Angelina Co. Sheriff explains thought process behind decision to engage in hot pursuit

Angelina Co. Sheriff explains thought process behind decision to engage in hot pursuit
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's often described as a whirlwind experience.

"Really puts law enforcement in a bad situation," said Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches.

And the decision to pursue a suspect is one often made with only seconds to spare.

"People have to remember every officer has to evaluate every situation according to what's going on and sometimes that's tough to do, but we have to make very quick decisions," Sanches said.

And usually first on that list of decisions is public safety. Then comes road conditions and if the pursuit is necessary.

It was a decision Angelina County deputies made on Friday when they arrested 23-year-old Teresa Lopez. Authorities say she took them on a two-mile pursuit in Lufkin, which reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour.

"They could've just harmed somebody or murdered somebody or they stole something. They could have kidnapped somebody, so there are all kinds of things and most times, whether you're dealing with a felony or misdemeanor, you don't know at that time and that's the problem," Sanches said.

A case of not knowing came when officers tried to stop a white Chevy truck back in August. The hour-long chase reached speeds close to 100 mph and spanned three counties with eight different agencies responding. Reports say at one point, the driver of that truck even threw chain saws at deputies.

"A lot of times what we try to do is put out the spikes to where we can hurry up and try to end that chase because the longer it goes, sometimes the worse it can get," Sanches said.

With the best advice for you being: stay alert.

"Pull over to the right and get into a safe area. At least slow down and if you're not at a point at the time where you can move over, at least slowing down helps. And when you find that spot, move over," Sanches said.

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