A man who led police on a high-speed chase after his passenger attacked and stole the purse of a university student near campus was sentenced to 99 years in prison Wednesday, according to a press release from the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
“Jesse Castanuela’s crimes endangered the safety of TCU’s students,” Assistant District Attorney Mark Thielman said. “His escape attempt risked the lives of the police officers as well as the motorists on some of the city’s major streets."
According to the press release, on Sept. 21, 2011, two female university students had just left the Kroger on University Drive and were walking back toward campus when Castanuela pulled up behind them. His passenger Cristian Jaimes got out of the car, punched one of the students in the head and stole her purse.
After being pulled over and approached by several officers, Castanuela drove off, leading police on a five-mile chase. Eventually, the police spiked the car's tires, but the chase continued until Castanuela lost control on South Henderson Street after colliding with another motorist.
He was convicted of robbery and evading arrest. Castanuela received a 99-year sentence on the evading charge and a 50-year sentence on the robbery charge. He must serve at least 30 years before he is eligible for parole.
In July, Jaimes was sentenced to 19 years in prison for stealing the woman’s purse.