Missing man found dead after crash into pond


A 26-year-old Kilgore man died last week when he apparently lost control of his vehicle on a wet road Thursday morning, crashing into a pond off FM1252.

Family members were quick to file a missing persons report after Liberty City resident Dillion McDougal didn’t arrive at work.

A father of three, two sons and an unborn daughter, McDougal’s body was found late Friday afternoon inside his submerged vehicle in the water near Winona.

Reportedly, McDougal was last seen at 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning when he left for work. An employee of Energy Weldfab in White Oak, he never showed.

Family, friends and coworkers went on the lookout for the man’s gold 1997 Toyota Camry, including using cell phone records to narrow the search area.

According to Sgt. Jean Dark of the Texas Department of Public Safety, troopers responded to a report of a submerged vehicle Friday afternoon, en route about 5 p.m. and headed for a pond on FM 1252 in Smith County near the Gregg County line.

Within hours, the DPS responders had confirmed the victim’s identity and notified his family.

In a follow-up release Friday night, Dark reported the agency’s preliminary findings.

“Investigators determined that McDougal had been traveling eastbound on FM-1252 early Wednesday morning in route to work,” she noted, “when he lost control of the vehicle on the wet roadway. The crash remains under investigation.”

Reeling from the loss, McDougal’s wife, Taylor, struggled to find the right words to describe the man, his loves and passions, but she smiled at some of the memories Tuesday afternoon.

McDougal grew up in the Sabine school district and attended Kilgore College. He loved sports and competed with Kilgore’s 19 year-old all-stars in the state playoffs in 2010.

“He loved to work. He loved getting up and going to work,” Taylor said, providing for his growing family, closest to his heart: “He loved his family. He was a good provider and a really great dad ... just an all-around wonderful person.”

Services for McDougal are set for 2 p.m. Thursday at Rader Funeral Home in Kilgore followed by burial in Danville Cemetery. Find McDougal’s obituary on page 4.


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