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Police Chief Punished

Houston police chief sent to driving school, suspended for hitting a pedestrian in crosswalk

Houston police chief McClelland accident
Houston police chief Charles McClelland accepted a one-day suspension for accidentally striking a pedestrian with his car. Courtesy of Houston Police Department
Houston police chief McClelland accident
The police chief will be suspended without pay and will take a defensive driving course. Courtesy of Houston Police Department
Houston police chief McClelland accident
The victim suffered minor injuries to both arms. Courtesy of Houston Police Department
Houston police chief McClelland accident
Courtesy of Houston Police Department

Houston police chief Charles McClelland is accepting a one-day suspension from Mayor Annise Parker for striking a pedestrian with his car earlier this month. The department's highest-ranking official forgoes a full-day's pay and will enroll in a defensive driving course.

"I was at fault and will hold myself to a higher accountability," the chief explained during a Thursday press conference. "I am the boss. I should take a bigger discipline. That is why I am accepting my suspension."

"I was at fault and will hold myself to a higher accountability," the chief explained. 

The mishap occurred as McClelland was driving to work on Sept. 4 at 8:15 a.m. — coincidentally, the same morning as the tragic Spring High School stabbings.

The police chief made a left turn from Clay onto Travis when he hit pedestrian James Harris as he crossed the street. The victim, an attorney and father of three, was sent to St. Joseph’s Medical Center with minor injuries to both arms. He was checked out from the hospital within several hours.

"It was just an accident," McClelland told reporters the day of the incident. "I had a green light and he had a green light to walk across the street. For whatever reason, I didn’t see him."

At the time, McClelland said he was wearing a seat belt, not talking on a cellphone or texting and traveling only a few miles per hour in a city-owned Jeep Cherokee.

Houston Police Department released a video of the accident following McClelland's announcement:

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