PENDLETON (August 1, 2013)--A high-speed chase that ensued Thursday after a wanted man stole a Bell County deputy's patrol car ended when a Temple police office forced the fleeting man off the road, in the process starting a grassfire that damaged the officer’s undercover unit.
The incident started just after 2 p.m. Thursday after a Bell County Organized Crime unit officer requested a deputy in a marked Bell County unit to stop a pickup truck that was the subject of an investigation.
When the deputy tried to pull the truck over, the driver sped north on the interstate and a chase began.
The fleeing driver pulled off the interstate and drove toward the Pendleton community north of Temple, stopped at a house and tried to escape on foot.
At some point during the foot chase, the Bell County deputy fell and the man was able to get into the deputy’s patrol car and drive away.
About a mile from the house, a Temple officer in an unmarked police pickup truck forced the stolen patrol car off the road and into a roadside ditch where the man was taken into custody.
But the pickup ended up in some high grass and heat from the engine set the grass on fire.
The flames spread to the truck, leaving it heavily damaged.
Authorities said the truck was a total loss.
The deputy who fell and the Temple police officer who stopped the stolen patrol car were not injured in the incident, but the fleeing driver complained that he was hurt.
He was taken by ambulance to a Temple hospital for evaluation.
A police said two people who were inside the house where the fleeing man stopped in Pendleton also were taken into custody.
One of them, a woman, was in the pickup that was the target of the original traffic stop, authorities said.