Several attempt to evade officers over weekend

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Jan. 28, 2007 - Several people made local law enforcement officers' jobs infintely more interesting this weekend by trying to evade arrest in vehicles.

The first arrest was made Saturday afternoon when a woman left the scene of an accident, even though her vehicle was apparently struck by another car.

Sulphur Springs Police Officer Mark Estes responded at 3:40 p.m. Saturday when a vehicle reportedly failed to yield as the woman was turning at the intersection of League and Main streets, striking her automoible, according to reports.

As the officer arrived, one of the vehicles, a Mitsubishi Mirage, was attempting to leave. Estes tried to stop the blue Mirage but the car accelerated as it headed west before turning onto Azalea Drive and Azalea Lane, traveling at up to 80 miles per hour. The Mitsubishi was finally stopped after it pulled onto Woodcrest Drive and into a private drive at the end of the street.

The driver, Nakesha Nicol Harrison, 33, of Sulphur Springs, was found to be wanted for expired motor vehicle registration. She was arrested on the warrant, and was also charged with evading arrest or detention with a vehicle. She also faces a charge in connection with the accident at Main and League streets.

A Sulphur Springs woman, 25, was arrested early Sunday morning after an officer observed her in a hit-and-run incident. Special Crimes Unit Sgt. Investigator Tony Crouse stopped the woman in a Cadillac Sedan Deville after seeing the car hit an unattended vehicle, then start to drive off without leaving information. She was arrested for driving while intoxicated after the officer smelled alcohol on the woman's breath and she failed field sobriety tests.

Officer Lonnie Taylor and reserve officer Dustin Wright stopped a Nissan pickup on Bill Bradford Road at 11:04 p.m. Sunday for a defective headlight. They saw a purple bag in the truck, similar to ones that had been used by others to hide illegal contraband.

The driver - identified as William David Baxter, 47, of Sulphur Springs - would not allow officers to search his truck, according to reports, and when the two policemen when back to their vehicle to write a citation and call for a drug dog, Baxter drove off, reaching 55 miles per hour before stopping about three blocks down the road.

The officers ordered Baxter out at gunpoint. The purple bag was no longer inside the pickup, but it was found two blocks back, where video from the police patrol car indicated it had been thrown from the truck. The bag contained methamphetamine pipes, marijuana and crystal methamphetamine, resulting in Baxter's arrest at 11:15 p.m. for possession of a controlled substance and evading arrest.

Taylor and Wright also caught a man as he was fleeing from a Lee Street residence where evidence showed someone had attempted forced entry at the location.

When questioned, 20-year-old Jacob Greggory Morrill of Sulphur Springs gave police conflicting stories. He was arrested at 2:44 a.m. for burglary of a habitation-criminal attempt, a third-degree felony offense.

Sheriff's deputies and troopers also participated in a chase Saturday which began in Royse City and continued into Rains County. They were notified Saturday afternoon that a vehicle was being pursued and coming into Hopkins County. Deputies spotted the vehicle on Interstate 30 headed east, and state troopers also joined in the chase. The local officers followed the vehicle as it turned onto State Highway 19 south and stayed with it until it reached the Rains County line, where officers from that county took over the pursuit. The chase ended with the suspect "wrecking out" and being apprehended by Rains County authorities, according to sheriff's reports.straight year has declined once again, according to Uniform Crime Report statistics.

The number of offenses reported in the city dropped by 52 from 217 in 2006 to 219 last year, a 19 percent decrease. The third-lowest total of 277 crimes was recorded in 2005, while the nine-year high was 375 in 1999.

The UCR rate is based on the seven major crime categories - homicide, sexual assault, robbery, assault other than simple, burglary, theft of items valued at more than $200 and motor vehicle theft - recorded by Sulphur Springs Police Department.

Crime dropped significantly in four categories. And while there were more sexual assaults and robberies than in 2006, there have been no criminal homicides reported in the city in two years.

There were only 21 assaults, which cover aggravated assaults in which weapons and/or serious injuries were involved, in 2007. That's five fewer than in 2006 and a 19 percent drop. The nine-year high was 56 in 1999.

In 2007, about 32 percent fewer vehicles were stolen than the 19 recorded in 2006. That's also a nine-year low. In fact, the number of motor vehicle thefts has continued to drop annually since 2004, when 37 were stolen. The high was set in 2001 at 50, 74 percent more than in 2007.

Burglaries were also at a nine-year low with only 70, 15 fewer than in 2006. The recent high was 118 in 2002, tied in 2004.

The city began keeping separate counts of residential and non-residential, or building, burglaries in 2004, and the figures have declined each year except 2006, when building burglaries rose by two to 40. Residential burglaries declined by four to 41 in 2007. There were also 11 fewer building burglaries in 2007 than the 40 recorded in 2006.

Theft of items valued at more than $200 dropped 22 percent, from 138 in 2006 to 107 in 2007, also a nine-year low.

SSPD Chief Jim Bayuk attributed the drop in thefts and burglaries partly to the diligence and conscientiousness of officers patroling neighborhoods and business districts.

He also noted that while the number of sexual assaults increased from one in 2006 to five in 2007, a significant number of the assaults were committed in previous years, but not reported until last year. Such is the case, for example, when an adult or teen reports they were molested as a child.

The five sexual assault cases police worked in 2007 was still three fewer than the nine-year high of eight in 2003.

Robberies, which can include any type of theft involving a weapon, rose in 2007, but not much, as there were only three reported. The total is considerably lower than 1999 when 10 robberies were recorded.

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