Wrong turn: recovering heroin addict veers off straight path and into trouble

Eric Shane Burris

After allegedly striking another driver in the head with a lug wrench, a suspect fleeing from the road rage incident then reportedly attempted to run over the Vidor police chief, who was directing detoured traffic following an 18-wheeler fire on I-10 Sept. 11.

The suspect’s story was that whiskey and a woman were to blame for his erratic behavior.

According to Chief Rod Carroll of the Vidor Police Department, he was directing eastbound traffic on the I-10 service road at  FM 1442 in Orange after a raging vehicle fire diverted vehicles from the interstate when he observed a small white vehicle drive across the grass from the interstate to the service road “at a high rate of speed” followed closely by a small white pickup truck. The white car then sped past stalled traffic recklessly using the outside emergency lane on the roadway to bypass stops vehicles. Carroll stepped into the emergency lane and extended his arm with his hand forward to signal the driver to stop. He then reportedly shouted at the passing car, “Police! Stop!” But the car did not stop, and Carroll said he observed the driver, later identified as 33-year-old Eric Shane Burris, accelerate toward him “with both eyes on the steering wheel and his eyes focused” directly on the chief. Carroll rushed out of the car’s path just in time to escape injury, and then jumped into his police pickup truck to pursue the fleeing suspect.

“Unbeknownst to me,” Carroll wrote, “the driver of the white vehicle had been involved in a road rage incident with the driver of the white pickup in which he struck the driver of the white pickup with a lug wrench from a vehicle in the head.”

A car chase ensued, with Carroll reporting Burris drove between 70 and 80 miles per hour through residential neighborhoods. Burris took a wrong turn, and the chief caught up with him on Lawrence where the road dead-ended. Burris had turned his vehicle around and was facing Carroll’s truck. Carroll stepped out of the truck, his pistol drawn and pointed toward the white Chevy Impala he’d been pursuing.

He ordered Burris out of the vehicle and face-down onto the ground. Burris complied – for a minute. Then, Carroll reported, the chief saw Burris looking toward the open door of his vehicle. Carroll said, “Don’t do it,” but Burris leapt to his feet and re-entered his own vehicle, again fleeing from the officer.

Burris sped away, and the chief and the driver of another vehicle who’d seen the suspect flee went him, finally cornering Burris after he pulled into a driveway on Holly. Burris then fled on foot into the woods, with the chief and the “good Samaritan,” a 22-year-old Vidor man, in close pursuit. The exited the woods onto Oak Street, and even more neighbors joined the chase, with “several individuals” ultimately coming to the chief’s aid, apprehending the suspect who reportedly yelled threats at his captors.

The driver of the white truck that had been following Burris when he nearly ran over Carroll advised the chief Burris had struck him in the head with a lug wrench. The victim’s face was “covered with dried blood,” according to the report.

Once Burris was in custody, and after he finished making lewd remarks to officers, he told Carroll he had been on the path to the straight and narrow following addiction to methamphetamine and heroin, but had taken a wrong turn by picking up a bottle of Southern Comfort due to relationship woes. Carroll said Burris blamed his pregnant girlfriend for driving him to drink and smoke pot.

Carroll noted that he did not believe Burris was under the influence and smelled no alcohol coming from him, though officers did recover a fifth-bottle with a small amount missing in the woods where an observer saw him throw something. Carroll estimated the bottle was three-quarters full when recovered.

In spite of his excuses, Burris was arrested for Evading Arrest/Detention with a Motor Vehicle with a previous evasion charge and taken to the Orange County Jail. Burris has previous convictions for evading, burglary and DWI.