Head-on wreck kills two

January 27, 2009 3:11:45 PM PST
Two people are dead in a fiery crash in southwest Houston Tuesday morning. One an innocent victim, the other the suspect. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

It happened after the suspect sped away from a police officer and ran a red light. The accident has police answering questions about the officer's actions.

The innocent victim in the accident was identified as Hortense Lintz, 65, of Richmond. Authorities say she had no time to react as a tan Durango crash into her car head on.

Police are now saying that the driver of the Durango may not have known he was being chased by police.

Catherine Rodriguez held her hand in her hands while a relative held her one-month-old baby. Rodriguez is too distraught to talk because the driver of the Durango, Domateo Balthazar, is the father of the baby. Balthazar died in the crash.

The deadly accident happened around 5:30am Tuesday morning. Houston police say Balthazar was driving westbound on Harwin in a tan Durango. Investigators say Balthazar was speeding as he ran a red light at Wilcrest and Harwin. A patrol officer then turned on his lights and siren and began to chase Balthazar. He traveled less than half-mile before the Durango he was driving crashed head-on into a white Explorer.

The female driver of the Explorer and Balthaza died instantly. Police say neither SUV had passengers.

Because of the short distance, Houston police say Balthazar may not have even known that a Houston police officer was pursuing him. Police do not classify this incident as a police chase.

"The basic tenets of a police chase are that a person is fleeing from an emergency vehicle with the express and intent to get away from us. This person was violating the law near an officer. We don't know if this person saw the officer," said Captain Bruce Williams of the Houston Police Department.

Investigators believe that Balthazar was under the influence of alcohol and that the investigation is still ongoing.

The patrol officer that was involved in this incident did not have a camera on his dash so Houston police did not have video of the incident.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes