High-speed chase involves tough decision making for law enforcement

Captain James Galloway
Captain James Galloway
Mario Lopez, courtesy of the Angelina County Jail
Mario Lopez, courtesy of the Angelina County Jail

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Chases are a situation law enforcement are forced into quite frequently -- ones as we've seen, can have a deadly outcome.

In fact, an Angelina county deputy is recovering tonight from injuries during a high-speed chase last Friday through Lufkin.

Within seconds, a routine traffic stop turns into a high speed pursuit.

Authorities switch gears, chase the suspect or hold back?

"If we think that letting them go if it's a minor offense is possible, we'll do it. We've done that before. If we feel like the best situation is that we stay behind them and help bus lights and let the public know there is somebody driving at a high rate of speed then we stay with them with our cars," said Captain James Galloway with the Angelina County Sheriff's Department.

That's exactly what happened Friday during a high speed pursuit through Lufkin.

"Anytime you've got somebody that's impaired like that and then speeding on top of that, you've got a dangerous situation," said DPS spokesman Greg Sanches.

Boxing in Mario Lopez's car, several agencies worked together to stop him.

"You can out run a car but you can't out run a radio and we get the officers in front of him with spikes and try and spike their tires," said Galloway.

He says Lopez ran through crowded intersections including south First Street and Whitehouse Drive. Fortunately, law enforcement stayed close behind him and were able to alert other drivers to stop.

As Lopez executed his next move, so did the pursuing officers, while preparing for anything to happen.

"Why is this person running? What does he got, does he have any weapons?" questioned Sanches.

"Is more traffic up the road, is there less traffic? Is he headed out of town?" said Galloway.

At that point, law enforcement says someone like Lopez is dangerous -- with no worries about consequences.

"Just as soon as you run you change that class c misdemeanor traffic violation to a felony offense," said Galloway.

"Now they've added more trouble to their troubles," said Sanches.

While a fleeing suspect may never think about injuring an officer or an innocent driver it's what officers, say dictates their every move.,

Troopers say Lopez was driving with an illegal driver's license and was believe to be intoxicated.

Lopez apparently told authorities he was mad about something.

He remains in the Angelina County jail on an immigration hold.

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