A man accused of murder and set to go to trial in two weeks in Ector County was killed in a fiery car accident in East Texas.
Clifford Paul Woods, 39, was charged in the Nov. 16, 2010, stabbing death of 29-year-old Brian Allen Dillon.
Trooper David Hendry with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Woods was driving a 2001 Jeep Cherokee westbound on FM 83 outside of Hemphill when he left the roadway and struck a tree.
After that, the vehicle caught fire and burned, Hendry said.
Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox said Woods was unable to get out of the vehicle, which was fully engulfed in flames when emergency crews arrived on scene.
“The license plates were melted and gone,” Maddox said. “We couldn’t even find the VIN number because it was melted.”
Maddox said they were able to find the secondary VIN number on the vehicle, at which point they determined it belonged to Woods’ mother.
Still not knowing who was in the car because all identification was burned, Maddox said officers went to Woods’ mother’s house and found that Woods was using the vehicle and hadn’t been heard from in a number of hours.
Lawrence Barber, Woods’ defense attorney, said Woods had been living in Jasper since he bonded out of jail in 2010.
Barber said Woods’ mother called him and told him about the accident, and said Woods was fishing before his death.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said the case would be dismissed when a death certificate became available.
Woods’ trial date was Sept. 9.
Maddox said the large trees in the area make such accidents a regular event.
“The sad thing is when you run off a road around here, due to the national forest and the number of pine trees, your chances of hitting one is pretty good when you leave the roadway,” Maddox said.