Vela was wanted for nearly running over SD police chief

Christopher Maher, Alice Echo-News Journal

A tip authorities received after a recent Crime Stoppers report published in the Alice Echo-News Journal led to the arrest of a Benavides man Friday.

Ruben Raul Vela Jr., 41, was arrested in a residence in the 100 block of Chapa Street in Benavides shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, according to information provided by the Central South Texas Criminal Investigation Task Force.

Vela was arrested in connection with a warrant for failure to appear, authorities said, but law enforcement officials had been searching for him since Feb. 6, when he allegedly attempted to run over the San Diego Chief of Police.

SD Police Chief Joe Olvera said Monday Vela's arrest came after a resident who had read a Crime Stoppers story published in the April 9 issue of the Alice Echo-News Journal called law enforcement officials to inform them of Vela's location.

Friday evening, officers with the San Diego Police Department served Vela with two additional felony warrants in connection with the Feb. 6 incident. Those warrants were for evading arrest with a motor vehicle and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

According to San Diego Police Department reports, the Feb. 6 incident began when Chief Olvera was on radar patrol in the city of San Diego.

Olvera received a radio report of a four-door Mercury vehicle that was traveling north bound on Highway 359 from Benavides, possibly carrying illegal immigrants, according to the report.

After reportedly observing the vehicle speeding through the city, Olvera initiated a traffic stop in the 200 block of Springfield Ave.

The male driver of the vehicle, later identified as Vela, a female passenger and two male passengers all refused to identify themselves to Olvera, according to the report, and Vela allegedly became agitated and began cursing at Olvera.

Vela reportedly refused to place his hands on the steering wheel, which led Olvera to draw his service revolver and order the occupants from the vehicle. According to the report, Vela then allegedly reached into the center console of the vehicle, which led Olvera to back away from the vehicle while ordering the driver to put his hands in view. Vela then allegedly accelerated the vehicle toward Olvera, and Olvera fired a single shot at the car, striking the left rear tire.

The vehicle continued travelling on the destroyed tire for a short distance, before coming to a stop near County Road 149 and Farm-to-Market Road 3087. All four occupants of the vehicle then abandoned the car and fled into the brush.