PANOLA COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — A man is behind bars after allegedly leading Panola County deputies on a chase into Rusk County Tuesday morning.

Randall Croes, licensed out of Wisconsin, was arrested and charged with evading arrest detention with a vehicle, tampering with physical evidence and aggravated assault against a public servant.

According to Panola County Sheriff Cutter Clinton, dispatchers received several 911 calls about a wrong-way speeding driver on the loop around Carthage. The man reportedly exited the loop onto Highway 149 traveling northbound toward Beckville.

Around 9 a.m., Panola County deputies located the vehicle near Highway 149 and FM 124, Clinton said. Deputies initiated a stop and Croes initially stopped but sped off as a deputy approached the vehicle, officials said.

The pursuit started on FM 124 going west toward U.S. Highway 79 south. Panola County Sgt. Davis joined in on the chase and the driver was observed tossing possible contraband out of the window on Highway 79, according to Clinton.

Clinton said investigators returned to the area after the pursuit to search for contraband but did not locate anything.

PCSO dispatch then notified the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office that the pursuit was approaching Rusk County.

Sheriff Clinton said the pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph and traffic was consistently light.

The chase reached Rusk County and PCSO deputies were joined by RCSO, Henderson Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol as they neared the “traffic star” at the intersection of Highway 259 and Highway 79.

Prior to reaching the star intersection, RCSO deployed several spike strips on the vehicle and upon reaching the intersection, the car entered a cafe parking lot and came to a brief stop, officials said.

As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver sped off, “in an attempt to strike the deputies,” Sheriff Clinton said.

He then reportedly crashed into an unoccupied car and an outdoor freezer. No one was injured during the pursuit or crash, officials said. Croes was then transported from Rusk County to Panola County and taken to the Panola County Detention Center.

“Deputy Gilley, Deputy Martinez, Sgt. Davis, our dispatchers… could not have done a better job.
We thank Rusk County Sheriff Valdez and his office as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety and Henderson Police Department for their great teamwork, everyone went home safe, all our deputies are safe and Croes is in the jailhouse now,” said Sheriff Clinton.

Stay up-to-date with the latest local news, sports, weather, politics and more using the KETK mobile app on Android and iPhone.