BLOTTER: Man leads officers on chase after crash, police say


SOUTH AUSTIN

Police: Man leads officers on chase after crash

A man is in jail after crashing a stolen car during a police pursuit, which preceded a foot chase that involved helicopter support and K9 units, according to police.

The incident occurred Saturday morning after a person told police about efforts to track a stolen car using a phone left inside the vehicle, an arrest affidavit states.

The owner of the stolen 2010 Honda Insight began updating police with the location of the car as it traveled along East Riverside Drive, the affidavit says. The vehicle eventually backed into a parking space at a Shell gas station near the intersection of East Riverside Drive and Royal Crest Drive.

Police said they arrived at the location and saw a woman holding a small dog standing outside the vehicle, and when she noticed a police cruiser pull up, she got into the front passenger seat.

The Honda then began to pull out of the parking lot, headed eastbound on Riverside Drive, as police activated emergency lights. The driver proceeded to make a U-turn to head westbound before running through several stop signs, red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed and turning onto southbound lanes of I-35, the affidavit says.

After traveling approximately six miles at 70 mph, the driver lost control of the Honda before the vehicle bounced off a guardrail, struck another vehicle and crashed into a concrete divider.

“The instant the vehicle hit the wall, the driver exited the vehicle and he took off running southbound on the inside shoulder of the interstate,” police said, leaving behind the woman, who had suffered various injuries.

The woman was identified as Genevieve Gonzales, and she told police the driver, John Cruz, 21, was her boyfriend.

Cruz was seen jumping over a guard rail and running into the Ethos Apartments complex in the 8000 block of South Interstate 35, according to the affidavit. The Austin Police Department’s helicopter was called, along with a K9 unit and additional police units.

One officer began chasing Cruz for a few hundred yards but failed to keep up, according to the arrest affidavit. Another officer spotted him and chased him for 50 to 60 yards before Cruz surrendered and was arrested.

Cruz was being held on four felony charges: unauthorized use of a vehicle, evading arrest with a previous conviction, evading arrest in a vehicle and causing an accident involving serious bodily injury. He was at the Travis County Jail on Monday with bond set at $60,000, according to court records.

— Brandon Mulder, American-Statesman

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TRAVIS COUNTY

Body found near Pace Bend Park identified

A body that was recovered from the Pace Bend Park area Sunday has been identified, Travis County sheriff’s officials said.

The Travis County dive team found 23-year-old Rashaun Lamont Donaldson, from Lewisville, around 11:50 a.m., said spokeswoman Kristen Dark.

Donaldson was last seen jumping off a boat in Baldwin Cove in Lake Travis around 6:54 p.m. Saturday and did not resurface, Dark said. After first responders were unable to find him, the dive team assembled Sunday and started searching for Donaldson around 7 a.m. while it rained, Dark said.

Donaldson’s cause of death is ongoing, but evidence suggests it was an accidental drowning, Dark said.

The final results of an autopsy performed Monday by the Travis County medical examiner’s office are pending toxicology.

— Kelsey Bradshaw, American-Statesman

CENTRAL AUSTIN

Police: Nurse’s earlobe torn in tussle with suspect

A 28-year-old man faces assault charges after Austin police said he attacked a nurse and an officer at a hospital over the weekend, court documents say.

Police have charged Frank Finnegan with assault on emergency room personnel and assault on a peace officer.

Finnegan refused to leave the Omni Hotel at 800 Brazos Street around 3 a.m. Friday and was heavily intoxicated, according to his arrest affidavit filed.

When police arrived and tried to detain Finnegan, he aggressively resisted and attempted to gouge out an officer’s right eye with his left thumb, court documents say.

Police took Finnegan to Dell Seton Medical Center to be treated for injuries he sustained while fighting with the officer and for being intoxicated.

Finnegan raised his legs in an attempt to kick a registered nurse who was trying put a heartbeat monitor onto the man, court documents say.

The officer told Finnegan not to kick the nurse, because he would be charged with a felony, the documents say.

The nurse again tried to put the heartbeat monitor on Finnegan, when he “tucked his knees to his chest, rocked backwards and threw a full body kick” at her, hitting her on the right side of her chest, neck and face, the documents say.

Finnegan’s shoes caught onto the nurse’s earring and tore her earlobe, the documents say. The force of the kick spun the woman into the wall where she then slid down to the floor, the documents say.

After the incident, Finnegan was restrained by the officer and hospital security guards.

Finnegan’s bail amount has been set to $40,000, court documents say.

— Kelsey Bradshaw, American-Statesman



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