The emergency lights on the police car are still flashing, warning drivers not to pass. But still one car managed to ignore all the signs, hitting the patrol car and nearly tearing off the driver's side door. The suspect, Hung Dasion Troung, 24, ended up slamming into a brick wall several feet away.
"Officer (Milton) Sallie caught glimpse of a car coming through the barricades, hollered 'Run, run'," said HPD Union President Gary Blankinship.
Blankinship says Sallie, Joe Pyland and Gary Gryder were standing at the car briefing Pyland, who was just starting his shift. Gryder was preparing to go home, but never made it.
Police are still investigating, but it appears Gryder was trapped in the door and killed. Pyland had at least a broken leg and called the union president on his way to the hospital.
"It appeared to me he was in shock, but he told me he immediately fell to ground when he was struck," said Blankinship. "He was more concerned about Officer Gryder. He was well aware Officer Gryder had taken brunt of impact ."
The officers were trying to stop traffic from going under the bridge at the intersection. HPD says the suspect traveling east on the feeder road, went through the barricades and slammed into the officer. HPD says there were no signs the suspect tried to stop.
"We were of the opinion, based on the first responders, he was actually laughing," said Captain Bruce Williams with the Houston Police Department. "That's why we believe there was something more than alcohol in his system."
Officers say accepting that accidents do happen is part of the job, but when it's a husband, father and 20 year veteran's life that's taken by a possibly impaired driver, it's the worst tragedy of all.
Police did take Troung into custody following the crash. He's been charged with criminally negligent homicide. Those charges could be upgraded to intoxication manslaughter pending the outcome of a blood test. Officials expect to give Troung a psychological exam.
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