[Hpn] Houston, TX - Homeless woman lying beneath homeowner's truck is dragged, found dead in street - Houston Chronicle -August 8, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Fri, 09 Aug 2002 17:33:15 -0500


Seeking sleep in a perilous place
Woman lying beneath homeowner's truck is dragged, found dead in street

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By PEGGY O'HARE - Houston Chronicle -August 8, 2002

It was a strange place to sleep. But for some reason known only
to her, a woman who regularly wandered the Ridgemont subdivision
in far southwest Houston decided to lie down beneath a pickup
outside somebody else's house.

That ill-fated decision cost the woman her life early Thursday.

The truck owner, not knowing anyone was under his vehicle, left
his driveway to go to work.

The truck ran over the woman and dragged her body 12 to 15 feet out
into the street.

The 44-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was dead by
the time she hit the road. She may have been dead before the
truck ran over her. An autopsy will have to answer that question.

Residents say little was known about the woman, but her
activities were discussed by many.

At one time, she had a home nearby where she died but was leasing
that house to someone else while she wandered the streets.

Neighbors told police she was homeless and sometimes slept in
people's yards.

Houston police were still trying to locate family to tell of the
woman's death late Thursday.

"I've seen some strange things, but that was strange," said Fort
Bend County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Joel Clouser Sr., who
pronounced the woman dead.

Before the driver left, he started his truck to warm up the
engine and went back into the house to take out the garbage,
Clouser said.

But even the sound of the rumbling truck engine didn't stir the
slumbering woman.

The justice of the peace said the man looked back and saw the
woman stretched out in the middle of the street. He went on to
work, but phoned his wife and told her to call 911, Clouser said.

The man later returned home when he realized what happened.

"It's the strangest thing, that she didn't wake up when he turned
the engine on and was warming up the truck. It could be maybe she
was high on drugs or she died from natural causes," Clouser
said.

"We don't know what her problem was -- if she had mental
problems, drug problems or what," he said. "She looked
homeless."

The woman had been seen in one neighbor's yard the night before,
lying down.

The truck owner and his wife were both shaken by the incident,
which will go to a grand jury for review. "It was not
intentional," Clouser said.



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