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‘Coyote’ escapes into night after police pursuit
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Sgt. Devin Keen of the Floresville Police Department searches a stolen Ford F-150 for evidence April 5 after it was involved in a high-speed pursuit.
Wilson County NewsApril 11, 2012 2,847 views 1 comment
FLORESVILLE -- Police believe that the human smuggler who led officers on a high-speed, nighttime pursuit through several areas of the city April 4 is still at large. Meanwhile, 10 males from Honduras are headed back there.
Sgt. Devin Keen of the Floresville Police Department said he and patrolmen Billy Herrera and Matthew Redd were participating in traffic-enforcement operations on S.H. 97 East at approximately 10:30 p.m., when a green Ford F-150 pickup truck quickly turned around when the driver saw the flashing lights coming from the officers’ vehicles. Keen attempted to follow the vehicle, which led him at speeds of up to 90 mph down several residential streets before going back onto Hospital Boulevard.
Herrera and Redd joined in the chase as Keen pursued the speeding pickup truck onto G Street and across U.S. 181. The vehicle then proceeded down a private lane and into a ranch owned by John Hill, where the driver crashed through two fences before ditching the vehicle in a pasture. As Keen closed in, the driver and four others fled from the truck’s cab, while the remaining six were left locked in the bed underneath a hard-shell tonneau cover.
“They were gasping for air,” Keen said.
Hill said he watched as his quiet ranch became a cacophony of lights and sirens as the fleeing pickup truck barged its way through the fences.
“This has happened before,” he said.
Keen said he recollects at least four separate incidents in which human smugglers -- often called “coyotes” -- have bailed out of vehicles on Hill’s property. This leads him to believe that a network of coyotes is utilizing a common route.
Keen said the events of April 4, along with other recent pursuits involving illegal immigrants along the S.H. 97 corridor, have led agents from a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office in Pleasanton to commit to increasing patrols along the rural highway.
Officers trekked across the pastures and through the brush with flashlights in hand, searching for those who fled. A Wilson Coutny Sheriff’s Office van arrived to transport the six subjects -- one of whom was 16 years old -- to the Wilson County Criminal Justice Center as a helicopter from the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol circled above.
At 8:30 a.m. April 5, Keen said a man residing on C.R. 401 near the Floresville Middle School reported seeing four people hiding in his back yard. When the resident told them he was going to call police, they began walking toward town. Officers arrived and apprehended two adults and two juveniles ages 9 and 15.
Keen said the 16-year-old male told officials that he and the others had to work until they each earned the $6,000 that was paid to the coyote to transport them into the United States. The truck used to transport the illegal immigrants, Keen said, was stolen from an insurance company’s impound lot in Houston.
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The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
April 17, 2012 11:03am
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