A police chase in the west side of Houston ended in a deadly accident early on Friday morning, killing both the suspect and an innocent driver. Prior to the incident, the suspect was recorded driving up to 100 mph without headlights on.
Details About the Crash
A deputy constable with the Harris County Precinct 5 was driving on the West Beltway at around 4 a.m. on Friday, April 2, when he spotted a vehicle without its headlights on. The vehicle, a red Camaro, was driving at speeds of excess of 100 mph, according to the deputy.
At this time, the deputy began his chase of the suspect.
Following his pursuit, the Camaro slowed momentarily before speeding off again. Due to the high speed, the deputy was reportedly unable to keep up with the Camaro.
After having been in pursuit of the vehicle for roughly four minutes, the suspect exited the Beltway at Clay Road. At this intersection, the Camaro collided with a Ford Ranger, causing the Ranger to burst into flames.
Houston TranStar cameras recorded footage of the smoke billowing out of the fiery Ranger.
After striking the Ranger, the Camaro flipped, landing upside down on the Beltway feeder road. The driver was ejected from the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the driver of the Ranger was pinned inside as it was engulfed in flames. Officers suspect that the innocent driver may have never known what caused the fiery collision.
“He likely never saw what hit him,” Assistant Chief Terry Allbritton told reporters. “It was a very violent impact.”
While it is not explicitly stated that both of the individuals died on the scene, there is no report of hospitalization following this event.
An investigation into this incident remains underway as authorities attempt to identify both the suspect and the innocent driver.
The investigation at the scene continued for several hours, leading to a block on the West Beltway feeder roads at Clay Road until authorities cleared the area.
The Controversial Topic of Texas Police Chases
Police across the country have to make decisions every single day regarding whether their actions will do more harm or good. This includes everything from shooting their firearm to initiating a chase. In both of these cases, there is a possibility that an innocent person could be injured accidentally.
In the case of high-speed police chases, there has long been a debate in Texas about whether these chases are dangerous or necessary.
CLEAT, a law enforcement advocacy agency based primarily in Texas, has argued that laws that restrict a police officer’s directive to pursue fleeing vehicles could result in the officer being held liable for any damage that vehicle causes if not pursued. They also argue that restricting this directive would fly in the face of the officer’s duty to “arrest offenders in every case authorized by [statute],” as well as their duty to “interfere without warrant to prevent or suppress crime.”
However, this isn’t a commonly held view of so-called “no-chase” laws. In fact, there have been efforts across the country to cut back on high speed chases due to the relatively high likelihood that they will end in a potentially deadly collision.
In 2019, the Attorney General weighed in on the exact concerns raised by CLEAT. He argued that officers could not be held liable for damages caused by vehicles they chose not to pursue based on their discretion in their line of duty. He also argues that “no-chase” policies don’t restrict an officer’s ability to arrest offenders, but rather encourages them to seek other methods of arrest.
If you’ve been injured in a Texas car accident, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, for help getting the financial relief you need.