Malachi Douglas Freeman
Fayette Co. Jail photo

A report of a reckless driver led to a multiple county pursuit and crash near Smithville Wednesday.  Fayette County Sheriff Keith Korenek reports that at 9:20 Wednesday morning, Investigator David Smith located a 2004 Chevy Tahoe traveling westbound on I-10 near Engle that matched the description a reportedly reckless driver.  Smith observed the vehicle driving in a reckless manner, so he activated his lights and siren.  The vehicle came to a stop in a lane of traffic on I-10.  As Smith approached the vehicle to get it to pull off the Interstate, the driver sped away.  A pursuit ensued, with the driver exiting in Flatonia and traveling north on Highway 95 into Bastrop County.  The pursuit ended near the Smithville airport as law enforcement deployed spike strips.   The suspect rolled the vehicle in the grassy median in an attempt to avoid the spike strips.  Taken into custody was Malachi Douglas Freeman of Lufkin.  After he was checked for injuries at the Smithville Hospital, he was transported to the Fayette County Jail and charged with evading arrest and detention with a vehicle.  Assisting in the pursuit were the Smithville and Flatonia Police Departments, Fayette and Bastrop County Sheriff’s offices, and the Department of Public Safety.

The wrecked Tahoe near Smithville Wednesday. (Fayette Co. Sheriff's Office)
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  1. We were at the scene and got caught up in end of this chase. We saw the officer put out the strips and pulled off to the side of the road. The driver tried to avoid the strips and came straight at our truck. Then veered last minute to avoid us and launched his vehicle just a few feet from us. We were extremely fortunate to escaped without harm.

  2. Thank goodness that Interstate 10 does not run through Washington County. Good job to the Fayette and Bastrop County LEO’s that apprehended this individual. Now, if the legal system would pull his license for 2 or 3 years, fine him $5,000 (or more), and make sure that if it ever happened again, he would lose his driver’s license permanently, he might learn something. I won’t bet on that however.

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