Weatherford Democrat

November 16, 2012

High speed pursuit on I-20 ends in wreck

Christin Coyne
CNHI

WILLOW PARK — A man who approached a stranger at a Weatherford convenience store Wednesday afternoon attempting to sell jewelry later became involved in a high speed pursuit with police officers before wrecking out on the highway, according to Willow Park police.

No one was injured in the wreck or pursuit through eastern Parker County, and Eli Vernon III, 48, of Fort Worth, was arrested and charged with evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, a felony.

Vernon, whose bond was set at $10,000, was released from the Parker County Jail Thursday afternoon, according to jail records.

Police received a call around 2:30 p.m. from a man who said he had been at a convenience store off of Interstate 20 in Weatherford.

“While he was pumping gas he was approached by a black male in a black Chevrolet Malibu who was attempting to sell him jewelry, which is not uncommon.” Johnson said. “This male told him that the jewelry had been purchased with a stolen credit card in Fort Worth, which is not a very common thing to say.”

“The citizen respectfully declined to purchase the jewelry and when the gentleman drove off, he thought, ‘Well, I’ll call a police department and talk to them and try to verify the story to see if any criminal activity is afoot,’” Willow Park Police Chief Brad Johnson said.

Willow Park police received the call as the vehicle was pulling into city limits from the west.

A police officer in a marked unit at Ranch House Road on the interstate saw the suspect vehicle pass and got behind the vehicle.

When the officer turned on the overhead lights and attempted to stop it, the suspect vehicle failed to yield and picked up speed, according Johnson.

A second officer became involved on the east side of the city.

Speeds reached somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 mph, Johnson said.

Just prior to the Spur 580 exit, the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The car struck the guardrail of the inside median, spun back onto the highway and spun backward into the median, striking a light pole, Johnson said.

The driver, who was wearing a seat belt, was not injured and was taken into custody without further incident, according to police.

“We have recovered several jewelry items,” Johnson said. “At this time the investigation is ongoing. There were also receipts in the vehicle that show a credit card was used at a jewelry store in Fort Worth a couple weeks ago.”

However, there was no indication that the receipts were for the jewelry located in the vehicle, according to Johnson.

Vernon has a lengthy criminal history, Johnson said.