A Texas game warden that lost his life in the line of duty in August of 2001 was honored with highway dedication in October. Michael C. Pauling was killed after he stopped to help a woman stopped on Texas 73 who was embroiled in a domestic argument. Pauling helped the woman into his vehicle while he went to check on her children.
As Pauling went to the vehicle, the driver of the sedan took off and dragged Pauling who was on the side of the car. The woman followed in Pauling’s vehicle, hitting him after he fell from the sedan. Pauling was then struck again by another vehicle and died.
The 47-year-old game warden was known as a dedicated officer who was always there to help. “If your boat broke down, he was there. If you were lost, he’d find you. He always saw the little details,” said Pauling’s mother, Stephanie.
The dedication ceremony took place at the Beaumont Botanical Gardens in Beaumont, Texas and was attended by Pauling’s family and Texas game wardens. Pauling’s son, Philip, a wildlife technician, said he is touched by the sign which he drives past on most days. The section of highway which is now known as the Warden Michael C. Pauling Memorial Highway stretches from the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge to Sabine Pass on Texas 87.
Dennis Mouton III, the driver of the vehicle which dragged Pauling, was convicted of aggravated assault of a public servant in 2002 and sentenced to 55 years in prison by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Nineteen game wardens have lost their live in the line of duty since the service was founded in 1895. A memorial to those who gave their life is housed in Athens, Texas at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. The life-sized statue is a bronzed replica of a Game Warden and features the American and Texas flags.