Stolen truck catches fire during two-hour chase

| 11/9/2001

A live television news broadcast tracked a stolen rig during a chase through Dallas Wednesday afternoon, according to truckers who called OOIDA headquarters. Drivers told OOIDA the truck's load was on fire.

The truck, loaded with lumber and construction equipment, was stolen from the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant in East Oak Cliff about 1:20 p.m., according to The Dallas Morning News. Two patrol officers saw the man drive the truck away with the original driver hanging onto the side of the truck. The original driver either fell or jumped from the truck and was not seriously injured.

The fire started after officers shot the trailer's tires, the newspaper reported. Police said the sparks from the metal wheels on the pavement probably lit the lumber.

Officers said they were authorized to use deadly force to stop the man because he was driving so erratically that he endangered other motorists in his path along Ledbetter Drive, Interstate 45, Interstate 20 and Marsalis Avenue. At one point, a loose board hit a school bus injuring a child on the bus. The child's injury was minor and did not require medical attention, according to newspaper reports.

The newspaper reported that at least one officer fired a shot that struck the 40-year-old man during the chase through parts of southern Dallas. Police said the incident ended about 3:05 p.m. when the man stopped the truck and surrendered. The man, who was not identified pending formal charges, was taken to Baylor University Medical Center for treatment of the gunshot wound. He could face charges of robbery and evading arrest, police said. He also has two outstanding warrants for evading arrest and obstructing police.

The chase was broadcast live by television cameras from helicopters, which provided coverage to CNN and Fox News Channel, according to the newspaper report, which said the Federal Aviation Administration was investigating whether the television stations violated restrictions on flights by news helicopters by covering the chase.
--Rene Tankersley, feature editor