Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 3, 2013

Breaking: Cherokee County fugitive captured out of state

Curtis Simmons in custody in Louisiana, held on charges from Jacksonville

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — A fugitive who police say escaped Jacksonville officers by firing a gunshot at them at the end of a lengthy car pursuit and foot chase in early December was captured in Louisiana a few days ago after being on the run nearly a month.

Curtis Trevor Simmons, 26 —  who had a birthday while he was on the lam  — was captured after being stopped on New Year's Eve by authorities in Lake Charles, La. for a traffic violation, according to reports.

Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel confirmed Thursday that Simmons did not resist arrest when he was captured and placed in the Calcasieu Parish Jail. Simmons also formally waived extradition.

Jacksonville police say the Dec. 10 Jacksonville chase was not as uneventful. It lasted roughly half an hour, beginning near the intersection of South Bolton and Larissa Streets about 3:45 a.m., reports show.

Simmons —  a Cherokee County resident with drivers licenses in Alto and Rusk —  is alleged to have been speeding when police tried to stop him. He also allegedly neglected to respond to officers who noticed defective equipment on his red truck.

Reports indicate Simmons refused to pull over and led the officers on a lengthy pursuit along U.S. Highway 79 West, then north along FM 747 before heading back into town.

Simmons is alleged to have driven through a residential area before returning to U.S. 79 and heading south on FM 747. He then is alleged to have stopped his vehicle on County Road 1816 at one point and fled on foot into the heavily wooded area outside city limits.

During this portion of the chase, authorities say Simmons fired  a gunshot fired in the direction of Officer Jeff Dockter and Officer Chase Berryhill — not injuring them, but distracting them just long enough so he could elude capture.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice hounds were called out to assist in the search, but the suspect could not be located.

Authorities later retrieved several weapons from Simmons' vehicle, the chief said.

 As a result of the Jacksonville chase, Simmons was sought by authorities for Evading Arrest With a Vehicle, a state jail felony, and two charges of Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon, generally second degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

"He is being held on our charges and on two Cherokee County warrants," Reece said in an email. "He will be extradited by Cherokee County to await trial on all three felony charges."