By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
A San Benito man was arrested Sunday after leading police on a high speed chase that ended with the suspect allegedly threatening to kill himself because of a dispute with his girlfriend.
Detective David Rodriguez of the San Benito Police Department reported via a news release that a patrol officer attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a silver Kia traveling south on the 200 block of N. Sam Houston Blvd.
“The silver Kia turned west on W. Stenger and accelerated his speed to 80 mph passing through the red traffic light located at W. Stenger and Freddy Fender,” Rodriguez reported. “The driver continued west on W. Stenger and lost control of his vehicle and spun out as his vehicle approached the construction zone behind First Community Bank.”
Rodriguez further reported that the patrol officer attempted to take control of the vehicle but could not since the driver side door handle was broken. “The driver was ordered to show his hands but refused,” Rodriguez stated in the release.
It was at this point that San Benito police reported that the driver, identified as 34-year-old Mario Hernandez, allegedly yelled to the officer that he had a knife to his throat and “was going to use it.”
“An officer got the attention of the driver allowing another officer to break the driver side window and remove the driver,” Rodriguez reported, further noting that Hernandez did not have a knife in his possession upon arrest. “Mr. Hernandez stated he wanted his life to end because of a fight he had with his girlfriend.”
Moreover, SBPD Assistant Operations Chief Michael Galvan said that while the suspect’s actual state of mind remains a matter of speculation, a video reportedly shows that Hernandez was allegedly consuming alcohol during the pursuit. “You can literally see he was holding a beer can in his hand, so he was boozing up,” Galvan said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Reportedly found in the vehicle driven by Hernandez was half a cigarette containing marijuana in the driver side interior door handle, “several empty beer cans, and a bottle of Vodka,” according to an SBPD report.
Hernandez was transported to the police station for booking, and during the process officers allegedly discovered two clear plastic bags containing marijuana in the suspect’s left pocket.
Charged with evading arrest in a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana, Hernandez’ bond was set at $33,000 by Justice of the Peace David Garza.