Video of a high-speed highway chase and crash in Parker County shows a Tarrant County man spinning and swerving close to other drivers.
Eli Vernon III, 49, lost control of his car while fleeing from two Willow Park police officers at speeds approaching 110 mph along Interstate 30 in November.
A Parker County jury has sentenced Vernon to 50 years in state prison for his involvement in the chase.
Prior to the chase, Vernon tried to sell what he described to a man as jewelry purchased with a stolen credit card, according to Parker County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain. The other man did not purchase the jewelry and, instead, followed Vernon onto the highway and called 911.
The ensuing chase with police lasted approximately three minutes, with Vernon headed eastbound along Interstate 20 before merging onto I-30 toward Fort Worth and crossing the Parker/Tarrant county line.
Shortly after passing the Linkcrest Drive exit, dashboard-camera video from the two pursuing officers shows that Vernon attempted to pass another vehicle from the right lane and lost control, crossing all three lanes of traffic and narrowly missing two vehicles.
Vernon's car then stuck a center median barrier, ricocheted back across all three lanes, spun around and then returned to the grassy median where he struck a light pole and stopped.
"What we saw here was, he was within a hair's breadth of really hurting or killing some people," said Swain, who prosecuted the case. "That's what it comes down to; it was really that close. And when I first looked at it, I just flinched, going, 'Oh, my gosh, somebody is about to get hit here.'"
Vernon was on federal probation at the time of the chase and crash and had been to prison five times for eight separate felony convictions, according to Swain.
Vernon will not be eligible for parole until 2038, after serving half of his 50-year sentence, Swain said.
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