Victoria County Sheriff's Office pursues white SUV Monday morning

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Sept. 23, 2013 at 4:23 a.m.

Victoria County Sheriff's Office deputies chased people suspected of being in the country illegally Monday, but they were not able to locate them.

A deputy tried to stop a white sport utility vehicle on suspicion of a traffic violation at 8 a.m. near a private property across from the city sewer plant on U.S. Highway 59 North, said Sheriff T. Michael O'Connor.

The SUV appeared to comply at first but then drove through the private property's fence and pasture.

At first, the sheriff's deputies followed the SUV, but they pulled back, remembering how a few years ago, immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally fled by jumping into the nearby Guadalupe River.

Three of those people drowned, O'Connor said.

Deputies seized the white SUV, which did not contain any drugs.

It was unclear how many people were inside.

"As the vehicle continued distancing itself, it went around the corner and out of sight," O'Connor said of how the occupants emerging from the vehicle would not show up on available dash board camera video from that vantage point.

He did not receive a request from the property owner for money to repair the fence that was damaged in the pursuit but welcomes it.

There is a statute in Texas' transportation code that allows for restitution in some circumstances. The claim has to be tied to a verifiable law enforcement incident, he said.

"Because of my background as a rancher, I'm going to look at it to make sure that it's legitimate and not some overzealous request, and then we would submit it to the court for them to approve or deny," O'Connor said.

This has happened to this particular property owner several times. In more southern Texas counties, money for repairs is drying up as the cost of repairing the damaged higher fences is skyrocketing, he said.



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