HOUSTON – Two Houston Police officers were involved in a fatal crash Saturday that killed a 71-year-old man, according to officials. The collision occurred at the intersection of Ley Road and Darien Street in northeast Houston at 3:35 p.m.
“It is unfortunate and tragic that the citizen, the other motorist, did not survive the crash,” said Assistant Chief Ben Tien, from HPD patrol Region 1.
The male victim was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital where he was pronounced dead, investigators said. While the officers sustained minor injuries, were examined at the hospital and expected to be OK.
The victim’s identity has not been released pending notification of family.
“Keep the family in your prayers,” Tien said.
Police said the Cadillac was driving southbound on Darien when it approached a stop sign at the intersection. The two officers were driving westbound on Ley Road en route to a weapon disturbance call when the collision occurred.
Surveillance video from a convenience store recorded the collision.
A witness, who asked to remains anonymous, said the HPD unit went air-bound.
“The back end of the police car was in the air trying to stop,” he said, before describing the moment he ran to the Cadillac in an attempt to help the driver.
“I had to run because the Cadillac hit the power lines. We saw all the power lines. We had to run. I went to the Cadillac when I looked in the Cadillac I started crying. My heart told me death,” he said.
Multiple witnesses said the HPD unit was speeding when it struck the Cadillac.
“It was 100 (miles per hour) or something. They’re flying up and down our streets, man,” the witness said.
Police said whether the officers were speeding is being investigated by HPD’s Vehicular Crimes Division.
Tien said officers were looking for additional witnesses and surveillance video as part of their investigation.
Witnesses told KPRC 2 the patrol vehicle did not have lights or sirens on at the time of the crash.
“When officers are responding to a scene, they have greater protection and it’s greater protection for the community as a whole, to put their lights and siren on. But if, for some reason, their lights and sirens should not be on for other reasons, they have an obligation to proceed safely along the roadway,” said personal injury attorney, Randy Sorrels.
Sorrels, who has brought civil cases against law enforcement agencies, including HPD, involved in deadly crashes with civilians, says the patrol unit’s black box and dashboard camera will help tell the full story but that won’t be revealed for a while.
“HPD is going to hold the file for some period of time longer than normal because of the fatality involved. And I know the family is waiting and it’s a very difficult time with the family, to want to know the full story but HPD will, in this instance hold the investigation longer than normal,” Sorrels said.
HPD would not answer questions about the case Monday citing the ongoing investigation.