Police dogs track fleeing suspects in Orange County

Jeremy James Wimberly and Jessica Diane Smith

Deputies had to call out the dogs to locate two suspects who fled after narcotics investigators with the Orange County Sheriff's Office attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at approximately 6:30 p.m. near Orangefield, according to a news release from OCSO.

Investigators reportedly signaled to the suspect vehicle, a black Dodge Charger, as it was traveling on FM 1442 just north of FM 105 in Orange County. The vehicle did not immediately stop, the report stated, so deputies turned on emergency lights and sirens. That is when the driver hit the gas and fled at a high rate of speed until reaching Interstate 10, reportedly proceeding westbound down the highway at speeds in excess of 100 mph. As the vehicle sped recklessly down the interstate, deputies observed the driver toss a pistol from the window of the car onto the road. Some of the responding deputies were able to collect the weapon while others continued the pursuit of the black Charger. Eventually, the car exited the interstate at FM 1132, but the chase did not end there, deputies reported. The vehicle got back on 10 traveling eastbound, exiting the highway at FM 1136 and traveling to State Highway 12. From there, deputies reported the suspect led them east toward Newton County, then turned down County Road 7079 where the vehicle suddenly stopped. According to deputies, that is when the driver and passenger exited the vehicle and fled on foot into the woods.

Deputies reportedly found the female passenger, 25-year-old Jessica Diane Smith, hiding in the wooded area and arrested her. They were not immediately able to find the male driver, so they requested the assistance of the Beaumont Police Department K-9 unit. The dog tracked the suspect, 37-year-old Jeremy James Wimberly, and located the man hiding in the woods where he was apprehended, according to OCSO. Both Smith and Wimberly were transported to the Orange County Jail. Police discovered the pistol thrown from the Charger during the pursuit was reported as stolen in Louisiana.

Smith was booked for misdemeanor evading detention and tampering with physical evidence. She was arraigned by Judge David Peck and held on an $8,500 bond. Wimberly was booked for felony evading detention with prior conviction, possession of a stolen firearm, a state jail felony, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon (felony 3), and tampering with physical evidence. Judge Peck also arraigned  Wimberly and set bond at $85,000.