1 dead, several injured after 18-wheeler crashed into Texas Department of Public Safety office, driver arrested

A man drove a stolen 18-wheeler into a Texas Department of Public Safety building Friday, killing one person and injuring 13 others, according to local officials.

The driver of the stolen 18-wheeler was identified as Clenard Parker, 42, from Chappell Hill, law enforcement officials said in a Friday news conference. He was uninjured and taken into custody.

Parker was denied his commercial driver’s license at the Brenham DPS office on Thursday afternoon, according to authorities and was fleeing pursuing deputies at the time of the crash.

“This is a tragic day for us,” department regional supervisor Gerald Brown said at the news conference. “My heart and prayers goes out to the family members of those that are injured, as well as those that are injured.”

Parker was charged with “three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury, one count of evading arrest or detention causing serious bodily injury, and one count of unauthorized use of a vehicle,” Texas DPS Sgt. Justin Ruiz told CNN on Monday. The DPS on Thursday filed additional charges, including one for felony murder.

Brenham Mayor Atwood Kenjura described the incident as “a really senseless tragedy” at the news conference.

He added the suspect seemed to have been backing up with the intent of ramming the building a second time.

“Our fire chief mentioned that if he had veered a little bit to the left the second time, there would have been a collapse of that building, which would have resulted in a lot more injuries and possible death,” the mayor said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he and his wife are “saddened to hear of the tragic incident at the Texas Department of Public Safety office in Brenham” in a post on X. “Join us in praying for the Texan who passed, those injured, and their loved ones. I thank first responders for their swift response. Texas will bring this heinous criminal to justice.”

“We believe this was a criminal act,” Washington County Sheriff Otto Hanak told CNN affiliate KHOU on Friday.

The DPS announced the arrest on X and said, “There is no further threat to the community.”

Aerial footage from CNN affiliate KTRK shows a semi with a flatbed trailer loaded with what appears to be rebar. A large gap is seen in the front of the building and the vehicle’s cab is severely damaged.

Brenham is about 70 miles northwest of Houston.

CNN’s Sara Weisfeldt and Rosa Flores contributed to this report

This story has been updated with additional information.

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