Texas police are investigating the deaths of two men involved in a high-speed pursuit that ended when their truck crashed into a concrete pillar and burst into flames.
Authorities are working to identify the pair who died in Sunday's accident in Houston and determine why they fled when an officer tried to make a traffic stop, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said no bystanders or officers were injured during the short pursuit that lasted under two minutes, and that in the end the suspects are responsible for their actions.
"An investigation will determine how the officer's actions balance against the policies and procedures of the department," Smith said.
The fatalities highlight the dangers of police chases. The newspaper's 2016 analysis found that Houston saw 13 crashes because of police chases in 13 weeks, which left six people dead and nine injured. Federal data shows that between 300 and 400 drivers, officers and bystanders die every year during police pursuits.
"Obviously, pursuits are like police shootings in that you have policies in place to try to find a balance between when it's appropriate and when it isn't," said Larry Karson, an assistant professor of criminology at University of Houston-Downtown. "We're talking about the potential of deadly force because cars are considered a deadly weapon."
A supervisor monitors the conditions of a pursuit and may call it off if officers can get an identification and file a warrant at a later date, or if the chase becomes too dangerous, Smith said.