When law enforcement take people into custody, there are certain protocols that are supposed to be followed. When they aren’t followed, the results can be devastating. Austin readers might have heard about an incident in another part of the state that resulted in a fatal crash that killed a woman who was in police custody.

The accident happened on Oct. 2. A Houston Police Department officer was transporting a 21-year-old woman to a sobriety center when the cruiser was struck by a vehicle driven by another 21-year-old woman who allegedly ran a red light. The detainee was thrown from the cruiser and died later at a local hospital. The police officer was also injured and taken to a local hospital where she was treated and released.

The driver of the car that struck the cruiser, as well as her passenger, also suffered injuries and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. Authorities state that the woman was intoxicated when the crash happened. She’s been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

To complicate matters, authorities have confirmed that the officer did not place the detainee in a seat belt. Had the woman been restrained, she might not have been thrown from the cruiser. Also, the intersection where the accident took place is prone to accidents because the signal light is partially obscured by a highway overpass. Although the officer stated she had the green light, it’s possible that the woman who stuck the cruiser did not see the light before entering the intersection.

For the family of the woman who was killed, these issues could play a part in their decision regarding whether to seek compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit could name more than one person or entity as a defendant.

Source:  KHOU.com, “Police: Woman who caused deadly HPD crash was drunk” Larry Seward, Oct. 02, 2013