Eyewitness News reporter Erik Barajas was returning from another assignment when a high-speed chase broke out in front of him. He pulled out his iPhone and the photographer kept us near the action as we witnessed the chase come to surprising end.
Around 2pm Tuesday on Highway 59 frontage road at Weslayan, two police cruisers chased a Pontiac Grand Prix with a safe shoved in the trunk and three burglary suspects inside.
The car swerved onto the freeway and hits high speeds, and near Shepherd, three men stopped the car and jumped out, crossing the HOV lane and run into oncoming traffic.
One suspect was caught immediately. Two other suspects were tackled in oncoming lanes of Highway 59 and handcuffed.
Traffic was stopped to get them back to the patrol cruisers.
"What do you have to say for yourself? You breaking into homes? Huh, you breaking into homes?" we asked the suspects.
But they are not talking.
And as they are stuffed into the patrol units, their getaway vehicle that didn't do it's job, burst into flames with a homeowner's safe still stuffed in the trunk.
Officers rushed to save a burglary victim's belongings.
Soon after, the Houston Fire Department arrived, dousing the burning getaway car.
The three suspects were taken into custody, and the safe was returned to the owners.
Burglary victims react to chase
Bellaire PD says the chase started after a neighbor spotted the suspects up items from Kevin and Lynn Kelleher's Bellaire home and reported it.
"My first thought was, is my dog OK?" Lynn said.
"Penny" was just fine, but the back window of the Kellerher's home was busted. Police believe the thieves scaled the fence.
"I said what's going on inside? He's like 'Well they took the safe,' and 'I said oh my God they got the safe,'" Lynn said.
A neighbor noticed them trying to put the 300-pound safe in the trunk. As the couple rushed to get home, the thieves were rolling down the freeway.
"Well I mean what do you say there goes my safe down the freeway in a car," Lynn said.
Kevin even drove right by it.
"There's a wreck, a car is on fire, people running all over the place, and I was stuck in traffic," he said.
He had no idea that fiery car was carrying his safe. But police pulled it away and the details of their unnerving story kept getting better.
"Then the Bellaire police standing right there says, 'But we caught them,'" Lynn recalls the officer telling her.
Relieved no one was hurt, the couple got the safe back though with a little more character.
"Just unbelievable, now we have a great story about the safe because it's all banged up and dinged up," Kevin said.
And for the record, that safe will now be bolted to the floor.
The three suspects face charges of burglary of a habitation and evading arrest. Police are not releasing their names yet and are checking into the possibility they could be connected to other burglaries in the area.