Suspect at large following fiery Big Spring police chase

(Source: Big Spring Police Department)
(Source: Big Spring Police Department)

BIG SPRING, TX (KWES) - A suspect in a Wednesday morning police pursuit remained at large following a helicopter search and hours-long investigation, Big Spring authorities said Wednesday evening.

Derrick Todd Drake, 30, is wanted for felony evading in a vehicle, according to a press release issued by the Big Spring Police Department.

The pursuit was initiated around 8:40 a.m., police said, when an officer saw a black Jeep with both doors open in an alley in the 1600 block of South Johnson Street.

Authorities said the officer circled back to investigate and observed two people enter the car.

When the male driver and his female passenger noticed the officer, they immediately sped away, according to police.

The officer pursued the Jeep until his patrol vehicle, a 2013 Dodge Charger, caught fire on a dirt road in the area behind Kentwood Elementary, police said.

Sources close to the investigation revealed the Charger's gas tank likely ignited after the car "bottomed out on rough roads" near a water tower.

The officer was forced to abandon the pursuit, authorities said, but managed to escape his flaming vehicle unharmed.

Meanwhile, the suspects abandoned the Jeep on B Bobs Trail, south of Merrily Drive, and fled on foot, according to police.

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) Helicopter Flight Team arrived to assist in the search around 10:30 a.m., approximately one hour and 12 minutes after they were notified to assist.

The female suspect was later located "hiding under a bush" and identified as Victoria Mendez, 24, according to the press release.

Police confirmed she was charged with evading an officer.

Authorities were unable to locate her male companion and only found the shirt he had been wearing, the press release stated.

Anybody with information related to the ongoing investigation is urged to contact Big Spring Police.

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