Truck driver shot by stranger as daughter watched

December 03, 1991|By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

COMMERCE, Texas -- With his daughter sitting beside him and two of his sons asleep in the cab, a truck driver hauling hogs from Oklahoma to Texas was shot to death the day after Thanksgiving by another driver he had tried to pass.

Danny LaDaine Kelley Sr., 50, a long-haul cattle truck driver from Commerce, was shot by a stranger in a green and white pickup just south of Bartlesville, Okla., as Mr. Kelley drove his semi-trailer truck loaded with hogs back to Texas on U.S. 75.

Shot twice, Mr. Kelley slumped forward onto the steering wheel as two of his children struggled to get the big rig stopped.

They then hailed down a passing car and drove desperately back to Bartlesville, but their father died of his wounds on the way to a hospital.

Mr. Kelley was buried in Commerce yesterday.

Riding in the truck with Mr. Kelley were three of his four children. Sitting beside him in the cab was 16-year-old Mindy, who witnessed the shooting. Asleep in the truck's cab-sleeper were sons LaDaine, 24, and John Patrick, 12.

"It was a sort of family get-together," LaDaine Kelley said Sunday. "The kids were at home for the Thanksgiving holidays and Dad had to make a run hauling cattle to Omaha, Neb., and return with a load of hogs for Carl's Sausage in Whitewright, and we all went along with him for the companionship."

The trip turned into a tragedy just south of Bartlesville about 10:30 p.m. Mindy Kelley said the pickup driver shot her father as they rolled along at 65 mph. The man apparently was angered because her father had wanted to pass him.

When the Kelley truck pulled into the right lane, the pickup slowed and dropped back beside the Kelley truck cab, Mindy Kelley said. "He tried to run us off the road and then I heard two shots," Mindy said.

LaDaine Kelley, also a cattle truck driver, said he was awakened by the shots and his sister's screams as she struggled to control the semi. He said he scrambled out of the sleeper and took control of the truck.

Sheriff's officers in Bartlesville say they were searching for the pickup driver.

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