HOUSTON - Police officers fatally shot a man tried to run them over after smashing into dozens of cars while leading officers on a chase through southwest Houston Sunday morning, police say.
According to Houston police, the chase started after officers got reports about a Toyota Tundra driving northbound in the southbound lanes on Highway 59 near Chimney Rock. Officers said he was intentionally striking other vehicles on the road.
Police said when they found the wrong-way driver he led them on a chase that lasted about 30 minutes. The driver hit several other moving and parked vehicles, including HPD units, along the way.
The pursuit ended on Beechnut and Beltway 8 when officers boxed the driver in and repeatedly told him to get out of the truck.
Police said the man, identified the man as 63-year-old Virgil Lee Reynolds, tried to drive in reverse into some officers who were on foot. The officers, fearing for their lives, shot at Reynolds.
Officers said Reynolds rammed his truck through the patrol cars, crossed the road and then stopped.
Reynolds suffered one gunshot wound and was taken to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital, where he died, investigators said.
"At the end of the day some of those who struggle with drug addiction and mental illness, the choice is up to them and unfortunately this didn't end well," said his daughter.
Reynolds' daughter said her dad was addicted to drugs, including meth and speed, and she thinks he may have been high when the wild chase started during the night Saturday.
"You hope and pray this day never comes but unfortunately that call came yesterday," she told KPRC 2.
Naved Kurji was headed home on the Southwest Freeway near Buffalo Speedway when all of the sudden a truck slammed into him from behind.
"I heard that squeaking sound of tires where it was so loud, it caught my attention and I saw a car spinning out," explained Kurji.
Carlos Sanchez said he was driving on Highway 59 with his fiancee late Saturday night when they saw something on the road that looked like a scene out of a Hollywood movie. They said the person driving the truck was going the wrong way on the freeway on purpose and trying to hurt people.
"He went up and started playing bumper cars with other vehicles on the freeway," Sanchez said.
Just after midnight, 911 calls about the wrong-way driver started coming into the Houston Police Department.
"Once he turned around on 59, I imagined a head-on collision with another vehicle," Sanchez said.
The two officers, C. Meade and L. Fuhlbrigge, were put on a three-day administrative leave, which is standard procedure in all officer-involved shootings.
Meade and Fuhlbrigge were sworn in as officers in April 2007 and October 2012, respectively, and are assigned to the Midwest Patrol Division.
"I actually applaud them for doing what they had to do to protect their own and I 100 percent support everything they did," said Reynolds' daughter.
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