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October 03, 2013
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Houston cops under fire after cruiser crash kills suspect

The woman in custody was not seat belted in and was ejected from the squad when it was hit by another vehicle

By Dale Lezon
Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — A crash that killed a 21-year-old woman in police custody on Wednesday will be investigated by the Houston Police Department's internal affairs division after it was revealed the woman was not restrained by a seat belt.

Police said the woman was handcuffed in the back seat of a squad car after an officer arrested her on a public intoxication charge. The cruiser was northbound on Chartres about 3:30 a.m. when the driver of a red Chevrolet Cobalt eastbound on Texas apparently ran a red light and rammed the rear of the squad car.

The woman, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from the cruiser. She was taken to Ben Taub General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The Houston Police Department is required to follow state seat belt laws, said HPD spokeswoman Jodi Silva. Drivers and passengers must buckle up when a car is in motion, per Texas law.

Nicole Moser, the driver of the Cobalt, was charged with intoxication manslaughter. Moser, 21, told an officer at the scene that she had been at a bar, police said.

Moser and her passenger were taken to a nearby hospital. Details of their injuries were not released, but police said the injuries were non-life-threatening.

The officer had minor injuries and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Copyright 2013 the Houston Chronicle

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