City Sued Over Injuries in Police Chase

Two men hurt in a crash during a police chase on a Houston freeway are suing the police department, claiming officers used their vehicle as a shield. But city officials are telling a different story. Gail Delaughter reports.
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WARNING: expletive in video
A police dashboard camera shows what happened a year and a half ago when a woman driving a stolen Harris County Constable's vehicle slammed into the back of a car during a police pursuit on I-10 near North Wayside. A lawsuit filed in federal court contends Houston police used civilian vehicles as a barricade on the blind side of an overpass.

"The chase car reaches the apex, the peak of the overpass. And at that point it applies its brakes, because it's being chased by some thirty or so police cars. It applies its brakes, and it slams into the back of the vehicle that Mecole Roques and Dexter Sewell were passengers in."

Attorney Michael Callahan says the two young men were left with permanent brain injuries . Tamika Sewell says she now has to care for her 22-year-old son like a child.

"Time after time, I have to constantly remind him of situations, circumstances that, you know, he's not in school anymore, how old he is."

Attorneys are now asking for fifty-million dollars in damages in their civil rights lawsuit. But Houston city attorney David Feldman denies civilians were put in harm's way. He says officers were detouring traffic while they layed down spike strips to try to stop the stolen vehicle.

"You can second guess people all day and all night in emergency situations. But they were following, the HPD officers were certainly following procedure."

Feldman says the injured men filed a claim with the city last year for monetary damages, but that claim was denied.
Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...