Nacogdoches County deputies seize 31 gallons of prescription medicine after chase

The chase began in Nacogdoches County and ended in Panola
Suitcases and cardboard boxes packed with Promethazine were recovered from a vehicle pursued...
Suitcases and cardboard boxes packed with Promethazine were recovered from a vehicle pursued through three counties by Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office investigators and other law enforcement agencies.(Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office | Facebook Nacogdoches County Sheriff)
Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 3:46 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2023 at 3:53 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office seized more than 31 gallons of prescription Promethazine following a high-speed chase that began in their county, went through Rusk County, and ended in Panola County on Jan. 12.

Demarco Bell, 28, of Chicago, Illinois, and Jaylen Joshua Johnson, 22, of Indianapolis, Indiana, were both arrested following the pursuit. They both face felony charges for evading arrest or detention and Class A Misdemeanor charges for possession of a dangerous drug. A third suspect who evaded arrest is currently being looked for, the sheriff’s office says.

The two suspects pictured have since bonded out of jail; the third has yet to be captured.
The two suspects pictured have since bonded out of jail; the third has yet to be captured.(Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office)

According to a statement by the sheriff’s office, at around 7:46 a.m. on Jan. 12, deputies tried to make a traffic stop on a black Hyundai Sonata in the 8700 block of U.S. 259 N. in Nacogdoches County. The driver of the car did not stop, instead driving away from deputies, quickly reaching speeds of more than 100 mph. The driver fled north on U.S. 259 as deputies and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers pursued the vehicle, which crossed into Rusk County.

The driver turned on to state Hwy. 315 in Rusk County as Rusk County law enforcement officials attempted to intervene in the pursuit and stop the driver. The driver reached 115 mph while fleeing as he headed towards Panola County, according to the sheriff’s office statement.

Constables in Panola County place spike strips in the road to try to stop the car, but they say the driver was able to avoid them, and at one point swerved towards a Panola County deputy constable, who fired at the vehicle.

The pursuit continued into downtown Carthage, where the sheriff’s office statement says the vehicle briefly came to a stop and two suspects got out of the car and ran away. One of them was taken into custody.

A third person, still in the car, continued to flee law enforcement in the vehicle, even though it had multiple flat tires.

The chase continued southbound on U.S. 59 to through Tenaha and into Timpson before the driver stopped near the intersection of U.S. 59 and CR 414 in Panola County, where he was taken into custody.

Inside the vehicle, investigators say they found three suitcases and three cardboard boxes packed with 252 one-pint bottles of Promethazine, a prescription antihistamine medicine. Promethazine is sometimes mixed with the opioid cough medicine codeine. This combination is often abused.

The Promethazine seized from the car did not contain codeine, initial field tests showed. How the suspects got the medicine is not yet known.

Bell and Johnson were booked into the Panola County jail on charges from both Nacogdoches County and Panola County. Both have since bonded out. Bell bonded out on Jan. 14 and Johnson on Jan. 17.

The investigation into the case is ongoing and additional charges are possible.