A call about a reckless driver turned into a slow-speed police pursuit Sunday night through five North Texas cities.
At first, officers thought the wrong-way driver was impaired. But it eventually came to a peaceful end with no injuries and no arrests because of what police discovered when they finally stopped the SUV.
A driver in Rowlett who almost collided with the wrong-way driver called police and followed the man. Police immediately spotted the vehicle, but there were several close calls before they were able to stop him on West Beltline Road in Richardson.
Rowlett Police Lt. David Nabors says when the call first came in Sunday night, it was just a suspected drunk driver. It took only seconds after that call for a police unit to spot the vehicle and pull up behind it. Almost immediately after the officers turned on lights and tried and pull the driver over, he turned into oncoming traffic again.
Police say the low-speed chase never topped 40 miles an hour, but went through Garland, Mesquite, Dallas and Richardson. The driver even stopped and took off again several times along the way.
"Everybody's amped up during these chases, especially when a vehicle stops and takes off multiple times,” Nabors said.
After nearly an hour, the driver exited on Beltline Road from 75 Central in Richardson, and police spiked his tires. Moments later, police learned the vehicle belongs to an elderly couple that was reported missing five hours earlier.
Even with four flats, the 77-year-old driver and his 78-year-old wife drove another couple of hundred feet before finally stopping on Beltline Road near Central Expressway. Police say the driver appeared confused, didn’t speak English and didn't have a cell phone.
Nabors says unfortunately incidents involving disoriented elderly drivers are becoming more frequent.
"As our population ages, the children or relatives need to have a conversation with their elderly individuals and come up with a game plan to reevaluate if you're capable of driving or possibly put GPS devices on their vehicles,” Nabors said.
Family members told police the driver does not have any diagnosed mental problems, but he has been confused before. No charges will be filed against him, but police have alerted DPS to see if the man is fit to be driving.