The Houston Police Department is scratching its head as to how a roll of yellow crime scene tape was replaced with caution tape reading "GarageFloorCoating.com" during a recent investigation of a fatal roadside crash.
Around 4:30 a.m. on Monday, police officers arrived at a horrific accident site near the intersection of Holman and Dowling.
Four Houston Fire Department crew members were treating a person for cardiac arrest in the back of a parked ambulance when their vehicle was struck by a speeding Dodge Journey crossover. The Dodge driver was pronounced dead at the scene, while five firefighters as well as the heart attack patient and his wife were rushed to nearby hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.
"I don't know if that's the best advertising for us to be around a crime scene."
"It appears to have been an isolated incident," HPD spokesperson John Cannon tells CultureMap. "Right now, our division commanders are instructing all officers to check their vehicles for the wrong tape."
But as reporters and passers-by flocked to the scene, many noticed that the usual yellow caution tape surrounding the wreckage was promoting Garage Floor Coating.com, an Arizona-based company that provides special flooring products for garages.
"The Houston Police Department does not purchase crime scene tape with advertising on it," Cannon says.
According to an early internal investigation, Cannon says that due to the severity of the accident, there was an immediate need to rope off the crash site as the crowd of onlookers and emergency workers grew.
Apparently, one of the two on-duty officers simply grabbed the tape from the back of the police car, not noticing the advertisements until the yellow caution tape was removed.
Both HPD and officials from the garage floor company are miffed by the situation, each suspecting that a mistake was made further up the police tape supply chain.
"I don't know if that's the best advertising for us to be around a crime scene," Joyce Chmura from Garage Floor Coating.com told the Houston Chronicle, which first reported the tape switch up. "This had to be a mix-up with the manufacturing facility. That's my best guess."