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1 dead, 13 injured after 18-wheeler intentionally crashed into Texas public safety office

Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas on Friday, April 12, 2024. (KTRK via AP) Emergency personnel arrive on the scene after a an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas on Friday, April 12, 2024. (KTRK via AP)
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BRENHAM, Texas -

A Texas semitrailer driver rammed a stolen 18-wheeler though the front a public safety building where his renewal for a commercial driver’s licence had been rejected, killing one person and injuring 13 others, authorities said Friday.

The intentional crash into the single-story brick building off a highway in Brenham, a rural town outside of Houston, littered debris in the parking lot and left a gaping hole in the entrance. The crash damaged the front of the red semitrailer, which was hauling materials on a flatbed.

After crashing into the building the first time, the driver backed up the truck with the intention of smashing it again before being detained, Brenham Mayor Atwood Kenjura said.

“It’s unfortunate that we are here gathered for a really senseless tragedy,” Kenjura said.

The driver — identified as Clenard Parker, 42 — was pulled out of the truck by authorities at the Texas Department of Public Safety office. Authorities say Parker was taken into custody but did not say which charges he would face.

Emergency personnel work at the scene after an 18-wheeler crashed into the Texas Department of Public Safety Office in Brenham, Texas, Friday, April 12, 2024. (AP Photo / Lekan Oyekanmi)

On Thursday, Parker was told by employees at the office that he would not be eligible to renew his commercial driver's licence, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Justin Ruiz said. He did not elaborate as to why Parker's renewal was rejected.

One employee in the building was trapped “for a period of time” after the crash but no one who worked at the driver's licence office suffered serious injuries, Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst said.

Following the crash, two people were flown to a hospital in Bryan and another to Houston. Three people were transported to local hospitals but later released, and eight people others were treated on the scene.

A heavy presence of police surrounded the building and drivers were urged to steer clear of the area on Friday. Brenham, a city of about 19,000 residents, is about 80 miles (128 kilometers) miles west of Houston.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is a sprawling agency and one of the largest state law enforcement operations in the country. It includes troopers who are a central part of a massive border security operation on the U.S.-Mexico border as well as the Texas Rangers, the state’s top criminal investigators. But the department also has offices across the state that issue driver’s licences.

Coronado reported from Austin, Texas.  

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