‘We thought he had passed away’: Homeless man reunites with family after helping save deputy’s life

HOUSTON – A man from the Houston area who dealt with homelessness was reunited with his family after they saw him on television following a deadly car crash.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Laura Koppe Road and Lockwood on Wednesday night.

SEE ALSO: Woman killed, 2 children, deputy injured in crash after chase involving robbery suspect in NE Houston: HPD

According to authorities, one sheriff’s deputy collided with another while chasing a suspected robber.

The impact killed the driver of the other car and sent several people to the hospital. The deputy had to be pulled from his patrol unit after it caught on fire.

“When it comes to a burning car, you go to that burning car,” said Good Samaritan, Johnny Lee Walker. “I was thinking, ‘the car was going to blow, let me help this man. If he dies, he won’t die alone. We’ll die together but, let me get him out of this car.’”

Walker said he didn’t hesitate to run towards the flames that were consuming the deputy’s unit, but he balks at any talk of him being a hero.

“I’m hoping any human would have that much humanity for another person,” said Walker.

As Houston area news crews documented the crash, they also captured Walker’s image, which led to a family reunion.

“When I saw that video, oh my goodness, I can’t describe it,” said Walker’s sister Monica Collins. “We thought he had passed away.”

Walker is homeless and his family said they hadn’t heard from him since Thanksgiving. Collins said she thought her brother was dead after receiving a call on Christmas Eve that he had been stabbed during a robbery.

After filing a missing person report, searching hospitals, the morgue, and city streets; Collins and their mother finally saw Walker on TV.

Collins said she and her mother immediately hopped in their car and drove from Cypress to northeast Houston to look for him.

“He was telling us last night that he was even questioning his very existence,” she said. “He’s had a troubled past.”

However, Walker said today, everything is different.

“I’ve been beating myself up because I’ve been homeless so long but I had to go through all that to get to this,” he said. “If I wasn’t homeless, I wouldn’t have been here. I don’t regret any day of my life anymore.”

The family has created a GoFundMe page to help Walker “find resources for counseling and a home.”


About the Author:

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”