Man sentenced for high speed chase, crashing into Panhandle home
PANHANDLE, Texas (KFDA) - A Carson County jury sentenced a Wisconsin man to 30 years in prison today leading multiple agencies over a high-speed chase in Panhandle
The 100th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Elliot Ventura, 32, of Kenosha, Wis., was convicted of a first degree felony offense of evading arrest in a motor vehicle, enhanced.
Ventura will spend 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for the conviction, the 100th Judicial District Court said at the Carson County Courthouse.
District Attorney Luke Inman and Assistant District Attorney HarleyCaudle, prosecuted the case for the State of Texas, with the Honorable Judge Stuart Messer presiding.
On May 3 of this year, Ventura was arrested in Panhandle after a high-speed chase with multiple law enforcement agencies. Officials said he was driving as fast as 130 mph.
The case ended after he crashed his vehicle into a home in Panhandle.
“This jury was thirsty for justice,” said Carson County Sheriff Tam Terry. “Thank God this defendant turned two blocks west of the school because this case could have been way worse. Our sole objective was to protect the kids at all costs and my team succeeded.”
Ventura was indicted on July 8 for the incident.
During the trial the State showed evidence from four officers involved in the pursuit, which had a 24-minute dashcam video from a Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper, who first attempted to stop Ventura on Interstate 40 for speeding.
A Carson County deputy testified of his attempts to preventing Ventura from getting into Panhandle near the elementary school, as well as contacting the school district to place the campus on lockdown until Ventura could be arrested.
“When it appeared the defendant was heading into town near the school at 9:30 a.m. on a Monday morning, running from the police at more than 130 mph, the situation became exponentially more dangerous,” the DPS trooper said. “We could not be more proud of our local law enforcement for immediately taking the necessary steps to make sure none of our students were harmed by the defendant’s actions.”
Carson County Deputy Jeremy Ortegon testified to Ventura’s crash into a Panhandle residence on Franklin Avenue., and Chief Deputy J.C. Blackburn described the aftermath of the crash to the jury.
Following four minutes of deliberation in the guilt and innocence phase of the trial, the jury found him guilty.
Ventura was also heard about his five other previous convictions from Kenosha County.
“Occasionally, we have to deal with out-of-state defendants who have been in a lot of trouble before up north or on the east coast,” said Caudle. “They usually think we’re a bunch of ‘hillbillies,’ and that they can expect the same kind of lenient sentences they are accustomed to getting back home. They are wrong, every single time.”
On top of the 30 years in prison, Ventura was also found guilty for using his vehicle as a deadly weapon.
Under current Texas law, that means Ventura must serve 15 years of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole.
Officials said the deadly weapon finding was a crucial part of the case and played an important role in how the evidence was presented.
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