Real life horror outside Halloween attraction sparks safety debate

Real life horror outside Halloween attraction sparks safety debate

The horror became all too real the night of Friday, Oct. 13, when a grandmother leaving the Texas Maze of Terror with her grandchildren was hit on Highway 12 in Vidor.

Wanda Spoonmore, 71, was struck and killed by a driver who continued on into the night, according to Vidor police. Police dispatch received the call at 9:05 p.m.

The 911 caller told dispatch that Spoonmore had just left the Texas Maze of Terror with her grandchildren, who saw their grandmother get hit. Officers responding to the 1700 block of Highway 12 found Spoonmore’s body in the roadway.

Witnesses told police that the vehicle that hit Spoonmore left the scene without stopping or offering aid. Bystanders tried giving her CPR, police said, but she was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth hospital.

After searching for the vehicle described in the hit-and-run, Vidor police arrested Kevin McClure, 49, as a suspect in the case Nov. 2. McClure was charged with with failing to stop and render aid with serious bodily injury or death, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in state prison.

Vidor Police Chief Rod Carroll said three vehicles in the county matched the description, but when detectives found a Saturn Vue with temporary Missouri tags, a damaged bumper and hood caught their eye.

When detectives confronted the owner, she claimed her son had been driving the vehicle that night. But the son told detectives that he was riding with the owner’s husband, Kevin McClure, who was driving the vehicle when they hit Spoonmore, according to the probable cause affadavit.

McClure said, “I’m not stopping” and then, “I just ran over someone,” the son told detectives.

At first, McClure denied being in the vehicle or driving it when the crash happened, but confessed after a polygraph, Detective James Blankenship said in the affidavit.

After the fatal hit-and-run, some locals were angry that the church next door, Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal, doesn’t let Maze of Terror customerspark in their lot, arguing that Spoonmore’s death could have been prevented.

Others took the church’s side, citing private property rights and concerns that customers might leave trash in the parking lot before Sunday morning services.

Spoonmore and her grandchildren parked across the road from the haunt at Memorial Funeral Home, Carroll said.

Since the Maze of Terror’s parking lot is small, customers often park along the highway or in other nearby parking lots, like the nearby funeral home or after hours at the Dollar General.

“Some business prefer not to [allow] parking, which is their right,” Carroll said.

Memorial Funeral Home staff said that they don’t stop people from parking in their lot — they’re not using it unless there is an evening visitation.

Vidor police asked if their security cameras captured the hit-and-run but didn’t find footage, Dollar General employees said.

“No parking” signs are posted at several businesses along the highway near the attraction.

But the Faith Tabernacle Pentecostal Church next door to the Texas Maze of Terror put up barricades, blocking anyone from parking there,according to Carroll.

Connie Phillips, the pastor’s wife, explained that church members haven’t been able to meet on Highway 12 since Harvey flooded the building in August. They meet in the gym at Church of the Lord Jesus Christ on I-10 in Vidor, another church in their denomination that has contractors helping them rebuild.

“We’ve tried to be as obliging as we can,” Phillips said. “We can’t allow parking due to liability.”

Phillips said she hopes the relationship between Maze of Terror and the church can remain peaceful.

“We hate that this happened,” Phillips said.

Maze of Terror owner Ettie Thompson added, “We’re sorry for the family and our condolences go out to them.”

shadow