NEW BOSTON, Texas–A 12-member jury of Bowie County citizens began hearing testimony Tuesday in the case of a Hooks, Texas, man accused of injuring six people when he crashed into Wisdom Animal Clinic while fleeing from police in January.
Joshua Ellis Sutton, 32, is facing a long list of felony charges, including six counts of aggravated assault, for events that began with an attempted traffic stop Jan. 9, according to court records. Sutton was driving a red Toyota Corolla when Texas Department of Public Safety trooper Kody Edwards tried to pull him over because of outstanding warrants.
Testimony in the trial began Tuesday after the jury selected before 102nd District Judge Jeff Addison.
Sutton allegedly led Trooper Edwards on a chase that ended when he crashed into a surgery room at Wisdom Animal Clinic on the wall at Richmond Road and Maple Street in Texarkana, Texas. The front of the clinic faces Texas Blvd. Six clinic employees were reportedly injured while Sutton allegedly fled the crash site on foot.
He was located hiding behind an adult probation office down the street after a two-hour manhunt. He allegedly had a bag of marijuana, an ecstasy pill and a pipe containing methamphetamine. Because of the crash, Sutton was taken to Wadley Regional Medical Center for a medical evaluation after he was arrested. While in the hospital’s x-ray room, a pill identified as fentanyl allegedly fell from his person.
After being treated, Sutton allegedly escaped on foot while he was being placed into a patrol unit at the hospital. He was reportedly taken back into custody after a Texas Parks and Wildlife canine located him inside of a building Sutton allegedly entered by kicking in the door.
“Sutton is clearly a flight risk,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the Jan. 9 cases.
During a search of the Corolla, officers allegedly recovered more drugs, including jars of methamphetamine. When Sutton fled after the crash, he reportedly left his phone behind and while officers were checking the car, a text message appeared which allegedly referred to buying drugs from Sutton, the affidavit said.
Sutton had allegedly led deputies with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office on a high-speed pursuit on Jan. 7, just two days before he reportedly crashed into the vet clinic, according to court records. Sutton was pulled over shortly after midnight near the intersection of New Boston Road and Kings Highway in Nash, Texas, for allegedly driving without tail lights.
Sutton allegedly gave a deputy a false name and claimed he’d gone out without his identification. While the officers were checking the phony name with dispatchers, two passengers jumped out while Sutton drove away. Sutton allegedly reached speeds of 100 miles per hour before the pursuit was called off. The two passengers allegedly told investigators that Sutton gave a fake name and fled from police because he knew he had felony warrants outstanding.
Sutton is facing six counts of aggravated assault, two counts of evading arrest in a vehicle and possession of a controlled substance. If found guilty of any of the six counts of aggravated assault or the drug charge, Sutton faces two to 20 years in prison. Both of the evading counts are punishable by two to ten years.
Sutton has been held in the Bowie County jail since his arrest with bonds totaling more than $1 million.
Assistant District Attorney Bradley Akins is representing the state. Sutton is represented by the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office.
A verdict in the case is expected this week.