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Bodycam Footage Shows Houston Cop Driving at High Speed with One Hand Before Killing Pedestrian

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Houston Police Department (HPD) has released bodycam footage from a December 4, 2021, incident that showed a cop driving at a high speed before killing a senior citizen. The 62-year-old Michael Wayne Jackson, who was going to a barber, was allegedly fatally hit by officer Orlando Hernandez, who was driving a police SUV with his partner officer Anthony Aranda.

The case has yet not reached a grand jury, Harris County district attorney’s office spokesperson Dane Schiller said Monday, January 3. But the department released the two videos on December 30 from body cameras worn by driving officer Hernandez and his colleague Aranda – both 25 and working as cops for just a few years.

According to the police vehicle’s speedometer shown in a clip from Hernandez’s bodycam, he was seen sometimes driving between 80 and 100 mph down Reed Road despite the speed being restricted to 40 mph in the area. The clip also showed the officers driving while keeping on lights and siren so that another cop could get help while catching five people allegedly involved in a carjacking who reportedly escaped after a short chase.

A crash report filed by HPD also mentioned that the roads were wet that day because of the rain and videos showed the windshield wipers of the 6,300-pound Ford Police Interceptor activated as Hernandez drove it through traffic. He was also seen many times using only one hand to drive over greasy roads. A few moments later, Hernandez’s SUV was seen approaching from the east of the 4100 block of Reed Road near Scott Street around 5:40 pm while Jackson was walking west on the sidewalk.

Then a red light happened at the Reed Road and Scott Street intersection and as the cop in question sped toward the intersection, he was seen steering wheel around 180 degrees to avoid any collision. But he reportedly lost control of the vehicle a bit as it leaped the sidewalk and crushed the victim before banging into a garbage bin.

A document made from Google Maps and a diagram from HPD’s crash report stated that Hernandez fatally hit Jackson nearly 34 seconds after passing through the intersection at Cullen Boulevard, which is 3,755 feet, leading to the observation that he drove at an average speed of 75 mph before he jumped onto the sidewalk. Crash investigators with HPD’s vehicular crimes division also said that the officer was “traveling at an unsafe speed” and “performed a faulty evasive action”.

Soon after the accident, footage showed Hernandez and Aranda running towards the man. The cop called the dispatch and said, “I need HFD here. I just got wrecked out, uh, Scott and Reed. One male patient is going to be knocked unconscious, not breathing, uh, bleeding from the head.” Hernandez was also seen telling Jackson, “Sir, sir, sir. Wake up, sir.”

One more officer was seen arriving at the scene and telling Hernandez to give chest compressions to the victim. The footage ended there. Reportedly, soon after that the Houston Fire Department’s paramedics arrived and declared Jackson dead.

The old man’s brother Timothy Jackson has slammed the young officers. He told Chron.com, “It looks like to me, maybe the guys couldn’t drive that well. They just weren’t ready. Their skill level in pursuits maybe wasn’t that good, because they came out of the street onto the sidewalk. They put anybody that’s on the sidewalk in danger.”

Doug Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, called the December 4 episode a “tragic accident” and added: “Officers were responding to an assist while chasing robbery suspects. It’s my belief that the officers left the road to avoid a collision and never saw the citizen. Truly sad for all involved.” Meanwhile, charges against Hernandez will be brought or not is unclear.