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The Texas Tribune
The Texas Tribune
By Alejandro Serrano

Man crashes stolen 18-wheeler into DPS office, killing one and injuring several others

Texas Department of Public Safety vehicles outside of the state Capitol on Aug. 11, 2021.
A man was arrested Friday after he crashed a truck into a Department of Public Safety office in Brenham. (Credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)

A man who had been denied renewal of a commercial driver’s license crashed a stolen 18-wheeler Friday into a Department of Public Safety office in Brenham, killing one person and wounding 13 others, including three who were taken to hospitals by helicopter, according to authorities and local officials.

Clenard Parker, 42, of Chappell Hill, allegedly rammed the semi truck into the DPS office after evading from sheriff's deputies who spotted the stolen vehicle, according to DPS. Police arrived as Parker pulled the truck out of the building and apparently prepared to drive into it again. Eight people were treated at the scene for their injuries and three were taken by ambulance to hospitals that had discharged them by Friday afternoon.

Authorities did not identify the person who died because they needed to notify next of kin, but said the person died at a hospital.

In thanking first responders for their speediness, Brenham Mayor Atwood Kenjura said the building could have collapsed had Parker rammed the truck through it again and veered slightly to the left, according to what the fire chief told him.

"Our prayers are with those who are still in critical care," Kenjura said. "Thanks to our first responders. I can't say enough for them — they put their life on the line."

Jail records showed Parker was being held without bond at the county jail on charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and evading arrest that caused serious bodily injury to another person.

He had gone to the same office on Thursday when he was told he was not eligible to renew his license, according to DPS.

"This is a day that you don't think is going to happen," said State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who added she had received her license at the office and had taken her children to get theirs there as well. "We are reminded that those that serve us in public, it's a dangerous job. Someone that goes to work today to issue driver's licenses can literally trigger someone to create an act of violence."

The crash remains under investigation by Texas Rangers.

This is a developing story.

Disclosure: Facebook has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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