Wednesday, July 07, 2010

DPS Trooper Shoots Driver After Pulling Him Over For Speeding

Yesterday morning -- very early, about 1 AM -- on Interstate 45 in Montgomery County, not too far from Willis, Texas, a DPS Trooper was setting in his squad car, monitoring the radar as traffic rolled past him.  Weather reports show that while the area had seen lots of rain in the aftermath of Hurricane Alex, it wasn't raining at the time. 

Zip, zip:  a car sped by.  Radar clocked it at 100 mph. 

The Department of Public Safety officer drove off in pursuit, and soon enough the race ended.  The speedster stopped his car on I 45, just north of the Interstate 45 and Longstreet intersection. 

No crash.  No weaving through rush hour traffic.  Guy was driving fast at night on a lonely stretch of road, got caught by radar, and DPS was about to give him a big, fat ticket.  

But then, something happened -- and we're still not sure what that was except that the Montgomery County media has been informed that a "physical altercation" happened there on the roadside between the Trooper and the driver.  MyFox Houston is reporting that the guy tried to "resist arrest."  No source given.   The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the man exited his vehicle after being pulled over, and somehow the Trooper "feared for his safety" and shot the guy.  No source given.

What we are sure about:  the driver was shot.  By the DPS Trooper. 

And it was a serious gunshot wound:  first, the wounded driver was taken by emergency medical crew to Hermann Hospital in the Woodlands.  Later, he was LifeFlighted to Hermann Medical Center in Houston, and at last report, he's remains in critical condition.

Critical, as in this guy almost died and he's not out of the woods yet. 

It's reported that several agencies are investigating this incident.  The Texas Rangers are involved.  So is the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, and the Montgomery County District Attorney.

No reports that the driver was armed in any way.  No weapon -- and it's pretty safe to bet that if this guy had a gun, or a knife, or some wild Martial Arts gizmo, that the DPS representatives would be hot to give the press that info at the get-go. 

So, looks like the guy was not armed. 

No dashcam video has been released, which might help to explain things -- and one has to wonder what story that camera may tell.  Remember the beatings caught on video when the Beaumont cops pulled over the two men over in a routine traffic stop?  It took two years before that video was released to the public (watch it here).

Why Did the Trooper Choose the Hand Gun Over a Stun Gun?

What about those Tasers?  We've reported cops tasering drunks, grandmas, the mentally ill, a pastor, and even their spouses -- if the Trooper "feared for his safety" wasn't this the perfect opportunity to use a stun gun?  The phrase "excessive force" comes to mind ....

We've already written about Montgomery County's problem with tasers -- the Sheriff's Department was involved in the Taser death of suspect Robert Lee Welch, 50 years old, and it was ruled a homicide by Taser last February. Does this mean that the Trooper was so wary of using a Taser that he pulled his GUN instead?

What's to learn here? 

Cops are humans with weapons that can kill you, strapped to their sides.  When they pull you over, you need to be careful.  They can shoot you.  We know, because they do.