Police say man steals tow truck, runs over owner

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Jonathan Nguyen, 27, has been charged with capital murder in the death of a tow truck driver in southwest Houston. The driver died after an alleged carjacking on Friday afternoon. Police said the suspect stole a tow truck and ran over the owner, killing him.

Officers chased after the suspect through several intersections in southwest Houston, before the tow truck was struck by another truck and crashed into a pole in Sugar Land.

The suspect is now in police custody. Investigators described the suspect as a man in his early-to-mid 20s, but did not initially release his name.

At around 2:50 p.m. Friday, Houston police said the suspect entered a business in southwest Houston, stole a tow truck and began driving west on Beechnut Street. Investigators say the owner of that tow truck saw the thief driving away and pursued him in another vehicle.

Authorities say the owner of the tow truck then tried to confront the thief at the intersection of Beechnut and Kirkwood Road, but it did not end well.

"The owner tries to get in front of his wrecker and when he does, he gets out, confronts the driver of the tow truck, and the driver runs the complainant over," said Houston Police Department Assistant Chief James Jones.

The victim was then transported to the hospital where he later died. But the story doesn't end there.

Jones says the thief then drives away from the crime scene, leading police on a long chase through much of southwest Houston. At one point, the suspect even drove the stolen tow truck in the opposite direction of traffic. It wasn't until the suspect was struck by a black truck at the intersection of State Highway 90 and Brooks in Sugar Land when the chase ends.

Investigators detained the suspect on Friday afternoon, but later brought him to HPD headquarters for questioning. Authorities say they're trying to determine what the suspect's motive was for stealing that tow truck in the first place.

Police are now warning the public to be careful, particularly when chasing down thieves to get stolen items back. They say a life is worth more than your property.

"He tried to get his property back and unfortunately, it ended tragically," said Jones. "It's not through any fault of his own, but it's just sad."

Authorities have not released the name of the victim.