STEPHENVILLE — Authorities are searching for a Brownwood man who fled from a sheriff’s deputy Sunday evening, then abandoned his car in Stephenville, leaving behind a significant amount of “cheese heroin” and other drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle.

Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant said dispatch received a report about 4:30 p.m. Sunday that a reckless driver was traveling north on U.S. Highway 377.

“The caller reported that a black Mustang was crossing the yellow line and driving recklessly,” Bryant said.

Deputy Randy Fowler responded to the call and spotted the vehicle a short time later. The driver of the Mustang did not immediately respond to the deputy’s attempt to pull him over.

“He would slow down, then speed up,” Bryant said. “Eventually, he pulled over on the shoulder.”

The driver of the Mustang, identified as Lathierrus Untraye Bates, 39, allegedly gave the deputy a variety of excuses as to why he was driving recklessly, Bryant said.

Deputy Fowler called for backup when he noticed “something bulging” from the suspect’s waistband. When the deputy asked to see a driver’s license and insurance information, Bryant said the suspect “threw it into ‘drive’ and took off.”

Stephenville police and troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety assisted in the search for the vehicle, which was discovered a short time later abandoned at the intersection of McIlhaney and McNeill Streets in Stephenville.

“The suspect fled on foot and left behind a considerable amount of what we believe is ‘cheese,’” Bryant said.

Cheese heroin is a blend of black tar Mexican heroin and crushed over-the-counter cold medication that contains the antihistamine diphenhydramine, found in products such as Tylenol PM.

Bryant said authorities also found evidence that the suspect was manufacturing and delivering the drug because they found scales, baggies and empty capsules inside the Mustang.

Bates is wanted for evading arrest and possession and manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance.

Bates is described as a black male about 5’9” and 190 pounds. He is also wanted on three outstanding warrants relating to drugs.

Bryant said anyone with information about Bates’ whereabouts should contact the Erath County Sheriff’s Department at (254) 965-3338.

Sara Vanden Berge is managing editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.