Driver in high-speed chase last spring pleads guilty to murder of pedestrian

John Fitzgerald Page, Jr.

A Belton man who led law enforcement on a deadly high-speed chase through three counties last spring has pleaded guilty to murder in the death of a pedestrian.
John Fitzgerald Page, Jr., 26, of Belton, entered a plea of guilty to first degree felony murder before Judge John W. Youngblood Monday afternoon, according to a statement released by District Attorney Bill Torrey.
The incident occurred March 15, 2015 when the car Page was driving struck Guadalupe Rodriguez of Buckholts during the high-speed chase.
Page will be sentenced by the judge after a hearing next month that will include results of a pre-sentence investigation and testimony from witnesses for both the defense and the prosecution. Torrey said the hearing will likely be held in April.
Sentencing range is five to 50 years and Page is not eligible for probation, Torrey said.
Guadalupe (Wally) Rodriguez, 71, was walking along U.S. Highway 36/190 when he was struck by the suspect’s car at about 7:58 p.m. Sunday, March 15, 2015 according to DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson of Waco. Rodriguez died at the scene, where Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Andy Issacs held an inquest.
The DPS reported the incident began with a domestic dispute in Sommerville earlier that evening. Burleson County authorities had initially received a report of a woman who had been assaulted by her boyfriend and the two were seen leaving the area in a grey Toyota. 
Caldwell Police pulled Page over near the intersection of Highways 21 and 36 but he sped off, traveling west on SH 36, with officers in pursuit. During the chase, speeds topped 100 miles per hour, according to officials.
Chief Deputy Chris White said MCSO deputies and Cameron police tried to stop the Toyota with spike strips on the Little River Bridge just outside Cameron, but Page was able to swerve and avoid the spikes and continued through Cameron at 100 mph.
Witnesses and Buckholts police reported that as Page traveled through Buckholts, he lost control of his vehicle swerving around slower traffic in the 100 block of U.S. Highway 36/190 and struck the pedestrian.
The victim, Mr. Rodriquez, lost his wife Carolina in an auto-pedestrian accident near the same location almost four years earlier and the second tragedy struck the small Buckholts community hard.
The loss was especially felt by local and county fire department and law enforcement personnel as Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez were the parents of Buckholts Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert Rodriguez and Firefighter Johnny Rodriguez.