Yesterday's high-speed NYPD chase in Queens led to the death of an uninvolved driver and the injury of a pedestrian who was on the sidewalk at the time of the crash. The chase was precipitated by cops trying to catch a man suspected of stealing a cell phone.
According to the NYPD, police got a 911 call to the Queens Village Auto Body shop on Hempstead Avenue at about 1 p.m., where a man was reported having stolen a cell phone (though police said it's possible it was a tablet, but regardless, "it was definitely a Samsung electronic device"). The suspect had apparently fled the scene after the alleged robbery, but plainclothes officers in an unmarked car identified the BMW he'd used to flee.
When those officers attempted to stop his vehicle, the suspect, identified as 51-year-old Derrick Perkins, allegedly hit their vehicle and sped south on 225th street. The chase to Cambria Heights then ensued, with police in the unmarked vehicle following Perkins's car with their sirens and lights blaring.
Police say that as the vehicles approached the intersection of 225th Street and Linden Boulevard, the suspect ran a red light and struck a Saturn sedan traveling east. The NYPD's preliminary investigation has shown that the sedan in turn went up on the sidewalk and struck a 29-year-old pedestrian, breaking his leg. He was later transported to North Shore University Hospital for treatment.
Perkins fled by foot after the crash, according to the police, but officers apprehended and arrested him. The 78-year-old driver of the Saturn, identified as 78-year-old Roxina Clayton, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Video shot by witnesses showed the aftermath of the crash—according to one account, police only aided Clayton after they'd arrested Perkins and put him in the squad car.
😞 Someone's grandmother,mother,sister,aunt got killed instantly because #nypd #105thpct lack of common sense.
A video posted by Bern Franlkin © (@b_loyalrdietryin) on
"She was innocent, just going about her business," witness Yvonne Gardner told ABC. "And she loses her life, innocent. Nobody deserves that."
Police told reporters that Perkins had previously been arrested for robbery, assault, grand larceny, and murder, and that he's currently on lifetime parole for murder. Charges against him regarding yesterday's incident were pending as of this morning, the NYPD said.
While pursuing a suspect, the NYPD Patrol Guide instructs officers to weigh the potential risks of traffic crashes against the perpetrator's danger to others. Specifically, NYPD rules require that a vehicle pursuit be "terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community if [the] suspect is not immediately apprehended."
Last year, two NYPD officers were placed on desk duty after they allegedly chased a motorcycle rider, leading to a fatal crash.