WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A Wichita Falls man is arrested for the misdemeanor charge of making a false report after police said he tried to cover up how his 2-year-old son suffered life-threatening injuries and burns.
Jail records show Thomas Winston Gates, 31, was booked into jail Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023.
According to an affidavit, on Feb. 14, 2023, police said an officer stopped a car with its hazard lights flashing when it ran a stop sign at Maurine and Central Freeway.
The driver, Gates, told the officer his son had just been hit by a car in a parking lot and he was on the way to the hospital. The officer escorted the car to the hospital and there it was quickly determined the child needed to be flown to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth for severe internal injuries, burns and a lacerated liver.
Police said Gates told them a dark car occupied by an unknown white female and male had backed out of a parking spot at Maverick on Maurine Apartments on Ridgeway and struck his son as he and his family were getting into their car. Police then interviewed the child’s mother and said her story was inconsistent with Gates’ story.
They said she showed them on a map where it happened, but there was no evidence of the accident there. They said she said the car that hit the boy was on the driver’s side of their car, while Gates said it was on the passenger side.
Police said they gave very little information on the occupants of the other car or its description. Then they said they got information the accident occurred in a different location than where they said it happened.
Later, officers spoke to the boy’s grandfather, who they said lives across the street from where the accident was reported to have happened. They said he told them it actually happened in the driveway of his home and he believed the child was run over as Gates was backing out of the driveway.
He said he did not see the victim being run over, but heard a loud thump and came outside and heard Gates and his wife yelling the boy’s name before speeding off.
Police said they located evidence including blood in the driveway.
Police tried to interview the boy’s mother at the hospital in Fort Worth but say she refused to talk.
But they said Gates told them he wanted to change his story, and that he had accidentally backed over his son who had run behind the car, and when he heard the thud and found him, he rushed him to the hospital.
They say he freaked out and was scared of getting into trouble, and didn’t want to deal with police at the hospital. Officers said two other children who were in the car corroborated this version.
In 2020, Gates was convicted and sentenced to one year in jail for family violence assault of the mother of his unborn child. The woman said they were on the way to her doctor appointment and began to argue about him seeing other women and he backhanded her in the face.
She said when they stopped she tried to get out but he dragged her back in and began hitting her again. She said he never took her to the doctor and kept her phone so she could not call for help.