HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A man is in a Lufkin hospital and a woman is in custody following a car chase which began in Conroe and ended in two wrecks in Houston County.
Houston County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy GP Shearer said Joey Salinas, 36, and Yeiny Gonzalez, 22, of Dallas, stole a black Mercedes 4-door sedan in Dallas and drove it to Conroe, where they were involved in a police chase in Conroe Monday morning, following an armed robbery in the Conroe area.
Salinas will be facing felony charges of aggravated robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle as soon as he is released from the hospital, along with a misdemeanor evading arrest charge. Additional charges will be pending from the Dallas and Conroe police departments as well.
Gonzalez was also charged with aggravated robbery and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
The chase went through Montgomery and Walker counties and law enforcement officers took over in Houston County.
"Deputies pursued the vehicle into Madison County where Madison County deputies took over the pursuit," Shearer said. "The Mercedes was traveling at dangerously high rates of speed and deputies lost sight of the vehicle around the Midway area in Madison County."
According to Shearer, the suspects entered Crockett on State Highway 21. Crockett Police officers spotted the Mercedes and followed it as it traveled south on Loop 304 toward SH 19 before they lost sight of it. A short time later, a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper located the Mercedes near Lovelady on SH 19.
Then the Mercedes headed out on FM 230 and turned onto FM 1280, Shearer said. The driver of the Mercedes, who was later identified as Salinas, then crossed SH 21 and continued on FM 1280. Shearer said Salinas of the Mercedes "wrecked out" near the intersection of County Road 3220 and County Road 3230.
After Salinas and Gonzalez ran from the wrecked Mercedes, they started looking for another vehicle to steal, Shearer said. The chief deputy said that, at one point, Salinas was running down FM 1280 when he made it look like he had a gun and told residents of the Austonio area to give him their car. He ran away when one of the people went into his or her home and returned with a gun and pointed it at him, Shearer said.
They continued running, and Salinas was able to steal a 1997 Chevy Lumina from R.E. Jackson, a resident in the area, Shearer said. However, Salinas left Gonzalez behind and left in the car.
"He had no business being here, especially over here because he was on a dead-end street," Jackson said.
Jackson said he made sure Salinas wasn't welcome on his property.
"I said, 'Don't even come in my house,'" Jackson said. "And when I said that, he jumped in my car and drove off."
After Salinas left her stranded, Gonzalez quickly tried to bargain with Jackson.
"She was standing out here, and I just told her to come in the house," Jackson said. "She said, 'Please don't shoot him. Please don't shoot him.'"
Shearer said people who live out in the country often leave their keys in their unlocked vehicles.
"It is probably a good idea to lock those vehicles and bring them," Shearer.
Salinas then allegedly wrecked the Chevy on SH 21 and authorities were able to take him into custody. Shearer said Salinas was taken by helicopter to a Lufkin hospital, not because of his injuries, but because he was unresponsive and authorities believe he ingested some kind of evidence.
A Houston County Sheriff's Office spokesman said that Salinas was in the intensive care unit of a Lufkin hospital and was listed in "guarded" condition as of 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Conroe Police Sgt. Dorcey Riddle said they are trying to determine whether Salinas and Gonzalez were connected to an armed robbery at a convenience store on the 2900 block of I-45 Sunday afternoon.