Simon Gutierrez Jahuey is unable to speak or eat on his own after a Harris County, Texas, sheriff’s deputy shot him in the neck last month during a high-speed chase. Officers had pursued Jahuey, who was unarmed, at speeds reaching 100 mph for half an hour when Deputy Richard King pulled alongside Jahuey’s fleeing minivan and fired to end the chase. Jahuey, suspected of harboring a 13-year-old runaway, veered right and barreled onto an Interstate 45 access road before coming to a halt.
Harris County sheriff’s deputies have turned to deadly force during car chases four times since 2002, killing one and wounding four, a Houston Chronicle analysis of shootings shows. Among the people they pursued and shot were a man driving with his headlights off and another who had stolen DVDs from a drugstore. Neither was armed. One was killed, the other wounded. By comparison, the Houston Police Department and most other Harris County agencies have not used deadly force to end a car chase in more than six years. Officials in other departments say the tactic poses as many or more risks as the pursuit.