A driver led police on a risky chase through northeast Dallas, and every twist and turn was documented by helicopter news crews. The suspect, Artrai Alexander, 40, is being charged with aggravated robbery and evading arrest. But as the various video accounts show, a family he hit had a more-than-active role in his apprehension.
The episode began when a man stopped at a convenience store at 3026 Grand Ave. and left his Dodge Challenger running while he entered the store. According to police, Alexander jumped in the vehicle. When the owner returned, Alexander pointed a gun at him and took off. The owner of the car called 911; police began their pursuit, and the helicopter patrol followed.
According to the police report, Jessica Liesmann, her boyfriend Charles Cook and her 13-year-old son T.J. jumped out of the van and "subdued the suspect."
Alexander led them on and off the freeway, weaving in and out of traffic, frequently driving in the breakdown lane; he also drove the wrong way on Greenville Avenue.
The chase ended abruptly at 8700 Walnut Hill Rd. at the intersection of Abrams Road, where Alexander smacked into two other vehicles that were stopped at a red light, including a black SUV and a gray van driven by Jessica Liesmann. According to the police report, Liesmann, her boyfriend Charles Cook and her 13-year-old son T.J. jumped out of the van and "subdued the suspect."
But if you watch the video, particularly the video posted on WFAA, it looks more like the World Wrestling Foundation, as Liesmann runs to the driver's door of the Challenger and smacks it. She and Cook then confront Alexander, eventually knocking him face down on the street. Meanwhile, her son rolls around on the sidewalk, nearly spilling into the lane headed in the other direction.
The police intervene and handcuff the suspect while a bystander partially blocks Liesmann from further confrontation.
Liesmann told NBC 5 that she was "angry," and a TV news report called her "courageous," but a police spokesman warned against that kind of behavior. "Thankful that the citizens who held the chase suspect weren't injured by him," tweeted Major Max Geron. "Would never advise you do that."
Spokeswoman Chinh Le says that helicopters were able to capture footage due to the duration of the chase.
"We got the call at 3:12 pm, and then officers went to the scene and the apprehension lasted until 3:44 pm, so that's 30 minutes," she says. "It's lucky [Liesmann and Cook] didn't get hurt, but we don't recommend people get involved in such altercations."