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Suspect steals Converse police car during chase, overturns near Loop 410 in northeast San Antonio

UPDATE 7:05 p.m.:

CONVERSE (KTSA News) — One man was arrested, another still on the loose after they stole a Converse police car during a police chase.

Converse police chief Fidel Villegas said the department got a report at around 4:15 p.m. Saturday of reckless driving in the city said to be done by a red four-door Buick LeSabre.  The caller said the car was going in the wrong direction on FM 78 near Walzem Road.

Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley

An officer was able to locate that car in the 300 block of Center Street and stopped the driver.

During that stop, the officer noticed an odor of marijuana and the people inside the car seemed agitated.  The car was distinctive: it had large chrome rims with spokes sticking out.

The driver fled, going down Gibbs Sprawl Road to O’Connor.  The chase never climbed over 50 miles per hour.

They suspects eventually got out of the car in the area of Antares Park and O’Connor in San Antonio.  The driver ran to a driveway, the passenger ran into the neighborhood.

The driver circled back and got into a physical fight with an officer, pushing him away to get into a Chevy Tahoe patrol SUV.  He then led officers on another vehicle pursuit.

Officers chased the stolen unit on the Interstate 35 Frontage Road going nearly 80 miles per hour to the area of the Loop 410 interchange, when the suspect lost control and the SUV overturned.  Villegas said the cruiser skid more than 150 feet while it was overturned.

The driver again ran off and was eventually found with the help of San Antonio police nearby on Ball Street in a lumber yard.  The whole chase took about 10 minutes.

The suspect, not yet identified, was taken to an area hospital for minor injuries.  One officer had minor injuries.

Villegas said officers found a loaded 40mm Glock with an extended clip in the suspect’s car, which gives the chief more reason to believe he may be tied to other violent crimes.

Unidentified suspect in Converse police car pursuit. Photo courtesy of Converse Police Department.

The chief shared the man’s criminal history, which includes murder, aggravated assault, theft, robbery, passing of false identity among others.

“The driver is somewhat known to us as far as being a suspect in some other criminal activity,” the chief explained to reporters.  “He’s known to be a violent suspect.”

San Antonio and Hill Country Village police have reached out to Converse police saying he is a possible suspect in crimes there.  Police also said he is not believed to live in Converse, but visits the area frequently — easy for officers to notice with his flashy rims.

“The only reason I won’t release that name is because we’ve had several police agencies reach out and say ‘I think that’s our guy in this particular incident,'” Villegas said.

For his Saturday activities, the man is expected to be charged with evading arrest with a vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon.

The chase ended not too far from the scene of Thursday night’s chase by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, which drew the ire of San Antonio police chief William McManus because one of his officers was injured while doing traffic control an hour after that chase had ended.

San Antonio police and Bexar County sheriff’s deputies helped Converse police find the runaway suspect in San Antonio’s jurisdiction.  However, about a half hour after the chase had ended, it was only Converse police doing the minimal traffic control needed for the crash scene on the frontage road.

Villegas was asked about his department’s pursuit policy in light of the recent drama to his west.

The chief stated his department’s policy is similar to San Antonio’s.

“Once the officer in this case knew that he had a suspect driving that recklessly and evaded, he had a situation that he was witnessing this offense occur,” Villegas stated.  “He had the option to either initiate the pursuit according to our policy and then get approval by a supervisor or he had the option to just turn away.  But with the public calling that this suspect was driving the wrong way on a roadway made him dangerous to begin with.  In that instance, it would comport to our policy.”

As for the fact the suspect was able to get away with a patrol car, the chief said it was a simple mistake.

“Officers shouldn’t leave an unattended vehicle.  At that point, the officer made a mistake that happens once in a while when you do leave the keys in it,” Villegas said in a forgiving tone.  “We train for that and sometimes in that moment, when there’s that much adrenaline flowing, the officer certainly wishes he didn’t leave the car running.  But that’s what happened.”

ORIGINAL:

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A Converse police car overturned on the Loop 410 frontage road in northeast San Antonio Saturday afternoon.

It occurred near a Days Inn motel in the area of the Interstate 35/410 interchange near Windcrest.

Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley
Photo: KTSA/Dennis Foley

The circumstances of the crash are not immediately clear.

More information to come when it becomes available.


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