Arrest Made After Burglary, Chase, Crash That Left Officer Injured

TEMPLE (July 15, 2014) TEMPLE (July 15, 2014)
Aaron Syma, 34, of Temple, who was wanted in connection with a burglary and high-speed chase that led to a crash that left a police officer and two others injured, was arrested Tuesday afternoon on warrants charging burglary of a building and evading arrest in a vehicle.

Police released surveillance photos on Monday of the burglar and the car in which he escaped in hopes someone would identify him.

Officers were sent at around 3:15 a.m. Monday to the S&C Convenience Store at 1304 South 31st St., in response to a burglar alarm.

Investigators later determined that a man broke out a window to gain access to the store from which he took items including beer and cash before fleeing.

The first officer to arrive saw a small black two-door vehicle leaving the parking area and speeding off to the west on Avenue M.

Officers gave chase.

The fleeing driver turned onto South 57th Street, and then north on General Bruce Drive, made a U-turn under Interstate 35, headed down the service road and then entered the southbound interstate.

Officer Carmen DeCruz, a three-year veteran of the department, who was on the way to assist in the pursuit, was traveling south on General Bruce Drive approaching the intersection with S.W. HK Dodgen Loop with his patrol vehicle's emergency lights and siren on, Wilcox said.

A black Volkswagen four door passenger car entered the intersection traveling west on S.W. HK Dodgen Loop in front of the oncoming patrol car and DeCruz was unable to avoid the vehicle.

The two cars collided in the intersection, Wilcox said.

DeCruz, a three-year veteran of the department, was taken by ambulance to Baylor Scott & White Hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and later released, Temple police Cpl. Christopher Wilcox said.

Two people who were riding in the car with which the officer’s vehicle collided were taken to Scott & White in stable condition, he said.

The pursuit was terminated by police and the suspect vehicle was last seen exiting I-35 at 6th Street in Belton.

DeCruz was the second Temple police officer injured in a crash this month.

Temple motorcycle Officer William Pettyjohn, 45, was injured July 3 when he was struck by an out-of-control car during a traffic stop and thrown about 20 feet, police said.

Pettyjohn made the traffic stop at around 7:45 a.m. on the northbound interstate near mile marker 296, Wilcox said, and was returning to his motorcycle when the accident occurred.

Investigators have determined that a northbound Chrysler sedan collided with a northbound Dodge pickup truck as the car's driver moved from the right lane into the center lane, Wilcox said.

The collision caused the drivers to lose control of the vehicles, both of which began to skid, Wilcox said.

The pickup struck Pettyjohn's motorcycle and then rolled one or two times before coming to rest in the median, he said.

The Chrysler slid northbound in the right traffic lane and struck the officer, who was thrown about 20 feet and landed near the front left side of the vehicle he pulled over, Wilcox said.

The driver of the pickup and a passenger were also taken to a local hospital with what Wilcox said were non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Chrysler and the driver whom Pettyjohn pulled over escaped injury.


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