March 27, 2014

Ex-con sentenced to 45 years for high-speed chases, assaulting police in Tarrant County

A Tarrant County judge sentences Haltom City man to 45 years in prison.

A Haltom City man who fired at police during high-speed chases and shot at a passing vehicle was sentenced on Wednesday to 45 years in prison.

A Tarrant County jury convicted John B. Isbell, 54, of Haltom City, of two charges of aggravated assault on a public servant, deadly conduct and evading arrest, according to a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

Isbell asked state District Judge Mike Thomas to sentence him. Thomas sentenced him to 45 years each on two charges of aggravated assault on the officers, and 20 years each on the deadly conduct and evading arrest convictions. The sentences will run concurrently and Isbell must serve half of his 45-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

Isbell was convicted of aggravated robbery in Houston in 1981 and sentenced to 33 years. The case involved a home-invasion robbery in which two people were killed and three others wounded. He was paroled before serving the full sentence.

In this week’s trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Isbell was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee on July 17, 2012, when Azle police attempted to stop the vehicle. Isbell’s female companion, Jamie Haney, 30, was driving. (Isbell called her “Bonnie” in reference to outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.) Isbell told her not to stop, and the subsequent pursuit reached speeds of 85 mph. At one point Isbell pulled a shotgun and pointed it at the Azle officer, forcing the officer to swerve to get out of the line of fire, the news release said.

As the chase continued, Isbell fired the shotgun and struck a vehicle occupied by at a woman driving to work. Authorities eventually lost sight of the Jeep in rush-hour traffic.

The next night, Haltom City police spotted the Jeep and attempted to pull it over. This time, Isbell was driving, and speeds reached 115 mph as the pursuit covered nearly 25 miles and lasted almost 20 minutes. Isbell struck other motorists, ran red lights, turned off his headlights and drove the wrong way down a street. He rammed a Haltom City police cruiser.

The chase ended when Isbell crashed the Jeep into a mailbox in a residential neighborhood in Parker County. Isbell and Haney fled on foot, but they were soon captured.

No serious injuries were reported.

In 2012, Haney of North Richland Hills was sentenced to two years in prison on two counts of evading arrest in the chases, according to Tarrant County criminal court records. She remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, charged with burglary in an August 2013 case in North Richland Hills.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

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