Deputies arrest fleeing man near Mission Valley Elementary

Griffith

The Victoria County Sheriff's Office has arrested the man who fled an investigation Sunday night, prompting Mission Valley Elementary School to lockdown all day Monday.

Deputies arrested Christopher Griffith about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Berger Road and Farm-to-Market Road 236, which is about two miles south of the school.

"He was on the side of the road. He decided he was through trying to hide from us," said Chief Deputy Terry Simons.

Simons said the sheriff's office received about half-a-dozen phone calls from people in the Mission Valley area who had spotted Griffith. Several residents assisted in the search, he added.

The search for Griffith began Sunday night, when he fled during an investigation of a possible stolen car. Two other people, Antonio DeLeon and Donald Rickman, both of Victoria, were arrested on charges of public intoxication, said Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.

On Monday morning, Griffith reappeared at the car, but fled again when deputies approached him.

Several people at Mission Valley Elementary School reported seeing Griffith on campus Monday, said Diane Boyett, VISD communications director.

Deputies stopped searching through brush and packed up canines around 7 p.m. Monday, Simons said. Deputies remained around the area and at the school Tuesday morning, when the search resumed at 6 a.m.

Griffith, who Simons said is a drifter who's lived in Yorktown, Cuero and Victoria, was charged with evading arrest, a felony because of his prior convictions for evading. He did not have any weapons and was not considered to be a danger to students or the community.

The sheriff's office is following up on possible additional charges.

Meanwhile, Simons praised the alertness of residents around Mission Valley.

"The public helped," he said.