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Ballinger PD pursuit ends in fiery crash, man facing charges

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Damage from the vehicle that crashed at North Runnels Hospital during Ballinger Police Pursuit.

BALLINGER — A police pursuit from Ballinger to Winters ended with a crash at the North Runnels Hospital could result in charges for the driver involved. 

On Tuesday night, at about 9:30 p.m., the Ballinger Police Department officer Suzanne Torres attempted a traffic stop on Highway 67 in Ballinger, "She went to stop the vehicle for speeding, but the suspect didn't stop. We didn't know at that time, but there was a BOLO (Be On the Look Out for) out on the vehicle for a possible suicidal subject," said Ballinger Police Chief Stan Maresch. 

The driver fled and Torres followed. As the pursuit traveled near Hatchel, Torres's patrol vehicle had a blowout, Maresch said. 

Another Ballinger officer, Bryan Phillips, was able to continue the pursuit and was joined by Runnels County Sheriff's Department  deputies and Winters Police Department officers.

Once the vehicle neared Winters, police officers there were able to successfully deploy a spike strip. The vehicle continued a short distance before it crashed at North Runnels Hospital. The vehicle damaged the guardrail, some shrubs and turf at the hospital.

Damage from the vehicle that crashed at North Runnels Hospital during Ballinger Police Pursuit.

After the vehicle crashed it caught fire and the suspect refused to get out, Maresch said, "The vehicle was on fire when it came to a stop. The suspect sat in there for 5 minutes, inhaling all of that smoke. The officers had to extract him from the vehicle," Maresch said.

The suspect continued to resist and had to be tasered. The vehicle fire was extinguished by the Winters Fire Department.

The suspect was treated at the scene for minor injuries from the wreck and fire, "He had some cuts and scrapes," Maresch said. 

The suspect was being evaluated at Rivercrest Hospital in San Angelo 

The police officers didn't book the suspect into jail, "He was given a mental health evaluation and transported to Rivercrest. Mental health is more important than just booking someone into jail," Maresch said Wednesday. 

Maresch did say the driver would face charges once he's released from the hospital, "We're getting warrants for him for evading arrest with a vehicle, DWI and resisting arrest."

This is a developing story that will be updated once warrants are served.