SAN ANTONIO – A teenage driver who led Bexar County sheriff's deputies on a 22-minute chase after fleeing a traffic stop Wednesday morning died after crashing on the Northeast Side.
The still-unidentified driver lost control of the truck and flipped it after hitting heavy traffic on O'Connor Road near Nacogdoches Road, said Bexar County Sheriff's Office spokesman James Keith. Two of his three teenage passengers were taken to the hospital. A pregnant teenager was taken as a precaution, and a male teenager had neck pains.
The third passenger, another male teenager, was not transported.
It was not clear exactly how the crash occurred or why the driver was fleeing deputies in the first place.
The Sheriff's Office said the chase started after a deputy pulled over the truck for speeding shortly before 9 a.m. in the 7900 block of Crestway. The Sheriff's Office said the teenager behind the wheel sped off as the deputy got out of his patrol car.
Speeds in the ensuing chase never got above 60 mph as the driver led deputies through several neighborhoods in the northeast part of Bexar County. Sheriff's deputies are allowed to pursue vehicles, though a supervisor could call off the pursuit.
In this case, Keith said a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter was called in to assist about halfway through. The chopper followed the truck from above, which allowed deputies to back off.
"Then that way, the driver doesn't even necessarily know or believe they are still being followed," Keith said. "However, we have somebody in the air who's monitoring it, and they can guide the deputies on the ground as to where that driver may be."
Keith said it wasn't clear if the driver knew he was still being followed when he crashed shortly after 9 a.m.
An AirLIFE helicopter was called to take the teen to the hospital, but he died at the scene. Officials have not released his name or exact age.
Keith said the driver and the truck's occupants might be burglary suspects, because a stolen gun and a box of tools were found in the truck.
Investigators are working to determine what caused the truck to crash and why the driver fled from deputies.
"After talking to some of the passengers who were in the vehicle, they also said they weren't sure why he took off," Keith said. "So that's something we have to try to figure out with a driver who's deceased. So that could be challenging."
Keith said it was not clear if the three passengers would face criminal charges.