HOUSTON – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has added a new car to its fleet of Texas Highway Patrol vehicles — a 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye.
This vehicle was awarded to the department following a felony investigation that was initiated after the driver of the Dodge engaged in dangerous street racing and fled from law enforcement at approximately 160 mph. The driver then proceeded to drive erratically on highways and streets in well-populated areas in Houston, according to DPS.
Officials said, around midnight on April 25, 2021, a DPS aircraft saw two similar vehicles speeding westbound on I-10 near Gessner Road at the same time that DPS Troopers were engaged in a multi-agency street racing task force. Relaying what they saw from the aircraft to law enforcement near the area, a DPS Trooper attempted to stop the Dodge when it fled from the officer. During the lengthy pursuit, which became too dangerous to continue with a marked patrol vehicle, the DPS aircraft crew updated officers on the Dodge’s location. The 1,080-horsepower Hellcat Redeye ran out of fuel near I-10 and the West Sam Houston Parkway. The driver fled on foot and attempted to enter locked structures in the area as he tried to avoid arrest.
The driver was later taken into custody for felony evading. In addition to an evading charge, the driver was arrested for the unlawful carrying of a weapon — a misdemeanor — after a loaded Glock 22, .40 caliber pistol was found in the front passenger seat.
Working with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Troopers began the asset forfeiture process to seize the Dodge due to the egregious nature of this offense. On January 25, 2022, the Challenger was awarded to the State of Texas.
Since then, the Dodge has been converted into a black and white Texas Highway Patrol Vehicle, and it’s been outfitted with emergency lights and a police radio.
Though a few more items must be installed, the seized Dodge Challenger will be used for several law enforcement functions, including traffic and criminal enforcement and community events.