‘Intentional, criminal act’: 1 dead after semitrailer crashes into Texas DPS building, 14 others seriously injured

AUSTIN (KXAN/AP) — A Texas semitrailer driver rammed a stolen 18-wheeler into a public safety building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s license had been rejected, killing one person and injuring 13 others, authorities said Friday.

The driver — identified as Clenard Parker, 42 — was pulled out of the truck by authorities after smashing into a Texas Department of Public Safety office in the rural town of Brenham, outside of Houston, Sgt. Justin Ruiz said.

  • Emergency personnel work at the scene after an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas, Friday, April 12, 2024. A suspect is in custody in connection to a commercial vehicle crash at the Texas Department of Public Safety office in the rural town west of Houston. Texas DPS officials say multiple injuries were reported in the crash. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
  • First responders on the scene after a stolen 18-wheeler crashed into a Texas Department of Public Safety office on US-290 in Brenham, Texas on Friday, April 12, 2024. The driver of a stolen semitrailer intentionally rammed it into the Texas public safety office in a rural town west of Houston on Friday, injuring multiple people, according to a state lawmaker. (Meredith Seaver /College Station Eagle via AP)
  • First responders on the scene after a stolen 18-wheeler crashed into a Texas Department of Public Safety office on US-290 in Brenham, Texas on Friday, April 12, 2024. The driver of a stolen semitrailer intentionally rammed it into the Texas public safety office in a rural town west of Houston on Friday, injuring multiple people, according to a state lawmaker. (Meredith Seaver /College Station Eagle via AP)
  • First responders on the scene after a stolen 18-wheeler crashed into a Texas Department of Public Safety office on US-290 in Brenham, Texas on Friday, April 12, 2024. The driver of a stolen semitrailer intentionally rammed it into the Texas public safety office in a rural town west of Houston on Friday, injuring multiple people, according to a state lawmaker. (Meredith Seaver /College Station Eagle via AP)
  • Emergency personnel work at the scene after an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas, Friday, April 12, 2024. A suspect is in custody in connection to a commercial vehicle crash at the Texas Department of Public Safety office in the rural town west of Houston. Texas DPS officials say multiple injuries were reported in the crash. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
  • Emergency personnel work at the scene after an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas, Friday, April 12, 2024. A suspect is in custody in connection to a commercial vehicle crash at the Texas Department of Public Safety office in the rural town west of Houston. Texas DPS officials say multiple injuries were reported in the crash. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)

Authorities say Parker was taken into custody but did not say which charges he would face.

“This deliberate, heinous act is a reminder of the dangerous work done by our law enforcement and licensing agencies that work to provide public safety and services,” Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst said in the statement.

The department said DPS troopers were in a pursuit involving the stolen vehicle when it went into the building.

Of those injured, two people were flown to CHI St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan, one was flown to Memorial Hermann in Houston and three people were transported to Baylor Scott and White in Brenham but have since been released. Eight people were treated on the scene. Kolkhorst said in the statement that no DPS staff suffered serious injuries and one staffer was trapped “for a period of time” in the building.

Texas DPS officials said in a social media post on X that the crash happened at the agency’s office in Brenham, Texas, located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of Houston and requested people avoid the area to clear the way for responding medical personnel.

The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident and there is no further threat, DPS officials said Friday.

Images from the scene showed a large, red tractor-trailer hauling material on a flatbed in the parking lot of the building. The front end of the 18-wheeler was damaged and covered with debris from the front doors of the office. Debris was also scattered out front near a gaping hole in the entrance.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is a sprawling agency and one of the largest state law enforcement operations in the country. It includes troopers who are a central part of a massive border security operation on the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the Texas Rangers, the state’s top criminal investigators. But the department also has offices across the state that issue driver’s licenses.

City of Brenham officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking further information.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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