By RAZ RASMUSSEN, Ranger Reporter:
What began as a high-speed chase going north out of Canyon on I-27 at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, quickly spiraled out of control as a car being pursued by law enforcement burst into flames.
The driver of the car fled on foot to a calm neighborhood nearby.
“We heard a pop pop pop pop, and we see the car burst into flames, and a guy got out and took off running, jumped into another vehicle with a girl. The police took off after him, and I guess they found him and arrested him,” said Crystal Morales, mother of a West Texas A&M student who came out to make sure her daughter was OK.
She said the ‘pops’ sounded like gunshots from the cops shooting the tires out. “When the sheriff pulled up, the suspect threw his hands up and started yelling,” said another neighbor. The crash scene left the car engulfed in flames in the median facing west, with a long line of debris and grass fires leading to I-27 where the suspect came from.
I was heading to Palo Duro Canyon for a hike when the officer sped across the road in front of me in pursuit of the thief. I looked to my left and saw a huge fireball with black smoke. My friend and I pulled over and ran after the officer and found Morales looking very scared and worried.
We offered to help, not knowing what was going on and ran with her back to the scene. Two other police SUV’s flew into the neighborhood, searching for the lone officer to deliver backup. We watched as traffic slowed and more explosions happened within the vehicle.
We were informed of the apprehension and left just as the flames were being controlled. Smoke filled the air and traffic began to speed up again. We went down to Canyon and saw patrols controlling traffic and cleaning up fragments from the chase. My friend and I made a U-turn and returned home. Morales’ daughter was safe in class and there were no injuries reported.