Police chase crash kills one

July 29, 2008 4:27:40 AM PDT
A Houston doctor was killed in an out-of-control police chase. A fleeing driver speeding down a busy street slammed into several vehicles and the SUV of Dr. Wesley Gustafson Jr., 75.

A man suspected in burglaries committed both locally and out of state ran from police. As a result of the deadly crash, Memorial Village police are taking a closer look at their chase policy. They are reviewing every aspect of this chase, though so far they tell us they have found no violation of their existing policy.

Although the chase ended near Richmond and Tanglewilde, police say it started several miles away in the 300 block of Piney Point. The department says its officers have much latitude in deciding whether to continue a chase and that terminating one depends upon speeds and road conditions.

"We're lucky," said eyewitness Israel Taylor. "We're real lucky."

Taylor says the suspect actually struck his car has the man fled police.

"I saw him," he recalled. "All I want to do is strangle him. Look at the car! He banged it up real good."

Police say the suspect fled after they identified his vehicle as one used in at least three burglaries in and around Memorial Village. Police can't tell us how fast the suspect was driving as he fled, but it's clear from the victim's vehicle that the impact was significant.

"It could have been any of us," said Danielle Graves Bradley. "It could have been me."

Bradley says she was supposed to meet with Dr. Gustafson today. She said he was opening up a doctor's office near the crash scene, and that she was going to be working with the family practitioner as a pharmacist.

"Today would have been the first day I would have actually met him," Bradley said.

But that meeting would not take place. He was killed feet from the front door of that office, just as left the parking lot and pulled into traffic.

Memorial Village police say they have so far found no violation of its existing chase policy.

The suspect was also injured in the wreck. He is in the hospital. Police say they're pursuing a charge against him of felony murder.

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