A routine traffic stop early Thursday morning turned into a brief chase for police on Houston’s south side. At approximately 1 a.m., an officer attempted to pull over a driver whose car had expired tags near McGowen and Live Oak. The driver refused to stop his vehicle and instead led Houston police officers on a 10-minute chase to Highway 288. The driver lost control of his vehicle near the South Loop, and drove into a grassy median with a flat tire. According to Houston Police officers at the scene, the driver jumped out of the car and attempted to flee the scene on foot. The suspect was quickly apprehended and placed under arrest. Officials with the police department say that the man is currently facing charges of felony evading. The Texas Legislature created the following two criminal statutes to criminalize flight from a law enforcement officer:
- evading arrest or detention; and
- fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer.
A driver commits the crime of felony evading if they attempt to flee or elude law enforcement officers. If a suspect “willfully fails or refuses” to stop their vehicle or attempts to elude a pursuing police vehicle or officer when given a visual or audible signal to bring their vehicle to a stop. This act falls under § 545.421(a) of the Texas Transportation Code. Also, it may fall under Texas Statute Section 38.04 – Evading Arrest or Detention, which states: In order for the prosecutor to prove the crime of evading arrest or detention under Statute Section 38.04 of the Texas Penal Code, the prosecuting attorney must prove the following elements in a felony evading case:
- That the person who fled is the person who committed the crime;
- That the defendant acted intentionally;
- That the defendant fled;
- from another person that the defendant knew was a peace officer (police officer or law enforcement);
- That the law enforcement officer was attempting to arrest or detain the defendant;
- That the attempted arrest or detention on the part of law enforcement was legal and reasonable.
The crime of evading arrest can be raised from the level of a class A misdemeanor to that of a Texas jail felony, especially if the prosecutor in a case can prove that the defendant used a motor vehicle in attempting to evade arrest. Sometimes when someone is in trouble with the law, they will lead law enforcement on a high speed chase. High-speed driving and police pursuits can be extremely dangerous, especially when law enforcement is rushing in pursuit of someone who is trying to evade the law. Incidents involving emergency vehicles can lead to serious accidents that often involve damage of personal property, personal injuries, or death. Sometimes those injuries can happen not only to the officers of the law and the suspects that are in the chase, but also to unsuspecting civilians and innocent bystanders as well. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to tragic consequences. If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a high speed chase or other type of emergency vehicle, give our offices a call. We specialize in accident cases and we know the law and will fight to protect your rights to fair and adequate compensation. When dealing with law enforcement and other emergency services that are quite often run by city or municipalities, quick action to the right responsible office or entity is key. With accidents involving police and emergency services, there are definite time limitations as to when someone can file a claim against a City, County, State or even Federal Government. That is why having an experienced legal professional on your side is your best course of action. We have successfully represented our clients in the legal system in the state of Texas and we can help you recover any medical costs, damages to your vehicle or property, expenses of ongoing medical treatment or therapy, as well as pain and suffering. Your initial consultation with one of our lawyers is confidential, free, and without any obligation to you.