A man accused of leading police on a high speed chase with his 1-year-old daughter in the car pleaded not guilty to four felony charges Monday at a hearing before a Bowie County judge.
Wilmer Joe Hill, Jr., 22, entered pleas of not guilty to child endangerment, evading arrest in a vehicle, unauthorized use of a vehicle and attempted aggravated assault on a peace officer at his arraignment Monday before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell at the Bi-State Justice Center in Texarkana. Tidwell set Hill’s case for a pretrial hearing Feb. 24.
Hill is accused of assaulting the mother of his 1-year-old daughter Oct. 5 as she tried to stop him from driving away with her car and her baby, according to a probable cause affidavit. The mother told police she got in the car with Hill and the child but jumped out after he struck her twice in the face.
The mother called her sister and the two of them began searching for Hill in places they thought he might go. The sisters caught sight of the mother’s gold Alero at a house on Jameson Street in Texarkana, Texas, and called 911. When officers arrived in two patrol cars to the residence in the 2600 block of Jameson, one officer exited her patrol car while another remained in a car parked in the driveway. After the female officer started walking toward the house, the gold Alero pulled into the front yard from behind the house.
An affidavit written by Texarkana, Texas, police officer Misty Tyler states that Hill began to steer the Alero in her direction, forcing the officer to move out of his way. As Tyler attempted to move out of the car’s line of travel, Hill allegedly steered toward the officer.
“I had to jump out of the way to prevent being injured,” the affidavit states.
The officers gave chase after Hill allegedly drove out of the yard and onto the street. During Hill’s alleged flight, the Alero was seen speeding, running stop signs, failing to yield to traffic, and cutting through parking lots. The pursuing officers lost sight of the Alero around Macedonia Road and canceled the chase. However officers found the Alero, flipped on its side, on fire in a ditch further down the road. Bowie County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrived and helped the Texarkana, Texas, police officers search the disabled Alero for anyone who might still be inside but the car was empty.
A charge of felony child endangerment alleges Hill carried the child as he ran through a wooded area in the dark during the night and early morning hours, “which caused the victim to receive numerous scratches and whelps on her face,” the affidavit states.
“Over 16 hours had passed from the time the defendant fled from Texarkana, Texas, Police Department, before the victim was treated for her injuries,” the affidavit states. “The defendant left his child with his girlfriend who is a known narcotic user.”
According to the affidavit, Hill and the child’s mother dated for two years, have one child together and had not been in a dating relationship for four months at the time of the alleged offenses.
Hill is being held in the Bowie County jail. Bail on the four felonies totals $240,000.