Arrest made after 12-year-old seen clinging to roof of SUV

A Houston man was arrested after a 12-old-old was seen 'clinging' onto the roof of an SUV. (KTRK, HARRIS COUNTY CONSTABLES PCT 2, CELLPHONE VIDEO, CNN)
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 9:58 AM CDT
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HOUSTON (KTRK) - Alarming dash camera video shows a 12-year-old clinging to the roof of a moving SUV moments before the driver was arrested.

Authorities in Houston said the incident is part of a larger street-racing problem that’s not only dangerous but causing problems for some businesses.

The parking lot of a shopping center has become a hot spot for reckless takeovers, with broken beer bottles and tire marks etched into the ground.

“They start doing their spinouts, and burnouts. People line up on the side and they watch them. It’s kind of entertainment for them, but they don’t realize the danger involved,” Harris County Constable Jerry Garcia said.

“You know how fast people are riding on feeder roads, so if that little 12-year-old would have fallen, he could have easily been run over and killed,” Garcia said.

The driver, 20-year-old Victor Chavez, was arrested for child endangerment.

The Harris County Precinct 2 Constables Office said the families knew each other, and Chavez had asked the 12-year-old to tag along that night.

He told deputies he forgot the boy was on top of his car.

“These aren’t professional drivers. Like we tell people, they can lose control and kill someone. It’s happened before,” Garcia said.

Business owners nearby said they are also fed up.

Employees shared video with KTRK and told the station takeovers happen almost every weekend. They said it pushes customers away, and they’re forced to clean up the mess.

“Maintenance comes once a month, but this happens literally every week. We are the ones who have to clean it up ourselves, you know,” one employee, who did not share their name, said. “Every morning in front of our spot, we clean about 20 to 30 beer bottles.”

As of Sept. 1, Texas state law allows law enforcement to impound cars tied to street racing and reckless driving.

In this case, the driver was outside the parking lot, so deputies didn’t seize his car.

“We aren’t playing. We will seize their vehicles, we will take them to jail, we will write tickets, tow cars and I promise you, we will do it again,” Garcia said. “Enough is enough. I don’t want anyone to die in my precinct because this is going on.”

There’s no word yet on how Chavez is pleading or if he has secured a lawyer.