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Man accused of setting woman on fire arrested in Fayette County after high-speed chase

Cecil Bernard Russell, 47, allegedly set a woman on fire before fleeing the scene.

FAYETTE COUNTY, Texas — On Wednesday, Fayette County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a man suspected of attempted murder.

According to a press release from the Fayette County Sheriff's office, at 9 p.m. Wednesday night, they received a report of a disturbance from the Lavaca County Sheriff’s Office.

The reported disturbance took place in Lavaca County, within the city limits of Hallettsville, and the suspect fled in a white Ford F-350 heading toward Fayette County.  

The Hallettsville Police Department reported that the victim was an adult female with multiple burns on her body from being intentionally lit on fire by the suspect. Lavaca County Emergency Services arrived on the scene and life-flighted her to an area hospital for treatment.

Subsequently, Fayette County Deputy A.J. Gonzales observed a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect traveling west on US Highway 90 and attempted to pull the car over for a traffic stop. 

Instead of stopping, the suspect accelerated his vehicle and the deputies pursued. The chase reached speeds of up to 80 mph and the suspect led deputies down several roads before crashing into a barbed-wire fence.

The suspect, 47-year-old Cecil Bernard Russell of Hallettsville, was then ordered out of his vehicle by Deputy Gonzales and taken into custody with the assistance of Deputy Dustin Kieschnick.  

Credit: Fayette County PD

According to the deputies, a knife was seized from the suspect.

Russell was taken to the Dan R. Beck Justice Center and charged with evading arrest with a vehicle in Fayette County and with attempted murder in Lavaca County.

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