Suspect Arrested For Striking Deputy Ending a Car Chase - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/24/03 - Smith County

Suspect Arrested For Striking Deputy Ending a Car Chase

A Smith County Sheriff's Deputy was hospitalized Saturday night, after being hit by a car at the conclusion of a two county high speed chase.

It began in Van Zandt county, when Cleofas Maldonado allegedly ran from a Van Zandt County Sheriff's Deputy. Maldonado entered Smith County pursued by DPS officers, who picked up the chase. However, DPS had already broken off their pursuit when Maldonado crashed his car just west of Lindale.

Maldonado came upon the site of a tractor-trailer, which had overturned in an unrelated accident. As he tried to swerve, he struck a Smith County Deputy and a Lindale Police Car, which careened into a fire department truck.

Traffic was backed up for hours, as investigators surveyed the scene. DPS says they were aware of the trailer wreck, and stopped their pursuit in hopes of preventing this kind of situation.

"The traffic congestion is going to be so heavy that it's completely unsafe to try and pursue a vehicle into that situation," DPS trooper Jean Steely explained. "In an effort to cutdown on any possibility of bodily injury to anyone else, we will terminate a pursuit."

Smith County Deputy James Riggle was taken to a local hospital, where he is listed in good condition.

Because his car struck Riggle and also nearly hit a Lindale officer, Maldonado faces two charges of aggravated assault of a public servant, and also a charge of evading arrest. No bond has been set for him on the evading arrest charge.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.

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