By CLINT FOSTER
Mineral Wells police were involved in a high-speed chase Tuesday afternoon that looped through more than 22 blocks of residential areas in the southeast side of town, before eventually ending in an arrest.
Mineral Wells Police Department reported an officer, parked next to “Plastic Park” in the 400 block of S.E. 15th Street, saw a tan, extended-cab Chevrolet truck speed past and run through the stop sign at the intersection with S.E. 4th Avenue. The officer drove off to pursue the truck and when he came close, the officer reported he thought he saw the driver doing donuts in the bar ditch on 15th between 4th and 6th Avenue.
Inspection of the tire tracks at the scene suggest the driver – later identified as Justin P. Simmons, 24 – merely lost control on the sharp curve in the road and kicked up dust trying to straighten up in the bar ditch. Simmons continued to speed along S.E. 15th Street, driving down a sharp dip when the road merged into S.E. 16th, with the officer in hot pursuit.
Police said Simmons continued on 16th Street, through residential areas, before turning right onto S.E. 23rd Avenue. At the dead-end on 23rd, Simmons swung right again onto S.E. 21st Street and then tore into an alley between S.E. 22nd and S.E. 21st avenues. Simmons narrowly missed one backyard fence and dodged gas meters down the small corridor, according to tire tracks left behind in the grass.
The pursuing officer tried to follow closely, but lost Simmons when he sped around an outlet from the alley onto S.E. 19th Street, according the a MWPD spokesperson.
From this point, it is unclear where Simmons went immediately following the end of this first pursuit. But, eyewitnesses reported they saw his truck shortly before 6 p.m. take a sharp turn from S.E. 12th Street and speed south on S.E. 24th Avenue, with two MWPD patrol cars and a Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s deputy following in pursuit, sirens blaring.
Simmons reportedly took a hard right onto S.E. 16th Street again, before heading north on S.E. 22nd Avenue. He continued up 22nd, passing Lamar Elementary School, to the T-intersection at Martin Luther King Jr. Street, were an eyewitness saw him take hard left at an extremely high speed “on two tires,” narrowly missing two cars.
After making Martin Luther King Jr. his own personal Autobahn, Simmons continued to push the limits of his Chevy truck and the officers chasing him. He took a hard left, heading south down S.E. 2nd Avenue and continued to sprint through neighborhoods, which included negotiating “The Circle,” before his truck broke down, near where the chase began in the 1600 block of S.E. 2nd Avenue.
Back at square one, police arrested Simmons for evading arrest with a vehicle, among other charges, and took him into custody. After spending the night in the city jail, he was booked into Palo Pinto County Jail Wednesday afternoon.
Police said they are unsure why Simmons sped off in the first place, as he had no outstanding warrants.
Regardless, while Simmons took his trek down his version of Southeast Mineral Wells Motor Speedway, eyewitness reports indicate he put many pedestrians and drivers in danger on what was a nice, cool evening when many were enjoying the outdoors or heading home.