HOUSTON – The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said road rage was to blame for a deadly motorcycle crash in west Houston on Monday.
Sean Teare, chief of the DA’s Vehicular Crimes Division, said they’ve charged Julivan Do Tran, the driver of the vehicle used to strike the motorcyclist, with manslaughter after a hit-and-run crash turned deadly.
“Basically, this is the newest and freshest example of a minor traffic incident turned completely tragic,” Teare said.
Houston police said the motorcyclist, a woman, was splitting lanes -- which is illegal in Texas -- on Voss and Westheimer roads when she struck two vehicles.
The woman drove her motorcycle away from the scene of the initial crash, according to Lt. Larry Crowson, while the two drivers of the vehicles pulled over to a parking lot to call police.
A short time later, the woman rode her motorcycle past the initial crash scene, prompting Tran to chase her in the car that was involved in the initial crash, police said.
“One of the cars, this Honda, began pursuing (the motorcycle) and was finally was able to stop it closer to Westheimer and Voss. The passenger of the Honda got out of the car and attempted to have the bike stop. The bike didn’t, and drove around that person,” Teare said. “The driver of the Honda then continued to pursue. We’re not sure where exactly they went, but they did go around these neighborhoods.”
He said Tran along with a female passenger followed the woman on the motorcycle behind the Kroger at San Felipe and Voss.
“We’re still not quite sure why the motorcycle lost control," Teare said. "It was either struck slightly by the Honda or the Honda was directly behind it following it, very closely at the time that the bike lost control. “The bike, for whatever reason, slid into the wall, followed immediately by the Honda. The Honda struck the bike and the driver of the motorcycle as she fell off, which ultimately killed the driver of the motorcycle.”
The woman was taken to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
Tran stayed at the scene and gave investigators a statement.
“This is the exact example (of) why you can’t take the law into your own hands,” Teare said. “By all accounts, this woman, the defendant in this case, was on the phone with 911. At that point, her duty was over. She should not have followed, and especially as closely as she did, with the speeds that were involved in this case. You just can’t do that.”
Teare said they gave Tran a field sobriety test and there appeared to be no signs of intoxication.
“This apparently was just another case of road rage,” Teare said.
HPD officials said the woman who was killed was 33.