Driver leads police on high-speed chase


The suspect is a convicted felon who, at one point, sounded like he was ready to die. It took a dispatcher and the suspect's boss to bring this chaotic situation to a peaceful end.

The chase started around 1:30am Monday in Willis when police tried to stop a white pickup. But instead of stopping, police say Lionel Rodriguez sped up. He ended up leading officers all the way down Interstate 45, onto the South Beltway and finally stopped near Pearland.

While driving, Rodriguez called 911. On the other end of the line was a Conroe Police Department dispatcher.

"Very emotionally disturbed," a CPD Sgt. Bob Berry said. "He felt like he wanted to hurt himself or he wanted the police to hurt him. One way or another, he wanted to end it."

But the dispatcher wasn't about to give up, staying on the phone with Rodriguez for 35 minutes as he drove about 60 miles through two counties. At one point, the dispatcher got the suspect's employer involved.

"She was able to get his boss, which he really liked and trusted. Got him on the phone, did a conference call, also telling him, 'You need to stop. It's not worth it,'" Berry said.

Meanwhile, Maria Vasquez, who has three children with Rodriguez, had no idea the chase was happening. She last saw Rodriguez a week ago. She says he was working as a local landscaper.

"I really don't know. I think it's strange that he did something like that, that's not right," Vasquez said.

Somehow, between the dispatcher and the suspect's boss, the two were able to talk Rodriguez into stopping, and the chase ended on Houston's south side along the Beltway. Rodriguez surrendered, and nobody was hurt.

"He was glad that nobody got hurt and he was able to get out of it okay," Berry said. "Had it not been for the dispatcher, it could have been different."

Rodriguez is in custody in Montgomery County, charged with evading arrest or detention.

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