The Houston Police Department released video footage of the police chase that killed 62-year old Michael Wayne Jackson on December 4, 2021. The video footage was pulled from the body cam worn by the officer who ran Jackson over, as well as that worn by his partner when the two were responding to an alleged car robbery of a vehicle that was already being tracked by the HPD.
In the footage, it’s clear the police officer was driving at an excessive speed and without precaution. Houston news outlet, Chron, reports the officer was driving between 80 and 100 miles per hour, and that he would’ve been going around 60 MPH when he drove onto the sidewalk and struck Michael Wayne Jackson:
Moreover, the police officer was speeding with one hand on the wheel of the HPD SUV, while traveling over unsafe road conditions, per Chron:
Hernandez at times drove the 6,300-pound Ford Police Intercepter between 80 and 100 mph down Reed Road, according to the cruiser’s speedometer shown in a five-minute clip from his bodycam. Traffic on Reed Road is limited to 40 mph.
Reed Road was wet from a recent rain shower that Saturday afternoon, according to a crash report filed by HPD. Video shows the cruiser’s windshield wipers were activated as Hernandez maneuvered the police SUV through traffic, appearing on multiple occasions to be using only one hand to steer the speeding vehicle over slick residential roads.
A preliminary report from the HPD’s vehicular crimes division said the officer was “traveling at an unsafe speed” and “performed a faulty evasive action.” The Chron report details this as follows, emphasis mine:
Jackson was walking west on the sidewalk in the 4100 block of Reed Road near Scott Street as Hernandez’s cruiser approached from the east around 5:40 p.m. Several cars were stopped at a red light at the Reed Road and Scott Street intersection, police said. As Hernandez sped toward the intersection, video shows the officer turn the steering wheel nearly 180 degrees to avoid colliding with other cars. Hernandez’s cruiser slid slightly right, jumping the sidewalk and hitting Jackson before slamming into a Dumpster bin in a nearby parking lot.
Paramedics with the Houston Fire Department pronounced Jackson dead shortly after the collision. The officers were placed on administrative duty after the fatal pursuit, but Chron states they are “currently listed as active duty, according to an HPD spokesperson.”
The police officers returned to active duty after their 3-day administrative duty lapsed. The case is currently open, and an independent investigation led by the Harris County District Attorney is ongoing. Prosecutors have yet to decide if they will present the case before a grand jury and if they will charge the officers.