Charges filed in chase that totaled cruiser
By MIKE CORN
Criminal charges were filed Monday against two men who led authorities on a high-speed chase after they reportedly were throwing items onto Interstate 70 from several bridges in the county.
It was during the course of an ensuing chase Victoria Police Chief Cole Dinkel crashed, totaling his patrol cruiser.
Dinkel wasn't injured, but Ellis County Sheriff Ed Harbin said it was a close call.
"Thank goodness for his training and driving skills," Harbin said of Dinkel.
The incidents occurred March 15, and both Dylan Lee Prosser and Nickolas Wayne Schepmann, both 20, had been held since then in lieu of $100,000 bond.
Both officially are listed as resident of Barton County.
On Monday, District Judge Glenn Braun reduced bond for both men after charges were filed by Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees.
Prosser, a passenger in the vehicle who now is facing two misdemeanor counts of throwing objects onto the highway, was released on his own recognizance.
Braun, however, set strict rules, including a curfew that all but prevents Prosser from going out after dark.
Braun also ordered an alcohol evaluation.
While Braun wouldn't comment on the details of the case, he said he read the affidavit prior to appearing in court.
"Mr. Drees summed it up quite well," he said, something "incredibly stupid and incredibly dangerous."
Drees told Braun the bond had been set at $100,000 because "there was an allegation that he fired a shotgun at a tractor-trailer. However, law enforcement has not been able to find the tractor-trailer. I can't charge if I don't have a victim."
Bond for Schepmann, was reduced to $40,000.
Schepmann faces two felony counts of eluding a police officer, two counts of misdemeanor throwing objects onto the highway and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence.
"So I can bond out now?" Schepmann asked after hearing of the bond reduction.
He appeared in court without his attorney, so the bond was the only issue brought up.
Schepmann, however, apparently already is facing a felony eluding charge out of either Barton or Rice counties, Drees told Braun.
Braun cautioned Schepmann against paying bond fees only to find out another county has a hold on him for other charges.
While many of the details concerning the incidents haven't been made public, Dinkel was one of the first officers responding to the report of someone throwing items off several bridges spanning I-70.
As Dinkel approached a vehicle on the bridge, the car sped off and headed through a wheat field.
The driver of the vehicle got back on a county road, and Dinkel was in pursuit at a high rate of speed.
At times, the vehicle he was chasing was driving without its lights.
"Basically, I was chasing a cloud of dust," Dinkel said of crashing his car when he came to a T-intersection.
He wasn't injured, but Dinkel admits if he'd tried to make the turn, the outcome would have been markedly different.
The car driven by Schepmann ultimately was stopped north of Walker by sheriff's deputies who joined in the pursuit.
"In this situation, we were extremely lucky," Harbin said of Dinkel's ability to walk away from the crash and a lack of injuries by motorists on I-70. "When they threw those objects off the interstate, someone could have been killed."
No one was injured, but windshields in at least two vehicles were broken.
"That's why I say we were extremely lucky," Harbin said.