Houston Man Charged for Racing Deaths
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Houston Man Charged for Racing Deaths

A Houston man was charged criminally for the deaths of two people killed during a Christmas Day street race that reached speeds of more than 100 mph, officials said Monday.

Devante K. Franklin, 25, was arrested and charged Sunday with two counts of racing resulting in a death and one count of racing resulting in serious bodily injury.

“Houston’s roadways are not raceways,” said Sean Teare, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “Two people are dead; a third is recovering and another now faces 20 years in prison,” Teare said. “This tragedy should never have happened.”

It was shortly after noon, when Franklin and Kevin Strong were racing Ford Mustangs and swerving through traffic.

They sped south along State Hwy. 249 for nearly a mile until they crashed into Johnny Lewis Patterson, 62, who was driving a sport-utility vehicle and had just pulled out of business.

Patterson, a grandfather, was killed. Strong, who was driving the other Mustang, was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.

A third person driving nearby was injured after one of the Mustangs continued into oncoming traffic after striking Patterson’s SUV.

The charges are second-degree felonies, punishable by two to 20 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

“Our patrol deputies remain on heightened alert for signs of illegal street racing,” said Maj. Jesse Razo, head of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Bureau. “Those who choose to endanger the lives of other innocent drivers will not get warnings. They’ll go to jail.”

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