A Texas police officer on the way to the scene of a chase lost control of their vehicle and ran over a pedestrian on a sidewalk, Saturday, Dec. 4, the Houston Police Department said.
The two officers in the patrol vehicle got out and performed first aid on the man, but he was pronounced dead within minutes, police officials announced later that day. Officials didn’t identify the victim, but said he is a man between 45 and 50 years old.
It began with a call about a carjacking, police said.
Just before 5 p.m., a woman told HPD that a group of males robbed her at gunpoint, taking her purse and driving off in her Ford pickup truck.
A description of the truck was released and officers were able to close in on the suspects quickly because of a tracking system in the vehicle.
Less than an hour later, an officer spotted the truck driving down a south Houston street, police said. The officer turned to follow and the truck sped away, kicking off a pursuit.
The suspects pulled into an apartment complex, bailed out of the truck and ran away on foot. Officers at the scene chased after them, with backup on the way.
The two officers who hit the pedestrian were on the way to assist in the chase, HPD said. Both are around the same age, 25, and have been with the department less than two years.
“They’re devastated,” Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said. “A man lost his life.”
Police had caught three of the five suspects at the time Satterwhite spoke late Saturday, and the search for the remaining two was ongoing.
The suspects in custody were all juveniles, and have been charged with aggravated robbery, he said.
The officers have been put on leave while officials investigate the crash. The police don’t yet know what caused the officers to lose control of the vehicle, Satterwhite said.
A parallel investigation is being conducted by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which could take as long as a month, Assistant District Attorney Sean Teare said.
Teare said the case will not be handled any differently despite police officers being involved, but added the circumstances leading up to the crash are important to the case.
“The officers were responding to a violent felony, and that is something we’re going to take into account,” he said.
The case will eventually be put before a grand jury to decide what charges, if any, should be brought against the officers.