A suspect led DPS on a dangerous chase through Castroville on New Year’s Eve around 8 pm. Medina County troopers initiated a traffic stop in front of the Walmart, and the suspect fled west toward Hondo. The suspect lost control of the vehicle and crashed into oncoming traffic on Hwy 90 in front of the old Alsatian Hotel (now known as the Hillside Hotel and Spa). The vehicle the suspect crashed into was carrying a family of five, who just happened to be passing through Castroville that night.
After striking the other vehicle, the suspect’s vehicle rolled and caught fire. Troopers, officers, and bystanders at the hotel jumped into action, extracting the driver and passenger from inside the vehicle.
“If people at the scene hadn’t jumped in to pull those two people out of the vehicle, they would have burned to death,” said Castroville Fire Chief Rick Lair. “We arrived two minutes after the page came out from dispatch, and the suspect’s vehicle was already fully engulfed.”
All seven people were transported to the hospital by ambulance, with the suspect suffering the most serious injuries. Because the suspect was transported to the hospital, no arrests have been made as of press time.
Thankfully, the ESD in the Castroville area employs multiple ambulances, allowing for several to respond to the chaotic scene, where so many transfers were needed. Mutual aid from other communities was also available. Responding were: two Allegiance ambulances stationed in Castroville and one from Mico; Community EMS from Hondo was also able to assist by sending two of their ambulances as well.
Fire Chief Lair has responded to far too many horrible accidents like this one, and recalling the scene that night, he stated, “It’s a miracle that there were no fatalities.”