The corner of West 25th and Brinkman Streets, seen here on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, is the closest intersection where 35-year-old Ryan Lutz was hit on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Lutz died in hospital 10 days later.

Houston police open internal investigation after letting driver escape fatal crash

The Houston Police Department’s Department of Internal Affairs is investigating the circumstances that led to a driver being released from the scene after fatally wounding a man walking his dog in the hills on April 5, only to be charged with drunk driving after hitting a parked car in the moments after the shooting. released him.

Internal affairs investigators will consider whether the initial investigation was “adequate” and whether “all policies and procedures were followed,” according to a statement from the Department of Public Health posted on Twitter late Friday.

Prateek Kumar, 33, is facing a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated due to the second incident. Earlier on Tuesday morning, Kumar was heading east on the 900 block of West 25th Street at 6:05 a.m. when he hit 35-year-old Ryan Lutz from behind, throwing him nearly 90 feet and killing Lutz’s dog. The victim was taken to the hospital, where he died a week later.

Kumar admitted he was exceeding the speed limit by about 10 mph before hitting the man, but an early crash report submitted by Vehicle Crimes Division (VCD) investigative officer J.N. Campbell on April 18 did not mention speed as a contributing factor to the crash, instead throwing The only blame is on Lutz for his alleged failure to give right-of-way to a car since he was walking down the street. However, Campbell submitted a supplemental crash report on April 27 stating that speed may have contributed to the collision.

Neither the April 18 nor the April 27 reports indicated that police believed he might be intoxicated. In a press release announcing Lutz’s death, the department reiterated the claim that the driver was “determined not to impede” before he was allowed to get back behind the wheel.

The corner of West 25th and Brinkman Streets, seen here on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, is the closest intersection where 35-year-old Ryan Lutz was hit on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Lutz died in hospital 10 days later.

Jay R. Jordan / Crohn’s Staff

Speaking through a spokesperson, VCD investigators previously refused to disclose when Kumar was released from the scene. But Raul Chiquilo, who lives immediately in front of where Kumar parked his truck after hitting Plutz, told Kron that he saw Kumar’s black truck leave around 8:20 a.m., roughly five to 10 minutes before it crashed into a Tesla a quarter away. Tendency. On plot 700 of West 25th Street.

Lewis Grill, the owner of Tesla, said he immediately thought Kumar was behaving strangely.

“It seemed a little out of the way,” Grill said of the driver’s behavior after hitting the parked car. His girlfriend, Samantha Jezeki, said the driver looked confused and “not everything is there”. She said police officers and first responders seemed “confused” by the circumstances.

This image shows the damage to a driver's pickup truck after colliding with a parked Tesla Model 3 minutes after Houston police released him from the scene of the fatal collision with a pedestrian on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

This image shows the damage to a driver’s pickup truck after colliding with a parked Tesla Model 3 minutes after Houston police released him from the scene of the fatal collision with a pedestrian on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Courtesy Louis Grill

In an affidavit of Kumar’s arrest on the DWI charge filed on April 26, A. Finley also identified the truck driver as the same man who hit Lutz earlier that morning, according to Archived Police Radio Movement.

“My incident now involves the same person who hit pedestrians,” Finley told dispatchers. “I’m not sure why it continues [unintelligible]. “


After telling the officers that Kumar was involved in the second incident, Finley tried to find out more and asked over police radio waves if an officer in the first incident was available to meet at the scene of the second incident.

“Are you able to make my scene or are you still in your scene?” asked Finley after she was directed to an unidentified officer still at the site of the first crash on the road.

“I’m on my page,” said the unknown officer.

“I think I’m here with the suspect,” Finley said.

“New scene, new suspect,” said the other officer, apparently indicating that although Kumar was the driver at both places, the police had already acquitted him at the scene, and that the two incidents should be considered independent of each other. At least one officer, identified by crash reports and archived public safety call records, as the sergeant. Rodriguez, for both scenes.

Finley performed a horizontal nystagmus, a type of field sobriety test, and said that Kumar failed four of six procedures used to determine if someone was intoxicated, according to the written arrest warrant.

Kumar also told Finley that he took a dose and a half of prescription anxiety medication around 3 a.m. that morning, according to the affidavit — three hours before Lutz was hit. He said his normal dose is one pill. The officer also heard Kumar tell paramedics that he took Xanax and Ambien, which they described to police as a “drug mix” before being taken to hospital.

Houston firefighters work at the scene where a pickup truck driver crashed into the back of a parked Tesla Model 3 minutes after Houston police released him from the scene of a fatal pedestrian collision on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Houston firefighters work at the scene where a pickup truck driver crashed into the back of a parked Tesla Model 3 minutes after Houston police released him from the scene of a fatal pedestrian collision on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

Courtesy Louis Grill

At the hospital, Kumar was ordered to undergo a blood draw which would eventually be tested for intoxicants. Police did not specify if such a test was ordered for Kumar after the first incident, and Campbell’s report on the first incident indicated that no action was taken. It was not clear if any results from Kumar’s blood drawn in the second incident could be used to prosecute him for the killing of Lutz.

It was not immediately clear to what extent the Department of Home Affairs inquired about internal affairs. It is also unclear whether the officers in question will remain on duty or be placed on administrative assignment or administrative leave as the investigation begins. Finlay, Campbell, Rodriguez, Officer E. Rubio and Officer H. Nguyen, all of whom appear in public documents related to accident investigations, remain on active duty, according to an HPD spokesperson.



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