Comstock Township, Michigan – Police released dash-cam video of a police chase that ended with a fiery crash that killed five people, all believed to be teenagers, in part to dispel rumors that an officer was pursuing the car at the time of the crash.
Police released the video just hours after the September 2 crash.
The video shows a Kalamazoo Township officer terminating the pursuit after about 30 seconds and turns off his lights and siren after he tells the dispatcher the Dodge Charger was travelling well over 100 mph.
“I’m just going to continue in that direction in case it crashes,” the officer told the dispatcher.
About 38 seconds later while the officer slowed and stopped at red traffic light, he told the dispatcher, “Yeah. It looks like it crashed.”
The officer then drove up to the scene and pulled over. More police were called in after spectators and friends and relatives started showing up, according to police.
Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas was at the crash scene Saturday. Undersheriff Matyas said there were rumors the officer was pursuing the vehicle at the time of the crash, according to MLive. He said the video proved that wasn’t the case.
At the time, police hadn’t named the people that died in the crash.
Undersheriff Paul Matyas told New 8 TV that the five people were killed on impact. He said police won’t have positive identification “for some time” due to the victims being engulfed by the fire, the TV station reported.
Relatives have told the media who they believe was in the car and by Sunday morning some of the victims were identified.
More than 100 people showed up for a candlelight vigil at the scene of the crash, MLive reported. Many of the people sang “Amazing Grace,” the newspaper reported.
Police are often held accountable if a vehicle crashes while they are pursuing it. This has prompted many departments to implement “do not pursue” policies where certain agencies will not pursue people who flee from them.
Michigan state police have just implemented a policy not to pursue vehicles in Detroit after a 16 year old on an ATV fled from a police and fatally crashed his ATV.
You can see the video of pursuit below: