|Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - July 2009
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Constable shoots tire to halt fleeing suspect
Trinity Standard - July 2009
GROVETON – Charges were pending this week against two suspects who were taken into custody after a constable shot out a tire on a fleeing vehicle last week.
Pct. 4 Constable Kent Blanchard was attempting to take the suspects into custody in connection with the sale of crack cocaine when the male driver of the sports utility vehicle attempted to drive off.
The vehicle headed toward Blanchard, who was struck as it passed. Blanchard then fired several shots into the rear tire and forced the vehicle to stop.
The names of the two suspects were withheld pending the filing of formal charges.
According to law enforcement reports, on the morning of Wednesday, July 22, Blanchard along with Deputy Constable Dennis Crowley and several federal officers with the U.S. Forest Service were attempting to arrest the suspects on Kesinger Road in the Josserand Community south of Groveton.
A drug transaction had reportedly occurred when Blanchard and the federal officers stopped the vehicle. Instead of exiting the SUV as he was instructed, the driver attempted to drive away until the constable shot out the vehicle’s tire.
Blanchard reportedly received only minor injuries from the impact with the vehicle and the vehicle’s driver was not injured.
A K-9 narcotics unit with U.S. Forest Service officer was on the scene and the dog alerted on several pieces of crack cocaine recovered by the officers during the incident. In addition, over $500 in cash was found on the suspect.
Felony charges ranging from delivery of a controlled substance (crack cocaine) and possession of a controlled substance (crack cocaine) are pending against the driver. Blanchard said additional charges may be filed at a later date.
A second individual was also taken into custody during this incident and is facing drug related charges.
Because the constable fired his weapon, Texas Ranger Pete Maskunas was called to the scene immediately following the incident to investigate. As a result of Maskunas’ investigation, a first-degree felony charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon (a vehicle) was filed against the driver of the SUV.
The drug bust follows an investigation into complaints made to Blanchard by several Groveton area residents concerning what they believed to be illegal drug activity.
Blanchard contacted Trinity County Sheriff Ralph Montemayor regarding these drug complaints. Through-out his investigation, Blanchard said he received support and assistance from Montemayor and from the U. S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Division.