HPD policy under review after suspect flees

July 15, 2010 4:27:35 PM PDT
Houston police officials say they will review their policies after a man who they now say was intoxicated when he caused an accident that killed three people managed to flee the country before he was arrested. Sajan Timalshina was given a field sobriety test but officers felt it was inconclusive, so Timalshina was never arrested. No one at HPD wanted to play Monday morning quarterback. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland says while doesn't believe there was a lack of scrutiny on the part of law enforcement at the accident scene, clearly the policies in place need some work.

"We're looking at ways that we can help our officers and give them additional resources so that they can make good decisions out on the street," said HPD Assistant Chief Vicki King. "Are they always going to be 100 percent? We're human."

The Houston Police Department is going to review all of its procedures in cases like this to see what, if anything, could have been done better. Chief McClelland stopped short of saying whether he thought the incident involving Sajan Timalshina was handled poorly, but did say there is absolutely no way to create a blanket policy where everyone involved in a fatality is automatically taken to jail.

Assistant Chief King talked to the investigating officer Thursday morning. She said the officer told her while he did the best he could that night, he felt he could have communicated more strongly his opinion about the suspect and the facts and circumstances of the case.

Investigators say when Timalishina's tests came back Monday, they revealed he was legally drunk. He was charged but nowhere to be found because he left the country. HPD plans to contact the US marshal's office to track him down.


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