Man leads officers on foot chase after crashing stolen car, police say

Sept 09, 2018
  • By Brandon Mulder
  • Austin Community Newspapers Staff
Deborah Cannon/American-Statesman

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 by a phone left in the vehicle, an arrest affidavit stated.

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 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 Hispanic 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 stated.

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 being held at the Travis County jail Sunday with bond posted at $60,000, according to court records.