HOUSTON -- A woman taken into custody for public intoxication was killed early Wednesday when the police car transporting her was struck by another car in downtown Houston, police said.
A female officer was placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
It’s believed the driver who caused the crash was intoxicated at the time, according to the Houston Police Department.
“The female driving the Chevy Cobalt, there’s evidence that leads us to believe she was driving while intoxicated,” said HPD Sgt. Ignacia Izaguire. “The officer stated she had the green light. The female driver of the Cobalt, she admitted to have been drinking some alcoholic beverages, pretty much did not know what happened. She stated to one of our officers here that she, ‘shouldn’t have been driving, shouldn’t have been driving.’”
HPD said a 21-year-old woman driving a red Chevrolet Cobalt slammed into the HPD cruiser on Chartres Street at Texas Street around 3:35 a.m.
The detainee was thrown from the police car and later died at the hospital, police said. The officer and two people in the Cobalt suffered only minor injuries.
Police later confirmed the woman, despite department policy, was not properly restrained in a seatbelt. Police said she was handcuffed when she was thrown from the car.
According to HPD, the victim was taken into custody earlier in the night at Hobby Airport after it was determined she was a hazard to herself. She was being transported to a sobriety center when the rear of the patrol car was struck from the side.
An area resident who tried to assist the officer and the wounded detainee said accidents are common at the intersection. Apparently a freeway overpass blocks the traffic lights as drivers approach, making it difficult to see if the light is green or red.
The driver of the Cobalt that allegedly caused the crash was taken into custody, but the names of those involved were not immediately released.
Sgt. Izaguire said the officer is a veteran of 15 years with Houston police.
The incident is being investigated by HPD’s Vehicular Crimes and Internal Affairs Divisions.
In a separate incident, an HPD lieutenant responding to the crash in an unmarked car was involved in a wreck himself at an intersection just a few blocks away. The officer was said to be okay, but the driver of the other vehicle was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.