ARLINGTON, Texas - A police chase that went through several cities ended with a fire on Interstate 30 in Arlington early Thursday morning. The suspect is now dead.
Arlington Police Department's Lt. Chris Cook said the chase started in Hunt County around 2:30 a.m. A man had kidnapped his girlfriend, Candice Price, and their two children, ages 1 and 3, and taken off in an RV. She was able to text 911 to report that she had been shot three times and needed help.
When the 911 operator asked Price about her address, she responded, "30 @. in RV his name is Tony Kelly." The operator asked her what was going on and she said she had been shot three times and kidnapped along with her two young children.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks believes texting 911 may have been Price's only choice.
"In a case like this, she was probably scared to call because of him but she was able to text us," he said.
Officers later spotted the RV in Caddo Mills. They saw the woman either jumped or got pushed out of the RV as it was going 80 to 90 miles per hour. She was able to speak with police and give them information before she was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The man, identified by family members as Tony Kelly, led police on a chase on Interstate 30 westbound through Rockwall, Dallas, Grand Prairie and then into Arlington. Police used spike strips in Rockwall to puncture his tires but he continued to drive slowly on just the rims of the RV.
The RV finally came to a stop and caught fire between Fielder Road and Cooper Street on I-30 in Arlington. It eventually burned to the ground.
The two children were able to get out safely. Lt. Cook said it appears as though the man let them out of the RV. They were not seriously hurt but were loaded into the back of an ambulance and taken to a local hospital as a precaution.
Lt. Cook said as the officers were pulling the children to safety they heard what sounded like a gunshot. They believe Kelly burned the vehicle and then shot and killed himself.
Police say exploding ammunition inside the RV kept them away from the fire shut down the entire interstate backing traffic up for miles.
"At that point, the fire became more intense and we do believe that the individual inside the RV is deceased based upon the fire and potentially the gunshot," he said.
"Right at first when he stopped we're making plans to get the kids out and then once the RV is on fire then we have to take action right away. Fortunately, he gave the kids up to us before that happened," Meeks said.
Two Caddo Mills police officers played the critical roles of saving the lives of Price and her two young children. It was Officer Mitchell Singleton who first spotted the RV westbound on I-30. Officer Alonso Olivo joined Singleton along with other agencies.
That was when Price threw herself from the back rear window. Officer Singleton stopped to render aid.
"She was attempting to talk to me. She was beat up pretty bad," Singleton said. "She was worried about her kids. That's her main concern. She was hollering, 'My kids are in there! My kids are on there! I have two kids!'"
Officer Olivo continued the pursuit and used spike strips at one point to take out the RV's tires. His body camera captured some of the flames when the RV finally came to a stop.
As a father of six, Officer Olivo says he didn't think twice before rushing to grab both kids while the RV was engulfed in flames.
"I guess you could say all training went out the window and the parent instinct in me took over," he said. "And I rushed up there and grabbed both children and made my way to the closest guardrail to get back behind the closest vehicles for cover."
Firefighters were able to put out the flames very quickly but the westbound lanes of I-30 were closed most of the morning because of the police activity.
Meeks said his investigators are planning to talk to Price once she recovers. She is now out of surgery but has a broken jaw and a breathing tube as well as other injuries.
"The best thing is that we got the children out and we're very fortunate that that happened. And we pray that she will recover and will be okay. It was a pretty traumatic experience I imagine to go through," he said.
Suspect Calls FOX 4
Just before 4 a.m., Kelly called FOX 4 News during the chase. He admitted to shooting Price in their RV. FOX 4 immediately called the police to alert them about the call.
Kelly told FOX 4 he shot his girlfriend of five years several times and he did it out of revenge. He said she showed up to his work Wednesday night and they got into some sort of confrontation. She got into his face and was pointing her finger at him trying to get him fired, he claimed.
He wasn't clear about when he shot her but said they had been involved in prior domestic incidents. His comments were scattered and at one point he claimed she drugged him in the past.
"She's a work of art. I mean, she tried to kill herself, tried to kill me and she pretty much did kill herself," Kelly said. "I shot her once in the leg. I shot her twice, once in one leg, once in the other leg. One in the back."
FOX 4 did try to convince him to stop but he obviously didn't. He said he was not going anywhere in particular just driving west on I-30.
Kelly mentioned his sons and said they were fine. When asked if they had witnessed the shooting he didn't say anything and either hung up the phone or got disconnected.
Criminal Psychologist Dr. Robert 'Bob' Gordon says it's what someone does to garner attention.