San Marcos police are awaiting autopsy results before identify the driver of a truck killed with another man early Monday when a police pursuit ended in flaming wreckage.
The fleeing driver reached speeds approaching 60 mph immediately before he drove into limestone wall in the center of a roundabout in the Rio Vista Terrace neighborhood, assistant police chief Chase Stapp said. A passenger, 43-year-old San Marcos resident Charles Lee Crayton, was identified the morning of the accident, but damage from the crash was so extensive that investigators cannot not say definitively who was driving the truck.
“We are relying on the medical examiner,” Stapp said.
Marcus Natal, who lives nearby on Cheatham Street, said he heard two loud booms and came outside to see the truck already ablaze, burning so hot that Natal said he could not come within 50 feet. Natal and other people who live in the neighborhood say the driver was Fabian Hernandez, 39, of San Marcos.
“One of them was ejected out of the car and, unfortunately, one of them wasn’t. It’s sad that two people lost their lives,” Natal said.
The chase began at the intersection of C.M. Allen Parkway and Hopkins street when an officer determined that the driver might be impaired and attempted to pull over the pickup truck, Stapp said. The driver headed down C.M. Allen and turned right on Cheatham, heading toward the Rio Vista neighborhood, Stapp said.
At least two other police vehicles helped look for the vehicle as it snaked its way through the neighborhood, at times using Riverside, Rivera, Haynes and Cheatham streets. For the most part, the vehicle was driving at relatively low speeds on narrow residential streets but the driver accelerated on Cheatham Street as he reached the roundabout at Rio Vista street.
Stapp said he did not know why the men refused to stop for the officer.
“I wouldn’t be able to answer without pure speculation [and] we don’t have the benefit of being able to interview either” of the people in the vehicle, Stapp said.
In another early morning police pursuit last month, 25-year-old Charles Brandon Knowles died when he lost control of his motorcycle on the Interstate 35 access road at Guadalupe Street. Police said Knowles fled an officer who had seen him driving at “a very high rate of speed” northbound on the interstate.Email | Print