Texas deputy hits, kills Uber driver during pursuit with suspect
The deputy rear-ended the Uber driver while trying to pullover a teenage suspect
By Nicole Hensley and Julian Gill
HARRIS COUNTY — A brief police pursuit ended in tragedy early Sunday when a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy struck and killed a 40-year-old father working his second job as an Uber driver, according to authorities and the man’s family.
Bismark Asare was driving a 2014 Honda Accord in the 18200 block of the Katy Freeway service road with a 27-year-old passenger at the time of the crash. The deputy had been chasing a Chrysler 300 with two occupants, only identified as a woman and a 17-year-old boy. The chase lasted roughly three minutes and hit speeds up to 90 mph, authorities said.
The death of Asare, who primarily worked as a respiratory therapist in Houston, left family members angry at the sheriff’s office for what they felt was a reckless chase.
“The police need to reform their policy and stop killing innocent family members,” said his wife Beatrice Bruce. “He didn’t have any criminal record. He was innocent and doing what he was supposed to do to take care of his family.”
The office’s pursuit policy was not immediately available Sunday. Sheriff’s office spokesman Jason Spencer said the deputy engaged in the pursuit because he believed a passenger in the suspect’s car was in danger.
“This is just a tragic situation that you can trace back to the actions of a driver who refused to stop for a deputy who was attempting to make a traffic stop,” he said. “And it was the driver of that vehicle that made the decision to put peoples’ lives in danger and ultimately resulted in the life (of Asare).”
It remained unclear late Sunday whether the female suspect or the 17-year-old boy was driving the Chrysler at the time of the chase, Spencer said.
The chase started around 1:30 a.m. when the deputy spotted the 17-year-old arguing with a woman in a parking lot on Fry Road and the Katy Freeway. The two got into the Chrysler, and driver then sped up to 90 mph with the deputy following them, authorities said. The driver kept going even as the deputy tried pulling over the vehicle.
Minutes into the chase, the suspect veered around Asare’s vehicle to avoid crashing on the service road, but the deputy rear-ended the ride-share car instead, officials said.
The patrol vehicle careened off the road and hit a line of trees. Asare’s vehicle came to rest in the median. He was pronounced dead at a hospital, while his passenger was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The deputy was also taken to a hospital and released later in the day.
Meanwhile, the suspects also crashed and bolted across the four lanes of traffic to escape. An off-duty deputy working security at Texas Children's Hospital found the boy, who was not immediately identified, and took him into custody. He was transported to a hospital.
Deputies were still searching for the woman who was with him. They believe she fled in another vehicle, possibly a black and white Jeep.
Major Jesse Razo said alcohol was likely a factor in the crash and that the 17-year-old was out on bond for an unspecified felony.
Sean Teare, head of the Harris County District Attorney's Office Vehicular Crimes Division, said investigators will look into how the teen accessed alcohol — whether it was through a business or at a home.
Bruce, Asare’s wife, said the couple originally arrived in Houston from Ghana in 2011. They have a 7-year-old daughter. Asare was a pious man who never drank or smoked, she said.
Bruce’s sister, Nancy Bentum, said the family is waiting to get specific details about the crash from the sheriff’s office. She said her main concern is whether authorities tended to Asare immediately following the collision.
The family wants his death to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
“Regardless of how you are chasing somebody … your speed limit has to reduce,” Bentum said, adding that “only the innocent person died.”
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