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Two injured in early-morning crash

By DAVID TEWES
Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:26 a.m.


Two people were taken to the hospital in Victoria after a two-vehicle crash at 12:30 a.m. Thursday that occurred during a police chase.

Sgt. Jason Turner, with the Victoria Police Department, said the crash occurred at the intersection of Ben Jordan Street and the Houston Highway.

Nathan Rodriguez, 28, was evading police in a Jeep Liberty when he struck a car driven by a 19-year-old Victoria woman.

Battalion Chief Tracy Fox, with the Victoria Fire Department, said both were taken to Citizens Medical Center and were released.

Turner said the pursuit began after Officer Michael Leet saw Rodriguez slam on his brakes and slide into the intersection of the Houston Highway and John Stockbauer Drive, running a red light.

The driver turned south onto Stockbauer, and the officer tried to stop him. But Rodriguez continued on, turning onto Lone Tree Road and then north onto Ben Jordan Street, running traffic lights and stop signs along the way, Turner said.

According to the police report, Rodriguez also was driving on the wrong side of the road and reached speeds of more than 90 mph during the pursuit.

"He reached the intersection of Ben Jordan and Houston Highway, and that's when he sideswiped another vehicle sitting at the traffic light," he said. "His vehicle stopped soon thereafter only due to damage sustained during the collision."

The driver fled on foot, but was captured by officers.

Officers later discovered Rodriguez took the vehicle without the owner's permission, according to the police report.

Rodriguez was charged with felony evading arrest, felony unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated, hit and run, failure to identify and driving while license invalid.

A passenger in the car that was struck by Rodriguez was uninjured.

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