Man allegedly strips naked in the middle of I35; leads police on a chase


Photo: Austin Police Department

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A man was arrested Friday after police say he parked his car in the middle of South Interstate Highway 35, stripped naked and led police on a car chase bringing traffic to a halt.

Police received multiple calls on Friday of a man who parked his car in the middle of 1400 block of northbound I35 around 11:27 a.m. As officers were driving to the scene they received more calls saying the suspect had exited his car and stripped completely naked. Witnesses say the man was talking to himself, making gestures and squatting on the ground.

When police arrived at the scene they found a silver 2008 Mazda 6 stopped in the third lane angled toward the middle with the driver’s door slightly open. The responding officer says he activated his lights and siren but got no response from the suspect. He said the Mazda began slowly rolling forward before it accelerated to about 35 miles per hours.

Police chased the suspect as he drove up I35 passing the East Riverside Drive exit and drifting between lanes. Police say the suspect briefly stopped in front of the Holly street exit before accelerating onto the service road.

According to the affidavit, the suspect drove along the service road a short while before entering back onto the highway. Police say the man continued to travel up I35 while drifting between lanes and changing his speed.

Police say they attempted to stop him with stop stick in the 5200 block of I35, but he managed to avoid them. The officer in pursuit was finally able to stop the suspect with a “Pursuit Intervention Technique” before he reached the U.S. Highway 290 flyover.

Multiple cruisers surrounded the suspect’s car and officers ordered the man to put his hands in the air, which he did. When ordered to get out of the car the suspect did not respond. Police say he kept his hands up and stared vacantly into space. Police were forced to breach the vehicle to remove the man who was still naked.

As he was being detained police say the suspect’s breath had a strong chemical odor they say is consistent with PCP. Austin-Travis County EMS arrived at the scene to treat the man for any injuries and take him to Dell Seton Medical Center.

The suspect’s vehicle was impounded and searched. During the search, police found a cigarette on the driver’s seat that was dipped in an unknown fluid. A second cigarette also dipped in fluid was found between the driver’s seat and center console. Investigators say dipping cigarettes is a common method of ingesting PCP.

The suspect, identified as 34-year-old Ramon Morones, was interrogated as he was being treated in the hospital. police say he was very lethargic and had a difficult time keeping his eyes open. When asked what he remembered, Morones said he did not remember being chased on the highway, spinning out, having multiple cruisers and officers with guns drawn surround him or having his window breached.

Police say during the interview Morones was still unaware he was naked or that he stripped in the middle of the highway. He told police he was hanging out with his friend and was driving to drop him off downtown. he said he believed his friend was with him in the car the entire time. No second suspect was found nor did any call mention a passenger.

According to the affidavit, Morones said he did not drink or use any illegal drugs that day. He also said he hadn’t smoked PCP in a couple of years. During a sobriety test, police noted Morones’s eyes would making various uncontrolled movements. Police say they search warrant had to be obtained after Morones refused to provide a blood sample.

Morones was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, evading and possession of a controlled substance. According to police Morones also has two prior convictions for driving while intoxicated.

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