How A Police Flight-Risk Decision Went Bad In Houston


Houston police say they had enough evidence to arrest a now-fugitive 25-year-old foreign student charged with manslaughter in a crash that killed three teens last week but chose to release him while they gathered more evidence, believing he was not a flight risk, says the Houston Chronicle. Sajan Timalshina, a resident of Nepal in the U.S. on a student visa, is believed to have fled the country the same day as the accident.

“The evidence we had at the time, they believed he was a safe risk,” said police Capt. Bill Staney. “Given what they had at the time, it could have gone either way. It turned out badly.” Katty Alaniz, whose daughter Avianca died in the crash, said she was frustrated police let Timalshina go. “Where is the justice at? Why didn’t they take action on this? What kind of example are they giving to the children – all the teenagers growing up – what kind of example are they giving?” she said. “Why are all these signs up saying ‘Don’t drink and drive.’ What are they for? Just to put them up there?” Officers mistakenly believed Timalshina’s claim that he drank only a quarter of a beer, allowing him to evade arrest, Staney said. “His story is not consistent with the chemical outcome,” said Staney. “Hindsight being what it is, I absolutely would prefer that he be put in jail that night.”

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