After chasing 23-year-old Roberto Espinoza up and down the Bypass in Russellville, at times with speeds over 90 mph, Logan County Sheriff’s Deputies followed him to the Simpson County line before finally performing a PIT maneuver to get him to stop. Espinoza had ran through spike strips placed by authorities which deflated the tires on the vehicle he was operating, but even that would not stop him.
The incident occurred on Monday, March 5 at approximately 1 p.m. soon after Deputy Billy Poole had responded to a reckless driving complaint on Hwy. 100 (Franklin Road). The complaint had stated a black Ford SUV was doing doughnuts in someone’s yard.
Espinoza fled the scene and headed toward the city limits of Russellville where Russellville Police Officers Steve Merdith and Ryan Brown located him on the Bypass at Stevenson Mill Road. The officers, along with deputy Poole attempted to stop Espinoza by using their emergency equipment, but he refused and continued driving at a high rate of speed on the Bypass running through several traffic lights.
“At one point, Espinoza turned around and headed the opposite direction on the Bypass, then making a u turn headed back towards Wal-Mart,” said Poole. “Espinoza drove in excess of 90 mph at times.”
After Espinoza passed the entrance to U.S. 68-80 (Hopkinsville Road), he got into the opposing lane heading the wrong way toward Hwy. 79 (Clarksville Road). He made a left hand-turn at the light and headed on 9th Street back to Hwy. 100 (Franklin Road).
Logan County Sheriff’s Deputies followed Espinoza while Sheriff Wallace Whittaker contacted the Simpson County Sheriff’s Department notifying deputies of the situation. Spike strips were then deployed at the intersection of Franklin Road and Corinth Oakville Road, however Espinoza was able to avoid the strips.
Another attempt was made with spike strips at the intersection of Franklin Road and Friendship Road by Russellville Police Officer Bill Moore, this time Espinoza could not avoid them. Both driver side tires began to deflate, but he still refused to stop driving on two flat tires as he approached Simpson County.
Deputy Poole, under the permission of Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker, performed a PIT technique to stop Espinoza before he caused a serous accident. Poole was able to hit the passenger side rear of the vehicle causing him to spin at the Simpson County line where units from the Simpson County Sheriff’s Department were waiting.
According to Poole, a brief altercation occurred between police and Espinoza before he was taken into custody and transported to the Logan Memorial Hospital by Simpson County EMS. He was later transported to the Logan County Detention Center.
Espinoza is being charged with no operators license, reckless driving, wanton endangerment 1st, fleeing evading 1st, disregarding a traffic control devise, and ID theft.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Russellville Police Department, Simpson County Sheriff’s Department, and the Simpson County EMS.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.