Houston man sentenced to 30 years in fatal crash during police chase that killed 19-year-old passenger

Deshawn Fortee Brown (Harris County District Attorney's Office, Harris County District Attorney's Office)

HOUSTON – A Houston man who ran a red light while fleeing police and caused a crash that killed his 19-year-old passenger was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Monday.

“Running from the police is never the answer and this is exactly why,” Ogg said via a news release. “A 19-year-old lost his life because this man decided he could drive faster than the police.”

Deshawn Fortee Brown, 27, agreed to a 30-year prison sentence after a Harris County jury found him guilty of felony murder for causing the crash that killed 19-year-old Devin Malik Francis about 6:25 p.m. on May 5, 2019.

Brown was driving a black Ford Fusion “fast” northbound on Eldridge Parkway when a Precinct 5 constable’s deputy started pursuing him with lights and sirens, Ogg’s office recalled in its news release.

Instead of pulling over, authorities said Brown sped away, reaching speeds as high as 92 mph in a 35 mph zone. He ran two red lights, and at the second red light -- at Eldridge Parkway and Katy Freeway -- he hit a white Lexis RX350 turning left on the service road, causing a fatal crash.

Francis, who was Brown’s passenger, was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Devin Francis (Harris County District Attorney’s Office)

Brown sustained minor injuries. Houston Police Department officers found two pistols, one of which was stolen, inside his Ford Fusion. The Houston Police Department said in a previous news release around the time of the incident that marijuana was also recovered from Brown’s vehicle.

The 60-year-old female driver in the Lexis amazingly had only minor injuries, prosecutors said.

“The difference between her being alive or dead is milliseconds,” Assistant District Attorney Kelly Marshall, of the District Attorney’s Office’s Vehicular Crimes Division, is quoted as saying in the news release. “We have to hold people responsible because of the number of people who are put in danger when people try to flee from police. He caused the death of (Francis), and the fact that he didn’t kill the woman who was driving down Eldridge as well is a miracle.”

Marshall prosecuted the weeklong trial with Assistant District Attorney Cameron Gonzales.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.