Texas DPS truck crash in Brenham: 1 dead, 13 injured after suspect stole 18-wheeler

One person has died and multiple people were injured when an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety office in Brenham, officials say.

"This is a sad day for DPS and all who were involved," said Sgt. Justin Ruiz, of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to Texas DPS, 42-year-old Clenard Parker allegedly crashed an 18-wheeler on Friday morning while being pursued by a Washington County sheriff's deputy and other law enforcement agencies. The chase began on State Highway 36 near 290.

"The stolen 18-wheeler took a hard right turn and went into the DPS Brenham office," said Sgt. Ruiz. 

Parker reportedly stole the 18-wheeler but it has not been reported where it was taken from. He has been arrested and taken into custody by the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

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"The suspect was backing the vehicle up with the intent of going into it again," said Brenham Mayor Atwood Kenjora.

A Texas DPS Sergeant reports Parker arrived at the Texas DPS office in Brenham on Thursday and was denied his Commercial Driver's License. The staff told Parker he was not eligible to renew his license.

Fourteen people were injured in the crash, officials say. Two people were flown to a hospital in Bryan, one person was life-flighted to Memorial Hermann in Houston, three people were taken to a hospital in Brenham, and eight people were treated and released on the scene.

One person unfortunately died from their injuries, authorities say, and two are critically injured.

"He had his license once before and he went to try to get his CDL again and for whatever reason that just took him over the top," said James Edmond, Parker's cousin. "Our hearts go out to the families of everybody involved but my cousin suffered from bad mental illness, and he just snapped."

Edmond says his cousin lived alone in this trailer in Chappell Hill.

"He's never been a violent person," Edmond said. "Check his record."

Parker's criminal history goes back to 1999 and contains mostly misdemeanor criminal trespass, as well as arson and prohibited weapons. Back in 2002, he pled guilty to a felony prohibited weapon charge and got probation.

Parker was charged with Unauthorized use of a Vehicle, Evading Arrest causing Serious Bodily Injury, and three charges of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. His total bond was set to $2 million.

Clenard Parker (Courtesy of Washington County Sheriff's Office)

"We will prosecute this person to the full extent of the law because this will not be tolerated. Not in my hometown and not in our home state," said Senator Lois Kolkhorst, a member of the Texas State Senate.

Parker's family says they are surprised by his actions

"I just wish he could have talked to somebody and somebody could have taken him off that edge," Edmond said. "He had a situation a mental situation."

According to Texas DPS, the Texas Rangers are investigating.

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The DPS office will be shut down for the time being. Customers who have appointments and need a driver's license are advised to go to the Texas DPS website for more information.

Governor Greg Abbott gave this statement on his X profile:

"Cecilia and I are saddened to hear of the tragic incident at the @TxDPS office in Brenham. 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."

The public is asked to stay clear of the area while investigators and medical personnel are at the scene.

Brenham is located in Washington County, northwest of Houston.