Smith County sheriff: ‘Dangerous’ suspect arrested 5 days after fleeing traffic stop

Smith County sheriff: ‘Dangerous’ suspect arrested 5 days after fleeing traffic stop
Joel Lee Gonzales (Source: Smith County Sheriff's Office)

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The Smith County Sheriff’s Office said a man was arrested and charged after allegedly leading deputies on a pursuit and later being found at a location in Longview.

According to the sheriff’s office, at approximately 9:00 pm on Friday, May 22, a Smith County Sheriff’s K-9 deputy initiated a traffic stop on Interstate 20 at County Road 3111 in Smith County. The deputy requested that the driver, Joel Lee Gonzales, 33, exit the vehicle. At this time, Gonzales retrieved a handgun from between his legs, chambered a round and then fled in his vehicle.

The sheriff’s office said the deputy initiated a pursuit which led him south on County Road 3111 and then west on County Road 3119. Gonzales wrecked his vehicle after the short pursuit and fled on foot into a heavily wooded area. Deputies lost sight and were unable to locate Gonzales. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed additional handgun ammunition along with other evidence. A probable cause affidavit was completed and 241st State District Judge Jack Skeen issued a warrant for Gonzales.

On May 27, at approximately 10:00 p.m., members of the Longview PD Special Investigations and Apprehension Unit informed the Smith County Sheriff’s Office that they had a known location on Joel Gonzales’ whereabouts in Longview. A short time later, members of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office and East Texas Anti-Gang Center converged on this location and Joel Gonzales attempted to flee on foot. After a very short chase, Gonzales was apprehended and found to be in possession of a loaded handgun.

The sheriff’s office said Gonzales was taken into custody and booked into the Gregg County Jail for the following outstanding warrants: Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant, Evading Arrest Detention w/Vehicle, Unlawful Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Assault Bodily Injury Family Member, and Assault Family Member Impede Breath. Gonzales was also charged with an additional count of Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon and his bonds totaled $1,110,000.

The sheriff’s office said the capture of this dangerous suspect was a combined effort of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, East Texas Anti-Gang Center consisting of members from the Longview Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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