Families file lawsuit in Baytown police chase that ended in deadly crash

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by Drew Karedes & Tim Wetzel / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 10:08 AM

BAYTOWN, Texas -- Families of two teens involved in a crash caused by a police chase filed a lawsuit against the City of Baytown Tuesday. Sixteen-year-old Shawn Williams died and 17-year-old Shay Hollingshead remains in a wheelchair. 

Dash cam video of the chase released by Baytown police shows the fiery crash.

At the time, police said officers were not bumper to bumper as the chase came to an end. The video captures flames after a shoplifting suspect’s pickup truck slammed into a car carrying the two teens.

The attorneys representing their families allege that Baytown police used a spike strip, which they say caused the accused shoplifters to lose control and eventually crash.

Williams and Hollingshead had just left work for the day back in October.

The innocent Sterling High students were waiting for a red light to turn green at the intersection of Garth Road and Rollingbrook Drive.

Williams was killed in the crash and Hollingshead is still recovering from severe injuries.

"It’s been rough, extremely rough," said Joe Hollingshead about his son’s recovery. "He is beginning to stand up and walk just a tiny bit."

Family members have been taking shifts taking care of Shay. His teachers bring him homework and friends stop by to keep him company.

"The whole community in Baytown has been wonderful," said Hollingshead.

Hollingshead says his son doesn’t remember the crash that killed his friend, Shawn.

Williams’ parents told KHOU 11 News Monday night that they want to see a change in procedure.

“For pillows and pillow sheets does not warrant over 90 miles an hour,” said Shawn Williams, Sr., Shawn’s father. “This is not the Wild West. This is the real world.

“There were too many people they weren’t protecting,” said Pleshette Williams, Shawn’s mother.

The suspect in the chase, Shannon Chauncey, is also named in the suit filed Tuesday morning at the Harris County Civil Courthouse.

Chauncey was driving the truck that careened out of control and hit the teenagers.

Police said Chauncey and his girlfriend stole from Sears and an Academy Sports store on the night they were being pursued by police.

Baytown police have said that officers followed procedures during this chase. They have pointed out that the suspect’s truck rammed into a patrol car and almost hit an officer before crashing into the teenagers.

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