Forklift driver leads Fort Worth police on bizarre chase



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Posted on August 15, 2011 at 7:02 PM

FORT WORTH — A man on a forklift led Fort Worth police on a very slow speed chase on Interstate 30 Sunday afternoon.

He was drinking beer and making obscene gestures at officers. It's the kind of scene a lot of people will laugh at on YouTube, and on the surface, it looks funny.

Beneath the surface, it doesn't.

Tim Raines, 43, was the man on the forklift. "I take medication for bipolar," he told News 8 in a jailhouse interview. Raines said he's been in treatment for many years, but stopped taking medication for mental illness this summer.

His former girlfriend confirmed that she could not get him to stay on his medication. She told us she called police recently, hoping to get him an emergency psychiatric commitment. But when she couldn't get him help, she said she got a protective order against him.

"I took the tractor and I drove the tractor to a beer store," Raines said. "I picked up a six-pack. I had my dog with me on top of the lift."

He said he bought the forklift from a stranger for $500 and was driving it home when he saw officers behind him.

Police suspect the lift had been stolen.

"There were so many of them [police], I was afraid to pull over," Raines said. "I did stop one time and they ran up and tried to Taser me and I was afraid to stop."

Raines admits he went to prison for assault in the 90s. He also has two DWI prior convictions and a drug charge, so there's a good chance he'll be going back to prison.

Police said he also endangered officers with the forklift.

"I really don't remember too much of it," Raines said. "It's kind of like a dream to me. But I didn't want the dog to get hurt."

His ex-girlfriend said that during an episode a few years ago, Raines had to be talked down from the top of a billboard.

Talking him off a forklift was a lot more dangerous for everyone.

Tim Raines now faces charges of aggravated assault against a public servant, theft, evading arrest, and felony DWI.