LA JOYA — La Joya police will shoot out the tires of vehicles that refuse to stop during pursuits that pose a danger to the public.
La Joya authorities announced the new measure as a way to protect the public from getting hurt when the drivers refuse to stop during a chase, La Joya Police Chief Jose Del Angel said.
“We concluded that if the area is secluded, there is no one around and (there) is a fleeing vehicle, the officer will do anything possible to end the pursuit,” Del Angel said.
The enforcement measure comes in response to the two latest police chases in the city.
On Friday at 6:30 a.m., a green Ford Explorer driving northbound on Jarachina Road refused to stop.
An officer from La Joya shot at the left rear tire of the SUV while his fellow officer drove the unit. The vehicle slowly came to a stop. Six individuals jumped out of the vehicle, one was detained and the rest got away.
The person detained was turned over to U.S. Border Patrol because he was undocumented. La Joya police do not know if he was the driver.
The police chief said they wanted to prevent the driver from speeding through the four-way stop on Mile 7.
“We did not want him doing 90 mph going through that intersection and killing somebody,” Del Angel said. “They would do that.”
The chase involving the Ford Explorer was the third pursuit in four days for La Joya police.
On Tuesday, there was another pursuit on Jarachina Road at 5:30 a.m. where a driver tried to use his vehicle to strike an officer.
Five vehicles were involved in the pursuit that ended on Tom Gill Road. Four of the vehicles were escorting a red Dodge pickup that was transporting 739 pounds of marijuana.
The Dodge pickup turned east on Mile 4 toward a subdivision when another pickup in the group was waiting to strike the officer’s vehicle, Del Angel said. The officer hit his brakes to not hit the pickup.
Another backup officer almost collided with another car in the group head on. The Dodge pickup carrying the marijuana was eventually abandoned behind Corina Peña Elementary.
The four other vehicles got away, and no one was arrested.
Authorities said they have brought in a person for questioning and also have one person of interest.
Del Angel said that disabling tires is a way to avoid collateral damage. He added that there is no difference between throwing spikes and shooting out tires.
“In order to avoid going 90 mph and disregarding the stop sign, we are going to try to disable the tires,” Del Angel said. “If you diminish the speed from doing 80, 90 or 100 mph to possibly driving with a flat tire, you are not going to go very fast.”
Asked about the possibility of a speeding vehicle rolling over after one of its tires is shot out by police, Del Angel responded: “What are the possibilities of the driver killing someone at a four-way stop? Tell me.”
Martha L. Hernández covers Mission, western Hidalgo County and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach her at (956) 683-4846.