MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas — Officers are searching for the suspected driver in a fatal hit-and-run that left a father dead and three others injured in New Caney, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said. The driver and the suspect’s friends were reportedly escaping a 16-year-old girl’s birthday party, where the suspect was involved in a violent outbreak.
The vehicle that fatally struck Ray Jasso, 29, as he brought his two children to safety was found Monday night near I-610 in north Houston. Investigators said the passenger inside the vehicle was identified, but the driver was gone when officers arrived. The sheriff’s office has not released the suspect’s identity, but a warrant has been issued for thier arrest.
Officers responded to a disturbance call around midnight Sunday at a house party in the 18200 block of Emerald Court. Jasso, who lives in the neighborhood, was outside lighting fireworks with his daughters when several unwanted guests arrived at the party of 80 to 100 people.
Investigators said the party crashers — a young woman accompanied by a group of young men — were asked to leave the party, at which the woman allegedly assaulted a parent. Deputies said the boys joined in the assault before the group ran away, climbing into a gray 2002 Chevrolet Suburban.
When disturbance started, deputies said Jasso immediately grabbed his children and sat them inside a truck.
Some party guests threw rocks at the suburban as it backed out, hitting another vehicle, a fence and then the four victims. Jasso was run over as second time as the vehicle sped off, investigators said. It was reported the vehicle had chrome wheels and running boards that hit the victims.
A family member with medical experience tended to the Jasso’s wounds until paramedics arrived, and the father was taken to Conroe Regional Hospital. Jasso died hours later.
Officers said a second victim was also taken to the hospital in stable condition and has since been released. The remaining two victims did not seek professional medical treatment, the sheriff’s office said.
According to deputies, witnesses described one of the suspects as a young woman with long, curly and reddish-colored hair.
At one point during the investigation, officers detained a person of interest who had recently been released from jail, but it was determined he wasn’t involved and sheriffs let him go.
The sheriff’s office said social media platforms — including SnapChat and Facebook — quickly became overwhelmed with pictures and video taken during the incident. Investigators said images showed a young man with tattoos on both sides of his face: a star on his right cheek and an unrecognizable tattoo on his left.
While reviewing multiple videos from that night, a detective found a single frame that revealed the suspected vehicle’s license plate number. Investigators said most of the suspects have been identified, and the sheriff’s office is hoping the driver will turn themself in.
Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts or the case is asked to call Montgomery County deputies at 936-760-5876 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392-STOP (7867).