LEWISVILLE, Texas - Lewisville police got a suspected criminal off the streets thanks to a good Samaritan whose past helped save the day.
Officer Jeff Carey knew he had to intervene after spotting a stolen vehicle and a suspect associated with that vehicle on June 22.
But before he could arrest the guy at a Lewisville hotel, he'd have to catch up to him first.
“As I was getting out of my vehicle, he started running,” Carey recalled.
Two hours later, he spotted the suspect at a nearby restaurant.
The man then took off on foot again. Officer Carey then jumped out of his vehicle.
A foot chase was on, but the suspect had a good lead.
Enter Michael Barrera, who'd just returned to the restaurant after having breakfast with family.
“My sister forgot something here,” Berrera said. “They said it may be in the trash, so we went behind the restaurant and started looking.”
What he found was a police foot chase in progress. An irresistible opportunity for a former rugby player.
“I played a lot of rugby in my days, you know, I'm a little older now, I still got little wheels,” Berrera said.
“Just probably, 50 yards before this culvert, I see this blur, which is Mr. Barrera on my left side,” Officer Carey recalled.
Barrera not only caught up to the suspect, but tackled him to the ground.
“It's like a rugby ball, go after it. You know, the game ain't over ‘til it's over,” Berrera said.
“As soon as I put the handcuffs on the suspect, my mind goes straight to my vehicle,” Carey said.
Barrera's uncle, George, also got props from police for standing guard over the police cruiser.
“I wouldn't want nobody to steal something out of my vehicle if I leave the door open, you know, so that was my instinct to stay behind,” he said.
“Besides taking that suspect into custody, that was the most important thing that happened to me that day, so I really appreciate it, both you guys,” Carey said.
Barrera said it's the least they could do.
“Once they get in that vehicle and start their day, they got our back,” Berrera said. “Lending a hand to any officer is a blessing.”
Officer Carey said this is a good example of the police and the community working together.
The suspect has been charged with two counts of evading arrest.