HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An 18-year-old man who police say was behind the wheel of a stolen car that slammed into an innocent woman, has been charged with murder, the Harris County District Attorney's Office told ABC13 on Friday.
A representative from the district attorney's office identified the alleged driver in Thursday's deadly crash at Martin Luther King and Van Fleet as Trenton Bevel.
The Houston Police Department said two people accused of stealing a vehicle were fleeing from police when they hit a 75-year-old driver.
Police said the driver died in the crash and was later confirmed to be the mother of an HPD sergeant. Her identity has not yet been released.
Bevel is in custody but in the hospital in critical condition due to injuries sustained in the crash.
The other person suspected of riding in the stolen vehicle has not yet been identified or charged.
According to HPD, it all started Wednesday night at about 8 p.m. when two suspects robbed a woman of her Dodge sportscar. Cathleen Hill told ABC13 she was the one who was carjacked near Hobby Airport.
Chief Troy Finner said the woman had a tracking system with her dealership and contacted police Thursday morning about the car's latest location, at 7800 Jutland Road near Bellfort.
At about 10 a.m., officers spotted the two suspects in the stolen vehicle, initiated a pursuit, and quickly lost sight of them because of their speed, according to Finner. Police ultimately decided the chase was dangerous and pulled back.
The suspects reportedly ended up at the Martin Luther King and Van Fleet intersection, where other vehicles were stopped at a light.
A woman in one of the stopped vehicles was killed, and two others were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The two suspects were also transported to the hospital, with injuries said to be non-life threatening.
'Not a policy issue'
Finner used a news conference in the immediate wake of the crash to clarify that the incident was all about the suspects' actions and not a question of police tactics.
"There's been a lot of talk about pursuits and the HPD policy," Finner said, adding that he's planning to make some adjustments to it next week. "From what I know from this scene right now (Thursday), it's not a policy issue. And everybody in the criminal justice system is going to have to take an active role to do their part."
In a statement to ABC13, State Sen. Joan Huffman, who is vice chair of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, responded to Finner's call, writing the following:
"I will always work with law enforcement when they have legislative ideas about how to make our streets safer and protect our citizens. I completely agree with Chief Finner. Criminals that flee from police and cause the loss of life must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. If that law is insufficient, then I will lead the effort to strengthen it in the Texas Senate."
"If you shot a gun into a crowd, what would the punishment be? We need the same damn punishment of people in vehicles," Finner said.