The driver of a Ford F-150 pick up truck led Van Alstyne and Dallas police on a chase Friday across parts of Grayson, Collin, Dallas, Ellis and Navarro counties.
The chase started just before 11 a.m. in southern Grayson County in Sherman when Clinton Middleton, 22, allegedly tried to leave a gas station without paying for gas, Van Alstyne police said. Police said Middleton also tried to run over an officer in Melissa at some point after the alleged theft -- sparking the chase.
Middleton, who is from Galveston, led officers on a chase into Richardson, through Garland and Mesquite and back south into Dallas. On what appeared to be the fourth attempt at using a spike strip, the spike tore through the driver's side rear tire -- bringing the chase to a slower crawl.
During the two-hour chase, Middleton could be seen on Chopper 5 video sometimes waving at rubberneckers along the rural roads in Navarro County. He later told reporters he was waving at his girlfriend.
"I was talking to her the whole time," Middleton said.
Middleton was driving along FM 1129 near FM 85 in Navarro County just after 1 p.m., when police boxed him in. One officer bumped Middleton's truck from behind, spinning it out, and forcing Middleton to run into a flooded ditch -- where he got stuck.
Officers then surrounded the vehicle, pulled Middleton from the truck, and took him into custody.
Middleton has an arrest warrant out of Galveston, said Van Alstyne Police Chief Robert Spindle. Sitting handcuffed inside a police cruiser he told reporters he didn't pull over because he had a warrant out for his arrest and didn’t want to go to jail.
When asked if he was trying to hit police officers, Middleton said "no".
"He ran into the middle of the highway and I swerved to miss him," he explained. "If I would have kept going straight, yeah, I would have hit him, it's not my fault he ran into the middle of the road."
Middleton faces a theft under $50 charge, a felony charge of assault on a police officer and a felony charge of evading police, Spindle said. He said he expects more charges will be filed later.
Middleton has a long criminal record that includes burglary of a building, evading police and credit card abuse, according to public records.