Tuesday was far from just another day at the office for members of the Van Alstyne Police Department.
At approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday, VAPD received a call of a reported stolen vehicle in the Georgetown area. What that call turned into was a six-and-a-half hour manhunt involving other agencies, air support and even prison bloodhounds.
According to VAPD Chief Tim Barnes, a suspect stole a vehicle in McKinney and drove it into the 400 block of Purdue in Georgetown. Police believe that he then ran out of gas and searched around for another vehicle, eventually acquiring a resident’s 1997 Ford pickup. Van Alstyne police sent out a broadcast to the surrounding cities and counties to be on the lookout for the vehicle.
It was at this point that Anna Police Department officers spotted the truck traveling on FM 3133 and took up pursuit. The individual went into a private drive northeast of Anna where he crashed the truck and exited on foot. Only now, the suspect was armed.
“There was a pistol in the truck at the time [and] he took that,” said Barnes.
Law enforcement officials from Van Alstyne, Anna and the Collin County Sheriff’s Department set up a perimeter and began a manhunt that lasted until 9:30 p.m. The manhunt was intensive. VAPD was lent the use of a fixed-wing aircraft by a local business owner, the Department of Public Safety brought in its helicopter and bloodhounds from the Bonham prison system were even brought in to try to bring the fugitive to ground.
In the end, the suspect got away. It was determined that he was picked up by a third party and left the immediate area. However, his identity is known to law enforcement officials. According to Barnes, the suspect is a registered sex offender who is already wanted on parole violations. Van Alstyne police — as well as several other departments — are actively seeking this individual as he is believed to be tied in to several other auto thefts in the area.
“It was a great coordination between Collin County Sheriff’s Department, Anna P.D. and us,” said Barnes. “We’re working this case together.”
The suspect’s name is not being publicly released yet; however, Barnes said the suspect will be facing “multiple felony offenses.”
“We know who he is,” Barnes said.
The vehicle stolen out of McKinney was recovered in the Georgetown subdivision.
As if Tuesday was not active enough for VAPD officers, a call of a possible intoxicated driver on U.S. Hwy. 75 proved to be another break from the mundane.
At approximately 9:58 p.m. that same night, the department responded to a call of a possible intoxicated driver on southbound Hwy. 75. When officers responded and pulled the vehicle over what they found behind the wheel made them take pause.
Behind the wheel of the 2002 GMC pickup was an 11-year-old driver. The passenger, according to the 11-year-old female, was her father, who was found to be intoxicated.
It was determined through later investigation that they had left a location in Oklahoma and that the minor was attempting to drive them home. The suspect in the passenger seat was identified as 66-year-old Vernon Stone, of Hubbard. Stone was arrested for public intoxication and permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle. According to Barnes, Stone is also looking at additional charges which could include endangerment of a child.
Barnes wants to remind Van Alstyne residents to be careful with their fireworks this Fourth of July.
“We just want to remind people that it is illegal to set fireworks off in the city limits,” he said. “It can result in a fine, and in a residential area it could result in someone’s house burning down. We take it seriously. If you want to see fireworks then come see the city’s show at Van Alstyne High School on the fourth or discharge them somewhere in the county where it is safe.”
Police responded to five incidents and 274 calls for service in the past week…A family violence call in the 300 block of Nunnalee Ave. on June 22 resulted in two arrests — one for assault and family violence and one for outstanding warrants…Also on June 22, Emmanuel Balderas, 23, of Van Alstyne, was arrested for a DWI on N. Waco St. at 12:02 a.m. The arrest stemmed from a 911 call.