Posted: Dec 5, 2012 9:37 PM
Updated: Dec 6, 2012 8:24 AM
MISSION - Police say a suspected drug smuggler drove his truck into the Rio Grande after a chase that began in Palmview and ended near an RV park in Mission.
Chimney Park Resort and RV Park residents watched in awe as the man struggled to get out of his truck as water rushed into the cab.
Palmview police said the chase began after U.S. Marshals and a Palmview police officer asked a man to show identification during a traffic stop. The man jumped back into a gray Chevrolet truck and fled toward the river.
The chase ended near a boat ramp at Chimney Park when the man drove the truck into the river.
"We heard the sirens going, so we ran outside and we saw the gray truck come down the hill," Chimney Park resident Ginger Russell said.
"He hit the boat ramp and he was half hanging out of the truck ... still driving," she said.
"I thought he was going to fall out of the truck while he went down (into) the water," Russell said.
"When he hit the water the door slammed shut and the guy was pinned inside of the vehicle. ... His window wasn't all the way shut, so he literally started slamming the window trying to get loose," Russell said.
Residents said more than 30 law enforcement vehicles slammed on the brakes when the suspect reached the river.
"He did get loose finally, right as the truck went down into the water," Russell said.
"He swam across and then the people on the other side came out and got him and helped him get across," Chimney Park resident Mark Bailey said.
"They had some kind of hoods over their heads," Bailey said of the people on the Mexican side.
Palmview police said the Mission police dive team will retrieve the vehicle Thursday.