Updated

Driver gets 17 years for evading officer

By CRAIG KAPITAN

Eagle Staff Writer

A 22-year-old who ran his Mustang into a College Station trailer home while fleeing police was sentenced to 17 years in prison Monday.

At the hearing, David Samaripas Jr. also pleaded guilty to the January offense.

Evading arrest with a vehicle is usually a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to two years in state jail. However, the maximum sentence was enhanced to 20 years in prison because of two prior felony convictions.

The chase occurred about 2 a.m. on Jan. 5, after a Texas A&M University Police Department officer noticed Samaripas swerve across several lanes without a blinker as he was approaching the intersection of University Drive and Texas Avenue.

Samaripas was also driving at a high speed and didn’t have his headlights on, the officer observed.

“As soon as the lights were activated, the violator immediately accelerated and began to flee,” Officer Kary Shaffer wrote in court documents.

According to the documents, Samaripas’ Mustang reached speeds of 120 miles per hour and ran a red light before the officer lost sight of him as he sped over a hill.

When the officer crested the hill he watched the vehicle veer to the left, striking a utility pole at the corner of South College and Old College. As he got closer to the scene, Shaffer saw that the vehicle had also struck a mobile home in the Timberlake Community Trailer Park and had been pinned underneath the domicile.

Samaripas’ head was pinned under a glove box and he didn’t move or respond to the officer.

After being taken to the hospital, a blood alcohol test showed the driver’s level to be more than twice the legal limit. Officers also noted several broken beer bottles and unopened bottles in the man’s car.

His attorney, John Barron, could not be reached for comment late Monday.

“Because of the dangerous nature and way that this offense was committed, we feel that such a stiff punishment was appropriate in this case,” prosecutor Earl Gray said in a written statement after the plea agreement.

The stiff sentence will hopefully send a message that such reckless disregard for safety will not be tolerated, he added.

Samaripas’ two prior felony convictions were committed when he was a teenager. He was sent to the Texas Youth Commission as a juvenile after being charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. While in prison he was convicted of assault on a public servant when he struck a guard.

• Craig Kapitan’s e-mail address is ckapitan@theeagle.com.

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