HOUSTON – A young woman blamed for an accident that killed an HPD detainee early Wednesday is now charged with intoxication manslaughter.
Police say Nicole Moser, 21, was drunk when she slammed into a police cruiser carrying Caroline Nicolai, 21, a public intoxication suspect.
Nicolai was thrown from the police car. Nearby neighbors heard the crash and ran outside to help.
"I looked out the window and I saw the female officer running toward the car," said Bryce Randall. "The officer asked me to elevate her legs. We just kept speaking to her trying to get her to breathe."
Nicolai later died at the hospital.
Police confirmed the victim was not properly restrained in a seatbelt, a violation of department policy.
Officer Regina Gonzales, who took her into custody, suffered minor injuries and was sent to the hospital on a stretcher. She was treated and released.
HPD said Moser admitted she had been drinking at a bar before her red Chevrolet Cobalt allegedly ran a red light on Texas at Chartres Street around 3:35 a.m.
"The officer stated she had the green light. The female driver of the Cobalt, she admitted to have been drinking some alcoholic beverages, pretty much did not know what happened," said HPD Sgt. Ignacia Izaguire at the scene. "She stated to one of our officers here that she, ‘shouldn’t have been driving, shouldn’t have been driving.’"
Moser and her passenger were injured in the crash and taken to an area hospital for treatment.
According to HPD, the 21-year-old detainee turned victim was taken into custody earlier in the night near Hobby Airport after it was determined she was a hazard to herself. She was being transported to a sobriety center when the crash occurred.
A nearby resident who heard the crash told KHOU 11 News he came outside and tried to assist the officer. He said the officer removed Nicolai's handcuffs and asked that the woman's feet be elevated.
The resident also said accidents at the intersection are common because a freeway overpass partially blocks the traffic lights as drivers approach.
The incident is being investigated by HPD’s Vehicular Crimes and Internal Affairs Divisions.
In a separate incident, an HPD lieutenant responding to the scene in an unmarked car was involved in a wreck himself at an intersection just a few blocks away. The officer was said to be OK, but the driver of the other vehicle was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.