Wild chase comes to crashing end

September 15, 2010 12:50:11 PM PDT
A murder and carjacking suspect was arrested after crashing into a truck during a high-speed chase in east Harris County Tuesday evening. Herbert Goldsmith, 21, was charged Tuesday with aggravated robbery and aggravated assault of a peace officer. He had already been wanted on a capital murder charge in connection to the shooting death of 29-year-old Christopher Jones in the 9700 block of Galaxy on Friday.

"We're looking at multiple scenes, and we're still gathering information at this time," HPD Sgt. Robin Robinson said.

Police said the chase started as they were watching Goldsmith in connection to Jones' murder at a location on Federal Road near I-10. Around 6:30pm, he got into an Oldsmobile Alero and a police officer tried to stop him, but he gave chase.

"They were screaming and hollering," eyewitness Allen Muhammad said.

Goldsmith eventually crashed his vehicle near Interstate 10 West and Gregg, but he got out of it and allegedly pointed a gun at an officer as he ran across the freeway, police said. Goldsmith safely crossed the highway and went into a neighborhood near the 3800 block of Hare, where he allegedly carjacked Derek Reed at gunpoint.

Reed and his friend had just finished fixing the brakes on his girlfriend's Ford Escort when Goldsmith walked up to them and demanded the keys to the car.

"At first, he came up and asked us, 'Does anyone have keys to a car?'" Reed said. "We told him no and when he pulled a pistol and put it in my friend's face and said, 'I've killed someone,' and then he said he don't care about killing again. I just gave him my keys 'cause I didn't want to see my friend die. He was real nervous and scared. He just wanted to get away."

Goldsmith then headed back east on I-10, where SkyEye HD spotted the vehicle and informed the HPD helicopter of his whereabouts.

SkyEye HD reporter Andy Bass said our chopper was travelling at speeds in excess of 115mph and could barely keep up with Goldsmith.

Goldsmith made several U-turns in an attempt to elude authorities, but he couldn't.

He sped past the Tollway then turned around and headed back west on Interstate 10 before getting on the northbound lanes of the East Sam Houston Tollway. The suspect then exited on Highway 90 East and made another U-turn.

The chase finally came to an end after Goldsmith allegedly broadsided a red pickup truck at the intersection of Highway 90 and John Ralston. The car started smoking and Goldsmith took off running. He appeared to throw a black object from his pocket as he was running out of the car.

He finally jumped to the ground after a police cruiser pulled up near him. He was arrested around 7pm.

One of four occupants of the pickup struck by the suspect's vehicle was transported via ambulance to a hospital. We're told that person's condition is not life-threatening.

Goldsmith also was transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown.

Police have said they found three pistols and some narcotics in Goldsmith's Oldsmobile. An additional gun was found at the Highway 90 scene.

Highway 90 was closed for about three hours until authorities finished investigating the scene and clearing the wreck.

As for Reed, he said he is still shaken by his experience.

"I'm just glad he got caught," he said. "I didn't want to say anything, but that's the dumbest thing he just made. It didn't make no sense. I will be there in court to testify."

Harris County deputies also were asked to help in the chase.

REVIEWING HPD'S CHASE POLICY

A man who knows a thing or two about police chases says a simple maneuver could have ended the chase much earlier. Houston attorney Thomas Nixon was a Houston police officer in 2006, when he was involved in a chase on the Southwest Freeway and Greenbriar. Since then, he's been an outspoken critic of HPD's chase policy, saying the department needs to allow officers to use more aggressive tactics to end chases, like pit maneuvers. We see those in California police chases. Los Angeles officers are allowed to use their cars to ram into a suspect's vehicle.

"I don't criticize the chase," Nixon said. "What I criticize is the policy that allows the chase to go on for too long."

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland tells Eyewitness News that last night's chase will be reviewed by the pursuit review committee, as all chases are.


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