A woman officers found asleep at the wheel in Matagorda County Monday fled, creating a multi-agency car chase northwest of El Campo that ended with her arrest on multiple charges including aggravated assault against a peace officer.
Torie Stelly, 25, of Irving was found sleeping in her gray four-door Nissan, parked on a shoulder of FM 2431 west of Markham, at around 8:59 a.m. Monday by Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office deputies. The officers, responding to a reckless driver report, knocked on Stelly’s window. She woke up and drove away.
“Deputies pursued the vehicle into Markham where Stelly returned to FM 2431 and traveled to Hwy. 71 in Midfield,” according to a MCSO press release.
Stelly got on Hwy. 71 and headed toward Wharton County prompting Matagorda County officials to notify the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office at 9:30 a.m. with deputies joining the chase.
“WCSO patrol units immediately responded to the area and joined in the pursuit as it entered Wharton County,” Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar said.
The pursuit ultimately involved officers from WCSO, MCSO, the El Campo Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, a Wharton County constable, a Matagorda County constable and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Stelly made it to the parking lot of Pincher’s restaurant, 23324 U.S. 59, where she pulled in and officers attempted to arrest her. Instead, she drove off again.
Before Stelly could be stopped, she drove into the northbound lane of U.S. 59 while driving southbound. Law enforcement acted quickly to avoid a head on collision, stopping northbound traffic heading to the area from Jackson County. Stelly eventually turned around and continued in the correct direction in the northbound lane.
“Once, in an area where it was safe, a (DPS) Trooper discharged his service shotgun,” DPS Sgt. Stephen Woodard told the newspaper in an email statement Tuesday. “He deflated some of the tires on the passenger vehicle, slowing the car down.”
Northwest of El Campo, on CR 360, the chase came to an end after a DPS trooper executed a maneuver at a sharp turn in the road forcing Stelly’s vehicle off the road where it became stuck in mud.
“The maneuver was successful, and Stelly was taken into custody without incident,” Srubar said.
Stelly was arrested at 10:05 a.m. and taken to the Matagorda County Jail. She is charged with evading arrest with a motor vehicle (state jail felony), and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer (first degree felony). Bond had not been set as of press time.
Three total law enforcement vehicles were struck by Stelly during the chase, including a WCSO vehicle.
WCSO “will be filing an aggravated assault charge with the Wharton County DA’s Office,” Srubar said.
Why Stelly initially evaded police is still unknown, Srubar said.
With the danger created by the fleeing suspect, Srubar said, he is glad everyone involved was able to return home safely. “I am proud of the response and of the actions of every single law enforcement officer on scene,” he added.