2017-03-17 / News

Sheriff’s office, police department involved in vehicle pursuits


A Mazda 6 crashed on County Road 2200 after a high-speed chase that began about 12:30 a.m. Thursday on North Key Avenue. 
DAVID LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD A Mazda 6 crashed on County Road 2200 after a high-speed chase that began about 12:30 a.m. Thursday on North Key Avenue. DAVID LOWE | DISPATCH RECORD The Lampasas County Sheriff's Office assisted late Wednesday night with what was described as a low-speed pursuit that began in Mills County and ended a few miles north of Lometa.

Lampasas County Sheriff Jess Ramos said the pursuit began when a driver failed to signal when turning in Goldthwaite.

Ramos said the driver did not stop for Mills County Sheriff Clint Hammonds and continued south down U.S. Highway 183. Even on the highway, though, the driver drove only 25-50 mph, Ramos said. The sheriff said it seems odd when a driver goes at such low speeds and does not stop, but he said that does happen at times on pursuits.

Officers tried twice to halt the driver by putting a spike strip on the road. Ramos said Lampasas County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mark Avila and deputies Dennis James, Logan Jones and Chris McMillian assisted. The Texas Department of Public Safety also provided assistance, Ramos said.

The second time a spike strip was deployed, the Mills County sheriff used his vehicle to push the driver into a guardrail to stop him, Ramos said. The pursuit concluded at 11:20 p.m. in the 22000 block of U.S. 183, north of Lometa.

The driver, 36-year-old Stars Rahmir Rivers of Killeen, was arraigned by Precinct 2&3 Justice of the Peace Camron Brister and was taken to the Mills County Jail. Rivers was charged with evading arrest with a vehicle.

Approximately one hour after that pursuit ended, the Lampasas Police Department was involved in a high-speed chase that began on North Key Avenue and ended when the fleeing driver crashed on County Road 2200.

About 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Lampasas Police Department Sgt. Fidel Morua attempted to stop a Mazda 6 in the 300 block of North Key Avenue. Morua said the car had a brake light out on the passenger side.

Morua said he turned on his patrol vehicle's flashing lights, but the car did not stop. Near the Stripes gas station on North Key Avenue, where the speed limit is 45 mph, the Mazda was going 65 mph, Morua said.

The chase continued north, and the police sergeant said by Lampasas Municipal Airport, speeds reached 90-95 mph as he pursued the driver.

The motorist turned left onto CR 2200, and Morua continued the pursuit. About a half-mile down the county road, the driver of the Mazda veered off into a ditch on the north side of the road. He tried to get back on the county road but struck a guardrail, ending the chase.

The police department identified the driver as 23-yearold Arturo Espino-Martinez.

Morua said the man lives in Austin and was trying to get to Lubbock.

Espino-Martinez was charged with evading arrest with a vehicle, as well as no driver's license.

Ramos said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been contacted, and the man is being held at the Lampasas County Jail on a detainer. The sheriff said the detainer means the man likely will be deported. At press time, though, Ramos was unsure of the man's national origin.

The driver sustained some scratches as a result of the crash, but he declined medical transportation. The Mazda was towed.

LPD Patrol Officer Warren Scott provided backup to Morua. The Lampasas County Sheriff's Office, Lampasas Fire Department and Acadian Ambulance Service also assisted.

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