Criminal Justice

A prison bus collided with a truck in Conroe hours after Texas suspended inmate transportation

Conroe police said the van was transporting an inmate and three guards, all of whom were hurt in the collision.

This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows Gonzalo Lopez. Lopez, a convicted murderer on the run since escaping a prison bus after stabbing its driver last month, was shot dead by law enforcement late Thursday, June 2, 2022, after he killed a family of five and stole their truck from a rural weekend cabin, a Texas prison system spokesman said.

A prison van collided with a truck in Montgomery County early Tuesday morning — just hours after state prison officials temporarily suspended the transport of inmates in the wake of an escapee who police say killed five people after being on the run for weeks.

Conroe police said the van had departed from a Galveston hospital and was headed to a prison in Rusk, Texas transporting an inmate and three guards just after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on I-45 near FM 1097. That’s when police say a truck spun out and was on the northbound lanes of the interstate.

The two vehicles collided, injuring all four men in the van and the driver of the truck. They were all treated at nearby hospitals for non-life threatening injuries, according to Conroe Police Sgt. David Dickenson.

“The inmate is accounted for," Dickenson said. There is no loose inmate, and there's no threat to the public.”

Dickenson added that additional security had been added due to a change in policy at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The crash comes less than a day after state prison officials suspended transports in response to what TDCJ says was the murder of four Tomball ISD students and a family member at the hands of Gonzalo Lopez.

Lopez was being bussed from a prison in Gatesville to a medical appointment in Huntsville on May 12, but managed to free himself from restraints and cut through a metal barrier on the bus, the agency said. At that point, officials say he attacked the bus driver and escaped into nearby woods in between Houston and Dallas.

Lopez was on the run for weeks before he was shot and killed in a shootout with police last Thursday, hours after allegedly killing the family of five in a Centerville cabin.

TDCJ said it is currently reviewing its policies and will conduct a “comprehensive review” of prisoner transportation procedures. An outside investigator will also examine the Lopez incident.

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