CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A Corpus Christi man is in the Kleberg County Jail accused of stealing an 18-wheeler and leading police on a 30-mile long chase.
It all started around 2:30 a.m. Thursday at a truck stop at the intersection of Highway 77 and General Cavazos Boulevard in Kingsville.
"The driver had just filled up (his truck with fuel) and went inside to get his receipt and saw his 18-wheeler leaving the parking lot when he came back out,” Kingsville Police Department Patrol Commander Bradley Lile said.
Officers quickly spotted the truck headed out of town.
“They attempted a traffic stop at the north city limits, and the chase was on,” Lile said.
At speeds never exceeding 65 miles-per-hour, officers from several police agencies followed the stolen tractor-trailer through Bishop, Driscoll, Robstown, and Calallen.
Officers twice used spike strips to blow-out the truck's tires, but the driver kept driving on the wheels' bare metal rims.
Despite the sparks and grooves in the pavement driving on the rims caused, officers' descriptions of the chase were not chaotic.
“One officer told me it was surprisingly calm," Lile said.
The truck finally stopped on Interstate 37 near Labonte Park in Corpus Christi.
Lile said that's where 23-year-old Jose Pedro Buentello then climbed out of the truck's drivers seat and laid on the ground before officers arrested him.
He faces unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, felony theft, and evading arrest charges.
It's unclear why someone would steal a tractor trailer that was hauling a load of cucumbers.
Regardless, Lile had a message for the truck's owner.
“I hope the driver learned a lesson not to leave the vehicle running while he goes inside (the truck stop) to get his receipt,” he said.