Driver dies on birthday after he hits home during Houston police chase
Updated 7:22 pm, Thursday, February 7, 2013
A man died early Thursday - his 22nd birthday - after he led police on a short chase, then crashed into a north Houston home, narrowly missing a woman sleeping in her bedroom.
The crash happened about 2 a.m. on East Hardy near Turner, said John Cannon, a spokesman for the Houston Police Department. The man, who died at the scene, was identified by police as Mario Hernandez.
Cannon said the chase began after a trucker alerted an officer that he had seen a driver leaving a nearby bar and driving on East Crosstimbers without its headlights.
A short time later, the officer tried to pull the truck over, Cannon said. But Hernandez sped away and turned onto the northbound East Hardy.
After the brief chase, Cannon said, Hernandez apparently lost control of the pickup and rammed into the front of the house, demolishing portions of the front porch and crashing into a bedroom.
A 62-year-old woman sleeping in the bedroom barely escaped injury, Cannon said. The impact shoved her bed against the back wall and smashed her headboard. She crawled from the debris, shaken, but had only a few cuts and scrapes. She was treated at the scene.
"She is very fortunate that she was not seriously injured or killed," Cannon said.
The woman's 54-year-old relative and his three sons, ages 20, 14 and 8, were also asleep in the home. They were not hurt.
Cannon said investigators were trying to determine what caused Hernandez to drive away when the officer tried to stop him.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is expected to perform an autopsy and will determine if Hernandez had alcohol in his system.