NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Authorities arrested a 58-year-old Leggett man early Monday morning after he allegedly stole an 18-wheeler from a home and then led law enforcement on a chase that went through Polk, Angelina, and Nacogdoches counties.
Robert Willis Sr. was arrested and charged with two state-jail felonies - evading arrest with a vehicle and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. After a Nacogdoches County justice of the peace set Willis' bail amount at $100,000, Willis was transported to the Polk County Jail.
"A safe closure to a potentially dangerous situation is always paramount," said Polk County Sheriff Kenneth Hammack.
According to a press release, the Polk County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at 4;03 a.m. stating that a tractor-trailer rig had been stolen from a home on One Such Road in Leggett. The truck had been left running because the owner was trying to warm it up.
A PCSO sergeant spotted the stolen 18-wheeler heading south on U.S. Highway 59 toward Livingston. However, Willis allegedly refused to stop for him.
Willis traveled into Livingston, and turned around near FM 1988, and started heading north, the release stated. Livingston PD officers joined in the chase as well.
According to the press release, Willis kept going and went through Corrigan, where law enforcement officers deployed tire spikes several times. Even though many of the 18-wheeler's tires were destroyed by the spikes, Willis continued north on Highway 59 through Angelina County and into Nacogdoches County, the press release stated.
Along the way, law enforcement officers made several more attempts to disable the stolen tractor-trailer rig. Willis kept on going, the press release stated. He allegedly went around the Nacogdoches loop to U.S. Highway 259.
Willis then traveled another approximately 10 miles toward the Rusk County line, the press release stated. The 18-wheeler was finally disabled short of the Rusk County line, and Willis was taken into custody by the pursuing law enforcement officers.
In the press release, Hammack thanked the Livingston Police Department, the Corrigan Police Department, the Diboll Police Department, the Lufkin Police Department, the Angelina County Sheriff's office, the Nacogdoches Police Department, and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office.