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Innocent Man Killed During Garland Police Chase

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) - A 52-year-old father from Garland was killed in Rowlett early Monday morning when his pickup truck was struck by a sedan fleeing from police. The crash happened at the intersection of Miller Road and Rowlett Road.

The victim has been identified as Solomon Asfaw. He died on the scene. Garland Police Department spokesman Joe Harn said that the suspect was taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas in critical condition. That suspect has since been identified as 24-year-old Jesus Gutierrez-Eliasar, a name what was difficult to pinpoint because he has three separate aliases. According to Harn, the suspect was in jail a month ago for an assault involving his ex-girlfriend.

Police said that the chase started at about 4:40 a.m. after that ex-girlfriend called 911 about a disturbance in the 1700 block of Cumberland Drive in Garland. When officers arrived, the woman pointed to a man who appeared to be asleep or passed out in a vehicle with bottles of alcohol, saying that he had threatened her life. Garland Police Department spokesman Officer Mike Hatfield said that the suspect started his engine. In an effort to stop the suspect from fleeing, the responding officer broke the glass of the suspect’s car.

“You can see the officer actually reach in as the car takes off. When it does, it appears the officer spins away,” explained Harn while looking at police dashcam video of the incident. The officer received cuts on his arm. Because of the injury, Harn said, a police chase was legal. “Our policy allows for that, and everything preliminary looks like we were under our chase policy.”

The suspect fled and a short chase took place. Hatfield said that the pursuit only lasted about a minute. It ended, Hatfield said, when the suspect ran a red light and struck Asfaw’s pickup truck. The impact was so severe that the suspect’s vehicle caught on fire, and the pickup truck’s engine became separated from the rest of the vehicle. Debris was scattered all over Miller Road.

Harn said that Gutierrez-Eliasar will be charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, intoxication manslaughter, evading arrest and making a terroist threat. Asfaw was most recently a driver for an armored car firm. He is survived by his wife and three daughters. The family moved to Texas several years ago from Ethiopia.

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