Dallas police chase ends alongside Dallas Love Field runway after pickup truck crashes fence
DALLAS – A suspected carjacker led police on an hour-long chase Thursday before crashing through a locked chain-link fence and driving across runways at Dallas Love Field, temporarily halting flights, authorities said.
The afternoon chase ended when police surrounded and rammed a pickup truck alongside a busy runway, pulled the shirtless driver from the cab and placed him in handcuffs.
Operations on both major runways were stopped from about 3:20 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. One arriving flight had to make a second approach, and all departures were held on the ground until the chase was over.
The chase began when an undercover police officer spotted a truck that had been reported stolen a day earlier in Fort Worth, Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes said.
Television footage showed police appearing to patiently pursue the slow-moving pickup from expressways to side streets until it drove through the airport fence, along the airport taxiways and past one end of its busiest runway.
Reyes said that once the chase was on a runway "police were prepared to use deadly force." Instead, a patrol car rammed the truck, disabling the vehicle.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, chairman of the City Council Public Safety Committee, said he was concerned that the subject of an apparently routine police chase was able to get onto airport grounds so easily.
"I think that the whole game changed when he ended up on the runways and threatened multiple lives," Caraway said. "I believe it means security is something we have to take a look at that airport. I will definitely be bringing that to the committee ... and we will post something immediately on our agenda."
Asked about what the security breach said about Love Field security, Reyes said, "Everything is under review." He also said the gate the man crashed through met current standards.
The driver was a suspect in several offenses in both Dallas and Fort Worth, including a carjacking and robberies, Reyes said.
Reyes said the man, whose identity has not been released, complained of chest pains after his arrest and was taken to a hospital. He would not be charged until he is released from the hospital, Reyes said.
Since Dallas police arrested the man on federal property, the FBI likely will send the police report to the U.S. attorney's office and let federal prosecutors decide how to proceed, said FBI spokesman Mark White.
"We're all kind of looking at it trying to figure out just exactly what is happening here," White said.
Associated Press writers David Koenig, Schuyler Dixon, Jamie Stengle and Terry Wallace contributed to this report.