Investigators say Caroline Nicolai was killed after another 21-year-old driver of a red Chevy Cobalt slammed straight into the police car she was riding in.
The two-car crash happened about 3:30 a.m. at 500 Chartres near Texas, according to the Houston Police Department.
Police said Nicolai was handcuffed in the backseat of the squad car after the officer had taken her into custody for public intoxication. The cruiser, police added, was traveling northbound on Chartres when the driver of a red Chevrolet Cobalt that was traveling eastbound on Texas apparently ran a red light and rammed the squad car.
Nicolai was thrown from the cruiser upon impact. She was rushed to Ben Taub General Hospital, where she died.
The woman who was driving the Cobalt, Nicole Moser, and her passenger were hurt and taken to a nearby hospital. Details of their injuries and conditions were not released.
The officer had minor injuries and was taken to Memorial Hermann-The Texas Medical Center. She is expected to be fine.
Police said the driver of the Cobalt told an officer at the scene that she had been to a Midtown bar. The officer, police added, smelled what appeared to be alcohol on her breath. Investigators said they are awaiting blood tests to determine what charges may be filed against her.