A wanted man led law enforcers on a high-speed chase through two counties that ended with a rollover crash Thursday morning, claiming the life of his female passenger.
Dead at the scene was Julia Moreno, 51, of Gonzales, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety crash investigators.
Raymond Lights, 52, of Simonton, remained in Memorial Hermann Hospital in Sugar Land, as of press time, and had not been interviewed by authorities. He faces felony charges, DPS spokesperson Sgt. Stephen Woodard said.
Lights fled from law enforcers in a 2003 white four-door Hyundai, leading them on a chase that started in Fort Bend County and ended five miles west of East Bernard.
“He was traveling at a high rate of speed, lost control of the vehicle on a dirt road when he left the (CR 270) roadway and struck an embankment,” Woodard said. “The vehicle rolled over and landed near a ditch. The female passenger was not wearing a seat belt. She was not ejected from the vehicle, but she died at the scene.”
The two were pinned inside the Hyundai as a fire broke out in the engine compartment. Wharton County Precinct 2 Constable JA Szymanki used fire extinguishers from assorted law enforcement officers’ vehicles to put out the flames.
“The first several minutes after the crash were very chaotic during the extinguishment,” Szymanski said.
The East Bernard Volunteer Fire Department and EMS were dispatched around 11:25 a.m.
The chase began after Fulshear police were advised of a suspect possibly traveling through the area.
“The make and model of the suspect’s vehicle, along with the license plate number was placed into our license plate reader system and it immediately got a hit,” Fulshear police said in a press release. “A Fulshear police sergeant on patrol spotted the suspects’ vehicle occupied by two individuals. A traffic stop was initiated, however, the suspect refused to stop and fled at a high rate of speed.”
Deputies with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Wharton County Sheriff’s Office and DPS joined the chase.
“I was in the East Bernard area patrolling in my vehicle when we were dispatched by (WCSO) and were informed of a pursuit on 90-A and FM 1489 coming from Fort Bend County into Wharton County,” Szymanski said.
Eyewitnesses in East Bernard said when the suspect’s vehicle went through the four-way Hwy. 60/U.S. 90-A intersection, it nearly hit other vehicles, and was estimated to be traveling at 90 mph. The suspect’s car turned onto CR 270, which runs parallel to U.S. 90-A.
Spikes were set up over the San Bernard River bridge around East Bernard.
“During the chase, the sergeant had a blowout to one of the tires on his police vehicle and removed himself from the chase due to the flat tire,” Fulshear police said. “The suspect’s vehicle was the only vehicle involved in the accident.”
There were no injuries reported among law enforcement agencies.
Once the suspect has been interviewed, DPS will forward its investigation to the Wharton County District Attorney’s Office.