Just before 3:00 am this morning, March 30, 2009, the night clerk at the local Valero station called for officers to investigate two suspicious vehicles, a truck and a van, parked in the alleyway behind the convenience store. Before Shenandoah officers arrived a white van was seen leaving from the alleyway driving the wrong way on the service road. Responding officers quickly caught up to the van in the parking lot of Homewood Suites. As they made their approach the driver drove back onto the service road, throwing a metal flashlight out of the window at the officers who were now in close pursuit. In an attempt to evade officers, the driver pulled into the parking lot of the Luby’s restaurant located at Lake Front Circle and the IH-45 southbound service road and fled on foot.
As officers Chris Ansley, Justin Wilkerson, and Sergeant Denham gave chase, another male who was hiding on the floorboard of the van climbed into the driver’s seat and reentered the service road at a high rate of speed. Officer Mark Brockhoeft, who was responding to the area to assist his fellow officers, observed the van pull onto the service road and followed in behind. The driver continued to accelerate, reaching speeds over 100 mph, as he fled south on IH-45 towards Houston. The suspect never let up, driving dangerously and at high speeds through residential areas near Ella Road, as he continued to try and evade Officer Brockhoeft. Eventually the suspect ran out of places to run and crashed the van into a parked vehicle in a driveway on Wood Fall Court in Harris County. Still determined to escape, the suspect ran from the vehicle but was quickly overtaken by Officer Brockhoeft, who caught him while trying to scale a fence. As the suspect, identified as Dave Whitaker, 26 years old from Houston, was placed into custody and led back to Officer Brockhoeft’s patrol car, a 9mm pistol was observed on the ground near the van. The handgun had been in Whitaker’s pants and fell out as he ran.
Both the wrecked van and the truck that the suspects left parked behind the Valero station were stolen from area hotels. The rightful owners of the stolen vehicles were notified and have had their vehicles returned to them. The Shenandoah Police Department Nightshift did an outstanding job safely bringing Whitaker, a convicted felon, to justice and recovering two stolen vehicles.
The Shenandoah Police Department requests the community’s help in identifying the other suspect who eluded officers. The black male, who goes by the name “New York,” was dressed in black pants and a black head wrap. If you know this person please contact the Shenandoah Police Department at (281) 367-8952. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact Montgomery County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-STOP.