Officer remains on active duty after crashing into house during chase, narrowly missing homeowner

Mycah Hatfield Image
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Officer involved in chase and crash into home remains on active duty
An HPD officer who crashed into a home while chasing a robbery suspect has not been disciplined due to the department's general order over pursuits.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The officer who pursued a driver through a Cloverleaf neighborhood that ended with both cars crashing into neighboring homes has not been disciplined.

On Thursday, just before noon, a Houston police license plate reader camera pinged the car Isiah Cates, 32, was driving as having possibly been involved in a robbery.

An HPD officer attempted to pull the car over, but Cates did not stop.

The chase started in the 13400 block of the East Freeway Service Road and lasted just under two miles.

It ended at the intersection of Cimarron and Holly Park Drive where both Cates and the officer crashed into neighboring homes.

"I was mowing, and I heard the (police car), and I was like, 'I don't know what to do.' And then I see the car pass by me, and I was shocked," Rosa Hernandez said.

She was mowing her grass when the officer narrowly missed hitting the new homeowner in her front yard. He ended up taking out the exterior wall of her living room.

"It was like feet apart," Hernandez said. "I think the police had to turn the wheel so he didn't hit me."

ABC13 heard over police radios that the chase reached at least 88 mph on Cimarron, a residential street. HPD will not confirm speeds in the crash, citing that it is part of their investigation.

New surveillance video obtained by Eyewitness News on Friday shows the speeding vehicles moments before they crashed into the homes.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Chase ends when HPD cruiser and suspect vehicle slam into neighboring homes in Houston's eastside

SkyEye video shows a white Chevy Malibu crashed into the front of a home on Houston's eastside. Meanwhile, an HPD cruiser is crashed through the neighbor's house.

HPD's general order for pursuits does not specifically mention guidelines for when they take place in a neighborhood.

Under the "Officers' Responsibilities' section," the order details that certain requirements must be met to initiate or continue a pursuit.

"An officer in good faith reasonably believes that under the circumstances the need to immediately apprehend the suspect outweighs a clear risk of harm to the public in initiating or continuing the pursuit," the order states.

It goes on to say the officer must constantly evaluate the risks and factors involved, including the seriousness of the crime, whether the officer's immediate presence is needed to prevent injury or loss of life, and an alternative course of action to achieve the same result.

Cates was taken into custody and charged with evading. He has not been charged for the jugging. The investigation into his potential involvement is under investigation, according to HPD.

The officer involved in the pursuit and subsequent crash has been with the force for three years.

He has not been disciplined and may not be.

HPD's Vehicular Crimes Division is investigating the crash and will hand over its findings to the crash review committee, according to a spokesman for the department. From there, the committee will make recommendations on potential discipline to Chief Troy Finner.

The City of Houston said the owner of the home hit by the HPD unit can submit a claim for repairs to the city, and their legal team will review it.

The city will not cover the cost of the home hit by the suspect.

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