The front end of his cruiser shredded, a Wharton County Precinct 2 deputy constable escaped major injury Thursday when his high-speed pursuit ended with a crash at the intersection of U.S. 59 and Hwy. 71.
The suspect was later tracked down, thanks to a citizen’s effort, and arrested before the crash investigation was complete. He faces charges of evading arrest causing serious bodily injury, tampering with evidence and causing a wreck with serious bodily injury.
Investigators are still piecing together where and why Deputy Constable Roderic Taylor began pursing a racing motorcycle along U.S. 59 in El Campo.
The high-speed chase involved sharp U-turns and wrong-way driving on the southbound feeder road of U.S. 59 between FM 1163 and Hwy. 71.
At the Hwy. 71 intersection with U.S. 59, the chase ended with the collision in the northbound feeder lanes.
Taylor’s “ghost” SUV, one with graphics hard to see during the day, but “light up” when hit by headlights at night, hit the side of the grain hopper trailer head-on.
“It (the grain hopper) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t know if the grain hopper knew there was a chase until impact,” Pct. 2 Constable John Szymanski told the Leader-News Friday.
The crash completely destroyed the front end of the deputy constable’s Chevrolet Tahoe. A Ford pickup driven by a Palacios woman also sustained front end damage as a result of the collision.
Taylor’s SUV crumbled, trapping him in the driver’s seat. “Seeing the severity of the damage to his vehicle, he was very, very, very fortunate,” Szymanski said. He later added, “The crumple zones worked. Miraculously, he was fine.”
An El Campo firefighter cut Taylor free. Although bloodied, he was reportedly able to stand and walk to the ambulance.
“He’s very, very fortunate and he definitely knows it,” Szymanski said. “I’m a paramedic. I’ve seen thousands (of crashes) ... To see him sitting up, talking, everything is good.”
Taylor has been with the constable’s office for about 12 years, a veteran officer well versed in pursuit procedures.
“I was in East Bernard when I found out (about the collision),” Szymanski said Thursday. “I still have a lot of questions,”
Law enforcers say 25-year-old Alejandro Guadalupe Gonzales of 1410 Ave. I in El Campo was the motorcycle rider. “While we were at the scene, a citizen followed the bike back to the house,” Szymanski said.
Gonzales and a woman were attempting to leave in a vehicle when officers arrived. She was questioned and released.
A search warrant was served allowing law enforcers to discover the motorcycle and a helmet hidden at the home along with a rifle. Gonzales was booked into the Wharton County Jail at 6:56 p.m. Thursday night. He had not been magistrated as of press time.
“Everyone was helping,” Szymanski said, adding his thanks to El Campo fire and EMS for assisting his deputy and for the Department of Public Safety troopers, El Campo police and Wharton County Sheriff’s deputies for aiding in the investigation.
“The cooperation from everyone was great ... it was very much a team effort,” Szymanski said, adding the district attorney’s office and even the wrecker service did their part to help.