Woman charged after crash forces HPD officers to jump 16 feet off freeway ramp

HOUSTON - Two Houston police officers are expected to recover Friday after falling 16 feet off the Southwest Freeway after a vehicle hit one of them while they were investigating a crash.

Bianca Chanelle Bennett, the woman who police said caused the crash, is charged with intoxication assault.

“It’s a miracle from God that (the officer) is OK," said Houston police Sgt. Thomas Fendia. "If you look where they landed was in the grass. If he’d been five feet more towards the exit ramp, he would’ve hit the cement and it would’ve been a much different story."

Two Houston firefighters were credited with helping save the officers' lives after noticing the car speeding toward them.

Wesley Pleasant, a 13-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department, and Leonel Garcia, a 4-year veteran of the department, were both at the initial crash investigation.

"I saw a car driving around the engine I guess trying to exit the freeway but it wasn't slowing down, so I just yelled out, 'Watch out,'" Pleasant said. "I guess it was enough time for everybody to react and get out of the way."

"I saw headlights coming when I heard the screeching tires," Garcia said. "The rear door of the police car was open so I tried to lift myself up and try to make myself as small as possible in case it was going to hit me."

The car missed Garcia by about two feet.

Acting HFD Capt. Darren Ott said he watched the whole incident fearing his firefighter was hit.

“It hit one officer. I saw him fall over the freeway,” Ott said. “By the grace of God, he was talking when I got down there.”

“We saw an HPD officer face down, not moving, motionless, not talking,” said Garcia.

The Houston Police Department wanted to honor the firefighters with an award of valor for saving the officers' lives.

“We don't call it heroes. We just call what we’re out there to do, protecting each other,” said Garcia.

Officers arrested Bennett, the 25-year-old driver.

The injured officers were part of a two-man unit with the DWI Task Force. Officer R. Carter remains at Memorial Hermann Hospital. He has been with HPD since 2010.

Officer C. Herrera, who has been with HPD since 2013, was treated and released from the hospital.

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