Stolen Bedding, A Spike Strip And A Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash

A two-and-a-half-mile police chase that reached speeds in excess of 90 mph ended when the driver the police were pursuing crashed into another vehicle, fatally injuring one Texas teen and seriously injuring another. Both cars burst into flames after the collision; the 16-year-old had died at the scene and the 17-year-old had serious injuries and burns.

In a recently filed personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit, the parents of the two Texas teens are suing both the fleeing driver and the Baytown Police Department who, according to the suit, recklessly gave chase.

The suit offers new insight into the cause of the fatal car crash that unexpectedly took the life of 16-year-old Shawn Williams and seriously injured 17-year-old Shay Hollingshead. According to the suit, police used a spike strip to disable the fleeing vehicle, a detail that was not reported in the Baytown Police Department’s incident report of the fatal crash.

The lawsuit points the finger at the spike strip as the reason the teens lost their lives while waiting at the redlight. Those who witnessed the deadly crash say that the intersection was clear, but for the spike strip. When the fleeing driver hit it, he lost control and slammed into the two waiting teens.

Spike strips or traffic spikes are built with metal barbs that will puncture and flatten the tires of a vehicle that drives over them. The sudden deflation of the tires caused by the barbs can cause a car to swerve and skid out of control.

The police chase started after the driver and a female passenger were caught shoplifting bedding from a local Sears.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Lawsuit: Police ‘spike strip’ caused fiery crash that killed, injured teens,” February 7, 2013