A Comal County jury issued a split decision on Wednesday, finding Roman Henry Wnek III innocent of dragging a Comal County Sheriff’s Office deputy during a vehicle chase, but guilty of evading arrest in a vehicle used as a deadly weapon.
Wnek, 32, was on trial in Judge Bruce Boyer’s 22nd District Court on charges of evading arrest with a vehicle and aggravated assault of a public servant on the evening of Jan. 23, 2020. Both charges listed in the indictment were handed up by a Comal County grand jury on June 5, 2020.
It alleged Wnek intentionally dragged CCSO Deputy Jacob Crabb with his vehicle before leading CCSO and other law enforcement units on a chase that began in downtown Canyon Lake and into San Marcos.
Jury selection and seating Monday preceded two days of testimony that concluded before lunch on Wednesday. Jurors began to deliberate the case after closings by Chief Felony Prosecutor Sammy McCrary and defense attorney Arlene Gay.
Several witnesses testified to details in the CCSO incident report, which stated CCSO received calls from New Braunfels police about Wnek, who had left his sister’s New Braunfels residence after threatening several others during a disturbance and was armed with at least three weapons.
According to the report, Wnek was on his way back to his Canyon Lake residence when his Toyota truck was spotted by CCSO units near the intersection of FM 484 and FM 306 and pulled over blocks away in front of the Brookshire Bros. store.
During the felony stop, Crabb approached Wnek’s truck but found the suspect non-compliant to repeated requests to exit the vehicle. After he and other deputies smashed in the drivers’ side window, Crabb tried to subdue the suspect with a seat belt around his 5-11, 300-pound frame.
The report said Wnek started the truck. Crabb tried to take the key from the vehicle at the same time he released his grip and fell from the truck. Crabb sliced his arm but joined other CCSO units in pursuing Wnek at speeds sometimes reaching 90 mph.
The pursuit continued on FM 306, then Purgatory Road then Hugo Road into Hays County. The report said Texas Department of Public Safety and Hays County Sheriff’s Office units joined in as the chase continued down Ranch Road 12 into San Marcos.
Wnek led them through the Texas State University campus and to the back of an apartment complex off LBJ Drive. There, his truck collided head-on with a CCSO unit driven by Deputy James Jenkins, and Wnek was taken into custody without further incident.
Convictions on the aggravated charge, a first-degree felony, carry penalties of 5 to 99 years to life in prison. Wnek’s conviction on the lesser charge could be sentenced as a second-degree or third-degree felony or possibly even a state jail felony. The most serious is punishable by between 2 and 20 years in prison and fines of $20,000.