Officer seen speeding in bodycam footage before fatally hitting Michael Wayne Jackson
Jackson was headed to the barber when speeding Houston officer Orlando Hernandez lost control of his police cruiser.
Body camera footage in connection with a fatal car crash on Dec. 4, in which a speeding Houston police officer drove up on the sidewalk striking and killing a 62-year-old man, has been released.
Michael Wayne Jackson was headed to his barber when Officer Orlando Hernandez lost control of the cruiser at a high rate of speed and jumped the curb.
According to The Houston Chronicle, Hernandez and partner Anthony Aranda were driving to assist fellow officers, who were apprehending five individuals involved in a carjacking. The report says the officers were driving between 80 and 100 mph in a 40 mph zone in wet weather.
The windshield wipers were activated, however, the bodycam footage shows that at times, Hernandez is driving with only one hand down Reed Road. As Hernandez approached the intersection of Reed and Scott Street, cars were stopped at the light. The officer turned the steering wheel nearly 180 degrees to avoid hitting the stopped cars, and the cruiser slid to the right, jumping the curb and hitting pedestrian Jackson and a dumpster bin.
Both officers are 25 years old and have been on the force less than five years, according to The Chronicle. They are currently still listed as on active duty after a three-day preliminary administrative leave, which has since ended, and prosecutors have not yet presented the case to a grand jury.
“I need HFD here,” Hernandez can be heard radioing to dispatch as patrons from a nearby restaurant are heard screaming. “I just got wrecked out, uh, Scott and Reed. One male patient is going to be knocked unconscious, not breathing, uh, bleeding from the head.”
The video ends with officers giving Jackson chest compressions.
Jackson’s wife of 19 years, Janice, calls the entire experience a “nightmare.” She said he was her best friend, someone who would do anything to put a smile on the faces of his family. The couple has an adopted daughter together.
“[He would] call me every day on his lunch break; say, ‘Hey, sunshine,’” the grieving Mrs. Jackson reminisces sweetly. “He’s going to make me laugh every day. I’d say, ‘Boy, you’re something else.'”
She told a local news outlet her husband was a skilled mechanic walking to get a haircut on the day of his death because he was working on his car. She said she offered to drive him, but instead, he chose to take the bus.
Tamica Burns, the victim’s stepdaughter, told ABC 13 she believes that HPD should have to pay Jackson’s funeral costs. She said the expense of trying to bury him has compounded her mother’s grief.
“She’s grieving. She’s stressing,” Burns said. “Now we have to come up with money to bury him, and it’s not fair. It’s not right.”
She started a GoFundMe effort that raised upwards of $4,000, then was deactivated. Burns said two HPD officers came to their home with pamphlets about assistance from nonprofit organizations.
Timothy Jackson, a brother of the victim, has criticized the HPD and the training of the young officers. “It looks like to me,” he said, “maybe the guys couldn’t drive that well.”
“They just weren’t ready,” he added. “Their skill level in pursuits maybe wasn’t that good because they came out of the street onto the sidewalk. They put anybody that’s on the sidewalk in danger.”
Timothy Jackson told KHOU he thinks officers need better training “because the road was wet, and was all that speed necessary?”
The man hadn’t seen the footage until it was shown to him by the news outlet, saying, “A minute, I had a brother. Another minute, he was gone.”