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Frio County deputies initiated a pursuit last Thursday that ended in a fiery crash at a gas station on Loop 1604 in Bexar County and in the arrest of one man and seven undocumented immigrants.
Officers were dispatched to IH-35 at the Frio River on Nov. 19 in response to a call alleging that at least six people were seen jumping off a train and climbing into a Chevrolet truck. According to county deputies, the call included details that rang similar to other recent occurrences related to the illegal transport of undocumented immigrants.
Officers have indicated that a county deputy positioned at Milemarker 104 on the interstate later spotted a 2002 model Chevrolet matching the truck’s description. After noticing that the truck did not have a front license plate, the deputy initiated a traffic stop.
The deputy said the vehicle continued northbound on IH-35 to the commercial weigh station in Medina County and that the driver then steered into the right-hand lane and activated the vehicle’s emergency flashing lights but continued traveling north. The deputy said the driver then signaled as if to stop on the interstate shoulder but instead returned to the highway’s main lanes of travel.
A DPS Highway Patrol trooper waiting to intercept the vehicle on IH-35 then activated his emergency lights and attempted to move in front of the truck. A report on the incident alleges that the driver of the Chevrolet turned his steering towards the trooper’s patrol vehicle in a possible attempt to cause a collision or to prevent the trooper from blocking the fugitive’s path. The Chevrolet then continued north on the interstate.
Deputies and the trooper were joined in the pursuit by police from Devine and officers in an unmarked law enforcement vehicle through Medina and Atascosa counties.
The deputy noted that he was going to end his pursuit and return to Frio County when he saw a Bexar County unit join the pursuit. The suspect, he said, drove off the interstate and steered the Chevrolet through a drainage ditch towards a convenience store and crashed through a gas pump.
The deputy said he saw several individuals flee the vehicle and that he saw a man wearing a yellow sweater lying at the gas pump near an open flame. The deputy and DPS trooper moved the suspect away from the flames.
According to San Antonio media reports, the suspect was taken into custody after receiving medical attention and seven undocumented immigrants were detained.
DPS reports have indicated that the driver was a 26-year-old from Georgia.