By Shelley Childers and Erica Simon
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — A Harris County deputy’s vehicle hit the back of a stopped 18-wheeler on Highway 249, causing the law enforcement unit to basically tear apart in what the sheriff called a “pretty horrific impact.”
The critically-injured deputy was then rushed to a hospital where he died from his injuries Wednesday.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez identified the fallen deputy as 27-year-old Robert Adam Howard.
“We’re devastated that we’re losing such a great teammate described as a workhorse, described as having a great personality, funny, and just outgoing,” Gonzalez said as a large showing from different law enforcement officials stood behind him outside Memorial Hermann in The Woodlands. “We have a lot of heavy hearts.”
The original crash wasn’t the only thing that concerned the sheriff’s office. Another deputy, who was escorting Howard on a motorcycle, fell off on I-45. The deputy is considered to be in fair condition at the hospital, Gonzalez said.
Howard, who grew up in Jersey Village and was a Cy-Woods High School grad, leaves behind a wife, a 5-year-old son, and a 2-year-old daughter.
The first of the two incidents involving Harris County deputies was reported just before 2 p.m. on northbound Highway 249 at Spring Cypress Road in northwest Harris County.
A deputy was involved in a crash with an 18-wheeler, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
“Deputy is being transported to a hospital in critical condition,” Gonzalez tweeted. “Please keep our deputy in your prayers.”
SkyEye was over the scene and captured the mangled wreckage of a Harris County Sheriff’s Office unit on one shoulder and a big rig stopped on the other. Part of the wreckage was also still attached to the trailer.
The sheriff later stated that Deputy Howard’s vehicle had struck the rear of the 18-wheeler that was stopped on the shoulder.
Gonzalez also had to address details of another crash that happened about 30 minutes after the Highway 249 incident.
A deputy on a motorcycle had fallen off on northbound I-45 North Freeway just before the Woodlands Parkway. Houston TranStar verified the crash at 2:30 p.m.
Fortunately, the deputy in this other incident was not as seriously injured.
“The (motorcycle) deputy has been transported to a hospital in fair condition,” Gonzalez tweeted.
Gonzalez originally stated that the incident was unrelated to the Highway 249 crash, but in a tweet just before 4 p.m., the sheriff corrected himself.
“The second crash occurred during the escort of the 1st deputy to the hospital,” Gonzalez said.
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