A Kansas man is in custody after leading local and area authorities on a high speed chase which began in Texas County early Wednesday. He now faces charges in two states.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, a Texas County deputy attempted to stop the man for an alleged traffic violation and he fled in the Ford F-150 pickup he was driving.
Scanner traffic revealed that the chase topped 100 miles per hour at times. And about 15 minutes later, more law enforcement officials were brought in to the fray.
“We received a call at 3:15 to assist with the pursuit,” said Sherman County Sheriff Joe Powell. “They (Oklahoma officials) told us they were coming this way - that authorities were just outside of Texhoma and were in pursuit of a driver who was fleeing from them.”
Powell along with two Sherman County deputies and an officer from the Stratford Police Department took steps to try to stop the malay.
“A Stratford Police officer along with one of my deputies set up at a location in town,” Powell said. “Myself and another one of my deputies set up our stop sticks on the roadway just east of the city limits. We then staged and waited.”
As Powell watched the lights coming into view, at what he thought was around 80 to 90 miles per hour, his training would have to kick in - full force.
“The driver of the pickup hit the strip with his right front tire and it blew,” Powell explained. “I pulled over and slowed down thinking I would slow down in front of him to force him to slow down. He jerked the wheel of his vehicle and it slammed into my unit, causing it to spin. I turned out of the spin and managed to get back onto the roadway. I would say he was going at least 60 to 70 mile per hour when he hit my patrol unit.”
Powell noticed that both of the man’s tires on the right side appeared to be “flaying off”.
“We may have gotten both of the right tires with the stop sticks,” he said. “He was basically traveling on the rims. He still had tires on the left side of his vehicle.”
Powell continued to follow the driver and became increasingly concerned with the safety of other motorists on the roadway in light of the the erratic driving being exhibited. Powell decided to attempt another maneuver - the PIT.
“The PIT maneuver is utilized by many law enforcement agencies to disable fleeing vehicles,” Powell explained. “I initiated the maneuver which sent his vehicle into a spin. The suspect vehicle spun into the grain elevator parking lot a the driver was able to regain control.”
A surreal moment, Powell said there was “constant motion” during this time.
“I attempted the PIT three to four more times and the last time was on target enough that it sent him to the side of the roadway,” Powell said. “I observed him reaching for something and thought he might be looking for a weapon. He high centered the vehicle but still mashed on the gas again in an apparent attempt to take off.”
The man was unable to flee again, however, and got into the floor board of the vehicle he was driving.
“He refused to open the door for us and one of the officers broke out a window and was able to get a door open. We were then able to remove him from the vehicle and secure him into custody.”
Powell said EMS were called and transported the man to the hospital in Dalhart to ensure he had no injuries.
“He was (allegedly) abrasive with the medical personnel and had to be ultimately restrained for safety reasons,” Powell said.
Powell himself was admitted to the hospital for treatment of his injuries after his patrol unit was struck. He was released Wednesday morning.
The Kansas man, whose name has not yet been released, is facing charges in Oklahoma and Texas.
“We are looking at felony evasion of law enforcement officials and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer,” Powell said. “(The Kansas man) is currently being held in the Dallam County, Texas jail and is expected to be transferred back to Sherman County for arraignment.”
Texas County Undersheriff Matt Boley, who was also called to the scene, said Wednesday that charges have not yet been finalized here.