Maria M. Moreno
Express-News Staff Writer
An officer who survived a violent shootout with armed robbers about two years ago died this morning in a fiery crash on Loop 410 and Culebra Road. John Wheeler, a 12-year veteran, was apparently looking out for speeders when a car traveling at least 90 mph rear-ended Wheeler’s patrol car, police said. Both cars caught on fire.
Police spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino said both drivers were trapped inside their cars.
Wheeler’s wife, Kim Wheeler, a dispatcher received a distress signal from Wheeler’s radio and when he didn’t answer her calls, she sent officers looking for him. Trevino said a global positioning system helped officers find Wheeler’s burning car.
The responding officers and firefighters couldn’t help free Wheeler or the other driver, who hasn’t been identified.
Both died at the scene.
Wheeler’s wife had also been behind the dispatch console on the morning of Sept 29, 2003 when two robbers fleeing a convenience store shot 21 rounds from an assault rifle at his patrol car. Wheeler was hit in the neck and shoulder.
Two men have since been convicted of attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery.