Teen in coma after street racing crash in Spring
A Woodlands teenager is in a coma and another was arrested after a street-racing wreck in Spring moments after they left a screening of the movie "Need for Speed," officials said.
In a separate incident related to street racing, Harris County on Tuesday said nine people were arrested in a campaign to catch illegal street racers after a weekend racing event in Austin County.
In the Spring crash, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers said Tyler Schlegel and Karim Matta, both 17, planned to test the speed of Matta's BMW after they left the movie on Friday. Another teen, Karson Cardoza, 18, left his Hummer at the theater and was riding with Matta.
Officials said the two were racing side by side down Gosling Road when Matta hit a curb and crashed first into Schlegel's Mustang and then into a pole.
DPS trooper Erik Burse estimated the teens were driving about 65 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Matta was taken to Memorial Hermann-The Woodlands in critical condition. Cardoza also was injured and could lose his arm.
Schlegel was arrested and charged with racing/causing serious bodily injury, and also faces charges of failing to stop and render aid and resisting arrest. He drove off and tried to hide his car in a nearby parking lot, returning on foot, officials said.
"There were witnesses there who pointed him out as the other driver, then he took off running," said Burse.
Officers soon caught him, Burse said.
He said Matta may also face charges.
In the Harris County case, deputies said the campaign was timed to coincide with an event known as TX2K, considered among the largest drag-racing events in the country. The weekend of the race has long been a magnet for street racers who gather in parking lots before heading out on the roads, officials said.
"We knew they were out there and we went after them," said Harris County Sheriff's spokeswoman Christina Garza.
Teams of deputies were sent out to roadways in west Harris County off Interstate 10, she said.
"These deputies were specifically looking for street racers. We get a lot of complaints," Garza said.
Over the three-day operation, nine were arrested on misdemeanor charges of street racing and face a maximum fine of $2,000 plus 180 days in jail.
TX2K is in its 15th year and has become a five-day showcase of fast cars, according to its website. Drag races are held at Lonestar Motorsports Park in Sealy.