Local

Teen killed, another injured in police chase wreck

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
A teenage driver was killed in an early morning chase through Montgomery and Walker counties. A teenage driver was killed in an early morning chase through Montgomery and Walker counties.

A late night joyride ended in tragedy after the 14-year-old driver leads authorities on a high speed chase, ending in a deadly crash.

What's not clear is why the trooper wanted to pull over the teen driver in the first place. Grieving family members tell me Kolin Johnson was a typical 14-year-old who loved basketball and rap music. They also say he constantly struggled to overcome the emotional scars left behind from a rough childhood.

Looking at the mangled wreckage of the Toyota sedan, it's a miracle anyone survived the crash. The teen driver, 14-year-old Kolin Johnson of Conroe was killed. His 13-year-old passenger suffered a broken leg.

Johnson's cousin Luke Sasser said, "The family is real distraught right now and tore up."

Sasser says on Monday night Johnson stole the keys to his grandmother's car and went joyriding with his friend 13-year-old Gustavo Casillas who'd been staying the night. A DPS trooper tried to pull him over for a traffic stop. Johnson refused and led the deputy on a high speed chase starting in Willis up Highway 75 north, almost into Huntsville, then onto 1374. As he headed towards I-45, Johnson took a curve too fast.

Sgt. Terry Barnhill with Texas Department of Public Safety said, "The suspect was traveling over 100 miles an hour, he came through about a 45 degree turn, lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a telephone pole."

Johnson was recently let out of juvenile detention and was living with his grandmother, who was his legal guardian. With a father in prison and losing his mother at an early age, Sasser says Johnson was troubled but had a good heart.

"He was just starting to get his life back together and made a stupid mistake, and unfortunately it cost him his life," Sasser said.

Casillas was taken by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital. He remains in fair condition with a broken leg.

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huntsville, local, andy cerota
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