HOUSTON— A Houston police officer remained hospitalized late Tuesday with injuries from a car crash that happened during a high-speed chase.
Doctors at Memorial Hermann Hospital said Officer Jason Roy, 32, was out of surgery and in serious condition early Tuesday evening.
Roy and his partner, Gerald Meola Jr., were trying to pull a suspect over near Jutland and Reed around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
A police sergeant said the officers were working in a high narcotics trafficking area when they saw a vehicle turn without signaling. They tried to stop the vehicle, but the suspects – a male driver and a female passenger -- took off and led police on a high-speed chase.
Both Officer Roy and the suspect who was driving lost control while turning at a sharp curve, and crashed in the 3200 block of Almeda Genoa at Scott.
The HPD squad car rolled over several times, trapping the officers inside until rescue crews extracted them from the vehicle.
The injured officers were rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital by police escort.
The female suspect was taken into custody at the scene, but later released. The male suspect hopped out of the vehicle and fled on foot, but was later found hiding in a barn-like structure in a residential area, according to police. Charges are pending.
After the crash, officers found out the vehicle was stolen, but hadn't yet been reported.
During a press conference Tuesday morning, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Police Chief Charles McClelland and the officer’s sergeant gave more details of the accident and the medical conditions of the officers.
The sergeant said they all were very concerned because Officer Roy suffered a serious neck injury and appears to be suffering temporary paralysis.
"Well, he’s a big, stout boy; and when you’re a big, stout boy like that and you can’t feel anything from the neck below right after an accident, it scares you," the sergeant said. "He was scared, which scares us."
Mayor Parker and Chief McClelland had a chance to visit with the officer.
Parker said although Roy was severely injured in the crash, he was alert and talking before they took him into surgery.
"He described the incident and he made a point of saying he had his seat belt on," said Parker. "He said he liked his job, he tried to do his best job every day and he was worried about his family. He’s got an infant at home and he was going to miss his classes at University of Houston."
"He was thinking about other things, he wasn’t focusing on his injury," Parker added.
Chief McClelland talked about the officers' high-risk duties.
"Both of these officers are assigned to our crime reduction unit," said McClelland. "It is one of our high production units that actually make a high number of felony arrests all over town. They have citywide responsibility and we use them to attack crime trends in hot spots all over the city."
McClelland said both officers have been with the department a little over five years and are very energetic, enthusiastic, fine police officers.
"If their injuries would allow them to, they would be back at work tonight," said McClelland.
Meola was released from the hospital with only minor scratches and bruises, but Roy has a long recovery ahead.
"We ask everyone to pray for him and his family," said Parker. "We are certainly concerned for his long-term prognosis."