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No one else needs to die

Who else has to die before there is change?

On the morning of Wednesday, September 25, 2019, Johnnie Beck was on his way to the Depot, just like he had been doing for the last 35 years. Tragically, Beck didn’t make it to work that morning, and will never make it to work again, because of a dangerous intersection that has plagued the people of Bowie County for a long time.

Beck was on his motorcycle that morning. That motorcycle is now a crumpled and tangled pile of metal after it ran into the side of a car that was trying to get into the front gate of the Telford Unit.

There is no red light at that entrance, but there should be. There is no reduced speed limit at that entrance, but there should be. There is no turn lane or even a wide shoulder at that entrance, but there should be, In fact, all of these things, should be. The family of Johnnie Beck, and so many more that have had their lives impacted by that entrance, want to know why.

We spoke with the Beck family this morning. We heard of how Johnnie had ridden motorcycles all of his life. He was a seasoned driver. Yes, he had been in accidents before, anybody that rides a motorcycle has been, but he knew how to avoid them. This one he could not avoid, and it cost him his life.

Now his sister, his children, and all of the rest of the family are hurt, and grieving, even angry. They want answers. But most of all, they want change.

They want change because they never want another family to have to go through what they are going through. They want change because no one should ever have a picture on their phone of their brother or father laying on a roadway. They want change, and they need to get it.

The entrance to the Telford Prison Unit has always been a dangerous spot for travelers on that road. There have been so many accidents there that it would be impossible to talk to everyone affected. The number of near accidents there is countless.

The question is, are we going to have to wait for change to happen until someone “important enough” dies at that entrance?

There needs to be some changes at that entrance. There needs to be a turn lane, a traffic light and a slower speed limit. There also needs to be some changes in how the prison itself deals with that entrance.

The way to see change is by talking to the ones who can make change. I urge you to make calls to Representative Gary VanDeaver and Congressman John Ratcliffe. Call TxDOT and tell them your concerns.

Of this one thing I can promise you. I looked into the eyes of Carly Beck this morning as she cried and told me about her father. I listened to Jeaninne tell me about her brother. To them, and all of their family and friends, Johnnie Beck was important enough. After listening to them and hearing and seeing their pain, he is to me too.

We are going to make a change.


Bowie County Citizens Tribune

139 E.N. Front Street
New Boston, Texas 75570