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WilCo deputy nearly dragged for second time this month by driver fleeing traffic stop

Dash camera video tweeted by Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody shows a man fleeing from a traffic stop near Liberty Hill on February 20, 2018. Photo: Twitter/@SheriffChody

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office wants the public’s help finding the driver of a Ford Explorer who ran from law enforcement Tuesday night. The deputy conducting the traffic stop is the same deputy who was dragged by a drunk driving suspect earlier this month.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody says one of his deputies, who had backup from a nearby jurisdiction, conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle near Liberty Hill. Dash camera video shows Williamson County Deputy Tabytha Horseman questioning the driver.

When the driver didn’t have identification and the deputy and backup couldn’t find any information matching what he was giving them, the officers suspected the driver was being untruthful.

“If you could, just turn off your vehicle and we’re going to go to your house. We’re going to take you there. We’re going to leave this vehicle right here,” the deputy tells the driver.

“You’re going to take me to the house and I can provide you with my information and all of that?” the driver asks.

“Yeah. Can you go ahead and turn off the engine please?” Horseman is heard saying on the dash camera video.

“As soon as she was opening the door, the suspect took off,’ says Sheriff Robert Chody. He explains, after a half mile the officer and deputy stopped chasing the suspect due to slick and potentially dangerous roads.

Chody says he’s sharing the video to pull back the curtain on the types of situations law enforcement officers must handle every day. “Men and women are putting their life on the line doing simple traffic stops to protect our community… from drunk drivers like last week... from a person who did not want to go to jail for whatever reason,” explains Chody.

Two weeks ago, Horseman was checking on a driver found passed out at a stoplight when the suspect tried to speed away with half her body inside the car. She spoke with CBS Austin about that life-threatening moment.

“My feet just whipped out from underneath me. The door is open and then I looked down at the ground and I can see the lines going by, so I knew I could not leave the vehicle. I was scared because if I did, I would get run over,” explains Horseman.

Chody says incidents like the two Horseman has had aren't happening more often, he's just giving the public a closer look at what deputies see every day.

“I think it's demonstrating to the community though how dangerous this job really is,” he says.

Chody says he's proud of the way Horseman has handled herself with just six months on the job. “Most of this community --when they're sleeping-- would want somebody with the character, persistence, enthusiasm and guts that deputy Horseman has [patrolling their neighborhood],” he says, adding that he’s confident many of his other deputies would react the same way.

Williamson County is still looking for the person who ran from the traffic stop Tuesday night. It happened around 11 p.m. in Liberty Hill. The vehicle is a white 1999 Ford Explorer driven by a white male who is possibly in his late 30s. Chody says, “If the suspect is watching, turn yourself in because we're going to get you.”

Anyone with information about this incident or the driver can call Williamson County Crime Stoppers at (800) 253-7867.

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