Officer’s pursuit of hit-and-run driver leads to confrontation, multiple charges

Steve Nash steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
Gregory Travis Lundy

His feet entangled in brush and downed tree limbs, Brownwood police officer Gary Villalpando heard the pickup truck’s engine start and saw its backup lights come on. The engine roared as the driver tried to free the truck from the mud and back up.

Villalpando, who had been trying to make his way to the driver’s side of the pickup after it hit a tree in an alley, was behind the vehicle. Villalpando lunged out of the way as the pickup started backing up. 

Those details were included in Villalpando’s report on the arrest of the pickup’s driver Saturday night in a northwest Brownwood neighborhood. Villalpando arrested Gregory Travis Lundy, 42, of Brownwood, following a sequence of events that began with a hit-and-run accident involving Lundy’s pickup.

Lundy was booked into the Brown County Jail on charging of aggravated assault against a public servant, evading arrest or detention with a vehicle, resisting arrest, evading arrest and duty on striking an unattended vehicle, jail records state.

Lundy remained jailed Monday in lieu of bonds totaling $66,500. 

According to Villalpando’s report:

Villalpando was dispatched at 11:47 p.m. to West Austin and Cordell on a report of a hit-and-run. A witness followed the suspect vehicle and informed a dispatcher by telephone of the vehicle’s location. The dispatcher radioed that information to Villalpando, who began trying to find the suspect vehicle.

Villalpando ended up at the intersection of Sharon and La Monte in a neighborhood off of Bluffview and saw a pickup being followed by a car. Villalpando followed the pickup as the driver turned into an alley behind La Monte. Villalpando activated his patrol car’s emergency lights, and the pickup’s driver accelerated. The pickup swerved to the left and hit a tree.

There was limited room for Villalpando to try to get to the driver’s side of the pickup, so he went to the passenger’s side. The driver was moving around and did not appear to be seriously injured, and he did not obey Villalpando’s commands to unlock the passenger door and get out.

Villalpando told the driver he would break out the passenger side window if the driver did not get out, and the driver still refused. Villalpando tried unsuccessfully to break out the window with the bottom of his flashlight.

“I then walked to the rear of the pickup and attempted to make my way to the driver side of the pickup,” Villalpando’s report states. “I noticed that there was numerous brush and other trees that would make my route to the driver’s side very difficult; however, I felt that this would be my only way of resolving the situation.”

Villalpando was behind the truck when the driver started the engine and began trying to back up. “I then lunged toward the side of the vehicle in an attempt to free myself of the debris before I was struck by the vehicle,” Villalpando’s report states. “I then fell to the ground as the pickup continued backing up and driving away … I am certain that if not for the vehicle being stuck in the mud and me lunging away from the vehicle, I would have been struck by the vehicle.”

Villalpando got back in his patrol car and followed the pickup as it drove down La Monte. The pickup swerved out of control and struck several mailboxes. The driver finally stopped at his residence in the 1000 block of La Monte.

The driver got out and ran toward the rear of the house. Villalpondo followed on foot, and the suspect ignored the officer’s commands to stop and get on the ground. Villalpando followed the suspect over a fence, caught him and wrestled him to the ground.

The suspect tried to reach inside one of his pockets and also reached around Villalpando, possibly trying to locate Villalpando’s gun. Villalpando pinned and handcuffed the suspect and waited for other officers to arrive. 

Villalpando, who has been a Brownwood officer since December 2012, is a 1994 graduate of Brownwood High School and a former Texas Youth Commission corrections officer.