HOUSTON – Mohamed Ahmed Abu-Shlieba, the driver who police said led officers on a high-speed chase through three counties, appeared in court Friday.
According to police, the chase started in the 1600 block of S. Post Oak Boulevard in Houston.
Abu-Shlieba drove a stolen white Dodge Hellcat at speeds of more than 100 mph while eastbound on the I-10 East Freeway, police said. He raced through Harris County, Chambers County and toward Jefferson County.
Near Winnie, police said, Abu-Shlieba headed east on Highway 73.
At some point, police said, Abu-Shlieba bailed out of the car and ran into a large field of brush off Highway 73 near the Veolia Environmental Services treatment complex, west of Beaumont. Deputies believe he ran out of gas.
Authorities searched for Abu-Shlieba in the field using the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office helicopter. They eventually found Abu-Shlieba and led deputies to him.
Abu-Shlieba, 25, was handcuffed and escorted by deputies in the helicopter, which then flew back to the highway and landed.
He was then led into an unmarked law enforcement vehicle. From Sky 2 video, it appeared one law enforcement official punched Abu-Shlieba, then put his hand on his neck.
"That's really disturbing. It's hard to watch," defense attorney and former president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Tyler Flood, said. "He was cooperating and peacefully being placed into the car, when they placed him in the car. And then he goes and punches him in the throat. Then he grabs him in the throat."
No one has said who punched Abu-Shileba, or why. However, Channel 2 Investigates discovered that the man accused of punching Abu-Shileba is a 10-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, assigned to the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force.
The GCVOTF released the following statement:
”The Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Office Task Force has been made aware of video footage taken during the arrest of Mohamed Ahmed Abu-Shliebo and is currently reviewing the video.”
The internal affairs division of HCSO is reviewing the incident.
Flood said the punch won't help Abu-Shileba's case.
"He stepped over the boundaries," Flood said. "He broke his department's guidelines, his standard operating procedures. So, that's going to be dealt with separately."
Abu-Shlieba was brought to a Jefferson County courthouse to be arraigned.
"From the information that I gathered he had a number of warrants out for his arrest, felony warrants. He was under surveillance for being in possession of a stolen vehicle," Marcus McLellan, with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, said.
While waiting for his arraignment, Abu-Shleiba joked and laughed with law enforcement officers.
At one point, he suggested he was trying to go get some gas and, “Let y’all catch up with me.”
At another point, he complained about running into the pasture.
“I paid $1,800 for these shoes,” Abu Shlieba said. “These are all new clothes. I probably still have the price tags on them. I was just leaving The Galleria.”
The justice of the peace told Abu-Shlieba that there was a Harris County warrant for him for evading arrest and that his bail would be set by Harris County.
This is not Abu-Shlieba’s first run-in with the law. He has prior convictions for unlawful carrying of a weapon, theft and reckless driving.