WEATHERFORD, Texas -- A partially clad man led law enforcement authorities on a televised three-county chase after he supposedly struck a Mesquite police officer with his car.
The chase, which reached speeds as high as 120 mph near its conclusion, wound through Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Dallas, Arlington and downtown Fort Worth in North Texas yesterday.
Several helicopters and more than 20 police vehicles pursued the fleeing car. The roving caravan was broadcast live on KXAS-TV and KDFW-TV.
Law enforcement officials forced the red Chrysler LeBaron off Interstate 20 in Weatherford, about 20 miles west of Fort Worth.
Mark William Isom, 41, of Dallas, was arraigned in Weatherford on charges of aggravated assault of an officer and evading arrest, said Suzie Merkley, Parker County justice of the peace. Bail was set at $51,000.
When arrested, Mr. Isom was wearing shorts, costume diamond earrings, a silver bead necklace, hot pink fingernail polish, eye shadow and eye liner, said Parker County Constable Shannon Millsap.
The incident began at Town East Mall in Mesquite east of Dallas when several shoppers reported that a man was exposing himself.
"The information we have is that he was nude except for a necklace and a pair of gloves," Mesquite Watch Commander T.W. Rudd said.
Mesquite Officer Tommy Oliver was "either struck or dragged" by the suspect's vehicle when the man attempted to flee, Commander Rudd said. Officer Oliver was treated and released at the Medical Center of Mesquite for a dislocated shoulder.
Trooper Chuck Carlile of the Texas Department of Public Safety, who joined the chase in his state-issued Camaro, said he chased the LeBaron at speeds up to 120 miles per hour.
"There were several times I got up beside him and said 'just pull over,' " Trooper Carlile said. "Several times he intentionally tried to get very close and tried to ram me as I tried to box him in."
The LeBaron was forced into a ditch in the interstate median, Trooper Carlile said.
Parker County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Beadel said he saw a man leave the vehicle and take off some red high-heeled pumps, then attempt to run across the highway.He was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed, Trooper Carlile said.
On the passenger's seat of the LeBaron were a red purse, purple gloves, a tube of lipstick, a $5 bill, a wallet, headphones and some unidentifiable items. On the ground outside the driver's side was a pair of red pumps.
Fort Worth officers, their cars' sirens blaring, began chasing the LeBaron about an hour after Mesquite police first responded to the call and dropped pursuit just a few minutes before the car stopped, Sgt. Eddie Pricer said.
About four Fort Worth police cars were involved in the chase at any one time, Sergeant Pricer said.
Officers attempted several times to box Mr. Isom in, but he managed to maneuver between them. A few times he drove onto the grassy highway median as if to turn around but then veered back onto the road and continued west. All told, the chase covered approximately 100 miles.
Helicopters from two TV stations followed the chase. KXAS/Channel 5 broke away to air about 40 minutes of the 1 3/4 -hour chase, station officials said.
Cross traffic at at least four major Fort Worth intersections was blocked by police before the pursuit passed through them, Sergeant Pricer said. Also, when the chase was on the highway, officers slowed traffic behind the LeBaron.
A WFAA-TV reporter asked the gray-haired suspect after he was apprehended if he was embarrassed. "Not too much. Are you?" he replied.