St. Louis police used nail strips before the fatal accident, but will not say if they pursued stolen Jeep | Law and order

ST. LOUIS – Police used nail strips to try to stop a speeding vehicle before it crashed into a family minibus on Friday night, killing four adults and seriously injuring three children, Acting Chief of Public Safety Dan Isom said on Monday.

Isom described the officers’ actions at a weekly press conference with reporters but did not call it a hunt.

“Right now,” said Isom, “we have no information that the police were chasing the vehicle, but they put out nail strips to stop the vehicle.”

He said police threw nail strips at North Taylor Avenue and Delmar Boulevard to try to flatten the tires of a jeep stolen from Herculaneum in April. The jeep traveled another two blocks east and ended up crashing into the minivan, which was traveling north on Pendleton Avenue.

The crash occurred after 9 pm on Friday in the 4200 block on Delmar Boulevard. Family members identified the four adults who died as Angielique Simmons, 56; Rhonda Simmons, 34; Ephriam “Wayne” Simmons, 47, St. Louis; and Luther Simmons, 43, of Florissant.

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Police caught two teenage boys, both 17 years old, riding in the stolen jeep. On Monday, police were still searching for the driver of the jeep.

The teenagers were handed over to the youth authorities, and Isom said there was little he could say about their status.

Isom said that the police had tried to stop the jeep after a registration plate system identified the sign as stolen. Isom said the vehicle was wanted in other jurisdictions as well, but police are still trying to find out what crime the jeep was used. Just before the crash, someone in the jeep fired another car, says Isom.

“I just want to say, of course, this was an extremely tragic event,” Isom added.

Aaron Piggee, whose mother, sister and two uncles were killed in the minivan, was hesitant Monday by Isom’s account. Piggee is angry that the police do not admit that it was a hunt. Piggee said a police detective in St. Louis told him at the hospital that police chased the jeep in an unmarked vehicle without sirens.

“I asked him straight out, ‘A hunt without sirens?'” Piggee said. “They could not answer my question.”

Evita Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the police, said the preliminary information is that “police officers lined up to try to stop a vehicle on the jeep.”

“But because of its speed and police officers who were several blocks away, no pursuit or vehicle stop could be initiated before the jeep was involved in the fatal accident,” Caldwell said in an email.

Caldwell did not respond to questions from a reporter about whether an unmarked patrol car was involved or whether police used lights and sirens. She said police are still investigating.

Piggee was not in the minivan, but it carried seven of his relatives, including his 15-year-old daughter, who were seriously injured. If the police had used lights and sirens, Piggee said, “my family would still be here because they would have heard them and pulled aside.”

Piggee said his family is now busy planning funerals but will demand to see all the videos, including dashboard cameras or corporate surveillance.

Isom said that most police departments try to limit the hunt for vehicles to the most serious crimes.

“But that does not mean that police departments do not try to stop cars that are wanted for crime,” Isom added, “and so it is a very difficult conversation to make in some of these situations. And in most cases, we try to limit it to the most serious. incidents, but that does not deny the fact that we will stop cars that are wanted for crime. “

Piggee said Monday that two of the three children in the minivan made improvements to the hospital.

His 15-year-old daughter, Anniyasha Wallace, underwent surgery for a broken leg but is “awake and feeling well,” Piggee said. Anniyasha’s cousin, 6-year-old Trinity Thompson, was also awake and improving, Piggee said. Anniyasha’s second cousin, 10-year-old Takira Thompson, was still in serious condition.

“We’re waiting for her to wake up,” Piggee said.

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