Suspect in custody after leading police on chase and swim in Brazos River

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Wild police chase ends in Brazos River, Tracy Clemons reports. (KTRK)

Houston police say the man who led officers on a high speed chase from southeast Houston to Brazoria County was initially a passenger in the truck.

Officers stopped the truck because the driver had two felony warrants for aggravated assault. While they were taking him into custody, Jose Luis Orta slid into the driver's seat and drove away.

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High speed chase ends with suspect swimming in Brazos River

The actual chase started at West Orem and Almeda in southeast Houston and ended off of Highway 521.

"At some point during the chase here in Brazoria County, the suspect displayed a shotgun out the window as he was still fleeing from the officers," said Lt. Robert Blain.

Click here to see highlights from the chase including the moment when the suspect pointed a gun outside his window

A tire on the truck blew but Orta kept going. The finale was on the property of Providence Plantation where the road ended. Thousands watched as the chase played out on live television, including Thomas Massey's wife who called to warn him.

"I said it's not a problem. We're here," Massey said. "About that time she said oh they're turning on your road. That time I jumped out of my office, ran downstairs, got in my truck and blocked the front gates."

But he avoided that barrier and plowed through the gates of the ranch instead. When he couldn't go any further, he jumped out of the truck and into the Brazos River. It took officers about an hour to get him out.

"They were saying you're either swimming back to prison or you're going in the car back to prison," said Patrick Cassidy, who was working on the ranch. "But he was going back."

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Suspect leads officers on chase in Brazoria County

ABC13 was the only news crew inside the property when the officers pulled the muddy suspect out of the river, wearing a few more clothes than he wore when he jumped in.

"I believe when he jumped into the river, basically everything except his shorts came off because he was swimming in the Brazos for a while," added Blain.

We're told police found two shotguns and drugs in the truck. Luckily nobody was hurt, and Orta won't be leading anyone on a chase any time soon.


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Related Topics:
police chaseBrazoria CountyPearlandHouston
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