August 8, 2008

Police Pursuit Goes the Wrong Way on Highway 281

Manuel De La Rosa

Video of arrest at link.

(August 8, 2008)

ALICE--A high speed pursuit goes the wrong way on Highway 281 in Jim Wells County and officers say they're lucky nobody got hurt or killed.

It happened during a highway interdiction program. Law officers patrolled the highways and roads from Premont to Orange Grove, that resulted in several tickets being issued. Officers said they made 99 traffic stops, 128 license checks and gave out 20 traffic tickets. They also had one high speed pursuit in which the suspect went to extreme measures to getaway.

This operation was part of Borderstar, a program designed at putting more officers on the roads. Many think Borderstar is aimed at catching illegal immigrants and drug smugglers, but officers said they also patrol for crimes and that's what led to this high-speed pursuit.

"It could have been disastrous," that's what Lt. Joe Martinez said about Leo Truijillo of Houston, who was driving the wrong way on Highway 281 near Ben Bolt on Thursday afternoon

"I was next to him," said Lt. Martinez. "He ran me off the road with his vehicle. As he ran me off the road, we went into the center median. Then we went onto oncoming traffic travelling south on the northbound lane."

As Truijillo sped down 281, you can see Martinez get over to the emergency lane so drivers can see his red lights. You see a big rig pulling over.

"I got into the lane where the oncoming traffic could see my lights and they were able to move out of the way," Lt. Martinez said.

Two miles later, officers say Truijillo decides to get off of Highway 281. Then they said he later crashes into a ditch.

"He ended up crashing his truck and he tried to run from us," said Lt. Martinez. "One of our officers asked him to stop. He wouldn't stop so we ended up having to tase him."

Officers said a passenger got away during this bailout. They say Truijillo told them he ran because he was afraid of being put behind bars.

"At the time he thought he had some warrants so he just kept going and didn't want to stop," Lt. Martinez said.

Truijillo is facing three criminal charges including aggravated assault on a public servant.

--Manuel De La Rosa, Area 3 News,

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