A high speed pursuit took place on FM Hwy 787 on Monday, Sept. 20. The pursuit lasted hours and ended with the arrest of a 38-year-old Conroe man, identified as Todd Aaron Wisnewski, who is currently being held in the Liberty County Jail.
At approximately 6 p.m., officers with the Cleveland Police Department received a call in reference to a suspicious vehicle possibly exiting the Grand Oaks Reserve subdivision. The caller referenced a man in a small black car who had repeatedly knocked on the caller’s door. When she told him to leave, he initially refused to do so.
Cleveland Police Department Patrol Officer Kelly was dispatched to the area, and upon arriving at the intersection of East Houston St. and Grand Oaks Parkway, Kelly observed a vehicle matching the caller’s description, turning right onto East Houston St. and traveling westbound.
Officer Kelly was able to maneuver his patrol unit behind the suspicious vehicle. Kelly described the vehicle as driving “back and forth,” moving from the main lane to the road’s shoulder on numerous occasions while driving behind the vehicle.
Officer Kelly then activated the emergency lights and sirens on his patrol unit in an attempt to initiate a traffic stop. He quickly noticed that the vehicle was not pulling over, despite the blaring lights and sirens.
The vehicle then continued down East Houston St., heading downtown and rapidly accelerating, before making a sudden turn onto FM Hwy 787, heading eastbound and reaching speeds exceeding 130 mph. The driver then drove past Campbell St., continuing eastbound toward the Cleveland airport.
According to Officer Kelly, the driver was driving very recklessly and narrowly missed causing several head-on collisions with vehicles traveling in the opposite lane.
The fleeing suspect then began to drive on the grassy shoulder on a narrow stretch of FM Hwy 787, which has no improved shoulders. The driver continued east, past the airport, until the vehicle was west of Shade’s Grocery, where he collided with a 2019 Toyota Highlander SUV. The vehicle was occupied by a 35-year-old male and his 9-year-old daughter.
The Toyota Highlander rolled multiple times before coming to a stop. Officer Kelly immediately checked to ensure the welfare of the two individuals in the SUV, before calling EMS to ensure their imminent arrival.
Fortunately, the male driver and his daughter received only non-life-threatening injuries.
After checking on the occupants of the SUV, Kelly rushed to make contact with the fleeing driver, who attempted to physically resist detainment. Kelly, with the help of several other Liberty County officers, was eventually able to handcuff the subject, later identified as Wisnewski, and placed him under arrest.
“This could have resulted in more serious injuries and been fatal,” said Cleveland Police Department Chief Darrel Broussard. “Most drivers who attempt to flee law enforcement officers are always captured. Many inexperienced drivers have very little control of vehicles traveling at such a high rate of speed.”
He continued on to say, “It’s pretty much like operating a missile in and around other vehicular traffic on a public roadway at such dangerous speeds.”
Broussard added that subjects choosing to evade police should consider other innocent motorists and their family members before attempting to do so.
Further examination found that Wisnewski was in possession of illegal narcotics, including a white powder believed to be cocaine, various types of pills, several syringes containing what is believed to be methamphetamine, and a bottle of an unknown substance, believed to be heroin.
Wisnewski has been officially charged with evading arrest and detention with a vehicle, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and possession.
Municipal Court Judge Ralph Fuller set Wisnewski’s total bail at $190,000.
Written by Stephanie Buckner