Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman has fired one of his deputies after the officer failed to tell supervisors of his or her involvement in a fatal accident on Saturday night.
“As a result of our investigation, the deputy has been terminated,” Herman wrote in a news release. His office has declined to identify the deputy.
In the release, Herman said a deputy had chased a car driven by two teen girls in Cypress around 10 p.m. that evening. The car, a Volkswagen Jetta, crashed on a resident stretch of Queenslake Drive. The driver, Jenna Ellsmore, spun out, flipped and smashed into a concrete culvert.
Ellsmore was taken by helicopter in critical condition to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Her passenger, Lily Haugen, died at the scene.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office reported Haugen's death on Sunday. In a news release, it said Ellsmore crashed because she “was driving at a high rate of speed and missed negotiated [sic?] a curve in the roadway.” The release did not say a deputy was involved in the accident. And the 911 call about the accident was made not by a police officer, but a passing motorist, the Houston Chronicle reported.
It seemed like a relatively typical, albeit tragic, car crash — that is, until Harris County Constable Precinct 4 sent out its own statement.
That news release raises big questions about how that fatal crash occurred. It says a deputy had “attempted a traffic stop on the vehicle" before it spun out and flipped. To make matters worse, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office only discovered the connection when a sergeant watched video of the traffic incident and realized it “may be related to a fatality accident to that occurred in the same area," according to the release.
It could be a while before the public knows exactly what happened. “Due to the ongoing investigation, we will be unable to make any further statements at this time,” the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office said. Constable Herman was unavailable for comment.