Corporal Joseph Ballew and Sergeant Chris Eubank
VETERAN COPS PUZZLED BY ARREST AFFIDAVITS
Waco – When a patrol supervisor tried to apprehend a driver for failing to give a proper turn signal, the resulting ultra-violent chase led to the arrest of a one-man crime wave after a lawman’s pistol stopped the getaway car with two flattened tires.
Veteran lawmen are confused by crime reports and affidavits of warrantless arrest filed in the cases. According to one confidential source who has subject matter expertise, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office policy manual forbids firing at fleeing vehicles.
They cite the fact that the license number of the car was known, and helicopters and other patrol officers from multiple agencies were in pursuit and in radio contact.
In an Attorney General’s Opinion handed down in 2012, access to the department’s policy manual was excepted because the knowledge of policies and procedures by the general public could interfere with ongoing investigations.
Sheriff’s Office spokesmen are extremely tight-lipped about the car chase, which began in the 2000 block of Crest Drive in Lacy-Lakeview and ended twelve hours later under a cedar tree near the rural Hill County farming community of Aquilla.
Records Supervisor Tamma Willis withheld much of the public information contained in the offense report, seeking an opinion from the Attorney General because the incident is pending further investigation.
When night shift patrol supervisor Sgt. Chris Eubank spotted a blue Cadillac driven by Ryan Richards as he made a turn without showing a turn signal within 100 feet of the intersection, he signaled the driver to stop.
Richards and a passenger named Don Joslin eluded him and headed north as he gave chase at speeds of better than 100 miles per hour, according to an affidavit.
Helicopter patrolmen and law enforcement officers from both counties began to pursue the vehicle along Interstate 35.
Corporal Joseph Ballew took up the chase and followed the Cadillac to a County Road exit near Abbott, where it “crashed,” according to an arrest affidavit. As he approached, the driver accelerated toward him, according to an affidavit filed by Detective Bradley K. Bond. Ballew reportedly emptied his pistol, firing 14 rounds at the vehicle’s tires, flattening two of them. Within several yards, the flattened tires immobilized the vehicle.
The driver and passenger then fled on foot. McLennan County authorities have charged both with evading arrest in a vehicle. A Hill County Sheriff’s officer declined to say whether Richards has been charged with aggravated vehicular assault on a peace officer.
This further puzzles veteran lawmen, who question the motives of an officer in fear for his life who fired at tires when he could have fired his weapon at the driver, and the failure of authorities to immediately charge the driver with attempted murder by auto of a peace officer.
“Where is it all going to end?” asked a retired detective.
Joslin was apprehended minutes later about a half mile away, but Richards eluded officers for 12 hours before he was found sitting under a cedar tree near Aquilla, located some miles distant from the scene of the earlier reported vehicular assault near Abbott.
McLennan patrol officers arrested him on outstanding warrants for two counts of violation of a protective order, two counts of possession of controlled a substance, including one for less than a gram of methamphetamine he had in his possession at the time, burglary of a habitation, and evading arrest.