Dallas Police Looking For Car Thief Who Killed Teen in M Streets Hit-and-Run

Categories: Crime

MonticelloCarCrashDPD.jpg
Dallas PD
Sandy Vasquez and her 13-year old son, Ethan, were driving west through the M Streets Tuesday morning, apparently en route to school at William B. Travis Academy, when a stolen minivan ran a stop sign and broadsided their Nissan Versa.

The car, as the photos show was demolished. Vasquez was taken to Baylor Hospital with critical injuries. Ethan, the son of a Cedar Hill police sergeant and by all accounts a kind and intelligent kid, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The task now turns to finding driver of the stolen SUV, who promptly fled the scene on foot.

"[W]e need someone to come forward that knows who the suspects are," Dallas Police Chief David Brown tweeted this morning.

Right now, there's not a lot to go on. The main witness to the crash, a driver idling at a stop sign at the Homer Street/Monticello intersection, was too busy aiding Vasquez to see who was in the minivan. Cops say one suspect was believed to be wearing a white shirt and white cap and was probably bleeding but have no further suspect description; they're not even sure if there was one person in the stolen vehicle or more than one.

Basically, what they know is that the minivan was reported stolen in March, and that Highland Park police started chasing it at about 8:15 a.m. but stopped when it crossed into the city of Dallas.

Oak Farms has offered a $10,000 reward for information that helps solve the crime, which is being classified as a murder. Crime Stoppers has chipped in an additional $5,000.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.

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63 comments
ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

Dagoberto Castanon; it looks as though this was another "act of love."

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

Am I looking for a minivan or an SUV? Is Eric so car free and ignorant he doesn't know the difference?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

Cell phones and automobiles should have cut-off switches that the police can use to catch these kinds of criminals.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

These stats come from the FBI:


• First, the majority of police pursuits involve a stop for a traffic violation.

• Second, one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit.

• On average, from 1994 through 1998, one law enforcement officer was killed every 11 weeks in a pursuit. [By 2010, that number increased to one officer killed every six weeks in a pursuit.]

• Innocent third parties who just happened to be in the way constitute 42 percent of persons killed or injured in police pursuits.

• Further, 1 out of every 100 pursuits results in a fatality.

dingo
dingo

Maybe a picture of the evidence in hand (stolen minivan) in case someone has seen it around lately parked at a residence or business?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

It's ridiculous that they still carry out these pursuits, what with so many innocents being killed and injured due to them.  So, the crime of stealing a car escalated to the tragic death of a 13 year old.  Without the pursuit the perps might have been caught eventually.  If not, was it worth taking a life? 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Kudos to Oak Farm Dairy, BTW. They seem to come through a lot in these instances.

Money may not be able to buy happiness (bullshit), but it can often buy justice.

lebowski300
lebowski300

You know there are multiple people who either know or suspect they know the murderers and are saying nothing. When they do get found, will any effort be made to discover and punish those people? It seems that almost never happens.

WylieH
WylieH

Really hope they get these guys... understand they have a potential lead they are working as of this a.m.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Cops should be issued radios, maybe then they could use strategy rather than dangerous pursuit tactics on city streets.

I'm assuming the pusuit wss in eccess of posted speed limits.

cawnlu
cawnlu

Myrna, do you have a citation or link to the data?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

None of that applies in this case.  The police chase had already been called off when the thieves crashed the SUV.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz


Myrna, following your train of thought to its logical conclusion, lights and sirens should be removed from every police car, because there's a chance someone will flee recklessly the moment they realize they are being pursued. Great way to save lives and reduce crime.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

that's why every police force in the country has reviewed and altered chase policies over the years.

This whole thread is a repeat of the last one concerning police chases, nothing much has changed since then.

One death a day in a country this size, with so many miles driven, not exactly a huge problem, considering over 200 folks a day just from being fat.

Now, if you're obese and in the vicinity of a police pursuit you're in trouble.

dsmithy3211
dsmithy3211

@dingo  Is it not the car in the photo (not the Versa)? The driver fled on foot.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz


Myrna, for Christ's sake, what the hell are cops supposed to do when they see a crime in progress? And for the record, there was NO chase. HPPD saw stolen car, turned on their lights and followed, perps fled, HPPD turned off their lights and went about their business.


Complain much?


