Woman killed in crash involving HPD cruiser not 'properly restrained'

Driver who hit HPD cruiser admitted she had been drinking

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A woman transported by Houston police early Wednesday morning has died after a driver smashed into a HPD squad car.

Police said a female officer was transporting a 21-year-old woman to the Sobriety Center for public intoxication from an earlier incident at Hobby Airport.

Around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, they were at the intersection of Charters and Texas when the driver of a red Chevy Cobalt ran a red light and T-boned the cruiser.

The woman in the back of the police cruiser, later identified as Caroline Nicolai, was ejected from the patrol car. Nicolai was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Local 2 asked police if the woman killed was wearing a seat belt.

"Our policy is to have them seat belted in," said Sgt. Ignacio Izagurie with the Houston Police Department. "That is currently under investigation whether that policy was followed."

In a news release, Houston police said their "preliminary investigation indicates the female prisoner was not properly restrained in a seatbelt in the backseat of the patrol vehicle."

Police said the driver of the Cobalt admitted to drinking and driving.

"She admitted to drinking some alcoholic beverages," said Sgt. Izaguire. "She stated to officers here that she shouldn't have been driving."

The driver and her rear seat passenger were also transported to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The officer suffered minor injuries and was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Local 2's Phil Archer reports the officer involved is Regina Gonzales who has been with HPD since 1994.

The district attorney's office and the HPD Vehicular Crimes and Internal Affairs Divisions are investigating the accident.

The names of the victim and the driver were not immediately released.


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