The chase began shortly after 10 a.m. when officers searching for a vehicle believed to be driven by a burglary suspect spotted it.
A chase ensued through the city before the fleeing suspect drove out onto the U.S. Highway 181 Bypass.
The pickup, reported to be stolen, led officers south of town toward Skidmore at speeds reported to be 105 and 110 mph, then took the line of vehicles onto FM 351 and FM 888 before returning to U.S. 181.
Officers from the Beeville Police Department, Texas Highway Patrol and Bee County Sheriff’s Office were in pursuit when Ranger Bennett joined the chase. Bennett said Texas Rangers from around the area were at the Bee County Sheriff’s Office firing range on the grounds of the Bee County Expo Center when they heard the chase going on over their radios.
The final leg of the chase had the suspect fleeing north in the southbound lane on 181 when Bennett managed to get his pickup beside the fleeing vehicle.
By that time, Lt. Ken Jefferson of the BPD had called over the radio for someone with a shotgun to get into position and fire at the pickup’s tires.
“Let’s get this stopped before somebody gets killed,” Jefferson said over his car radio.
But getting a shotgun in a good location proved as difficult as the vain attempts to get a unit with spike strips in front of the line of vehicles. The suspect was driving so erratically that no one was able to figure out where he would be at any one time.
As the chase proceeded north on 181 in the southbound lane, Bennett managed to get alongside the fleeing vehicle.
He fired three rounds from his AR-15 into the left side of the pickup in an attempt to flatten a tire. Then Bennett got onto the right side of the suspect and fired several more rounds. One of the bullets struck the right rear tire.
But the man continued to speed along the highway. Officers said he was weaving badly at that time.
Bennett then got behind the truck and conducted a precision immobilization technique (PIT). The maneuver began in the southbound lane, and Bennett managed to push the suspect’s vehicle across a lane joining both sides of the divided highway and into the southbound lane.
Both vehicles drove off the roadway and into the grassy drainage ditch on the east side of the highway. Bennett said the suspect was still trying to get away from him when BPD patrol cars drove up and blocked him.
The suspect surrendered at that time.
Officers were still investigating at the scene at noon. The suspect was taken to the Bee County Jail and was to be interrogated Monday afternoon.
Officers said another man believed to have been involved in the burglary earlier in the morning also was in custody.
We will have more information on this story in Wednesday's edition of the Beeville Bee-Picayune.