Body camera footage released shows Houston Police officer Orlando Hernandez driving with one hand and speeding in his police SUV when he fatally hit Michael Wayne Jackson before running into a dumpster last month, Complex reports.
Immediately after the Dec. 4 incident took place, Hernandez jumped out of his car to administer CPR to Jackson after calling an ambulance. The 62-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. His cause of death was listed as “multiple blunt force injuries,” according to Complex.
“He was just a loving person,” his wife, Janice Jackson, told Click 2 Houston. “He was a loving person and he was just so kind and so nice to people.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the 25-year-old officer is said to normally drive between 80 to 100 mph down the same street where the accident took place. The street has a 40 mph speed limit. According to the video footage, the roads were wet from rain and the officer had his windshield wipers operating.
He allegedly ran into the pedestrian when he ran through a red light at an intersection.
“Our prayers are going out to the victim and his family,” Houston Police Executive Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said at a news conference, according to Complex.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave in light of the situation. He’s been with the force for a little less than two years. Houston Police Department Internal Affairs and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation into the case. Upon its completion, the case will be brought before a grand jury that will decide if Hernandez should be charged for Jackson’s death.
“The officers were responding to a violent felony,” Assistant District Attorney Sean Teare said, according to Complex. “And that is something we are going to take into account. … We are not going to treat this case any different because it involves officers. It involves a human being who lost his life. So we’re going to be looking at it through that lens.”
President of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Doug Griffith, echoed Teare’s statement. According to the Chronicle, he called the situation a “tragic accident.”
“Officers were responding to an assist while chasing robbery suspects,” Griffith said. “It’s my belief that the officers left the road to avoid a collision and never saw the citizen. Truly sad for all involved.”
Timothy Jackson, the victim’s brother, speculates that the officer wasn’t trained well enough to drive at high speeds when Jackson was killed.
“It looks like to me, maybe the guys couldn’t drive that well,” Timothy told the Chronicle. “They just weren’t ready. Their skill level in pursuits maybe wasn’t that good, because they came out of the street onto the sidewalk. They put anybody that’s on the sidewalk in danger.”