Chase ends in wreck, arrest

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 04:44 AM

A drug transaction led to a police chase and a car wreck Wednesday afternoon.

Erik Neri-Gaspar, 29, was arrested later in connection with the chase and faces multiple charges as a result.

The incident began when officers witnessed a drug transaction involving Neri-Gaspar on Patton Avenue and later saw him make a traffic violation at Lydia Street and Concord Avenue, Lt. T.J. Goforth of the Monroe Police Department said.

Neri-Gaspar, who was driving a 1996 Saturn, took off and officers followed after him for a period of time.

“Nobody could keep up with him, he was driving so erratically,” Goforth said.

Neri-Gaspar eventually turned into the Monroe Crossing Mall parking lot and hit a Chrysler PT Cruiser. The driver of the PT Cruiser was not injured and Gaspar continued traveling at a high rate of speed.

Neri-Gaspar then made his way onto U.S. Highway 74 and continued driving erratically. This included driving in the median of the road and almost running some vehicles off the road. The chase happened around 6:15 p.m. and during that time, traffic was heavy on the road. For safety reasons, Goforth said police called off the chase on U.S. 74, but an officer kept an eye out for where the vehicle was headed. Eventually Neri-Gaspar ran his vehicle into the entrance sign of Rolling Hills Country Club. He attempted to flee on foot after the wreck but was found and arrested within minutes.

A passenger in the vehicle, who was identified as Anthony Rex Anderson Jr., 17, remained with the vehicle as Neri-Gaspar fled. Neri-Gaspar and Anderson were treated by EMS after the wreck for non-life threatening injuries. Neri-Gaspar was taken to the hospital to be treated for a broken ankle. Anderson’s mother later took him to the hospital for treatment, Goforth said.

During the chase, a witness saw Neri-Gaspar throw something from the vehicle while in the Monroe Crossing mall parking lot. It was later discovered that it was marijuana he threw from the vehicle, which he was later charged for in addition to multiple other charges, she said.

According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office website, Neri-Gaspar was charged with alter destroy, or steal evidence of criminal conduct, injury to personal property, simple possession Schedule VI controlled substance, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, reckless driving and speeding to elude arrest. He was placed under a $25,000 bond.