1 dead and 13 injured after semitrailer intentionally crashed into Texas public safety office
Posted: April 12, 2024 - 5:14pm

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)

BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — A Texas semitrailer driver rammed a stolen 18-wheeler though the front 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 intentional crash into the single-story brick building off a highway in Brenham, a rural town outside of Houston, littered debris in the parking lot and left a gaping hole in the entrance. The crash damaged the front of the red semitrailer, which was hauling materials on a flatbed.

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 that issues driver's licenses. Authorities say Parker was taken into custody but did not say which charges he would face.

“It's unfortunate that we are here gathered for a really senseless tragedy,” Brenham Mayor Atwood Kenjura said.

After crashing into the building the first time, he had backed up with the intention of doing it again before he was detained, Kenjura said.

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.

Republican state Sen. Lois 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.