Bet you're a real hit on the cocktail circuit.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

You know, that certainly is an interesting and novel line of thought to pursue, much more thoughtful than typophopic reactionarianism.

A comment likely to spur reaction much like the multiple commentaries below.

cawnlu
cawnlu

They stopped the pursuit. What else do you expect them to do? Should the police only take action against those of us who submit and comply? At some point the blame needs to be placed where it belongs; on the driver.

daisy
daisy

@TheRuddSki The story on WFAA's website states that they terminated the chase on Goodwin Avenue - 3 streets south of Monticello.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki "pusuit wss in eccess"?  I want some of what you're on.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@TheRuddSki There was no pursuit.  My understanding is that Highland Park Police called off the pursuit some distance before the crash took place, precisely because of the danger posed by a chase through residential areas.

sharatch
sharatch

@bvckvs @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Not exactly true - the search was reportedly called off at Goodwin, a few blocks from the crash site - the pursuit should not have crossed US 75.

dingo
dingo

@dsmithy3211 @dingoIt is the van pictured on the far right.

Maybe there was a distinguishing feature on it (window sticker, etc.) that someone might recognize and help pinpoint its location over the past few weeks to help narrow down the manhunt.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Lakewooder

Bet you're a real hit on the cocktail circuit.

In Myrna's' case that's the route between her fridge and her computer desk.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

pusuit wss in eccess, pusuit wss in eccess, pusuit wss in eccess, pusuit wss in eccess...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@cawnlu  The blame IS on the driver.  But, would the driver have been speeding through residential streets had he not been pursued in the first place?  No.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@daisy

I've done my second-guessing on this, the bottom line is, always expect a crazed car-thief, valium-addled old lady, or texting teen to run a stop sign or red light, or run into you somehow.

That's how I managed to get to sixty, and how I taught three kids to drive. One simple rule:

Every other driver is an utter moron and out to get you

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

You want a tiny Android DumbAssPhone with a cracked screen? Ok, hon, but it'll cost you $250, PayPal will do.

It's amazing how much substance you can add to the discussion with such pithy observations.

sharatch
sharatch

@James_the_P3 @TheRuddSki


Bullshit - they called off the chase at US-75/Monticello. The collision occurred at Monticello/Homer. Know the distance between these two points?! less than 150 yards (one and a half football fields) Get on Google Earth and check for yourself.

daisy
daisy

@James_the_P3 @TheRuddSki  The story on WFAA's website states that they terminated the chase on Goodwin Avenue - just 3 streets south of Monticello.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@James_the_P3

The article stated there was pursuit, and the pursuit was called off at the Dallas line.

I think we can assume, that once a thief is in escape mode, they're not going to slow to legal speeds the instant the pursuing cops shuts off his lights.

I don't know the distance between the end of the non-pursuit and the intersection where the murder took place, but I think we can guess that the killer was probably still a bit jacked up, speeding, and paying more attention to what was behind than ahead.

It just seems that, rather than tip off the crook that he's been spotted, they could use cunning strategy to intercept. Maybe there was only one cop car in both cities at the time making that impossible, but I doubt it.

If it were my car which was stolen, I'd say "let them have it rather than risk a single life". As it is, how do you think the owner feels today?

All second-guessing on my part, but that's a commenter's job.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

It's just the wrong opinions that are intolerable, alternative opinions are just fine long as they're all the same.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  Wrong.  I've found most of the regulars on this board just can't stand an alternative opinion.  They are intolerant.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Maybe you over-think things? Generally, if you get booted in the ass a lot, it means you're bending over too much.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

You can ignore tdkisok, for obvious reasons.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

They're not "grumpy pills" it's #waronwomen.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I fail to see what I said here could elicit such anger and ad hominem attacks.  Who is passing around the grumpy pills this morning?

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @cawnlu They stopped the pursuit 15 minutes prior to the crash. at that point, its ONLY on the driver who stole the minivan, not the police and I doubt it was very "high speed" through HP anyway during the school rush hour

tdkisok
tdkisok

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz


"The blame IS on the driver.  But, would the driver have been speeding through residential streets had he not been pursued in the first place?  No."


Your logic is flawed, must be from responding to Ruddy all the time. 


