Houston Chronicle Police Pursuit Investigative Series – 2023


For many months I’ve been working with , an investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle. She and other HC staff have done / and continue to dig into Houston’s HORRIBLE #PoliceChase actions and outcomes.

This has turned into a multi-part series which YOU REALLY NEED TO READ – their findings are amazing and frightening.

Here are the first 5 stories. I’ll continue to post as they publish more in 2024.

Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

@andreeball @houstonchron

How Houston evades blame for bystanders wounded by high-speed police chases

What is left of a memorial for Carl Wiley, 35, who was killed at the intersection of Wilcrest Drive and Meadowglen Lane in February 2022.

Photographed on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 in Houston.
Elizabeth Conley/Staff Photographer

Dec 28, 2023

When you’re victimized by a high-speed police chase in Houston — when your relative dies in a crash, when a fleeing vehicle sideswipes your car, when you are maimed — justice will likely elude you.

The city fights you. They’ll refuse to pay.

The courts stifle you. They’ll dismiss your case.

The lawyers reject you. They’ll say it’s not worth it.

The system that should right wrongs will almost never help innocent bystanders.

The Houston Police Department’s policies led to a 47% increase in high-speed pursuits between 2018 and 2022, peaking at more than 1,500 last year. One in three of those chases resulted in a crash, injuring or killing at least 240 innocent bystanders. A least 10 of them died.

Meanwhile, untold numbers of people have suffered damage to their houses, sheds, cars, lawns, mailboxes and other personal property.

Yet almost none of them got any relief from the city to help cover their losses, a Chronicle investigation found.

Read the rest of the story HERE

A police chase plowed over an innocent bystander. Scorched and mangled, now he wants answers.

Courtney Lane lifted his heavy eyelids for the first time in two days.
He slowly scanned the room for clues. Medical bed. Clear tubes in his veins. Fresh white bandages bulged from his arms, legs, shoulder and chest.

He pushed through the haze of painkillers as memories of the crash returned in fragments.

Sitting in traffic on his motorcycle on Feb. 21, waiting for the light to change. The banging of metal. The flaming gas tank. The Honda Accord dragging him 150 feet up North Houston Rosslyn Road as it bashed its way through traffic, with police in pursuit.

The hovering helicopter. The anxious medic. Then nothing.

Read the rest of the story is here:


HPD sees high-speed chases plunge 40% after Chief Troy Finner implements tighter policies

High-speed chases initiated by Houston police have dropped 40 percent in the month since Police Chief Troy Finner tightened pursuit policies, the chief told members of the City Council on Wednesday.

Chase-related collisions also dropped 35 percent this month compared with the monthly average so far this year, Finner said.

Finner said the department was “forced to change the policy” due to a steady increase of pursuits and pursuit-related crashes, injuries and deaths over the past year. So far in October, there have been 46 pursuits reported, according to data provided to council members. There were 132 pursuits in August, the last full month before the changes were made Sept. 14.

“In this city, violent individuals commit crimes in those vehicles,” he said. “So we can’t just abandon the pursuits. But we are working smart.”

Finner said the new policy has also led to more successful pursuit terminations. Over the past month alone, pursuits terminations have increased by 35 percent, he said.

Read the rest of the story is here:


HPD to halt police chases for certain offenses in major change aimed at safety

Members of the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Departments work the scene of a fatal accident after a police chase involving two suspect in a stolen vehicle ended at Martin Luther King Boulavard and Ben Fleet Street, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Houston. Gloria Collins, the mother of an HPD sergeant, died. Two others were injured. 

Members of the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Departments work the scene of a fatal accident after a police chase involving two suspect in a stolen vehicle ended at Martin Luther King Boulavard and Ben Fleet Street, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Houston. Gloria Collins, the mother of an HPD sergeant, died. Two others were injured. 

Houston’s police chief unveiled sweeping changes to the department’s vehicle pursuit policy Thursday that might have prevented hundreds of crashes, had those changes been made earlier.

From 2018 through 2022, eight people died and 137 were injured after officers chased 2,200 drivers suspected only of traffic violations or failing to stop for police. Now, those practices are banned, Chief Troy Finner said.

“We’ve got to do even better, and the system as a whole has to do better,” the chief said.

Under the new policy, officers can no longer chase drivers suspected of Class C offenses, such as theft and minor traffic violations — the leading cause of HPD vehicle pursuits in the past five years, a Houston Chronicle analysis found.

HPD will also stop chasing people suspected of having traffic or nonviolent misdemeanor warrants, although supervisors can continue to approve chases of suspects in ongoing investigations and people driving vehicles with stolen license plates, no plates or plates that belong on another vehicle.

Read the rest of the story is here:


HPD’s loose policy enables rise in high-speed chases that killed bystanders

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.

Read the rest of the story is here:


adminHouston Chronicle Police Pursuit Investigative Series – 2023

Related Posts


Join the conversation
  • Mary - January 4, 2024 reply

    Responsibility for the deaths of three youths lies w/MOPD Chief Chaney & the Monona City Council: After the violent deaths of two youths during police chases in 2020, Monona adopted a pursuit policy restricting chases. It “barred pursuits involving high speeds or dangerous driving unless there was probable cause that someone in the vehicle had committed, or was about to commit, a violent felony.” . . . “Monona’s City Council adopted revisions to that policy in late 2022, after the city’s police chief argued the previous policy was too restrictive. . .”1 MOPD has been out of control w/police pursuits since; involved in well over a dozen in 2023. 2 Just days before these deaths, Chief Chaney is on record w/the media ‘We don’t play,’ Monona police chief warns criminals after two chases.” 3 So, now Wisconsin has the death penalty carried out extrajudicially by the Monona Police Department. MOPD & Monona City Council have blood on their hands . . . again.
    1. https://www.wpr.org/wisconsin-doj-investigating-after…; https://www.channel3000.com/…/article_260436a8-a9b7….
    2. https://www.wkow.com/…/article_640b3fc6-a9c3-11ee-83dd….
    3. https://www.msn.com/…/we-don-t-play-monona…/ar-AA1mdwIl

  • Mary - January 5, 2024 reply

    SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS: “3 killed in crash after Monona police chase were ‘bright, loving, compassionate,’ friends say; [Rashad] Nelson, 30, had been a man of strong faith, . . . ‘Rashad loved his entire family and would do anything to keep them safe and on track,’ . . ‘He took care of everyone who called on him, and everyone did.’ [Rashad]’s caring nature extended to 19-year-old Ray, the ‘very loving tomboy who Rashad took under his wing,’ . . . . ‘We all loved her like family. She was sweet, smart, respectful and loving every time I saw her or interacted with her.’ . . [Aaron] Wilson admired him for his devotion to his family, his ‘heart of gold’ and ‘loyal beyond measure’ nature. . . .’He was a devoted father to his daughter and a loyal man to his significant other,’ she said. ‘I know he’s in heaven with his mother and sister now with angel wings because he was truly an earth angel.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *