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SUSPECT DROVE OVER 100 MPH THROUGH COTULLA
A smuggler’s attempt to evade law enforcement on Thursday afternoon, March 23, involved a pursuit that reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour through downtown Cotulla before the suspect crashed and was caught by border agents in Gardendale.
Identified as 26-year-old Harris Lamar Reginald of San Antonio, the suspect in the case was the subject of an attempted traffic stop by the Texas Highway Patrol between Artesia Wells and Cotulla shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday but accelerated from the DPS troopers, prompting a pursuit.
Reginald was reported as driving a Ford work truck with a number of passengers. La Salle County Undersheriff Rene Sobrevilla indicated this week that the vehicle’s license plates appeared to be false.
Notified of the approaching vehicle, deputies of the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office engaged in the pursuit but failed to bring the Ford to a halt as it sped through Cotulla.
“The suspect did not drive back onto the highway,” Sobrevilla said. “He followed the access road going north, still speeding, and then drove into the residential neighborhoods of Gardendale.”
Officers caught up with the vehicle when it crashed into a fence on Williams Street, according to La Salle Lt. Homar Olivarez, who said agents of the US Border Patrol succeeded in rounding up six undocumented immigrants who are believed to have jumped from the Ford when it came to a halt.
“The driver tried to abscond on foot, but officers caught up with him just seventy-five yards from the crash site,” Sobrevilla said.
“We have serious concerns over the dangerous speed that the suspect was driving through Cotulla,” Olivarez said this week. “In doing so, in his attempt to elude officers, we believe he placed the general public in immediate danger.”
The suspect has been remanded into custody at the La Salle County Jail on six third-degree felony charges of human smuggling, a third-degree felony charge of evading arrest with a vehicle, and a Class A misdemeanor charge for criminal mischief up to $2,500 in value for the fence damage when he crashed the Ford.
He remained behind bars Monday in lieu of bond.