HOUSTON – The family of a man who was killed Saturday after a Houston Police Department patrol vehicle crashed into his car announced Tuesday they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the department.
“To have his life taken, so egregiously and so irresponsibly, it’s just terrible,” said Rev. Lawrence Cooper, son of Walter Cooper.
Surveillance video from a nearby gas station shows the 71-year-old, who was driving a black Cadillac approach a stop sign at Darien Street and Ley Road in northeast Houston, and then drive into the intersection to cross Ley.
At that same moment, the video shows an HPD SUV westbound on Ley Road, the two officers inside responding to a weapon disturbance call. The impact from the patrol vehicle sent Cooper’s car across the street into the gas station parking lot.
He died at Memorial Hermann hospital Saturday afternoon.
“There was a person behind the car. A person who was loved. He was very instrumental in the care of my children, my children could have been in that car,” said Cooper’s daughter, Dr. Brandi Cooper-Lewis.
Compounding the siblings’ grief, they are still mourning the loss of their mother to breast cancer in August.
Beverly and Walter Cooper were married for 51 years.
“He was beginning to establish his new life without my mom. Yes, he was grieving, but at the same time, there was still more life to live. And there was still things for us to do as a family. It was just too soon for my dad,” Dr. Cooper-Lewis said.
Witnesses told KPRC 2 that the HPD cruiser did not have its lights or sirens on at the time of the deadly crash and that the officer behind the wheel was speeding.
“You can clearly see from the video, and the impact of the collision, this officer was doing well beyond the posted speed limit. Without their sirens. There’s no lights there’s nothing. That’s just a complete lack of care and disregard and a level of recklessness for the community,” said family attorney Nuru Witherspoon.
A spokesperson for HPD said they could not comment on pending litigation.
The case remains under investigation.