SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Springdale man is in custody and facing multiple vehicular charges after being pursued by police from Northwest Arkansas to the River Valley.
On July 12, Springdale police responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle on the 2100 block of Cardinal Drive. The responding officer saw a black Chevy pick-up truck parked beside a driveway and “a Hispanic male walking around in the driveway acting very animated, waving his arms around and speaking with a female on the front porch.”
He identified himself as Gabriel Lachino-Valerio, 35, and said that he currently lives at the Scottish Inn. He then “mentioned something about people changing into demons and spoke about demons several times.”
Police noticed “several sores on his arms” and said that he “would scratch his arms and his eyes were bloodshot.” He was also described as “very animated and fidgety.”
In a police report, the responding officer stated that he believed the suspect was “under the influence of methamphetamine or some type of narcotic.” A background search revealed that the suspect has a suspended license for DWI.
Lachino-Valerio then began yelling and got into his truck. Two officers pursued the suspect as he took them on “a very lengthy car chase” that eventually ended approximately 50 miles later near I-40 on I-49. The police report notes that the suspect “put the motoring public in grave danger many times.”
“He would disregard stop signs and red lights many times throughout this chase,” the report explained. One of the vehicles in pursuit was equipped with “a new technology called Star Chase,” which is a GPS projectile that launches from a police car to a target vehicle. The star chase was successfully deployed on the suspect’s vehicle.
That technology allowed the Springdale Police Captain to monitor the pursuit, and he advised officers to deactivate their emergency equipment and continue monitoring the suspect’s driving behavior. State Police officers joined the chase and advised that they would be deploying spike strips just south of the Bobby Hopper Tunnel in an effort to end the pursuit.
The suspect’s driver’s side front tire was deflated by the strips, but he continued driving south on I-49. The State Police then deployed another strip further south which deflated the driver’s side rear tire.
The Captain then advised his officers to stop pursuing the suspect because State Police “had plenty of help by this time.” Springdale police terminated their pursuit near a sign eight miles away from I-40.
State Police apprehended the suspect and took him to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith. Multiple police vehicles were damaged during the pursuit.
Lachino-Valerio is facing charges of DWI, flight from an officer, reckless driving and driving on a license suspended for DWI.