Police said a car running away from a police traffic stop collided with a car in Chicago’s South Side, killing a 10-year-old girl and seriously injuring her younger brother.
The accident came while Dakaria Spicer was riding with her father and 5-year-old brother, Damir, to pick up a laptop at Foster Park Elementary School so she could start the school year there in fifth grade, the girl’s mother said.
Darincha Johnson said she called the children’s father shortly before the accident to remind him to go to school to get the laptop.
She said, “Now I wish I forgot to call him, and he will forget and miss him.”
The Chicago Police Department announced Dakaria’s death at Comer Children’s Hospital, where her brother was in critical condition. The ministry issued a statement offering condolences to the family, describing the accident as a “devastating loss of life.”
Johnson said her daughter was a live student who liked Girl Scouts.
“That was my little daughter, that was my little friend,” she said while tears streaming down her face.
Police said that the officers tried to stop a black Mercedes due to a traffic violation around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Gresham neighborhood when the car took off, collided with a gray car, and then collided with a tan driven by the children’s father, Kevin Spicer, 43.
Spicer and a 57-year-old woman driving the gray car were taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, both in good condition.
Police said three people got out of the car after the accident and fled. Police did not release any details of whether the officers had pursued the car any distance.
At an unrelated press conference on Thursday, Mayor Laurie Lightfoot said “There was a very short, very brief chase” that ended before Mercedes went ahead and hit the other two cars.
Chicago Police policy requires that officers use a balance test to determine whether the need to arrest a suspect outweighs the risks arising from speeding on city streets.
Families and activists called for change after recent crashes during a police pursuit, including a crash in the north side of Chicago that killed 37-year-old Guadalupe Francisco Martinez while police were chasing a shooting suspect.
Lightfoot said the policy has been updated after this crash. According to the ministry’s website, the revised policy went into effect in August.
These updates require tracking officers to check approaching traffic before driving through an intersection and impose restrictions on unmarked vehicles participating in pursuits.
Police pursuits that ended in crashes were costly to the city. Chicago lost or settled lawsuits in 62 police chases over a decade, according to a report in the Chicago Sun Times last year.
Police said that investigators are questioning a person interested in the incident and that the Civil Police Accountability Office is investigating the matter.