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HOUSTON — One person is dead and another is severely injured after a police chase in northwest Houston ended in a five-vehicle crash Friday evening, according to the Houston Police Department.
HPD said the chase started shortly after 6 p.m. in the 10200 block of Kempwood Drive and ended with a horrific crash in the 14000 block of Hempstead Road.
Police said the chase started as an investigation into a group of reckless drivers who may have been attempting a street takeover. One of the drivers refused to stop and was going about 100 mph during a chase, according to HPD.
Police said the suspect ran through a red light causing the multiple-vehicle crash that killed an innocent person.
“I have seen some pretty bad crashes in my career, the last 25 years,” said HPD Assistant Chief Ban Tien. “I have not seen one that type, that bad in a long, long time.
Police have since identified the suspect as 21-year-old Damian West.
One other person was severely injured in the crash and their condition is critical, according to HPD.
“We have a completely innocent citizen who is dead at the scene. We have another one who is at Ben Taub fighting for her life. We have numerous other citizens who are changed forever for having been a part of this,” said Sean Teare with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “And eventually, it is all because of one person’s completely lawless, selfish behavior.”
Teare said the DA’s office has accepted charges of felony murder and aggravated assault.
West appeared in probable cause court on Sunday. His bond was set at $300,000 for the murder charge and $100,000 for the aggravated assault charge.
“It’s not just him. It’s this entire group that he was a part of. These street takeovers have claimed way, way too many lives,” Teare said. “They are the definition of a criminal street gang and we are going to begin to treat them like that.”
“We are going to go after them even harder after this. That’s a message that they need to hear,” he continued. “We’re going to continue to seize their cars. We’re going to continue to prosecute them and enforce the laws that are already on the books.”
Court records show that West was out on bond for separate charges at the time of the crash.
KHOU 11’s Zack Tawatari spoke to one man who survived Friday’s crash.
“These younger guys, they make the wrong decisions because you know something can happen like this,” said Adan Palacios. “You see what happens. Somebody loses his life, there’s another person in real critical condition. We lost our vehicles.”
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