Off-duty Pasadena cop who crashed into Houston police officer charged with DWI

Officer Elias Vega submitted his resignation the same day he was charged, according to police.

An off-duty Pasadena police officer, later identified as Elias Vega, is escorted to a paramedic after police say he crashed into the back of a marked Houston police patrol vehicle along the South Sam Houston Parkway on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

An off-duty Pasadena police officer, later identified as Elias Vega, is escorted to a paramedic after police say he crashed into the back of a marked Houston police patrol vehicle along the South Sam Houston Parkway on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

OnScene.TV

An off-duty Pasadena police officer who crashed into the back of a stopped Houston police cruiser earlier this month is now charged with driving while intoxicated. 

Houston police filed the misdemeanor charge against Elias Vega on Wednesday, about a week after police said he slammed into the back of an officer's patrol SUV in the 6000 block of the S. Sam Houston Parkway frontage road around 2:45 a.m. on April 14. Vega resigned from the Pasadena Police Department the same day he was charged, according to a press release from that agency. A Houston police spokesperson said Vega was not yet in custody as of Thursday afternoon. 

That morning, two Houston police officers were investigating a person who was found passed out behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer on the feeder road. The two officers had their patrol SUVs—each with their emergency lights activated—stopped in the outside lanes of the frontage road as they questioned the driver and had the Explorer towed. 

Damage is seen on a Toyota Tundra driven by a man who Houston police say is an off-duty Pasadena police officer, and who who crashed into the back of a marked Houston police patrol vehicle along the South Sam Houston Parkway on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

Damage is seen on a Toyota Tundra driven by a man who Houston police say is an off-duty Pasadena police officer, and who who crashed into the back of a marked Houston police patrol vehicle along the South Sam Houston Parkway on Thursday, April 14, 2022.

OnScene.TV

While the officers were investigating the scene, the driver of a Toyota Tundra pickup, later identified as Vega, was driving down the frontage road and slammed into the back of one of the Houston police cruisers, which pushed the cruiser into the Explorer. The force of the crash left the Tundra and police vehicle both with heavy damage. 

The officer who was sitting inside the patrol cruiser that was struck was hospitalized with a head injury, according to HPD Lt. Ignacio Izaguirre. That officer is a 15-year veteran with HPD. Vega was also sent to the hospital after the crash. 

Vega was hired as a Pasadena police officer in July 2019 and was most recently assigned to the patrol division. His superiors had placed him on administrative duty immediately after the crash and accepted his resignation Wednesday. Driving while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor that carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a potential fine of up to $2,000. 

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