Wild police chase ends in crash

July 6, 2008 6:55:30 PM PDT
A Houston police officer was hurt chasing down some suspected thieves. The pursuit ended with a crash.Police say it started at a Valero gas station on Long Drive and Wayside. Employees at the convenience store say the same men have been stealing cases of beer for a month, but on Sunday, police were not far behind.

Officers chased the three suspects to Cullen and White Rock where Lige Brisby was walking with his son, Devontae, who was on his bike.

"The car starts flipping and then I jumped off the bike and started running and the police car had hit that and it started flipping towards me, so I was, like, scared," said Devontae.

"To tell you the truth, I could have been laying right up under that car," added Lige. "If I would have ridden another few feet, I would have been dead today, but by the grace of God, I'm not."

Police say the suspects T-boned an officer's car, which was not even involved in the chase.

"When the suspect failed to yield a right away and T-boned a police officer and the suspects were taken out," said S.S. Rios with the Houston Police Department.

Erron Walker heard the commotion from inside his BBQ business. Like many witnesses, he was relieved no one was seriously hurt.

"It's just crazy, I mean for a Sunday. People walk from church up and down Cullen here and if it was a regular business here, we would have had a lot of cars in the parking lot," said Walker.

Police say that when backup officers arrived at the scene, the suspect's vehicle was on fire. Those officers pulled those suspects out of the burning vehicle.

The three suspects, along with the officer struck, were taken to the Medical Center. They were all being treated for minor injuries.

HPD made changes to its chase policy back in April. Under the revised policy, officers must constantly evaluate the risk factors involved when starting or continuing a pursuit. That includes the seriousness of the crime to which the officer responds.

Also, the new policy states if officers know enough about the suspect to file a warrant, they should stop the chase. It's unclear if the officers today violated the policy.

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