/  01.05.2022

A Houston cop was driving upwards of 80 miles per hour and had one hand on the steering wheel before he fatally struck a 62-year-old man walking to his barber, body camera footage shows.

As reported by The Houston Chronicle, newly released footage sheds light on the moments before officer Orlando Hernandez lost control of his police cruiser, drove onto a sidewalk and killed pedestrian Michael Wayne Jackson last month.

At the time, officers Hernandez and Anthony Aranda were driving between 80 and 100 mph on Reed Road with their lights and sirens activated to help another officer who was responding to a suspected carjacking. The road was slick from rain, the Houston Police Department said, though video shows officer Hernandez often using only one hand to steer the speeding car through traffic.

The cops were driving toward an intersection, where cars were stopped at a red light and Jackson was walking on a nearby sidewalk. Footage shows Hernandez turned the steering wheel nearly 180 degrees to avoid crashing into the cars, but the cruiser then jumped up onto the sidewalk, slamming Jackson into a dumpster.

The Chronicle writes that Hernandez was likely driving 75 mph before hitting the sidewalk. The car’s speedometer showed it was going 60 mph when he attempted to turn.

So far, Houston police have not released any other findings from their investigation. Crash investigators from the department’s vehicular crimes division previously determined that Hernandez was “traveling at an unsafe speed” and “performed a faulty evasive action.”

After the crash, footage shows Hernandez and Aranda ran to Jackson and radioed for the Houston Fire Department as people nearby screamed.

“I need HFD here,” Hernandez said to dispatch in the clip. “I just got wrecked out… [on] Scott and Reed. One male patient is going to be knocked unconscious, not breathing… bleeding from the head.”

Hernandez also shook Jackson’s body, repeating, “Sir, sir, sir. Wake up, sir.” The officer began chest compressions on the man, at which point the bodycam footage ends.

According to the Houston Fire Department, paramedics declared Jackson dead at the scene minutes later.

After the incident, the president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Doug Griffith; called Jackson’s death a “tragic accident.”

“Officers were responding to an assist while chasing robbery suspects,” he said in a statement. “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, Jackson’s brother told The Chronicle he believes the driving officer was ill-trained.

“It looks like to me [that] maybe the guys couldn’t drive that well,” his brother, Timothy Jackson, said. “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.”

So far, Hernandez has not been charged with any crimes. After the crash, both cops were reportedly placed on administrative duty for three days as per protocol, but have since returned to active duty.


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