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Officials search for man accused of causing deadly crash

By Jessica Priest
Dec. 11, 2013 at 6:11 a.m.
Updated Dec. 12, 2013 at 6:12 a.m.


To help

Call law enforcement if you have information about Leo Click Jr.'s whereabouts. The Refugio County Sheriff's Office's number is 361-526-2351. The Victoria County Sheriff's Office's number is 361-575-0651.

A grieving father is asking the community to help find the man accused of causing a Refugio County crash that claimed his son's life.

Law enforcement cannot find Leo Click Jr., who drove a 2012 silver Dodge Ram pickup that crossed the center line and hit a 2011 green Land Rover head-on on state Highway 35 on Aug. 18, said Jonathan Stoffregen.

Stoffregen's son, Samuel, 14, of Austin, was a passenger in the Land Rover.

Samuel and his best friend's mother, Nicole Lowenberg, 45, were killed in the wreck while seven others were injured.

"I want him (Click) to be a man and stand up for what he did. I instilled in my son that actions have consequences," Stoffregen said Wednesday.

A Refugio County grand jury returned two indictments for Click on Nov. 22.

Click, 43, of Victoria, faces two counts of criminally negligent homicide and five counts of endangering a child, but law enforcement officials cannot find him.

"Once he is apprehended, we can put him on the docket and go from there. These cases can be pending forever," Refugio County Assistant District Attorney Ray Hardy said.

Hardy declined to say what evidence showed Click was fatigued, asleep at the wheel or speeding as the indictment alleged.

"Nobody is going to get into the details of the case because that might taint a jury pool, but in terms of enlisting the public's help, certainly, we don't have any objection to that at all. In fact, we would encourage it," Hardy said.

Another warrant was issued for Click on Nov. 14 after he did not report to his parole officer, said Jason Clark, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Click was convicted in Jackson County on possession and transportation of a chemical with intent to manufacture and sentenced to six years in prison Sept. 5, 2006.

He was paroled from prison April 30, 2008.

Click was convicted in Jackson County again on assault, family violence, and sentenced to six years in prison May 5, 2011.

He was paroled from prison May 29, 2012, Clark said.

Click's parole officer last talked to him by phone Oct. 24, but he has not reported in since then. The warrant has been entered into state and national databases, Clark said.

Clark described Click as 5-foot, 7-inches tall and weighing 200 pounds.

The mother of Click's children, Molly January, was aware of his pending charges, but said Wednesday that she did not know his whereabouts.

Their son, Leo "Willy" Click, 11, who was also involved the crash, received the medal of heroism from the American Legion Post 166 on Nov. 12.

Leo "Willy" Click flagged down vehicles and pulled his family from the wreckage.

He also wrapped his T-shirt around his 9-year-old sister's head, which was bleeding after a bone pierced her brain.

Samuel Stoffregen, meanwhile, was making one last run to the beach with friends Aug. 18 before starting high school. He was working toward being certified a master scuba diver and unveiled his five-year plan to become a marine biologist to his family in May, his father said.

Samuel's mother is Michelle Gatto, also of Austin.

He was looking forward to playing the position of tight end on his high school football team. He also enjoyed Ultimate Frisbee and played the cello in the orchestra, his father said.

"He was an exceptional young man, and I don't say that just because he's my son," Jonathan Stoffregen said. "He already knew what he wanted and how to go after it."

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