San Angelo man shares encounter with on-the-run Odessa murder suspect

SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — When Joe Cuevas woke up on April 15, he didn't expect to be nearly run over with his own car by a murder suspect fleeing law enforcement in a multi-county police chase.

In fact, Cuevas thought it would be a day like any other. His usual day-to-day routine sees him waking up at his home west of San Angelo and taking his 13-year-old son to school at TLCA San Angelo. As the owner of C&C Pipe & Fencing, he then spends time refueling the company's vehicles and buying construction materials before heading to wherever the current job site is for a productive day of work.

April 15 was already shaping up to be an average day for Cuevas — that is, until he met Trevor Myrick. Hailing from New Mexico, Myrick had been evading multiple law enforcement agencies after he fled from a crime scene in West Odessa where he was suspected of having murdered 74-year-old Ronald Wayne Irwin in his own home.

"My day was just like normal," Cuevas said. "I dropped my kid off at school and was doing my normal routine, going from there and picking up material. After that I met a customer at the new job site that's going up at a dragway in town off Arden Road. I left there and came to my job site about 6 miles west of Mertzon."

Myrick was leading law enforcement on a chase spanning multiple counties using a black Ford Mustang stolen from Irwin's residence. He crashed the car near Mertzon, however, which forced the fugitive to travel on foot. This wouldn't last for long, though, as he soon spotted his next getaway vehicle — Cuevas' Tahoe, currently parked at the Mertzon job site.

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Cuevas' crew, unaware that there was an ongoing manhunt in their area, had just settled down for their lunch break after working on a fence for a game ranch when the incident happened. Walking onto the job site from an adjacent road near United States Highway 67, Myrick was mistaken for the rancher's foreman.

"They were kind of similar in appearance," Cuevas said. "They [Cuevas' employees] thought he was standing there because he wanted to talk to me when I was done."

As he made his way onto the job site, one of the workers saw Myrick stand near the Tahoe and watch Cuevas while he was talking to the foreman. Cuevas himself had no idea Myrick was there until he made his move.

"The whole entire time that this was happening, my foreman and I, our backs were to him because we were looking at the fenceline," Cuevas said. "The gentleman was standing to the left of me behind us, and I never saw him."

When the time was right, Myrick sprinted toward the Tahoe's driver-side door, entered the vehicle and produced a firearm. Cuevas began running to the car, not knowing that Cuevas was wielding a gun.

"All I was thinking was, 'Who is this guy?,' and, 'I'm about to beat his butt to get him out of my Tahoe!'" Cuevas said. "I didn't even know he had anything. I just reacted, it literally happened within seconds."

Cuevas' approach would soon be turned against him, however, as Myrick had already started the car and began driving to continue fleeing law enforcement, barreling toward Cuevas in the process.

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"At that time, I was running to him, and he started taking off and coming toward me like he was going to run me over," Cuevas said. "I stopped and jumped back, and he drove right beside me."

Narrowly escaping being struck by his own vehicle, Cuevas and his crew called 911 and told law enforcement everything that happened. Later that day, the group would learn the full scope of the situation from a sheriff.

"When I found out that he had stolen the other vehicle and killed the gentleman to take it, I was just thinking, 'Shoot, that could've been me,'" Cuevas said.

Myrick would eventually be slain in an officer-involved shooting just after 4 p.m. on April 16, putting an end to the manhunt.

"I was just glad that they had taken him out and that he didn't hurt anybody else after the fact," Cuevas said. "I'm just grateful to God that he didn't take me out or my employees."

Even though the threat is over, the damage to Cuevas' livelihood was already dealt — Myrick had crashed the Tahoe as well while fleeing law enforcement, totaling the car and damaging sports equipment used by Cuevas's son for his high school basketball team. While Cuevas is holding a fundraiser to help send his child to a competition and replace the destroyed basketball gear, he is still waiting for insurance to help him with his car.

"Because of the vehicle and the situation we're in right now, we don't know how long it's going to take for the insurance to go through," Cuevas said. "My dad and my mom were able to let me use one of their trucks, but as of now, I'm not able to travel to my son's game in Houston."

Despite this unexpected hardship, Cuevas is just happy to be alive and safe. Moreover, his fateful encounter has taught him a life lesson that he won't soon forget.

"Don't be like me, don't try to react and try to save your things," Cuevas said. "Materialistic things can always be replaced, but your life is really what's most important."

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