HOUSTON, Texas – A suspect vehicle an officer was pursuing sped off from a traffic stop, crashed into a barrier and plunged into a bayou. The passenger was killed in the crash and the driver, who suffered an injury to his arm, faces felony murder charges, according to the Houston Police Department.
Around 3:30 a.m., an officer observed what he thought to be open-air drug dealing at a gas station in southeast Houston. He followed the suspects, who committed two traffic violations. The officer initiated a traffic stop near the intersection of the Gulf Freeway and Bryam Street and the suspect vehicle pulled over. As the officer approached the suspect vehicle, he noticed that someone inside had thrown a pistol to the ground. Then, the suspects fled, driving about a quarter of a mile down Bryam Street before hitting a concrete barrier at the end of the street.
Upon impact, the suspect vehicle “went airborne and final rest was on the other side of the bayou,” said HPD Assistant Chief Wendy Baimbridge.
The passenger was declared dead at the scene. The driver sustained an injury to his arm and was transported to an area hospital for treatment, Baimbridge said.
Investigators believe the driver reached a speed of around 70 miles per hour before crashing into the concrete barrier.
After the initial impact, “a lot of dust blew up, the officer then slammed on his breaks and hit the same concrete barrier,” Baimbridge said.
The officer sustained minor injuries in the crash but was not transported to a hospital.
The driver faces felony murder charges. The suspect was out on two bonds, one for evading arrest and the other for unauthorized use of a vehicle, Baimbridge said.