Stolen Kia slams into 18-wheeler; 2 men flown to local hospital

(Photo by Kathleen Serie)
(Photo by Kathleen Serie)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 9, 2019 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Two men were in a Temple hospital Monday evening after the stolen Kia Soul in which they led Lampasas officers on a chase at speeds as high as 115 miles per hour slammed an 18-wheeler and ended up lodged beneath the trailer.

Damion Justin Altamirano of Killeen, 19, who police say was driving the stolen car, and his passenger, Terrence Eric Rashad Craven, 23, also of Killeen, both suffered extensive injuries.

They were flown to Scott & White Medical Center in Temple.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was not hurt.

The series of events that led to the chase started with a call to Lampasas police at 10:15 a.m. Monday from an OnStar representative who reported that a 2017 Chevrolet Equinox that had been stolen in Killeen was parked outside the Lampasas Walmart store, police said.

Officers found the SUV unoccupied and locked, but learned from a witness than the 2015 Kia Soul had been parked next to the Equinox and that “its occupants had been acting suspicious,” police said.

An officer spotted the Kia and followed it as the driver “immediately accelerated heavily out of the parking lot” and headed east on U.S. Highway 190.

The officer gave chase and radioed in the Kia’s license number, which turned out to have been stolen in Killeen, as well.

The chase, which reached speeds of 115 miles per hour, continued until the Kia reached the Lampasas River Bridge about a mile west of Kempner, where a Department of Public Safety trooper had deployed spike strips, which the vehicle struck.

Despite tire damage, the Kia headed east at a high rate of speed into Kempner, where the driver tried to go around other vehicles stopped at a red light at FM 2313.

The Kia struck the trailer of the 18-wheeler, whose driver was turning west onto U.S. 190 from southbound 2313, “lodging underneath and against the rear wheels and tires, causing extensive damage to both vehicles,” police said.

Officers recovered methamphetamine and marijuana and determined Craven was named in an outstanding warrant charging unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

Police think the two suspects drove both vehicles to the Lampasas Walmart.

The Lampasas County Attorney’s Office is reviewing possible charges the two may face after they’re released from the hospital.

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