Police: Man used League City fire truck as getaway car

LEAGUE CITY - A man with a long criminal history was arrested Saturday afternoon after police said he crashed two different vehicles, including a League City Fire Department support truck, while trying to flee a robbery.

According to League City police, 38-year-old David Andrew Whatley tried to flee the Home Depot after stealing several items from the store. 

Police said Whatley first tried getting away using a truck, which was reported stolen from LaMarque. 

Officials said Whatley then crashed into two cars in the parking lot before bailing on the vehicle.

At that same time, League City volunteer firefighters were fighting a dumpster fire behind the Arms Room located in the same shopping center as the Home Depot.

"'Stop that guy, stop that guy! He's a thief!" said League City Firefighter Kevin Kasten.

That's what he heard moments before an alleged robber tried to get away in a fire station pickup.

"I saw him very close to the support truck. Driver side door looking like he was fixing to get in it," Kasten said.

Police said Whatley, who was running away from the Home Depot parking lot, spotted an unattended fire department support truck and jumped inside. As he hit the pedal, Katen jumped in the passenger seat trying to regain control of the vehicle. 

"He was starting to hit the gas and I just jumped on the side," said Kasten. "He floored it. We started going side to side. He was obviously trying to throw me off. I was able to get inside the cab, start fighting with him. I was able to grab his arms and we went about 75 feet over two curbs."

The truck blew out the front tires and came to a stop. Several other firefighters then helped restrain Whatley until police arrived.

Whatley is charged with robbery, aggravated assault on a public servant and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.  

In addition to the three most recent charges, records indicate since 1993, Whatley has been charged with 13 other crimes, including eight felonies.

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