The crash happened on West Tidwell near Knox around 11:15 p.m. Thursday.
The speed limit in the area is 40 miles per hour, but investigators say based on how hard her gray Chrysler 200 slammed into the tree, she was going a lot faster than 40.
Investigators are uploading data from her car’s computer to figure out just how fast she was driving.
The teen driver was transported to an area hospital with a broken leg.
One passenger in the car, who was identified as a man in his late teens or early 20s, was transported to Ben Taub General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to HPD.
Investigators say there’s evidence to support the suspicion that the teen driver could have been under the influence. Police said officers detected a strong odor of marijuana inside the vehicle.
“A bunch of things have to come together before we make any decision on whether charges are appropriate and really just what happened here,” Sean Teare, chief of vehicular crimes with the district attorney’s office, said. “We have to determine exactly how fast the car was going. Even if intoxication didn’t play a part, what we’re seeing here leads us to believe that speed is a real factor here.”
Police are trying to figure out the relationship between the two, which is important because it could explain whether or not the 15-year-old was legally allowed to be driving.
There were no witnesses and no other cars involved, so the only thing authorities have to piece together what happened is the evidence from the car, and the story from the teen driver in the hospital.