Wrong-way chase suspect may have been under the influence of angel dust, HPD says

ByDaniela Hurtado and Derrick Lewis KTRK logo
Friday, January 20, 2023
Houston police chase and wrong-way crash blocks Katy Freeway-to-West Loop ramp; suspect under influence of angel dust
In footage seen ONLY ON 13, SkyEye captured the aftermath of the chaos that included a person being handcuffed and dragged.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A driver may have been under the influence of PCP when he led police on a chase in a stolen vehicle on Thursday, Houston police said.

That vehicle ended up traveling in the wrong direction of traffic when it hit at least three vehicles on the outbound Katy Freeway ramp to the northbound West I-610 Loop.

In footage seen ONLY ON 13, SkyEye captured the aftermath of the chaos at about 4 p.m. Two white pickup trucks and a gold sedan appeared to have been totaled, and at least one person had to be handcuffed and dragged to the shoulder.

Good Samaritans were also seen prying open the door of one of the pickups in an attempt to pull the driver to safety.

In all, at least two people, including the suspect, needed medical attention, and police were looking into whether a third required treatment. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

As of late Thursday night, the innocent driver hit during the chaos was in fair condition, according to Ben Taub Hospital officials.

So how did all of this ensue at the height afternoon commute?

The chase's beginnings

Undercover officers near Long Point and Wirt roads located a stolen vehicle in the area, Lt. Larry Crowson of Houston Police Department said.

Those officers requested marked units to stop the vehicle near Hempstead and the West Loop. Emergency lights were activated, but the driver refused to stop.

That's when, Crowson said, the suspect turned southbound I-610 service road and got onto the northbound main lanes.

Officers discontinued the pursuit as traffic volumes increased with the afternoon commute, but the driver kept going toward the connector ramp, where police believe three vehicles were hit.

It's unclear what happened at the point of the collisions, but SkyEye captured the arrest and the rescue.

The chase's consequences

According to Crowson, the suspect, who wasn't immediately identified, faces charges of evading and operating a stolen vehicle, with additional counts pending.

As for the traffic impact, police reopened the ramp just after 6:30 p.m., amounting to a two and a half-hour closure

Crowson added that the department is constantly gauging how to work pursuits, especially with HPD aircraft out of service during the chase.

Overall, though, the lieutenant thinks the officers made the right decision to discontinue the pursuit during rush hour.