ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Police have accused an intoxicated hit-and-run driver of causing a deadly accident before fatally shooting a man about a quarter mile from the initial wreck Wednesday afternoon.
The suspect, Arlington resident Thomas Lester Harper, 27, was driving a dark blue Chevy Tahoe north on Collins St. at about 1:40 p.m. with his two children in the backseat when he hit a pair of cars at Washington Ave.
Harper fled the wreck at a high rate of speed and eventually barreled into a grey pickup truck at the intersection of Collins St. and Brown Blvd. The man who was rear-ended died at the scene, department spokeswoman Tiara Richard said.
Another man then approached the suspect’s wrecked vehicle. Harper revealed a handgun and opened fire, striking and killing the man as he walked toward the Tahoe, Richard said.
Police arrived and removed the suspect from his SUV. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Richard said. Harper is facing charges of murder, one count of intoxication manslaughter, one count of manslaughter and two counts of endangering a child. He is being held in the Arlington City Jail without bond, jail records show.
The initial collision happened at 1:40 p.m. The shooting occurred less than 10 minutes later.
In addition to the deaths, two others were taken to local hospitals after the “complex accident.”
There were two “toddler age” children in the suspect’s Tahoe. Arlington PD spokeswoman Tiara Richard confirmed that a twin boy and girl belonging to the suspect were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“I see about a 2-year-old little girl, a baby, with blood all over her,” said eyewitness Billy Ray Vaughan. “She comes out of the top of the car; follows next to her looked like her little brother he was about two [years old]. She’s crawling next to the car.”
Vaughan said he ran to take the children away from the scene when he heard a gunshot.
“He fired the gun and we hit the ground and one of the little kids on the driver’s side actually fell out of the window and crawled across the street until one of the witnesses picked him up,” Vaughan said.
The children were taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center and are expected to fully recover.
Witnesses at the scene told KRLD NewsRadio 1080 that a dark colored Chevy Tahoe was speeding, possibly in excess of 100 mph, down Collins St. The witness said the SUV slammed into several other vehicles and then, “Before I can get over to the car another lady is running up to see if he’s okay and the dude pulls out a gun and shoots,” eyewitness Jason King said.
KRLD’S Chuck Schechner reports:
The victims have not been identified. Authorities said their families have not been told.
Police closed Collins to traffic while they surveyed the crime scene. Dozens of police squad cars and emergency vehicles quickly descended upon the location. There are reports that fire crews had to use machinery to remove some people from vehicles.
“At this point, there’s no indication there’s anyone else at large,” said Christopher Cook, Arlington PD spokesman. “We’re still trying to work through the exact details, interview witnesses and determine what transpired first.”
The crime scene remained active more than five hours after the incident. Any other witnesses are asked to call Arlington Police at 817.459.5600.