Bottom line, the the driver would not have been speeding if he had not run a stop sign in front of a police officer. The authorities stopped the pursuit.  Blaming the cops in this manner is way beyond stupid. 

cawnlu
cawnlu

I'm sure it did. That's what happens when someone flees. The cops were still doing what they should have been doing; putting felons in jail. We just need to be careful about expected the police to only arrest and prosecute those who stop voluntarily. That's not very compatible with fighting criminal behavior.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@cawnlu  I'm not spinning anything.  I'm disgusted with the perps, too.  I'm just saying that their speed most likely escalated because of the pursuit.

cawnlu
cawnlu

Ok Myrna, spin it however you want. Maybe it wasn't really stolen either...or just barely stolen. The point is that the stolen car was seen committing a dangerous traffic violation and they attempted to stop him. That' what they are paid to do.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@cawnlu  Right.  But it did not say speeding through a stop sign.  He may have slowly gone through.

cawnlu
cawnlu

DMN.....driver ran a stop sign. That's what started the incident.

cawnlu
cawnlu

How do you know that? He was first contacted after blowing through a stop sign. The guy stole a car, do you really think he was interested in obeying traffic laws before there was a pursuit. Come on, use a little common sense here.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin

We need google self-drive cars like, yesterday.

Not for me tho, I'll take the Porsche, thanks.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  word, If I can tell the car behind me is texting while rolling down I30, I change lanes, bc I know where traffic slows and that idiot wont see it till its too late.  I have avoided 3 wrecks in the last 1.5 yrs when I changed lanes and the car behind me hit the car that was in front of me.  Unfortunately, Ive also had  car totaled on I30 from a texter

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

Yep, years on street bikes in Florida will teach instinctive idiot-avoidance, but the extra eyes and ears you grow can look kinda funny.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

Pretty much the "Motorcyclist's Creed" and also, excellent words to live by in general.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

Myrna wasn't born yesterday, but that still doesn't explain what the hell she was doing on that turnip truck.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Myrna

I guess humorous replies to anal, pointless "look - a typo!!" comments goes over some folks' heads.

But, now that I've got your interest, how about $200? - I pay shipping.

cawnlu
cawnlu

Blocking an intersection is simply forcing a wreck to happen; PDs have lost their asses in civil court on that one, so practically no department does it. Spike Strips are very limited in their effectiveness, especially in urban areas where there are so many cross streets. Using spike strips in a neighborhood or high traffic area is also not a good idea because the suspect often loses control trying to avoid the sticks.

My point to all of this is that if the police had developed a perfect strategy to stop pursuits, they would have rolled it out a long time ago. No agency likes pursuits, and they certainly don't want to see anyone hurt or killed in one. There are no easy answers.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@cawnlu

Maybe blocking an intersection? Stop spikes? I dunno.

As I said, I'm not blaming the cops.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@James_The_P3

I was commenting on the article appearing here, not the DMN.

In that DMN article, it states The officers chased the vehicle into Dallas because it showed up as being stolen., they rightfully called off the pursuit when it became dangerous, but then "shortly after", the murder occurred - most likely because the perp was still in pursuit mode.

All valid points on both sides. I'm not blaming the cops, just wondering what might have been done differently.

In that respect, we're just doing exactly what the cops are doing now, considering what they might have possibly done differently.

cawnlu
cawnlu

What "cunning strategy" would you recommend? Even if there were 20 cops ahead, it's still a pursuit if the guy refuses to stop. There is no perfect strategy, no matter how many cops with radios there are. And pursuing stolen cars is not just about property crime. The #1 reason that vehicles are stolen is to commit other crimes; like robberies, drive-by shootings, burglaries, etc.

I just don't see how you can think this is the police's fault. They tried to stop the car, which is what we all pay them for, and when it turned into a pursuit, they stopped; just as their policy likely dictates. Talk about damned it you do and damned if you don't.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@TheRuddSki My understanding from the DMN article yesterday was that the "pursuit" started when the guy ran a stop sign on Abbott, which is only a block from the Dallas city limits.  Certainly, the police don't need to call out a dragnet for every stop sign runner.  They turn on their lights, and the driver pulls over 99.999% of the time.

To the extent there was a pursuit, it lasted only a very short time and only so long as it took the Highland Park guys to figure out that it wasn't your average stop sign runner and that he was fleeing.  At least, that's how it seems to me based on my limited knowledge of the facts and the surrounding geography.


I agree with you that the guy was obviously speeding through the M Streets after the cops shut down their lights.  But I don't think that indicates any police negligence or culpability.

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