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Aggies among three TX Parks & Wildlife employees killed in West Texas chopper crash

Dr. Robert "Bob" Dittmar and Dewey Stockbridge lost their lives Saturday during a work assignment in Brewster County.
Published: Aug. 9, 2020 at 3:05 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2020 at 3:34 PM CDT
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BREWSTER CO., Texas (KBTX) - Two Aggies were among the three Texas Parks and Wildlife employees killed Saturday in a helicopter crash in West Texas.

One of the victims was Dr. Robert “Bob” Dittmar, a State Wildlife Veterinarian and 1979 graduate of Texas A&M University. Another was Wildlife Biologist Dewey Douglas Stockbridge, also a Texas A&M graduate, according to family.

The third man killed was Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White. They were conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in West Texas on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Black Gap Wildlife Management area in Brewster County., according to state officials.

The pilot, a private contractor, survived the crash and was transported to El Paso for further treatment. The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Game Wardens are currently investigating the incident.

Stockbridge graduated from Texas A&M in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from the university’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. He was a wildlife biologist and an expert in his field for Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County, according to his sister Leslie Becker.

According to a December 2014 newsletter from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Dr. Dittmar was a fifth-generation Texan raised on a working livestock ranch in Gillespie County. He is a graduate of TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine and has worked in mixed animal practices in Weslaco, Hondo and Kerrville. According to the Kerrville Daily Times, Dr. Dittmar was an expert on chronic wasting disease in deer across the state and regularly spoke about it in that community.

The Kerrville Veterinary Clinic on Facebook Sunday said Dr. Dittmar “served our community for many years, as owner and veterinarian here with Kerrville Veterinary Clinic. He was a loving husband, a father, and grandfather.”

“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “These men were consummate professionals, deeply liked and highly regarded by their peers and partners alike for the immense passion, dedication, and expertise they brought to their important work in wildlife management and veterinary medicine.”

“Wildlife conservation in Texas lost three of its finest as they so honorably and dutifully carried out their calling to help survey, monitor and protect the bighorns of their beloved west Texas mountains,” said Smith. “We will miss Dewey, Brandon, and Dr. Bob deeply and dearly. All of us at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department send our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Stockbridge, White, and Dittmar families in the wake of this devastating tragedy and continue to pray for the health and recovery of the pilot.”

“Our hearts ache today for those who died in this tragic accident. Cecilia and I are deeply saddened by this loss and we extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims. I ask all Texans to keep these families in their thoughts and prayers,” said Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday.

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