Lonnie Turner Jr., the son of slain Navasota funeral home operator Lonnie Turner Sr., was arrested Friday after failing to stop for a deputy who was trying to pull him over for speeding, Grimes County authorities said.
Turner was charged with evading arrest.
The incident did not appear to be related to a decision this week by a Grimes County grand jury not to seek an indictment in the November shooting death of Tucker Sr., a well-known Navasota businessman and civic leader.
The younger Turner was said to be the focus of the panel’s inquiry. Turner has not cooperated with investigators probing his father’s death, according to Grimes County District Attorney Tuck McLain.
The events leading to Turner’s arrest Friday night began when sheriff’s Deputy J. Peters clocked a convertible Mercedes traveling five miles over the 70 mph limit on Business 6 in Navasota.
The deputy made a U-turn so that he could pull the car over. At the time, Peters said, he did not know who was driving the Mercedes.
He followed the car for about a mile until the driver pulled into the Honkey Tonk Icehouse. The deputy said he saw the Mercedes parked in the lot and pulled back on the road to wait for it to do the same. Moments later, he said, the driver pulled back out onto the road and he followed.
Peters said he ran the Mercedes’ license plate while the two vehicles were stopped at a nearby train crossing. After the train passed, Peters said he activated his lights and sirens, but the driver continued for about a quarter of a mile until pulling into the parking lot of the Turner family’s Navasota funeral home.
Turner told the deputy that he had waited until he arrived at the business to stop to ensure the encounter would be recorded on tape, the sheriff’s department said.
Peters said his patrol car is equipped with a video camera. He said he didn’t know if the parking lot of the funeral home had security cameras.
Meanwhile, the grand jury considering evidence in Turner Sr.’s death, which was held over for 90 days after its term ended on Dec. 31, released a statement saying that additional forensic evidence in the case needs to be examined.
Turner was shot in the abdomen and killed inside of his Navasota home.
McLain said he’s confident that an arrest will be made once all the physical evidence is processed at the state crime lab in Dallas.
The Navasota Police Department, the Grimes County Sheriff’s Department and the Texas Rangers continue to work on the case, McLain said.
“Not only is it open, it’s active,” McLain said. “There’s work being done on this case on a daily basis.”
The investigation has moved slowly, McLain said, because of uncooperative witnesses, including Turner Jr. and his girlfriend, Crystal Sanchez.
“She talked to us for a little while, but as soon as the questions got hard she refused to talk to us,” McLain said.
In a strange twist, Turner Jr.’s attorney, who has barred his client from speaking to police since the night of the murder, filed a civil lawsuit earlier this week seeking to have the specially called grand jury disbanded.
The lawsuit contends that the grand jury does not represent the racial makeup of Grimes County and challenged whether specific grand jurors were of sound mind, McLain said.
However, the lawsuit is now moot since the grand jury will be disbanded after March 31.