EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY- The moon may not be full until tonight, but in Pct. 4, Friday night was crazy. Constable Rowdy Hayden planned a “zero tolerance” crackdown that did not focus on any particular offense, but several, such as driving while intoxicated, driving without liability insurance or driving without a valid license.
Everyone including Hayden was working, fortunately, because all were needed.
The insanity began around 7:15 p.m. when Pct. 4 Lt. Mark Seals was at the intersection of FM 1485 and Dorston Drive, near the Montgomery / Harris County line, and a westbound Suzuki GSX-R motorcycle with no license plate passed. Seals followed, with another motorcycle between them.
The suspect, who was traveling at posted speeds, looked back at Seals and continued. Seals then turned on his emergency lights, and the second bike pulled over, but the suspect kept going, again looking back.
“I thought he was going to stop at 1485 and Redbud,” Seals said. “He downshifted and pulled over, then he looked back at me one more time and took off at a high rate of speed.”
Seals said the suspect was not wearing a helmet and nearly wrecked the bike more than once while traveling at high speeds.
The suspect traveled northbound on Roberts Road to Loop 494, then turned on Kidd Cemetery Road to the Highway 59 northbound feeder. Seals kept up with the bike until reaching the Patton Village area, when the suspect got ahead then unexpectedly drove between construction barrels and u-turned, going southbound through a construction area until reaching the northbound entrance ramp, where he exited and continued southbound.
By then, multiple agencies had heard radio transmissions about the chase and were attempting to locate the suspect, but everyone lost site of him after he made the u-turn.
Pct. 5 Deputy Dwayne Morrow was waiting to turn onto Highway 242 from the North Crest Ranch subdivision when the westbound motorcycle passed, drawing Morrow into the pursuit. Around 50 yards east of Kropik Road, the suspect went off-road, which surprised officers because the motorcycle was a sports bike, sometimes referred to as a “crotch rocket” and not made for off-road travel. The suspect crossed a large grassy area and disappeared into the woods.
Seals and additional officers from Pct. 4, Pct. 5, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety joined Morrow and began searching for the suspect, who most expected to find crashed and injured in the woods.
They found the bike on its side, but its driver was nowhere around. Seals said. They found a key magnet box with small empty plastic bags inside that Seals said were consistent with those typically used to hold illegal drugs. The search continued through the mosquito filled heavily wooded area until dusk, when it had become apparent the suspect found a way out.
Seals and the others left the search area without their suspect, but the night was far from over…
…and then things got “Rowdy”
After everyone emerged from the manhunt in the woods near Highway 242, and patrol vehicles began to clear the scene, another unit came across the radio stating that he was in pursuit of a motorcycle.
Everyone recognized the voice.
Pct. 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden tried to initiate a traffic stop on a motorcycle after the driver ran a stop sign at the Fostoria Road and Morgan Cemetery Road intersection, but the cyclist accelerated and fled a high rate of speed. Hayden pursued him, traveling westbound on Morgan Cemetery Road to Daw Collins Road, then to Old Highway 105.
None of the roads where the chase occurred are major highways or even streets with shoulders. The speed limits are 35 miles per hour on most, with some small sections of road where the speed limit increases to 45. Hayden said the pursuit reached speeds of up to 80 miles per hour on what are considered “back roads.”
Apparently, the suspect was unfamiliar with the “back roads” in Pct. 4.
From Old Highway 105, he made another bad (and ironic) decision. Of the many side streets he might have taken, the suspect turned right onto Metts Road, (as in Judge Metts). The road is surrounded by and named after Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts’ family.
Hayden said when the suspect turned on Metts Road, he knew the pursuit was about to end because the road dead ends.
“The subject lost control of the bike, laid it over in a ditch, and attempted to evade arrest on foot by going into the woods, at which time I deployed my Precinct 4 issued Taser and was able to take the subject into custody,” Hayden said.
Steven Angelo Tenorio, 34, of Cleveland, was charged with evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle.
During the high speed pursuit, Hayden said the Tenorio discarded something, which Hayden believed might have been narcotics. Officers were unable to immediately locate the item discarded during the pursuit, but they discovered a syringe on the bike while impounding it, Hayden said.
As in Seals’ pursuit, the motorcycle used in Hayden’s pursuit was impounded, which Hayden said would be the new standard procedure in situations where it was appropriate.
“We’ll be contacting the District Attorney’s Office Monday morning and starting the seizure process on this vehicle,” Hayden said. “District Attorney Ligon has said we’re going to seize all vehicles that are used in the commission of a felony, such as a high speed chase.”
Tenorio had already told officers he owned the bike, Hayden said, which is one of the issues involved in a seizure.
Metts went to the scene after receiving a phone call. The judge had a positive view of such an event occurring on his family’s road.
“Constable Hayden said he was going to step up patrols and tonight is evidence that he’s keeping his word,” the Judge said. “I for one certainly appreciate it.”
Metts there were numerous complaints on a regular basis regarding speeding on the area’s 35 miles per hour roads.
Speeding and drugs are both major issues of concern in EMC, in some areas speeders are a bigger concern. In others, the drug users are what scare people most.
The “Men in Black” were not finished taking criminals or drugs off the streets when they left Metts Road…
But wait! There’s more!
Not all of the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office’s arrest Friday night / Saturday morning began with a pursuit. One arrest occurred in a yard in Porter.
Chief Deputy Barry Welch said his office received an anonymous tip that a man with outstanding warrants would be in the Porter area. Once the warrants were confirmed, deputies scattered around the area of Ford Road where the suspect was anticipated to arrive, Welch said.
Once he appeared, the suspect was followed to his destination, where deputies apprehended him walking through the yard, but not before he discarded something, Welch said.
“He threw down a pound of dope,” Welch said. “We detained him and a man who was with him.”
Jesus Alberto Rodriguez, 24, of Porter was charged with felony delivery of marijuana, more than .25 ounces but less than 5 pounds.
He also had two outstanding Pct. 4 warrants for no driver’s license and failure to appear.
Pct. 4 impounded his Mercury Mountaineer SUV and confiscated about $3,000 cash and a pound of marijuana.
Welch said Rodriguez had his two-year-old son in the vehicle at the time of his arrest. The child’s mother was contacted and retrieved him.
While some of the Pct. 4 officers processed Rodriguez, Tenorio and others arrested for a variety of crimes, Lt. Seals continued searching for the man who led the evening’s first pursuit and managed to escape into the woods.
Seals tracked the bike to a local man who willingly surrendered around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Russell Edward Bancroft, 28, of New Caney, was charged with evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, a state jail felony.
Seals said his office will also initiate the seizure process on Bancroft’s motorcycle.
Hayden and company made eight or more arrests overnight for everything from drug possession to assault, outstanding warrants and the two arrested for evading with a vehicle.
NOTE: The latest addition to Hayden’s team is former Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Buck Clendennen, who was part of the Friday night / Saturday morning effort.