TAYLOR COUNTY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Taylor County deputy was fired after reaching speeds of up to 115 miles per hour while an inmate broke out a window of his patrol car then climbed on top.
During a press conference, Sheriff Ricky Bishop said the deputy, Ricky Wombles, put the inmate, Martin Estrada, and the public in danger by not stopping as soon as the window was broken.
Sheriff Bishop says Wombles restrained Estrada at a psychiatric facility in Wichita Falls last week and placed him in handcuffs and leg irons with the help of facility employees.
Estrada was able to free a wrist from the handcuffs just minutes after Wombles began transporting him back to Taylor County.
Once he broke a window, Sheriff Bishop says Estrada then got the door open and sat with his legs dangling out for 10 minutes after telling Wombles, “as soon as i make up my mind, I’m going to kill myself.”
While Estrada was hanging out of the vehicle, Wombles reached speeds of 115 miles per hour and maintained a speed 60 to 88 miles per hour the entire 10 minutes.
Estrada then climbed onto the roof while Wombles continued to travel at a rate of 54 to 77 miles per hour – an act that Sheriff Bishop said put Estrada’s life and the life of the general public in danger.
Backup arrived 7 minutes after Estrada climbed onto the vehicle and he was tased then taken into custody without incident.
Sheriff Bishop says that if Wombles stopped the vehicle as soon as Estrada busted out the window, he would have been in Wichita Falls and just minutes from assistance.
Instead, he continued to drive at a high rate of speed further and further away from town, making backup travel 100 miles per hour for a long while just to reach him.
Sheriff Bishop says Wombles was fired for the following violations:
1. Emergency Driving – He failed to maintain a safe speed, putting Estrada and the public in danger
2. Use of Handcuffs and Other Restraints – He failed to secure Estrada with a belly chain, as is protocol for aggressive inmates
3. Driving Safety – Again, he failed to maintain a safe speed, putting Estrada and the public in danger
4. Body cam – He did not activate his body came during the entire incident involving Estrada’s escape
Sheriff Bishop says he held the press conference to clear the air regarding Wombles’ termination, saying he did not base his decision solely on a viral video, which shows Estrada sitting on the roof of the patrol car.
Full press conference: