An elderly woman was killed and at least two other bystanders were injured when suspects fleeing police slammed into another vehicle in Harlem this morning.
According to reports from City Room, 1010 WINS and WCBS, officers had pulled over a minivan at Lenox Avenue and W. 141st Street in connection with a gunpoint robbery and were questioning the driver outside the vehicle when a passenger slid into the driver’s seat and proceeded south on Lenox. Police gave chase with lights and sirens. At Lenox and W. 122nd, the minivan driver ran a red light and hit a second minivan and a sanitation truck. The suspect vehicle spun out of control into a crowd of people. Two elderly women standing on a traffic island were hit. Both were transported to area hospitals in critical condition. One later died. A cyclist was also reported hurt, as were two people in the minivans.
The NYPD Patrol Guide states: “Department policy requires 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.” Yet today’s incident is only the latest in recent memory in which a known or reported NYPD chase has ended with horrific collateral damage.
- In January Karen Schmeer was mowed down by men suspected to have stolen over-the-counter allergy medicine from a CVS pharmacy in Manhattan.
- Last August, 27-year-old restaurant worker and father of three Pablo Pasares was run over in Long Island City by a man after an alleged drug buy.
- According to witnesses, a car thief was fleeing police when he hit and killed 38-year-old Greenpoint mother Violetta Kryzak in April 2009.
- In February 2009, a video camera captured an apparent Staten Island chase that led to the death of a couple with young sons.
- Last July, a pedestrian and motorcyclist were struck by a man fleeing the NYPD in Washington Heights following an armed mugging.
- One year ago this month, nine people, including five pedestrians, were injured when officers responding to a call in a marked NYPD squad car collided with another car and careened onto an East Village sidewalk.
That’s five dead and about a dozen injured in the last year-and-a-half, not counting numerous incidents of off-duty officers involved in deadly and near-deadly crashes. Yet Commissioner Ray Kelly has had nothing to say on the subject. If recent experience holds, he won’t face pressure from the press to account for his department’s role in killing, maiming and endangering innocent New Yorkers.