HOUSTON—The 21-year-old driver who was in a high-speed chase with police Thursday afternoon, now faces six felony charges, including murder, police said. Her accomplices were charged with felony theft and felony evading arrest, police said.
Police said the women were fleeing from officers after they allegedly shoplifted men’s shirts at Deerbrook Mall. In the car with Franklin were Racquel Gonzalez and Ashley Howard, both 21.
Shiquinta Franklin is accused of running a red light at Quitman and the Eastex Freeway service road in northeast Houston. Police said she slammed into a car killing 43-year-old Rosalva Quezada and critically injuring Quezada’s three sons.
Quezada, a stay-at-home mom, had just picked her sons up from school.
Her 7-year-old son has a broken leg and arm and brain swelling, a relative said. His 9-year-old and 15-year brothers suffered less serious injuries, according to family members. The older boy was in Ben Taub Hospital, while the younger ones were in Texas Children’s Hospital.
“I have kids and it’s hard. I don’t know what I can say ‘cause it’s hard,” said Norma Arteaga, a friend.
Emma Mendez said she drove right by the crash, not realizing it was her sister-in-law and her nephews. A reporter knocking on her door gave her the bad news.
The victim’s husband Hector Mendez was walking home from work because she never showed up to pick him up. He walked up on the crash and saw that it was his family.
“It’s crazy because you don’t know if you’re going to die tomorrow,” Arteaga said.
The victim’s elderly neighbor, Margarita Espinosa, said Quezada used to help her. She said she was a great mother with well-behaved boys. She said she hopes God has a “good destiny” for the mother of three. Speaking in Spanish, she said she will do what she can for Quezada’s sons.
Oddly enough, a couple months ago the family had another bad encounter with a suspect fleeing police. Quezada’s husband had to jump out of the way when a suspect slammed into his family’s parked van, Espinosa said.
The driver in Thursday’s fatal pursuit now faces six felony charges, including murder, theft, evading arrest and causing an accident involving injury.