DETROIT (AP) — A driver accelerated to more than 70 mph on a residential street in Detroit while fleeing officers before striking and killing two young children and injuring three other children and an adult, police said.
The chase Wednesday evening on the city’s east side lasted about 75 seconds, police Chief James Craig said. Police began chasing a Chevrolet Camaro with a firearms suspect inside, but lost sight of the vehicle, he said. The car then struck the children and an adult a few blocks away.
“It’s tragic,” Craig said. “It’s a very difficult day.”
The six victims were taken to St. John Hospital, where two of the children were declared dead, Craig said. Police arrested the driver and passenger from the car, including one who had a handgun, he said. One had injuries that weren’t life-threatening.
The grandmother of two children who were struck, Nicole Jackson, 40, told the Detroit Free Press she was in her home when she heard the crash and ran outside. Jackson’s fiancé, Ronald Antczak, 43, said he ran outside too and saw a child that wasn’t moving.
“It’s not something you can describe, a kid lying lifeless in the street,” he said.
The chase began about 7:30 p.m. after officers activated lights on their police car and tried to pull over the Camaro, Craig said. The car drove away so fast that police briefly lost sight of the vehicle then officers saw a plume of smoke from the crash scene.
“Our prayers and hearts go out to the families and our officers are certainly struggling in the aftermath,” Craig said.
Police and investigators remained on the scene for hours, looking in yards with flashlights and talking to area residents, The Detroit News reported. Sgt. Cassandra Lewis, a police spokeswoman, said in an email she expected to have updated information to release later Thursday.