DPS investigating trooper's actions after high-speed chase

November 10, 2010 4:39:27 PM PST
We've learned a Department of Public Safety trooper is under investigation over how a dangerous high-speed chase in which officers were being shot at came to an end. Lives were put in jeopardy during that chase in the middle of night. But ultimately, it was the suspect who had to be rushed to a hospital by helicopter.

DPS is conducting an internal investigation, looking at the actions of a DPS troopers following a chase on October 31. We're told by Fort Bend County's District Attorney that there's a criminal probe underway as well.

Just after 3am on Halloween, a Patton Village police officer tried to pull over a truck allegedly speeding southbound on Highway 59.

"He clocked it at 84 miles an hour in a 65 miles per hour zone," said Lt. Gerald Eagleton of the Patton Village Police.

The driver, 58-year-old Ricki Kelley, did not stop. Speeds reached nearly 100 miles an hour as he led police on a multi-county, 70-mile pursuit that would stretch all the way down to Rosenberg.

"Fortunately, the time of the chase was 3:20 in the morning, so freeway conditions were very light," said Lt. Eagleton.

Near Williams Way, he slowed down enough for his girlfriend to jump out. She told police he was on parole, not wanting to go back to prison.

Kelley allegedly fired his shotgun at pursuing officers. He only stopped his truck after hitting a spike strip near Rosenberg. Whatever happened next, Ft. Bend's DA says, is under investigation.

"We're talking about the potential for criminal charges, but again I haven't seen the facts," said Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey.

We can tell you Kelley was severely wounded, enough for a medical helicopter to be called to rush him to the hospital. But we can't say yet how he was hurt. We're told other cameras on a trooper's car recorded video of that, but authorities will not yet share that with us.

Kelley is still in the hospital and is now listed in good condition. He has not yet been charged with any crime, but the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office says aggravated assault charges are pending since he allegedly fired on pursuing officers.

DPS says Highway Patrol Cpl. Andrew Papanos has been suspended as a result of his actions and the pending investigation resulting from this chase.


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