“These street takeovers have claimed way too many lives,” said the Harris County Vehicular Crimes Division chief. Records show the suspect was out on bond at the time of the crash.
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — A 21-year-old man accused of fleeing from police and leading them on a high-speed chase that ended in a deadly five-car crash Friday night was out on bond when he caused the incident, according to court documents.
Damian West faces charges of murder and aggravated assault after police said he led them on a chase that ended in a deadly crash at the corner of Hempstead Highway and West Little York Road in northwest Houston.
HPD said an officer tried to pull West over at about 6:10 p.m. for reckless driving he took part in what police call a street takeover. Authorities said West fled from them in a silver Charger, leading them on a high-speed chase that lasted about ten minutes.
According to Houston Police Department’s assistant chief Ban Tien, West ran a red light at the West Little York and Hempstead intersection, causing a crash between several vehicles.
“It was so, so fast. Happened so fast and I feel the impact and my truck go that way,” said Adan, a driver who survived the crash.
Adan said he was on his way home from work and was waiting at the red light when he became part of the chain reaction crash that killed one person and sent a woman to the hospital in critical condition.
“I feel sorry for them. I give my condolences to the families. I’m pretty sad,” he said.
Harris County DA’s office Vehicular Crimes Division Chief Sean Teare said those who participate in street takeovers are the definition of a criminal street gang and authorities plan to start treating them like that.
“If you go further back, its not just him, it’s this entire group he was a part of. These street takeovers have claimed way too many lives. One more right now, and potentially another one,” said Teare.
As Adan looked back at the crash scene, he said he’s grateful his life was spared.
“I’m pretty lucky. I’m so thankful to God to give me another chance, another opportunity to be with my daughters and my sons and my wife and my parents and my whole family,” he said.
Court records show West was out on a $100 bond from a February 2021 charge of unlawfully carrying of a weapon in Harris County. He was also out on bail for theft of an ATM charge out of Fort Bend County, as well as a drug possession charge out of Wharton County.
Teare said the aggravated assault charge from Friday’s crash could be upgraded to murder if the woman in critical condition does not survive her injuries.