Saturday morning at 6:45 a.m., Lancaster officer Dustin Dodson was riding his motorcycle from the station to his home in Cleburne when he was killed by a drunk driver. The accident occurred on Highway 67 in Venus when a pickup driven by Ricardo Espinoza failed to yield and slammed into Dodson’s motorcycle without breaking. Witnesses say Dodson was thrown for more than 50 yards.
Espinoza failed to stop after the accident and fled the scene hoping to escape justice. He didn’t realize that Ernie Maggard, who had witnessed the wreck, was not going to give up so easily. Maggard chased Espinoza’s car and then went after the driver on foot before capturing him. Maggard smelled the alcohol on Espinoza’s breath, leading him to suspect Espinoza of drunk driving – a suspicion that has been confirmed by the police who are holding him on DWI charges and failure to stop and render aid.
Dodson’s family and the Lancaster police department are devastated by the loss. Dodson and his young wife have three small children together. Dodson was committed to the safety of the Lancaster neighborhood. Dodson’s father Mark Dodson described his son as wonderful police officer, “That was his lifelong dream — to be a police officer,” his father, Mark, said. “You could tell he threw his chest out when he put that uniform on. It wasn’t just a job.” The police department has put plans together for a memorial for Dodson in the locker room all the officers share. Lancaster’s tight-knit community will not be the same without him.