Deputies hospitalized after high-speed pursuit crash
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The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed this week that two of its deputies are expected to make a full recovery after sustaining injuries in a crash that occurred while they were in pursuit of a fugitive on IH-35 last Tuesday.
Preliminary reports from the crash scene near Milemarker 51 shortly after 6 a.m. on January 10 indicated that Deputies Adrian Ruiz and Edward Gonzalez had engaged in the high-speed pursuit of a southbound white Ford pickup truck between Artesia Wells and Encinal when their patrol vehicles collided with each other.
In a statement on the incident this week, La Salle Sheriff’s Lt. Homar Olivarez said the officers had attempted to effect a traffic stop on the suspect’s vehicle when the driver accelerated from them to evade capture.
The deputies had initiated the pursuit on the IH-35 west-side access road and the pickup truck driver steered off the access road, over the highwayside median and onto the interstate’s southbound lanes, then steered sharply onto the highway center median, aiming his vehicle towards oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes.
“The evasive maneuver caused the pursuing officers’ vehicles to collide with each other,” Lt. Olivarez said on Tuesday. “One of the patrol vehicles struck the other, and both vehicles were immobilized.”
Notified of the emergency, officers of the Encinal Police Department were dispatched northbound in order to intercept the fugitive, the lieutenant said.
“The driver of the Ford absconded in a southbound direction,” the officer said.
Emergency responders arrived at the crash scene to find that Deputy Ruiz had become trapped in his damaged patrol vehicle. He was extracted from the wreckage by members of the La Salle County Fire Rescue. Both injured deputies were transported by ambulance to Frio Regional Hospital in Pearsall and were not listed as having sustained life-threatening injuries.
“These pursuits are always inherently dangerous to all parties involved,” the sheriff’s office reported in a prepared statement, “and there is a danger to the general public, so we remind all motorists to pay particular attention to a potential pursuit and to take steps to further their own safety, which may include pulling over or preparing to slow down, to allow law enforcement to carry out its duties in the safest possible manner.”