PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — A woman is dead after police say a car she was riding in was hit by a man driving a stolen truck during a police pursuit in Petersburg.
According to the Chesterfield County Police Department, at around 10:15 p.m. on March 15, police tried to stop a stolen 2013 Chevrolet Silverado near the intersection of Iron Bridge Road and Lewis Road.
Police had been made aware that the truck was stolen and that there were guns inside, which they later found out had also been stolen.
The driver of the stolen truck refused to stop and continued heading east on Iron Bridge Road. Officers deployed spike strips, which damaged several of the truck’s tires but did not stop the fleeing suspect.
The truck continued east on Iron Bridge Road before turning onto Route 1 and heading south. Police said the driver was speeding, swerving into oncoming lanes and ignoring traffic signs and signals as he drove the car through Colonial Heights and into Petersburg.
According to Virginia State Police, the suspect ran a red light at the intersection of North Adams Street and East Washington Street in Petersburg and crashed into a 2003 Mercury Grand Marquis on its passenger side.
Denasia Shaquelle Gray, 28, of Petersburg, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the Mercury, was taken to a hospital where she later died. She was wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the Mercury, 28-year-old Oterrius Demarcous Taylor, of Petersburg, was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“You know, you hear of police chases every now and then, you know, with innocent people getting hurt, but I’ve never seen anything as bad as this,” said an acquaintance of Taylor, who wanted to remain anonymous. “It’s just kind of sad, because a person who had nothing to do this this pursuit lost her life. She left her kids behind.”
The driver of the stolen truck, 38-year-old Michael Kenneth Dawson, was arrested and charged with felony eluding police, possession of a stolen vehicle, driving under the influence, reckless driving, driving with a revoked license and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. He is being held at Riverside Regional Jail.
“I’m just heart broken. You know if you ever get pulled over don’t take them on a chase because it could ended like this,” Gray’s friend said. “Even the person they were chasing, you could have lost your life.”