San Antonio police Chief William McManus defended the actions of one of his officers Thursday, after she was involved in a deadly high-speed chase on Wednesday.

A suspected drug dealer fled after that officer tried to pull him over, investigators said.

That man, identified as David Rodriguez, reached speeds of over 100 mph fleeing down Interstate 35 South.

McManus said the officer backed off eventually, but he wasn’t sure how long that took.

“As soon as she felt it wasn’t prudent to continue the chase, she disengaged from the suspect,” said McManus.

He said that is exactly what protocol dictates, even doing so before being told to by a supervisor. McManus said the officer also attempted to call in a helicopter for support, but it was too far away on another assignment to get to the scene.

The officer continued to I-35 South, exiting at Shepherd Road, where she saw the vehicle once again.

“The driver attempted to hit her head-on, and when she veered out of the way, it hit the car behind her instead,” said McManus.

That car was carrying 3-year-old Walter Maspero, who died upon impact.

His three siblings, his mother, and an unidentified man were also in the car with him. All were taken to an area hospital. His 1-year-old brother, Wesley, is in critical condition. The other three are stable.

Images: I-35 fatal police chase

Published On: Sep 20 2012 03:08:19 PM CDT

A police chase ends when a sport utility vehicle driven by a suspected drug dealer crashes into a station wagon, killing a 3-year-old boy and injuring five family members.

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A station with a family of six is struck by a Chevrolet Suburban that was involved in a police chase.