TODAY | September 21, 2013
>>> typically, when there is a car accident the police are the first to respond but in houston the police chief was the first on the scene because the accident was his fault. he hit a pedestrian and the whole thing was caught on camera.
>> reporter: the traffic video is tough to watch showing a dark suv pausing at an intersection and striking a pedestrian in the crosswalk. the driver of the suv also runs to the aid of the injured man. in terms of calling the police, it turns out the man behind the wheel was houston police chief charles mcclellan who was making a left turn just a block from police headquarters. the chief says he simply didn't see houston attorney james harris .
>> it was very unnerving when strike somebody with a vehicle and i'm very, very thankful that he wasn't more severely injured.
>> reporter: harris suffered a broken arm and told nbc news that he is blessed that he wasn't hurt more seriously. chief mcclellan called a few days after the accident to personally apologize.
>> i certainly will be more cautious and attentive when i'm driving, not only in the downtown area, but anywhere.
>> reporter: mcclellan said, as chief, he must hold himself to a higher standard. houston 's mayor agreed and ordered him to a suspension without pay for one day. a sentence the chief is defending.
>> that day off without pay may be ten times more than the max that i could receive from a citation. we got to remember, what is the purpose of a citation? the purpose of a citation is to correct behavior.
>> reporter: the accident will go on the chief's driving record and he'll be required to take a defensive driving course. charles hadlock, nbc news, dallas.