It began with an expired inspection sticker getting the attention of a Harris County Sheriff's deputy Sunday afternoon.
Within moments of turning on his lights, the driver in front of him stepped on the gas.
About 45 seconds later, the fleeing car was split in half, and the driver was dead.
The chase began on Kingsland Blvd., west of Mason Road just before 2:30 p.m. Sunday. A sheriff's lieutenant said the car was traveling at about a 100 miles an hour. At the intersection at Houghton, the speeding Honda Civic hit a utility pole. The car went airborne, slammed into a tree, which sheared the vehicle from front to back. A tire torn off during impact hit an overhead traffic signal, sending debris across the street.
Mark Diamond, a witness, said the chase went by him as he was about to turn onto Kingsland.
"It was doing at least a hundred," Diamond said. "I followed, but by the time I arrived, it was all over."
Police describe the driver as a man in his 20's. Investigators confirm there was a child seat in the back of the car. No child was in the vehicle at the time.
A home security camera recorded the impact. When the car hit the tree, it appeared to 'explode,' from the sheer force of the speed at which it was traveling, when it collided with an immovable object.
The name of the driver is not being released at this time. There's no indication the car was stolen.
"We don't know why he ran," said Sgt. Cedrick Collier. "At this point, we're not even sure of his identification. He may have had other issues he was dealing with, but the initial contact was for the expired registration."