Tommie Edward Saulters (Jail photo)
WACO (September 23, 2013)--Tommie Edward Saulters, 37, was sentenced Monday to serve 50 years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to evading arrest (habitual).
Judge Ralph Strother, in 19th State District Court, sentenced Saulters to serve 50 years in state prison on the charge.
The charge to which Saulters plead guilty stemmed from a high-speed chase back in January that wound for nearly an hour through Waco onto Interstate 35 and up Highway 6 and then back into the city on China Spring Road before it ended.
Saulters and Carrie Woodlock, 32, were arrested at the intersection of North 21st-A Street and Park Lake Drive after the fleeing driver's car, with two shredded tires, collided with the rear of a police car.
The pursuit, which involved U.S. marshals, McLennan County deputies, state troopers and Waco police, started after marshals attempted to pull the car over on South Valley Mills Drive near Memorial Drive.
The driver, whom authorities identified as Saulters, was wanted for a state parole violation on a drug conviction, Kevin Scott of the U.S. Marshal's Service said.
Instead of stopping, the driver pulled into a nearby shopping center and then onto Memorial and sped off with the marshals in pursuit.
At some point during the chase, the driver attempted to ram a U.S. marshal's vehicle, and he also held his hand out the window and made a gesture as if he were firing a gun at pursuing officers, Scott said.
The driver, or one of the two people in the car with him, called 911 during the chase and was talking to a dispatcher, Scott said.
The driver rammed a Department of Public Safety trooper's vehicle on North 19th Street, just before turning onto Park Lake moments before the chase ended, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Friday.
After the car stopped, the driver refused to get out and officers had to break out the vehicle's windows in order to take him into custody, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
Officers used spike strips at least twice in an effort to stop the car, shredding a front a rear tire.
One witness counted as many as two-dozen patrol cars, but a News 10 reporter later counted 50 law enforcement vehicles in the area where the chase stopped.