Drunk Driver Rams Houston Police Car, Two Officers Severely Injured

December 25, 2018 Updated: December 25, 2018

Two Houston police officers are recovering from injuries after a suspected drunk driver turned in the path of their speeding patrol car, leading to an accident that caused the patrol car to burst into flames.

The crash occurred just after midnight on Dec. 24. Police officers John Daily and Alonso Reid, both 25, were responding to an emergency call, traveling at high speed with lights flashing and siren wailing.

A Hispanic male, 23, driving a full-size SUV suddenly made a right turn and hit the speeding patrol car, causing it to roll over several times. The crumpled car instantly caught on fire.

Thanks to help from a brave civilian passerby, Officer Reid exited the car. The civilian and Officer Reed the returned to the blazing wreck to rescue officer Daily. Officer Daily sustained burns to more than half of his body.

The suspect was identified as Cesar Collazo, 23. Collazo was charged with two counts of felony, failure to stop and render aid, and two counts of felony intoxication assault with serious bodily injury on a public servant.

Cesar Collazo faces multiple charges
Cesar Collazo, 23, was charged with two counts of felony, failure to stop and render aid, and two counts of felony intoxication assault with serious bodily injury on a public servant. (Houston Police Department)

‘Christmas Miracle’ Praised

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Police Chief Art Acevedo delivered a press briefing at 3:30 a.m. at the hospital and another on Monday afternoon. The second briefing was posted on Twitter.

“I simply want to ask the people of the city of Houston to pray for both of these officers, officer Reed and officer Daily,” Mayor Turner said in a Twitter post. “Pray for their families.”

Acevedo echoed the call for prayer, and emphasized how despite a violent accident the two officers had somehow managed to survive.

“We know that unless something terrible happens that is unforeseen, he is expected to survive but he is in serious condition, and what we need are prayers for his full recovery,” Acevedo said. “This is a Christmas miracle that we are standing here talking about officers that are hospitalized, and not officers who are dead.”

Photos from the scene show the car in which the two officers were traveling as now barely recognizable as a car, he said.

Both the mayor and police chief had spoken with officer Reid, who was in good spirits despite the second-degree burns. They were unable to speak with officer Daily, who was due for surgery at 4:30 a.m. and scheduled for more surgery later in the day.

“Our officer is supposed to be flying home to see his mother and father in California … but instead of going to see his family they’re going to come here because they got a call nobody should get,” Acevedo said of officer Daily during the first briefing, LMT Online reported. “And that’s that their 25-year-old vibrant son, who is just starting his career with the Houston Police Department, is in here fighting for his life.”

“We continue to ask for the public’s prayers, and what we need to be focused on is prayers for a full recovery so officer Daily can resume his career,” Acevedo said later in the afternoon.

Name of Rescuer Withheld

Acevedo said he hoped to have details on the identity of the driver later on the 24th, once charges had been officially filed. He declined to identify the civilian who helped rescue the two officers.

“We want to respect that person’s privacy until we have an opportunity to celebrate this passerby that helped officer Reed get out of the vehicle, what was left of it,” he said. “Officer Reed and that civilian went in and got officer Daily out of that patrol car while it was engulfed in flames and before—I would say within seconds of being able to get him out without him dying.”

Acevedo pointed out there had been three instances of drunk drivers hitting police cruisers that night, and emphasized there was absolutely no excuse for drunk driving.

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From NTD.com