By Steven Ward
Advocate staff writer
August 01, 2012
“I want people to understand my husband was a hard worker and a really great father. Truth be told, he was the better parent out of the two of us.” Ashley Sanchez, wife of Steven W. Sanchez
A man who led three law enforcement agencies on a high-speed chase through Baton Rouge on Thursday before fatally shooting himself was battling depression, had lost money at a casino earlier in the day and had been drinking, his wife said Friday.
Ashley Ardoin Sanchez, the wife of 28-year-old Steven W. Sanchez, said her husband, who was being treated for clinical depression and bipolar disorder, was distraught over losing money earlier in the day at a casino.
“He said on the phone that he let his family down. I told him money was not a big deal and not to worry about it,” Ashley Sanchez said.
Ashley Sanchez said her husband, who made his living building scaffolding at Turner Industries, was a very good man.
“I want people to understand my husband was a hard worker and a really great father. Truth be told, he was the better parent out of the two of us,” Ashley Sanchez said.
The couple, who had been together for a decade and married for the last five years, have a 7-year-old daughter.
Ashley Sanchez said she spoke to her husband as police were trying to pull him over Thursday afternoon.
“He said he had been drinking so when I heard the sirens in the background I thought they were pulling him over for a DWI,” Ashley Sanchez said.
Sanchez’s wife said the last thing her husband said to her on the phone was, “I think this is it. I hit a pole. The cops are coming.”
LSU Police Capt. Cory Lalonde said Sanchez, 14825 Bon Dickey Drive, wrecked his pickup and killed himself after an 80-mph, 40-minute pursuit through East Baton Rouge Parish.
An LSU police officer parked near South Stadium Road and Highland Road saw Sanchez’s black Ford Ranger barrel through multiple barricades on South Stadium Road at 3:50 p.m., Lalonde said.
Sanchez then swerved and almost hit a golf cart with one person in it, then nearly struck two pedestrians, Lalonde said.
At that point, the LSU police officer activated his lights and sirens in an attempt to pull Sanchez’s pickup over, Lalonde said.
Sanchez started to pull over to the side of the road, but then sped off down Stanford Avenue, Lalonde said.
LSU police contacted Baton Rouge police and the Sheriff’s Office to assist in the pursuit of Sanchez as he continued at 80 mph down Acadian Thruway, Perkins Road, Interstate 10 and Interstate 12, Lalonde said.
Police deployed spike strips several times throughout the 40-minute chase, but Sanchez continued through them, even after one of his tires blew out, Lalonde said.
Sanchez eventually pulled off I-12 at Essen Lane at 4:30 p.m., struck another car and crashed his pickup before firing one bullet into his head, Lalonde said.
Lalonde said Friday his office did not have any new information to release on the suicide but said the matter was still under investigation.
Court records show Sanchez had been arrested in 2011 for possession of Schedule II drugs.
The drug charge was dropped in May, according to court records.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Steven Sanchez admitted that two out of three pills in his prescription bottle was Lortab and the third pill was a Lexapro.
Ashley Sanchez said the Lexapro was a prescription but the two Lortab pills were left over from a previous injury to his Achilles tendon.
Ashley Sanchez said she is shocked by her husband’s death.
“He had so much pride. He must have felt so bad about everything,” Ashley Sanchez said.