Houston, TX – Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy Constable Jennifer Chavis died in the line of duty Saturday while trying to apprehend an alleged drunk driver.
The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on April 2, after police received a report of a suspected intoxicated driver who had allegedly fled the scene of a crash, KPRC reported.
Deputy Constable Chavis, 32, pulled to the side of Beltway 8 near Fondren Road to wait for the suspect vehicle to pass by, a Harris County Vehicular Crimes Division spokesperson told KHOU.
“This deputy was there ready to get in right behind and stop him,” Harris County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division Chief Sean Teare said. “And instead, he crashed right into the back of her.”
The suspect, later identified as 36-year-old career criminal Adolfo Serrano, was traveling westbound when he slammed into the back end of Deputy Constable Chavis’ patrol car, KHOU reported.
Serrano was driving a Ford F-550 with a utility bed, according to KPRC.
The collision caused the patrol unit to immediately burst into flames.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said multiple Good Samaritans pulled over to try to help Deputy Constable Chavis and to keep Serrano at the scene until police arrived, KPRC reported.
Deputy Constable Chavis was unable to escape the inferno and was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to court records, Serrano was supposed to have appeared in court on March 29, but he failed to show up, KHOU reported.
His criminal history stretches back to at least 2004, and includes multiple offenses and at least two prior driving while intoxicated charges.
Serrano was arrested Saturday on a charge of intoxication manslaughter on a peace officer, KPRC reported.
His bond was set at $750,000, according to KHOU.
Sheriff Gonzalez said Deputy Constable Chavis died while trying to protect her community.
“Tonight, we have a hero that died,” HCSO Vehicular Crimes Division Captain Anthony McConnell told KHOU.
“This one’s tragic,” Chief Teare agreed. “They are all tragic, but this one, this deputy was especially out there to stop drunk drivers. When you have those fighting on the front lines killed by the people they are trying to stop, it’s an extra level of tragedy.”
Deputy Constable Chavis served in the U.S. Army for six years prior to beginning her law enforcement career, her younger sister, Jocelyn Fowler, told KPRC.
Fowler said her sister held a criminal justice degree from the University of Houston-Downtown, as well as a master’s degree from Texas Southern University.
Deputy Constable Chavis was working on her Ph.D. when she was killed, Fowler told KPRC.
She leaves behind her husband, Quincey, as well as their four-year-old son and an 11-year-old nephew they have been raising.
“It’s just hard to come to terms with,” Fowler told KPRC. “My sister doesn’t get to come home to her son, and we are trying to figure out how to explain that to him.”
Welcome to the FBISD family Officer Jennifer Chavis! Sworn in today and husband Quincy pinned her badge on! Proud to hire veterans! pic.twitter.com/2gprRBlroP
— Chief David Rider (@FBISDChiefRider) January 9, 2017
Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy Constable Jennifer Chavis paid the ultimate sacrifice. She died yesterday in the line of duty, after being struck by a suspected drunk driver. It saddens me to know how her life was senselessly cut short. #HouNews #lesm pic.twitter.com/XcOI4SW4if
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) April 3, 2022
Accidente la tarde de ayer en un suburbio de Houston lamentablemente la oficial que iba a bordo no alcanzó a salir descanse en Paz Jennifer Chavis. pic.twitter.com/58YDwUxiPy
— Arizola (@GustavoArizola) April 3, 2022
This is Harris Co. Constable Jennifer Chavis. She was killed serving her community. She leaves behind her loving husband, 4 y.o. Child and 11 y.o. Nephew she was raising. The world is a better place with people like Jennifer in it. What a tragic loss . pic.twitter.com/jdIMTNSIT1
— Brian Steel (@VPFOP9) April 4, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy Constable Jennifer Chavis, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.