HOUSTON – An off-duty Aldine Independent School District police officer is accused of hitting a homeless woman with his patrol car and leaving the scene over the weekend.
Omario Gatheright is charged with failure to stop and render aid.
Authorities said a woman crossing the street in the 13400 block of Topeka Sunday night was hit by Gatheright, who was driving a marked AISD patrol car.
Alice Limone, 50, said she was the woman who was struck.
She said she was walking across Topeka Street at Uvalde when the car hit her.
"I fell off the hood. He pulled back around and said, 'I'll be back for you.' (He) Took off and just left me on the ground," Limone said.
Investigators said Gatheright was off duty and out of uniform.
According to authorities, Gatheright said he'd be right back. He returned about an hour later in a different vehicle with his girlfriend.
Authorities said the girlfriend tried to claim she was the driver involved the accident, but investigators confronted him with witness statements and evidence. Gatheright then confessed, according to officials.
Assistant District Attorney Sean Teare said their story fell apart when police confronted Gatheright.
"Once the defendant was challenged with footage and witness statements that it was marked police unit, once that happened, he confessed to being the operator of the vehicle," Teare said.
The patrol car was found at the girlfriend's apartment, authorities said.
Monica Anciso saw the incident as she was filling her car at the gas station across the street. She called police.
"He came from the driveway right here. And I really do think he did this on purpose," Anciso said.
When asked why she thought it was done on purpose, Anciso said, "Because of the way he hit her. He had plenty of room."
In surveillance video obtained by KPRC2, the woman, carrying grocery bags, can be seen walking out of a parking lot and crossing the street at the same time as Gatheright is pulling out of a parking lot directly across from her. He turns onto the street, then hits the woman, who is pushed several feet on the hood of the car, then slides onto the pavement when Gatheright hits the brakes. Watch the surveillance video below.
The woman is seen lying in the street as Gatheright backs up, pulls around her and drives off.
The woman was treated at the hospital and released.
Gatheright was arrested and jailed. He is charged with failure to stop and render aid.
Gatheright was taken to city jail. He worked for Aldine ISD for three years, but the district said he's been relieved of duty.
The district sent a statement to KPRC2 that read, "Aldine ISD was made aware that an employee has been arrested in connection with an automobile accident that occurred while he was off-duty on Sunday night. The AISD police officer has been removed from duty and placed on administrative leave while an investigation is underway."