By David Wilfong

Herald-Banner Staff



Royse City police e officers had two incidents over the Jan. 26 weekend where motorists led the officers on high speed chases that ended with automobile accidents, according to Lt. Jeff Stapleton.

On Jan. 26 at 11:30 a.m. officer William Rushing attempted to make a traffic stop at the 79 mile marker of Interstate 30 for speeding. The suspect, driving a 2008 Toyota Camry, allegedly attempted to evade the officer, beginning a chase that would wind its way through four counties, officers reported.

Rushing pursued the suspect for approximately 65 miles, with speeds in excess of 100 mph, leaving Rockwall County and going through Hunt County and into Hopkins before the automobile left the interstate.

Rushing reported that the car pulled on Farm-to-Market Road 19, turning south. By this time the chase had been joined by Hunt County deputies and the Department of Public Safety.

Police reported that the vehicle continued the chase into Rains County where Rains deputies joined the pursuit. The chase finally came to a stop near Rains County Road 4235 where the suspect vehicle hit a tree and rolled over onto its roof.

The suspect,who according to the officers on the scene was uninjured in the accident, then left the vehicle and fled on foot. Unable to catch the suspect, law enforcement officers then sought to establish a perimeter and called for the Royse City K9 unit.

Also responding to the search was “Air 1,” a DPS helicopter equipped with a thermal imaging system that can detect the heat signature of people in heavily forested areas. With the thermal detector the suspect was located approximately a half-mile northwest of the crash site, according to Stapleton.

Sammie Wendall Rowe, 43, was arrested on charges of evading arrest and detection with a motor vehicle at that time. Rowe was wanted on a federal warrant for probation violations stemming from a cocaine-related conviction.

Rowe was taken to the Rains County jail before being arraigned and then transferred to Rockwall County.

It was barely into the next day, at 2:05 a.m. when another motorist allegedly attempted to evade Royse City officers.

Officers Matt Finley and Michael Baley were attempting to stop a 2007 Nissan Sentra right in front of the police station on Main Street for failure to stop at a traffic signal when they reported that the vehicle refused to pull over. A chase ensued that made its way down several residential streets before making its way onto the interstate.

Due to the heavy fog that was resting in the area at the time, the officers reported that they lost sight of the vehicle on the interstate, but quickly came upon the car in the median where it had already wrecked and burst into flames.

“I would presume that the vehicle left the roadway because of the fog and hit the cable system (in the interstate median),” Stapleton said.

Finley and Baley removed 40-year-old Crystal Chapman from the vehicle after she was unresponsive to commands. The officers moved Chapman away from the accident scene and administered CPR until the Rockwall County EMS arrived and transported Chapman to Presbyterian Hospital of Rockwall.

Her condition is not known at press time.

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