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Jim Watson - critically injured

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Anyone who shoots IDPA in north Alabama knows Jim Watson. I just got these off our local forum and wanted to past them along to the BEnosphere. Jim needs your thoughts and prayers.

Jim Watson


In the very early hours of this morning, two intoxicated men in a truck lost control of their vehicle and ran into Jim Watson's house. The impact drove Jim's heating and air unit into his house. The gas lines were severed and the truck caught on fire. Jim's first floor was soon engulfed in flames. He awoke upstairs, grabbed a flashlight, and climbed out a second story window onto his roof.

The lowlife drunks had fled. Jim held on to the icy roof calling for help but before help arrived he lost his grasp and slid off the roof onto the pavement below. He was critically injured in the fall. Rapid responders arrived and Jim was taken to our local hospital and then later transferred to Huntsville Hospital.

A couple that are friends of ours and members of the local shooting club had traveled to New Mexico to shoot in competition and Jim was keeping their dog. The dog perished in the fire.

The drivers that caused all of this have been apprehended.

Jim's pelvis is separated from his spinal column but his spine is not severed and he still has feeling in his lower extremities. He was to undergo surgery today but the three surgeons that are going to perform the procedures have decided to wait until Tuesday to make sure Jim has no other internal injuries.

Some young policemen that have grown up in the shooting club with us salvaged Jim's guns from the extinguished house (a total loss) and took them to a local member owned business. They are water damaged to various extents (some very badly) but not burned. About a dozen of us divided them today for care and safekeeping. We talked to Jim on a speaker phone as we worked on his guns in a chilly shop building today and he sounded confident and strong. He thanked us for our efforts and we all shouted words of encouragement.

Jim has no living family but he has very good friends and we are concerned but confident that he will be back shooting side by side with us in the future. He has many challenges to face.

This is a complicated event and I may not have all the facts exactly right. I ask my friends that read this to correct any errors or omissions.


One injured in house fire

Blaze began when truck drove into home

By Trevor Stokes

Staff Writer

Published: Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 3:30 a.m.

Last Modified: Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 11:42 p.m.

FLORENCE - Jim Watson had one way out of his second-story bedroom after a truck smashed into his home early Saturday morning, breaking a gas line and causing a full-alarm house fire: Slide down the roof.

Click to enlarge

Shortly after midnight Friday, a call came in that a truck struck a house on Hermitage Drive in Florence, engulfing the house in flames. A Station 5 ladder truck pours water on the second story as flames emerge from the upstairs. The home owner is in serious condition after escaping through a second-story window and falling off the roof onto the sidewalk.

Chris Rohling/TimesDaily

The 65-year-old man escaped the burning building, but fell onto a concrete wall and remained at Huntsville Hospital on Saturday evening in serious condition in the surgical intensive care unit.

The driver of the truck, James LaPriest Harrison, was arrested Saturday afternoon, authorities said, and charged with second degree assault and failure to remain at the scene, both felony charges because the victim was injured.

Harrison, 33, 739 Kendrick St., Florence, posted the $7,500 bond Saturday afternoon, according to officials at the Lauderdale County Detention Center.

Watson's neighbor, Laura Stanfield, heard the pickup truck jump the curb and hit the house. "Fire shot up between the truck and the house," she said.

The incident occurred at 12:20 a.m. Saturday, and firefighters left the scene about 7 a.m. Workers also cut the gas line and sealed it.

The Ford F-150, which was not registered under Harrison's name, hit the gas meter and caused the house to become fully involved in seconds, authorities said.

The jolt also woke Watson, who scrambled to get to safety as the fire started to consume the house.

Stanfield saw someone get out of the driver's side of the truck and walk around the corner of the house, seemingly uninjured.

Detective David Bradley said that Harrison was found shortly afterward near the scene and was arrested for public intoxication.

Harrison posted bond, but Saturday became a suspect in the incident, and by Saturday afternoon, turned himself in to police, Bradley said.

Florence Fire Chief Charles Cochran said that within seconds, the fire had spread up to the second floor and that the house was a total loss.

Jack Pounders, another neighbor, was watching television when he heard a loud noise and saw smoke coming from his neighbor's house.

Pounders saw Watson hanging from the second floor window as smoke bellowed out of the house. Pounders asked the retiree if anybody else was in the house and Watson answered no.

Authorities said, however, that Watson's dog died in the fire.

Pounders ran to his yard, where he had a 28-foot ladder, and as he ran back across the street, he saw Watson slide from the window and land on a concrete wall before landing on the sidewalk.

"If he had just waited," Pounders said.

Pounders said that Watson could talk after the fall, and an ambulance rushed to the scene shortly afterward.

The Pounderses have had three cars drive into their yard, and a driver hit their house 10 years ago.

The intersection at Hermitage Drive and Wood Avenue is X-shaped.

Saturday, the now-abandoned home remained charred where the truck hit, with melted vinyl siding and a collapsed roof.

By the porch, Watson's shoe remains at the scene amid the smashed glass.

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Man that sucks.... I'll pray for his full recovery.

I'm sorry for the loss of all his things and for that poor animal... that's an ugly way to go out. :(

As to the drunk, I'll have to let that one go lest I get tossed from the forum for what I have to say.

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Prayers sent to Jim's full recovery. He has very good friends. That is alot anyway you look at it. If there is anything we can do for him, let us know.

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Thats just awful news .... mostly for Jim, but I'm also saddened to hear about the dog dying in the fire as well. :(

Just awful ............. hope he gets the best medical treatment possible, and I hope those bastards that did this rot in jail. Sorry but that makes me very mad that a mans house burns to the ground, his friends dog dies in the fire, and he is seriously injured falling off his roof, and the drunk drivers just walk away. :angry:

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Jim's a tough old bird. He's a fine shooter and won the AL State IDPA Championships a few years ago, too.

Best vibes to Jim for a full and speedy recovery.

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That sucks, I'm not a religious man so no prayers from me, but how about a pox and some curses on the low lives who perpetrated this? Injuring a man and killing his dog ought to be a shootable offense.

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Folks, we've already pulled at least one post from here that suggested guns are/were the answer to this terrible misfortune visited upon Jim. Try to think of the bigger picture before posting stuff like that on these forums.


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Here's an update from a one of Jim's many friends that was posted to another forum. Thanks to the moderators for not letting this thread turn vigilante.


Hi Folks, I just wanted to post a bit more info about Jim. IF all goes as planned on Tuesday in the surgery the Doctors predict a total recovery with a lot of Rehab. Most of us who dove in and helped have not had much rest this weekend with trying to stabilize the collection after the fire. I wanted to post this pic of this gun which looked worse than any of the others (IMHO) some good friends helped me with this tonight. As you can tell it is a Browning O/U and I wont say much about it except it looked really bad. In the picture is Hal , Myself, and Richard E(on here) we really made this gun an act of passion trying to bring the old lady back to life as much as possible. I think we did pretty good. Now we are not fishing for pats on the backs or "attaboy's" there are many other people doing the same thing we are doing and working just as hard. I just wanted to share this with you because it shows hope from a seemingly lost situation....it happened with the help of good friends coming together to desperately right a situation that should never have happen. It was also one of Jim's favorite guns and perhaps he can view this on the web when he feels better) and it will cheer him up some.

Jim we love you and are looking out for you, you may have not had any blood relatives here to take care of things. But you had a much larger family than you knew who came together to look out for you and do what needed to be done.




Couple of news articles:

Picture of Jim's house on WAFF web site...


and here at Times Daily...


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