee.

Both men were clearly visible to one another in the light of an almost full moon.*  After a moment Kellogg raised up and shot once again.  With a full clip, Pantoja returned fire and got off several rounds before Kellogg again went down.  There was another pause, and Pantoja spoke to Livingston, telling her to come toward him but not to run or he’d have to shoot her.  She asked him if she could put her hand to the side of her head where she’d been shot, and he said yes.

The full moon was two days later on July 13.  During the shootout, the moon was still fairly high in the southwestern sky.  It set about two and a half hours later at 4:16am. 

Kellogg was now on his knees all balled up.  Pantoja told him to stay down and not to move, but he did, and Pantoja hit him with two more shots.  Kellogg cried out again and collapsed.  While this was going on, Livingston was pleading with Pantoja, imploring him to stop shooting Kellogg.  When he did stop, she asked him if she could go check on Kellogg.  Concerned that she might be going for the pistol, he told her no, that, if she did, he’d shoot her.  He told her to just stay still and wait for help.

Pantoja tried several times to use his portable radio to call the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office but had trouble getting it to work.  When Livingston heard him saying into it, “Officer down, shots fired, send an ambulance,” it was only then that she realized Pantoja had been shot, too.  Not too long after that, Pantoja heard a siren in the distance and knew that help was on the way.

First on the scene was Deputy Michael Johnson, who arrived at 1:55am.  He got out of his patrol car trying to locate Pantoja and calling out his name.  Pantoja yelled, “Help, I’m shot” and raised his arm.  As Johnson spotted him and started in his direction, Pantoja warned him that a male suspect was down but still had a gun.  Johnson then saw Kellogg, who was lying face down in a pool of blood but still moving slightly.  Johnson saw Kellogg’s pistol lying on the ground next to him and kicked it away before picking it up and handcuffing Kellogg.  Then at Pantoja’s directions, he got Pantoja’s handcuffs and put them on Livingston.  He then put the pistol in the patrol car, got a flashlight, and returned to Pantoja with a first aid kit.

Pantoja could feel his pants leg wet with blood and knew he’d been shot in the thigh.  He asked Johnson to pull his trousers off to see how bad the wound was and to see if they could stop the bleeding.  Johnson told Pantoja the bullet had gone all the way through and began dressing his wounds.

Paramedics treat the downed gunmen where they fell.
Pantoja had been hit four times—in the right thigh, the right hip, the right forearm, and in the right upper chest area.  The last one had hit his Kevlar body armor, which most likely saved his life because, although the shell caused a severe bruise and some bleeding under the skin, it never penetrated his body.

Others arrived on the scene.  Deputy Fabian Jimenez came first and others shortly after that, including emergency personnel with an ambulance.  Jimenez and Johnson got Pantoja’s pants down and treated his thigh wound, and then the medical personnel took over. 

Meanwhile, other officers took pictures and secured the crime scene.  Upon examining Kellogg’s .45 handgun, they found one round still in the chamber and an empty clip.  They also found the other clip with seven full rounds in the black holster that Kellogg was wearing.  This meant that of the six rounds in the other clip Kellogg had put in the pistol, five had been discharged, four of them had hit Pantoja, and the other had grazed Livingston.

Paramedics place Kellogg on a gurney.
Kellogg had serious head wounds and was still alive but unresponsive.  The paramedics placed him on a gurney, put him in a helicopter at around 2:40am, and airlifted him to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene.  At 3:00am they did the same for Pantoja.  A female officer was put in charge of Livingston, whose wound was not serious.  Nevertheless, she was put in an ambulance and taken to Rolling Plains Hospital in Sweetwater for treatment.

It was not until Deputy Mark Taylor interviewed Livingston at the hospital that they realized a third person had been in the vehicle, whom Livingston identified as J.D. and said that he’d stayed in room 127 at the Century Lodge in Abilene.  With that information, police made a phone call and quickly learned that J. D. was James David Doolan.  Then someone called the Sweetwater Police to report that a white male, who appeared to have been involved in an accident, was walking along US 84 near Roscoe, trying to hitchhike.  Law officers were immediately sent to the area, and the search for J. D. was on.

After responding to a couple of false leads in Roscoe, police learned that Doolan had walked to the office of a highway construction site a mile away from the shootout and told someone there he’d had a wreck up the road and needed a ride.  Someone took him to the Truck & Travel restaurant on I-20 just west of Roscoe.  Then at 7:00am, officers were told that someone fitting Doolan’s description had just left the Truck & Travel with a black family in a motor home on their way to get gas at the Town & Country service station on I-20 about a mile east.  Officers went there and saw the motor home at the gas pumps.  They found Doolan inside it and arrested him.

Shortly before that, Dr. Lehnert of the Hendrick Medical Center emergency room notified police that Kellogg had died of his wounds at 5:48am. His body was taken to Avalon Mortuary Services, where it was learned that he’d been shot in seven places: the lower abdomen, the right elbow, the upper right shoulder, above the right eye, below the right eye, beside the left eye, and in top of the head.

Upon learning of Kellogg’s death, Deputy Mark Taylor called the police in Gwinnette County, Georgia, and had them send an officer to the home of Kellogg’s mother and stepfather to give them the news.  Shortly thereafter, Taylor received a phone call from Kellogg’s mother.  He read her the death notification and gave her the details leading to Kellogg’s death.  He then started telling her how she could claim the body, but she interrupted him and said, “You can keep that body.  I don’t want it.  He’s been nothing but trouble ever since he was a kid.”  Later, however, Taylor did get a call from Kellogg’s brother, who requested and received information on getting the body.

In the days following, the police were able to solve several robberies and burglaries in the Abilene and Dallas areas with information that Livingston provided them in her confession.  They also notified law enforcement in Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states and were able to do the same in many places there.

Officer Pantoja spent four days in the hospital recovering from his wounds.  The shots to the thigh and lower abdomen were not life-threatening since both bullets had gone through his body without hitting bone or any vital organs.  Similarly, the shot to his right upper chest caused a severe bruise and some internal bleeding but wasn’t critical because it didn’t penetrate his body armor.  His most serious wound was the one to his right forearm because it shattered bone.  He wore a cast on it for six weeks, and, although the bone mended and he recovered full use of his right hand, the wound left some lasting effects and aches.

Dana Livingston, whose only injury was the graze to the head from Kellogg’s second shot, was released from Rolling Plains Hospital and taken to the Nolan County Jail in Sweetwater, where she stayed for almost two months.  Then on September 2, she agreed to a plea bargain with a sentence of ten years’ incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, along with court costs, fines, attorney’s fees, and restitution to the businesses burglarized in Sweetwater.

On October 27, J. D. Doolan, after 109 days in the Nolan County Jail, also agreed to a plea bargain.  His sentence was four years imprisonment along with similar court costs, fines, fees, and restitution.

Felix Pantoja displays the Medal of Valor from the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas.
In the weeks following the shootout, Pantoja was showered with honors and awards for his devotion to duty and bravery under fire.  In a formal ceremony, Roscoe Police Chief Lance Richburg awarded him an honor pin, and he also received plaques of appreciation from the Roscoe Volunteer Fire Department, the Roscoe Lions Club, and the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office.  The Sons of the American Revolution awarded him a law enforcement commendation medal, and the Texas Law Enforcement Association presented him its version of the Purple Heart as well as the Medal of Valor, its first.  The Kevlar Survivor’s Club made him a member, Governor Rick Perry wrote him a letter of commendation, and President George W. Bush sent an autographed photo.

“I’m very proud to wear the medals on my uniform,” Pantoja said. “I’m even more proud to serve as an officer in Roscoe.”

The following year when Chief Lance Richburg left, Pantoja was promoted and has served as Roscoe’s Chief of Police ever since.  In that time, he’s served the city well and been in some serious scrapes and tough situations.  None, however, have been quite as spectacular or as deadly as the shootout in 2003 with Phillip Kellogg.

© 2013

Edwin Duncan 

This narrative was compiled from the official police reports coming from all of the involved parties—police officers, sheriff’s deputies, the Texas Ranger in charge of the overall report, the female fugitive, who survived the shooting and was interviewed twice after being taken into custody—as well as from Officer Pantoja’s official report and from subsequent discussions with him.  It has been placed on file in the Roscoe Historical Museum.

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