HOUSTON – The man charged in a fiery Christmas Eve crash that injured two Houston police officers appeared in court Tuesday.
Cesar Collazo, 23, is charged with two counts of intoxication assault and two counts of failure to stop and render aid in connection with the crash near Telephone Road and Peekskill Lane that injured Officers Alonzo Reid and John Daily.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the officers were responding to a call about midnight Monday when an SUV turned in front of them, causing a head-on crash. The police cruiser rolled several times and caught fire with the officers trapped inside, Acevedo said.
“The passenger officer (Reid) was able to get out with some assistance,” Acevedo said. “(Reid), along with a witness passerby, were able to get back in the patrol vehicle, that had burst into flames, and rescued the driver officer (Daily).”
Investigators said Collazo, who was driving the SUV, was knocked unconscious during the crash, but he came to later and fled the scene. Police said they later arrested Collazo and that he failed both a field sobriety and Breathalyzer test.
During Collazo’s Christmas Day hearing, the judge said that Collazo was visiting Houston at the time of the crash. Prosecutors said that Collazo is in Houston on a work visa that expires at the end of the month.
The judge said that fact, coupled with the fact that Collazo left the scene of the crash, makes him a flight risk. The judge set Collazo's bond at $250,000 and ordered him to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.
“Because your first inclination when this crime occurred was to leave the scene or flee rather than to assist, I have to act on behalf of the community interest and set the bonds at the amount that I did,” the judge said.
Daily suffered burns to more than 50 percent of his body, Acevedo said. He underwent surgery Monday and was last listed in stable condition.
Reid suffered burns to his legs and other parts of his body. He was released from the hospital on Christmas and is expected to recover.