COMPILED FROM MEDIA REPORTS
KYLE — A big rig driver who blew through a south Texas border zone checkpoint was arrested early Thursday morning in Kyle after leading law enforcement on an 182-mile chase in an 18-wheeler.
After a contraband-detecting dog flagged his tractor-trailer as suspicious, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents asked Lorance Jones Jr., 48, to pull into a secondary inspection point at about 3:40 a.m. Sept. 11. Jones instead sped away from the checkpoint as border patrol officers gave chase, federal and state authorities said.
Pursued by Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and local police for most of his 182-mile flight, Jones raced northward through seven counties at speeds that sometimes reached 90 mph. After officers shot out some of the truck’s tires, the rig finally came to a stop at about 6:50 a.m. on Interstate 35 near the Center Street overpass in Kyle, state trooper Robbie Barrera said.
“The driver attempted several times to run several of our units off the highway. … He was also endangering the public and it was very imperative that we get him stopped,” Barrera told KVUE News, the Austin ABC network affiliate.
Officers found nine people inside the 18-wheeler’s cargo trailer, seven of whom were determined to be in violation of immigration laws, said Cmdr. Robert L. Harris, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Laredo sector.
“This was a collaborative effort among the law enforcement agencies and exemplifies the outstanding partnership along the South Texas border,” Harris said.
Jones was placed in federal custody and is being held at the Webb County jail in Laredo, said Berin Salas, a border patrol spokesperson. Two U.S. Department of Homeland Security agencies, the border patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are conducting a joint investigation into Jones and his cross-country pursuit, Salas told KXAN News, the Austin NBC network affiliate.
The seven undocumented immigrants found in Jones’ truck are also in the border patrol’s custody. Said Salas, “We are talking to all of them, in order to get all of the evidence .. to charge the driver.”
Hays Free Press reporter MOSES LEOS III contributed reporting used throughout this news story.
COVER: The driver of an 18-wheeler carrying seven illegal immigrants ran a border patrol checkpoint near Freer on Thursday and then led state and local police on a three-hour chase. The pursuit ended on Interstate 35 in Kyle after troopers shot out some of the big rig’s tires. PHOTO by MOSES LEOS III/HAYS FREE PRESSEmail | Print