Sleepy driver wakes up, leads police on chase

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - When Houston police first got a call about a man asleep in his car in north Houston on Wednesday, they didn't know that it would eventually lead to a high-speed chase that ended with that man crashing his car into an apartment building staircase.

Police said a passerby noticed a man asleep in his car on East Tidwell near the North Freeway just after 1 a.m.

When officers arrived, they said they found Dominique Pennell, 24, behind the wheel. Police said they when they awakened Pennell, he sped off and led officers on a chase down Tidwell and into the Aspen Apartments near Sun Forest.

Police said once in the complex, Pennell jumped out of the moving car and ran off. The car continued into a courtyard, side-swiped a first floor apartment and slammed into a staircase.

"I heard something, but I thought I was dreaming at first," said resident Brian Martinez.

Another resident, Ana Rodriguez, said she heard the commotion but didn't open her front door.

"I was too scared," said Rodriguez.

Police were able to chase down Pennell and arrest him. Police said when they searched Pennell's car, they found a hockey mask and what are suspected of being stolen athletic shoes and other athletic gear.

Pennell has been charged with evading arrest and criminal mischief. Detectives are still working to determine the origin of the items found in Pennell's car.

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