HPD officer involved in fatal accident

August 30, 2010 3:58:47 PM PDT
A husband is in the hospital, his wife is dead and the Houston police officer who hit them has a broken neck. What we don't yet know is exactly who's to blame for the tragic crash. It happened just before 1am Monday morning on South Braeswood as the couple was returning home from a trip.

At Baylor College of Medicine on Monday, the mood was of disbelief, as they learned the news that one of their own passed away so suddenly.

"We actually expected her," said Dr. Hui Zheng with Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Estela Medrano had been with Baylor since 1995. She was a professor at the Huffington Center on Aging and was also known as a recognized cancer researcher.

Dr. Zheng was her director.

"Everything you can hope for as a person and faculty," she said. "Very sad."

According to police, Medrano was in the passenger seat of a blue Scion driven by her husband when their car was struck by a patrol car driven by Officer K.D. Dozier.

The accident occurred right in front of the entrance to their townhome complex. Santiago Soto was outside and saw the wreck.

"It was awful, something I've never seen before," he said. "And to see them unconscious. She was pretty bad."

According to police, Dozier was responding to a Priority 2 call when the other vehicle failed to yield the right of way. According to officers, he was driving without his emergency lights or sirens on. HPD hasn't yet released the call he was driving to, nor have they determined the rate of speed he was going.

It's all questions friends and neighbors need to know to understand what happened.

"Did he not see the car crossing or what speed he was going?" said neighbor Ernie Abadejos. "I really want to know."

According to the Houston Police Department, because of the type of call he was on, it's typical not to have lights or sirens on. The officer suffered a broken neck and laceration to his forehead, as well as an injury to his left arm. HPD says the investigation is ongoing.

HPD has six response priority designations. Police say the officer was responding to a 'Priority 2' call.

According to department policy, Priority 2 calls deal mainly with in-progress property crimes and/or a threat to human welfare. The responding officer will proceed directly to the scene and obey all traffic laws. Standard response to Priority 2 calls is silent.

The policy goes on to say such calls may be held in queue for ten minutes prior to dispatch. If that's the case, policy says an expedited response would probably be ineffective.

Read HPD's policy on its reponse priority levels here.


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