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Hallsville man hospitalized after fiery wreck

By Bridget Ortigo
April 20, 2017 at 9:42 a.m.
Updated April 20, 2017 at 10:05 p.m.

A Hallsville man’s truck sits wrecked inside a Hallsville triplex Thursday after officials said he had a seizure while driving to work and crashed into the building.

HALLSVILLE — A Hallsville man remained hospitalized Thursday with third-degree burns after his car drove off the road and into a triplex unit where three families lived.

William “Billy” Click, 20, of Hallsville was transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas via air ambulance on Thursday to receive treatment for burns sustained during the wreck.

Click drove off FM 450 North in Hallsville about 7 a.m. Thursday while heading southbound.

Click’s wife, Jessica Click, 18, was following in a separate vehicle behind her husband and said he had a seizure, causing him to involuntarily push down on the gas pedal and lose control of the vehicle.

Once he drove his truck inside the triplex, Click continued seizing for several minutes, unable to remove his foot from the gas pedal, causing friction from the tires to ignite into flames.

Witnesses said they were unable to get Click to respond and exit the vehicle.

Hallsville ISD Police Officer Mack Fuller and Hallsville Police Officer Eric Rogers were the first responders to arrive on scene just as flames engulfed the truck and the triplex units.

The residents of the triplex units were able to get out of the burning structure while Fuller and Rogers worked to get Click out of the burning vehicle.

When Click stopped seizing, he was able to follow the officers’ commands and crawl through the truck’s broken passenger window, allowing the officers to pull him free.

Jessica Click said her husband received third-degree burns on his neck, arms, shoulder and back and also suffered from smoke inhalation.

The officers sustained minor burns on their hands and arms, Hallsville Police Chief Wesley Freeman said.

Hallsville Fire Department responded with an engine, a tank and a rescue vehicle and were able to partially save the structure.

Harrison County Fire Marshal Thomas Mock said on Thursday that one of the triplex units is a total loss and all seven residents of the three units have been displaced following the fire.

Two female residents of the triplex units were transported via ambulance to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Click said her husband uses a medical device to treat his seizures but it is often unreliable.

Hallsville Mayor Steve Eitelman said Thursday he is proud of the first responders’ willingness to go “above and beyond” to save Click on Thursday.

“This was a joint effort between Officer Fuller of Hallsville ISD PD and Officer Rogers of Hallsville PD,” Hallsville Mayor Steve Eitelman said. “They did a great and heroic job of pulling him out of the burning vehicle and saving his life. They went above and beyond.”

Hallsville Outreach Center said they will be collecting items for the displaced family members but they need some help.

They are needing girls’ pants size 7 slim, girls’ tops size 7, girls’ shoes size 12 and 13, girls’ clothes size 4T, women’s size 30 waist jeans, large stretchy pants, medium women’s tops, men’s 34 x 34 pants, extra-large men’s shirts and men’s shoes size 10 1/2.

The Hallsville Outreach Center will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. today. The center is also collecting restaurant gift certificates for the displaced families because they do not have a place to store food.

Freeman said the Red Cross has also contacted him to offer help to the families.

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