FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – An ex-con was sentenced to 99 years in prison on Wednesday for leading police on a high-speed chase following the robbery of a TCU student.
On Sept. 21, 2011, Jesse Castanuela, 28, served as the get-away driver for his passenger, 30-year-old Cristian Jaimes, who attacked a TCU student near campus and stole her purse.
He was convicted by a jury of robbery and evading arrest.
“Jesse Castanuela’s crimes endangered the safety of TCU’s students,” said Assistant District Attorney Mark Thielman in a press release. “His escape attempt risked the lives of the police officers as well as the motorists on some of the city’s major streets. He has lived by no rules but his own. We appreciate the jury for holding him responsible.”
According to a press release from the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney, the incident began when Castanuela pulled behind two women in his Ford Escort walking towards campus. His accomplice got out of the car and punched one of the victims in the head. He then wrestled the purse away and jumped back in the vehicle.
A truckload of teenagers witnessed the attack, called 911 and pursued the suspects. Castanuela pulled over at one point to confront the good Samaritans.
Police attempted to stop Castanuela a short time later, but he fled as officers approached the car.
For five-miles, Castanuela fled at speeds exceeding 100 mph. Police spiked the tires of his Escort, but Castanuela continued until he lost control on South Henderson Street after crashing into another motorist.
Castanuela has previous convictions out of Dallas and Tom Green Counties for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14, indecency with a child, failure to register as a sex offender, and felony criminal mischief.
He will concurrently serve a 99-year sentence on the evading charge and a 50-year sentence on the robbery charge.
Jaimes was sentenced in July to 19 years in prison for stealing the woman’s purse.
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