Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 16, 2013

Struck by train, bleeding Troup man leads police to marijuana 'grow house' at residence

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

TROUP — A local man struck by a slow-moving Union Pacific train Wednesday evening staggered home with severe injuries – leaving a large, long trail of blood that led police to a marijuana “grow house” he had there.

“The conductor said the train was only traveling at 10 mph when he walked right in front of it,” Troup Police Chief Pat Hendrix explained. “He was extensively cut on his left arm – cut to the bone. He suffered broken ribs as well. … There's a good possibility the officers who followed him home saved his life. Otherwise, he might have bled out before anyone found him.”

The man was struck about 6:50 p.m. Wednesday inside city limits, reports show. Police arrived on the scene roughly two minutes after the accident was called in. But by the time they got there, he was already gone.

Fearing for the man's life, police followed the blood trail to his home and entered his house looking for him, the chief said.

However, before authorities could locate they man, they first discovered four healthy growing marijuana plants inside his house. They also ran across 18 additional “cut and hanging” marijuana plants there. The presence of the plants indicated the residence was in use as an illegal “grow house.”

Authorities additionally ran across a “blunt station” in the man's home. A“blunt” is a cigar hollowed out to pack marijuana inside so that it can be smoked without the trademark acrid smell.

Officers continued searching for the man in his back yard, following the blood trail to a trailer there. The man was discovered inside, alive but severely injured  – along with eight additional marijuana plants.

He was immediately taken  by ground ambulance to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he remained under medical care Thursday, reports show.

Chief Hendrix declined to immediately name the man, other than to say he was older – possibly in his late 40s or early 50s.

“Once he is released from the hospital, we will get a warrant for his arrest,” the chief said.

Troup police are still evaluating possible charges.

Meanwhile, authorities say it is puzzling that the man chose to start a grow house in this rural area of East Texas.

“You don't have a lot of grow houses around here because marijuana can be grown all over the place outside and never be detected,” he said. “Indoor grow houses can normally be found in big cities such as Dallas and Houston – because you can't just drive down the road there and have immediate access to a forest.”

Meanwhile, authorities on Thursday also were investigating why this man walked in front of a train to begin with.

“They have pulled blood for a toxicology test,” the chief said. “Keeping the marijuana in mind, it is possible he could have been high at the time.”