The aunt of an Oklahoma man who took police on a wild chase that he broadcasted live on social media Friday says she begged him to stop.
“I call him just to ask him to see can you just stop? You’re making it worse,” Ashlee Rodriguez told KTLA sister station KFOR in Oklahoma City. “Everything you’re going to do … you’re magnifying it and just the stress of … he’s going to be shot.”
Rodriguez’s nephew, Brenton Hager, was taken into custody on suspicion of vehicle theft after a pursuit that began Friday morning in southwest Oklahoma City.
The chase led officials through the metro area for more than two hours.
Police say Hager drove the stolen vehicle at high speeds, zipping through fields and flattening sections of fencing.
During the chase, police said Hager uploaded a Facebook Live video in which Hager can be seen shouting out the window, “Hey, hey, you want to see me on a high-speed chase? I’m in a high-speed chase, bro!”
Rodriguez was on the phone with him, pleading with him to stop.
When she asked him what he was thinking, he said he didn’t want to go to Oklahoma County Jail, according to Rodriguez.
“He just said, ‘I been trying to do my best and nobody’s there and I don’t want to go to county,’” Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘They’re going to shoot you. They’re going to light you up.’ And he said, ‘That’s what I want.’”
The chase paused near Indian Hills Road and Penn Avenue, where multiple police vehicles were on scene. However, Hager repeatedly drove off and then stopped again. At times he even appeared to do doughnuts in the field.
“A part of me could think, ‘Is it for attention?’ I just feel like he wasn’t in his right frame of mind and he was almost like ‘I’m in too deep. I might as well go on and take it further,'” said Rodriguez.
He was eventually caught and put into police custody after driving into a pond, leading police on a foot chase and finally being taken down with a stun gun.
According to Rodriguez, Hager was released from jail about a year ago.
She says at one point, he was in a maximum security prison in Lawton and described him as filled with “angst” when his family would visit him.
Rodriguez also told KFOR that Hager became a different person when he became addicted to drugs around the age of 18.
“It’s not an excuse but, 100 percent, the drugs. It really takes your soul and you become a completely different person,” she said.