3 lives claimed in New Year’s police chases

DECK: MPD defends procedures, opens investigation

Three people are dead after the drivers of two different vehicles led Milwaukee police on two unrelated incidents over the New Year’s holiday. Now, the city’s police chief and president of the Common Council are supporting a review of the incidents.

The first of the two chases occurred early on New Year’s Eve. Shanica Adkins, 21, was killed when the car she was riding in was hit by a sport utility vehicle avoiding Milwaukee Police Department officers during a chase.

Around 2:30 a.m., officers noticed a car was missing its front license plate and attempted to pull the vehicle over near the intersection of West Center and North 35th streets. The vehicle fled from the squad car. Officers first attempted to stop the vehicle, but then stopped. However they soon spotted the vehicle again when it ran a red light at the intersection of North Sherman Boulevard and West Center Street. That’s when the car stuck the vehicle driven by Adkins’ boyfriend.

Adkins was pronounced dead at the scene. Her boyfriend Donta Brown survived the accident and was admitted to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa.

The second incident took place Jan. 1 after a woman reported that her car was stolen by two men near the intersection of 27th Street and Capitol Drive. Police caught up with the vehicle when it ran a red light at the intersection of 27th and Locust streets around 2:25 a.m.

At that time, the driver of the stolen car broadsided a vehicle driven by Don Hamilton, 23, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Three of his passengers all required medical attention and were taken to Froedtert Hospital. One of those passengers, Donte Pearson, 21, died at the hospital.

The chase on 27th Street reportedly reached speeds of up to 80 mph.

According to MPD spokeswoman Anne Schwartz, both incidents lasted only seconds after officers activated their emergency lights and sirens.

Police Chief Edward Flynn believes officers followed correct procedures when dealing with the incidents, but he said the department is reviewing the crashes. He also said the incidents had unfathomably tragic results.

“The cause of the deaths of these young people was the reckless and callous behavior of the criminals who were driving these vehicles,” Flynn said at a press conference. “In both incidents, the tapes made clear that the police exercised restraint consistent with their training and it’s important that the family understands that and that the general public understands that.”

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines has expressed support concerning Flynn’s decision to fully examine both of the incidents.

“I was pleased to hear from Chief Flynn that he is directing his department to fully examine every aspect of the two incidents that resulted in fatalities,” Hines said. “This is the most responsible course of action and the chief is to be commended for taking it.”

Both drivers of the vehicles fleeing police were taken into custody after the incidents.