McLennan County Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for a man who tried to run officers over during a drug investigation in Bellmead on Friday night, Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

Investigators with the county’s organized crime unit were conducting a drug investigation when they tried to pull over a 30-year-old Bellmead man Friday afternoon.

The man, later identified as Billy Sterling Jr., fled from officers, prompting a short chase, McNamara said.

When Sterling passed the intersection of Cloverfield Road and Pecan Lane, he lost control of the car, struck a culvert and flipped the car.

Sterling was taken into custody and transported to a medical facility before he was taken to McLennan County Jail.

As deputies searched Sterling’s car and the surrounding area, an unknown man approached the officers in another car, McNamara said. When deputies walked toward the second car to speak to the man, the driver drove toward the officers, he said.

“Two of our officers were very close to being hit by the car,” McNamara said. “In fact, one of our guys had to jump into another car to avoid being hit.”

McNamara said deputies fired shots in self-defense at the oncoming car in an effort to stop the driver.

It was unknown if the suspect was struck by a bullet, because he fled the area, McNamara said.

Waco police reported that the car was involved in a hit-and-run with another vehicle after the incident.

Deputies, including the office’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team, continued searching for the man Saturday evening. McNamara said the man’s car was found Friday at a bar in the Lacy Lakeview area, but the suspect remained at large.

“It was a very close call, and we are extremely thankful that none of our officers were hurt or killed,” McNamara said. “We will find him, and he will face very serious charges.”

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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