Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Houston PD's high-speed chases resulted in 27 deaths and 740 injuries over five years

High-speed chases launched by the Houston Police Department increased 47 percent over a five-year period, killing more than two dozen people and injuring hundreds more, a Houston Chronicle investigation has found.

Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2022, officers engaged in 6,303 chases. Twenty-seven people died during those pursuits, and at least 740 people were injured. 

At least 240 of the dead and injured were bystanders, including a man who’d just left a grocery store, a man walking to get a haircut and a Lyft driver with a passenger in his car.

To document the toll high-speed chases are taking citywide, the Chronicle analyzed more than 5,000 post-pursuit forms filled out by officers, filed a dozen-plus public information requests and spoke to family members of bystanders who were killed. 

During the five-year period:

  • Houston police officers embarked on more chases annually than their counterparts in Los Angeles and Chicago. Police here reported more pursuits than in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin combined.
  • One out of three HPD chases ended in a crash.
  • HPD-launched crashes increased 57 percent.

About 85 percent of pursuits citywide started in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, the reports analyzed by the Chronicle show. More than 80 percent of chase suspects were Black or Hispanic, HPD statistics show.

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