An 18-year-old driver of a stolen vehicle has been charged with felony murder for the death of a 75-year-old pastor and mother of a Houston Police Department sergeant.
Gloria Collins was struck by Trenton Bevel at a red light around 10:15 a.m. on Sept. 7 on Martin Luther King Boulevard, near Van Fleet Street, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The collision occurred moments after police lost sight of Bevel, who was driving a stolen Dodge Charger. Collins died at the scene, roughly 2 miles from her MacGregor Park-area home.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner identified Collins as the mother of an HPD sergeant.
A family member was quoted as saying she was a faith leader with the Church of the Living God. Jerry Burley, who had known Collins for 30 years and was her pastor for 15, told KHOU, “She had so much talent it was unreal. Anything she set her mind to do. She did it.”
Bevel, who was driving a Dodge Charger reported stolen earlier that week, is hospitalized in critical condition, according to officials. He has been charged with felony murder, a charge often applied when a death occurs during the commission of another felony — in this case, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, as per court documents.
A judge has set a $500,000 bond for Bevel.
Houston police said Bevel and another man carjacked a woman in the Hobby Airport area the day before the fatal crash. The victim, Cathleen Hill, was quoted as saying, “These two young guys dressed in camo, a ski mask, they robbed me at gunpoint.” Hill was able to track her car using a dealership device and inform the police.
Police had been pursuing the stolen Dodge Charger but ended the chase after losing sight of Bevel about a mile from the crash site, authorities said. Chief Finner stated that the fatal wreck was not related to the prior pursuit or HPD chase policies.
Two other innocent people were injured in the crash and were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Homegoing Services have been scheduled for Thursday morning at 5th Ward Baptist Church in Houston.
One Cecilia Blane Darden wrote on Facebook, “We were excited about the upcoming conference in Temple. I get a call that broke my heart. I’m still in disbelief but God is a God that make no mistakes, and you are a woman that loves our Heavenly Father. He called his daughter home, but God my God my God, one day we will rejoice again Dr. Gloria Collins. A few years ago we celebrated the Superbowl at Sea, we had a wonderful time.”