Weekend traffic stop leads to car chase and accident in Orange

Weekend traffic stop leads to car chase and accident in Orange

While attempting to stop a driver for a traffic violation in Orange, police were led on a car chase ending in an accident and an arrest Saturday, Feb. 9.

At approximately 1 a.m., Officer Patrick McDonald of the Orange Police Department was on patrol in the area of Allie Payne and Highway 87 when he observed a blue, 2002 Mercury 4-door passenger car cross through a flashing red signal light at the train tracks. Officer McDonald reported the alarm bells were sounding and the arms of the crossing were down in order to bar traffic, but the driver passed through the bars, ignoring the warnings. According to the officer, a train was approaching when he observed the traffic violation.

The officer stopped behind the suspect vehicle at a traffic light and contacted dispatch to run the plates. Officer Joshua Dempsey was also in the area, according to the report, and pulled his car in behind the other police cruiser. As the light changed to green, Officers McDonald and Dempsey activated their overhead lights, but the vehicle failed to yield. The driver continued west on Allie Payne. When approaching the intersection at Allie Payne and Meeks, McDonald reported the driver sped up, disregarding the stop sign. At that time, McDonald advised dispatch he was in pursuit of the vehicle. The driver turned onto Velma Jeeter and appeared to the officer to attempt to jump out of the moving car, but then closed the car door and accelerated once again. McDonald reported the driver then looped back around to Allie Payne and finally turned into the parking lot of Fox Run Apartments in the 2600 block of Allie Payne. The driver continued driving through the parking lot until reaching a blocked exit. Officer McDonald stated in the report that as he attempted to stop, his patrol car slid into the Mercury causing some bumper damage to the police vehicle. The suspect vehicle continued to move forward, making contact with a parked truck at the complex. McDonald reported he saw two passengers in the suspect vehicle.

As the officer stepped out of his vehicle, he saw the driver of the fleeing car jump out and run. McDonald reported he commanded the man to stop, but he would not. McDonald then deployed his Taser but missed as the suspect stumbled to the ground. At that point, the officer tackled the suspect. McDonald stated the suspect started to fight, swinging at the officer with closed fists and trying to grab the Taser. McDonald threw the Taser away from the suspect and struck him in the ribs and head in an attempt to defend himself, according to the report. Other officers arrived at the altercation and helped McDonald subdue and detain the man. As the man stood up, McDonald reported he observed rolled up cash and a “rock-like off-white substance” he believed to be crack cocaine on the ground where the suspect had been.

Police arrested 34-year-old Robert Jerome Stevens of Orange for Evading Detention, Cocaine Possession and Resisting Arrest. According to the police report, Stevens was taken to Orange Baptist Emergency Room and received four stitches prior to his transport to Orange County Jail.