The fun started when a posse of deputy U.S. marshals working with a fugitive task force in Laredo, Texas, tried to arrest a former drug offender for a parole violation.
The 27-year-old fugitive was stopped at a red light in a Mercury sedan. Officers surrounded the car and closed in on foot. At that point the wanted man tried to flee and used his car to push away one of the deputy marshals. Having created an opening he then drove off at high speed. The officer narrowly avoided being struck by the car. No shots were fired.
Blew out the tires
The fugitive drove recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic at high speed. That caused him to lose control of his vehicle as oncoming traffic tried to avoid meeting him head-on. He struck two cars, ran a red light, cut through a gas station parking lot and blew out the tires as he struck a curb. The Mercury struck an underpass wall and came to a stop. The driver was pulled out of the disabled vehicle, arrested and given medical attention.
At a court hearing, Yozeth Muniz, also known as Eric Garcia and Paul Muniz, addressed the court and expressed remorse for his behavior and apologized to the officers who tried to arrest him. He claimed he was only trying to get away and never intended to injure anyone.
No clear line of fire
The victim also had a chance to speak. He said that in his five years as a deputy marshal, this was the first time he had to draw his weapon and “pull up the slack” from the trigger of his firearm. He did not fire at Muniz because there was another officer in his direct line of fire. The victim also related that he was so concerned about the officers with him and the citizens nearby that he was unable to focus on his own situation until afterward.
Judge Diana Saldana was not impressed with the defendant’s apology. “I don’t condone the conduct you engaged in,” she told him. “You’re very lucky that you didn’t injure a child or a member of the public. You endangered the officers and others.”
Muniz was ordered to prison for three years for resisting arrest and obstructing the arresting officers. Following his sentence, he will serve a three-year-term of supervised release and perform community service.