AUSTIN (KXAN) — On April 24 before 7:30 a.m., a Target employee worked to place stop signs in the store’s crosswalk. A white SUV pulled up to the crosswalk and stopped for the employee, before the driver suddenly accelerated toward the employee, according to an Austin Police affidavit.
Documents said the employee tried to get out of the car’s path, but the driver turned and struck the employee, who was thrown several feet and suffered several injuries including a head injury. The affidavit further states that the driver allegedly turned around and tried to run over the employee’s head.
The SUV driver did not stop to render aid and left the scene, police said.
At 7:45 a.m., Anna Carter and her husband woke up to a myriad of sounds in their front yard: a car blaring music in their yard, a dog howling in pain and screaming.
“We thought it was a dog fight in our yard at first,” Carter said.
Carter said that the SUV had chased one of her neighbors, driving up another neighbor’s driveway and into her yard. The vehicle struck the neighbor and his dog, both surviving with injuries. The SUV’s driver then reversed through the yard to navigate a path out of the yard.
A surveillance camera on Carter’s house captured footage of a white SUV driving off the lawn onto Corona Dr. and then leaving the scene.
Shortly after, at 7:49 a.m., APD arrived at another scene at the King of the Road car wash, according to another APD affidavit; A white SUV hit a truck in the car wash’s parking lot.
When the truck’s owner got out of their car, the SUV driver hit them with the vehicle. The truck owner rolled onto the hood and suffered an arm injury. Again, the SUV left the scene.
As officers talked with the truck owner, they spotted an SUV that matched the suspect vehicle’s description across the street: a white 2018 Chevrolet Trax SUV. One officer attempted to stop the vehicle, and in return, the suspect attempted to hit an APD car with its emergency lights on.
The suspect allegedly drove “erratically” through the Capital Plaza, where the Target is also located, and hit another pedestrian, according to affidavits.
Officers pursued the suspect from the shopping center and onto I-35 northbound. As the chase reached speeds of 90-100 mph, officers used a PA system to tell the suspect, in English and Spanish, to pull over.
“The defendant looked at [the officer] and did not comply with the lawful order to stop,” the affidavit reads.
During the pursuit, additional information was relayed to the officer involved. According to the affidavit, the suspect committed other “criminal acts” beyond vehicular assault: slashing tires, threatening people with a gun and shooting a gun within the city limits.
The suspect exited I-35 on the Howard Lane exit and entered the Tech Ridge shopping center. The affidavit states that officers tried to stop the suspect in an empty parking lot. The suspect vehicle hit an APD vehicle and may have injured a police officer.
After hitting the police vehicle, the suspect returned to the North I-35 northbound service road. Around this time, the suspect’s vehicle lost its right rear tire but continued driving.
The APD officer who signed the affidavit made the decision to hit the suspect vehicle with their front bumper, “causing a low-speed intervention that resembled a ‘Pit-Maneuver.'” The vehicle spun 180 degrees, and the officer used their vehicle to block the driver’s door from opening.
Officers charged Reuben Enrique Torres, 34, with felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest. He is currently being held under a $50,000 bond.
“During the course of the incident Torres intentionally struck several people with his vehicle,” one of the affidavits reads.
Police responded to the Corona Dr. neighborhood’s 911 calls after the chase to inform the residents of the arrest, Carter said.
KXAN reached out to Target for an update on the employee’s condition, and the man who was struck in Carter’s yard declined to be interviewed.
Torres remains in jail and has no attorney listed.